Joy is partnered with Leigh Ann Ganzar for the 2019 season.

Joy is partnered with Leigh Ann Ganzar for the 2019 season.

Joy Franco

Joy fell in love with the bike at the age of 24 when she was without a car, without a college degree, working hard to pay the bills, but ultimately couch-surfing in the Oakland area. The owner of a local bike shop spotted her pink beach cruiser and invited her to come play “bike polo” with the Thursday night gang. Joy was immediately hooked on the street bike culture. She had been bouncing around without direction since high school and didn’t really have a social circle until she met her bike friends. They eventually helped her upgrade from a singlespeed beach cruiser to a fixed gear track bike, on which she did her first bike race: an alley cat from San Francisco to San Jose, CA. Arriving at the finish line as the 2nd place woman on a singlespeed gave Joy her first real taste of success. For the first time in her adult life, she had the ability to achieve her goals. Over the past 11 years, bikes have continued to propel her through life. Racing piqued her interest in the neuromuscular system and inspired her to go from community college to being a PhD student at Stanford. In 2015, all of that was jeopardized when she was hit by a car while on a training ride. She went head first into a windshield at >30 mph, suffering a brain injury from which it would take months to recover. Although getting back on the bike and on the road with cars has been a terrifying and slow process for Joy, it’s also been a necessary one. Losing her identity as a cyclist and scholar left her scarred with trauma, but she refused to let one driver take all of that away. Riding means too much, and the bike gives her a sense of strength and beauty that she has yet to find anywhere else in this world. After three long years, she finally feels like she has regained her strength as a cyclist and is more motivated than ever to keep growing. She will just keep rolling forward, one pedal stroke at a time.