Sawako Q&A: Ann from Straight River Sports, Minnesota, USA

Today we are delighted to introduce you to a lovely owner of Straight River Sports, located in southern Minnesota.

Straight river sports new retailer in USA for Sawako helmets

Ann is a jack of all trades when it comes to biking. Whether it be a triathlon or a leisurely ride in the city, she’s got poise and style on her trails! About an hour south of Minneapolis, she’s lucky to take her rides in such a naturally beautiful part of the state!

Straight River Sports is a new Sawako seller but we are so glad to be a part of their story. We love it when women break the mold of the cycling industry and Ann is a great example of that with her sporty bike shop, which serves both hardcore and more leisurely bikers.

If you’re in Minnesota, be sure to check out this friendly shop, they even have bike rentals for the stylish cyclist whose just passing through.


1. What kind of cyclist are you? Sporty/commuter/weekend/beginner etc.

Can I answer with "Every kind!" Love riding with my sporty friends, but just as happy to go for a 45 minute slow-mo ride with less active friends. I participate in triathlons, mountain biking, road riding and winter fat biking...especially with a group of girlfriends!

2. Which lifestyle brands are you following at the moment?

I shop everything!

3. Tell about your business and why you started it. What are your core values?

14 years ago I left my career working in the criminal justice world to own a bikeshop. It was a moment of thinking that there has to be more fun and love in the world than what I was doing at the time. There have been some really hard years financially, but it's been worth it. I'd like to think I've changed my small part of the world and brought in joy while continuing to make a living.

4. Besides your business, what is your passion?

I love spending time and riding with my husband. We have both had separate businesses for years, but this year we combined our skills and opened an electric bike shop together in Minneapolis. It's been a wonderful merger of skills and we are really having fun. Our boys are grown and on their own and we are enjoying our marriage. Vacation time is generally spent on week long bike tours around the United States or visiting our sons.


5. As a woman is a male dominated industry, what is your role in inspiring other women to cycle?

It's not hard to sell something you are passionate about and when people see me sincerely having fun on our 45 minute weekly Wobble Ride, they know that it's ok if they're not super slim, super fast or super athletic. I can have just as much fun on a 50 mile hard core ride with my athletic friends. We're all just out to have fun and bring joy to our lives in a way that works for us. I've been trying for years to convince executives in the industry (mostly, if not all male) that they need to quit marketing to the 24 year old male and acknowledge that most of the cycling world is made up of typical people (and women with spending money). They need to start marketing to them if they want to survive. Sawako gets it! Pedego does too. That's why we partnered with them for this second store.


6. What would you say is the difference between cycle chic and cycle geek?

It's a continuum. It's easy to start riding thinking you are cycle chic, but the more you ride, you find it's a slippery slope to cycle geek. I have to reel it in and minimize the bike talk when I'm not with fast cycling friends and glam it up when I'm with my "social rider" friends.


7. Where’s your favourite place to pedal?

In the woods, winter or summer on my fat bike.


8. What was your first bike?

A red schwinn with a banana seat and horn. I was four years old and it was a bike that belonged to "the neighborhood" and everyone learned to ride on him. His name was Spot.


9. Black croc, leopard or glitter?

I have to choose? I own at least 7 helmets. What I wear depends on the outfit. One must coordinate.


10. If you could cycle anywhere in the world where would it be?

I've heard biking in Italy is wonderful. 45 minutes between vineyards and taste testing, for miles and miles.


11. Tell us your secret cycling style tip.

Dry powder shampoo works to fluff my hair after taking off my helmet. Soaks up any wetness too!


12. What's on your cycling soundtrack?

No music. I like to be able to think (or talk to my friends) and listen to nature.

Thank you Ann!

222 Bridge St. Owatonna,MN 55060 T: +1 507 451 1666
4804 Chicago Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55417 T: +1 612 827 5000



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