She had me at Alexander Wang, period. However, she is not just a pretty face who knows about high style. Amanda Batty is one of those magical unicorns that has great writing skill and intellect, a beautiful heart, and a need for crushing mountain bike courses. I appreciate and admire the voice she is giving to women in the cycling industry and in general. Nothing gets this girl down and I am more than happy to share with you what she had to say to our Style Icon Questions. Meet Amanda.
Who is your favorite clothing designer? It’s a toss up between my two favorites and polar opposites: Alexander McQueen and Alexander Wang. McQueen is so wild and unpredictable and really punk with lines that converge in the oddest spots but that are really beautiful, and it’s dark. It’s so dark, but so playful. It’s an angry whimsy that kind of pulls you in and brings out the most beautiful, darkest parts of the wearer. Wang, on the other hand, is all clean lines and utilitarian function, but it’s simple beauty. It’s understated and classic, with very little conventional flow, yet it still maintains an elegance to it. Both men demand performance from their designs, but each piece seems to choose its own purpose… And it all requires a really great pair of shoes.
What made you choose cycling? I wouldn’t say I chose it. I hated bikes, and especially DH because I was weak. It scared me. It still worries me some days. But there’s also something inside of my soul that’s only satisfied when I’m in way over my head, and that’s the part of me that loves cycling. The masochist inside of me just craves the defeat of it all, and the temporary victory that comes from a brutal climb or descent or fall or injury or failure. It’s my happy place. I guess I’m happiest as the underdog and mountain biking gives me that. It’s not about winning, and it’s not losing. And as long as I’m still here, I haven’t lost. Then there are the gleeful moments where you just hop up and down and clap like a seal because this stuff is so fun… Those are bright, beautiful and those moments kind of top out my happy scale. It’s like climbing a shitty trail in the rain; you’re wet, cold and miserable and then suddenly, you top out, the sun pops up and birds chirp. And then it’s time to descend on this flowy, tacky, perfectly technical, fast trail. The contrast is what I love. That’s what keeps me alive.
Websites you check everyday? Recently, that has changed a bit, ha ha! Mostly bikerumor, VitalMTB, a lot of cat videos and Singletracks, BrainFood, etc. I’m drawn to the stuff that makes me think.
Who are your style icons? Inside of cycling, I’d have to say Missy Giove, Fionn, and Lance Armstrong (yes, really). I have a lot of reasons for each icon, but I like humans, and humans have flaws. I’m drawn to the stories and the attitudes of people who have lived or dealt with nightmares and come out the other side a little worse for wear, but wiser, smarter and funnier. That style, that balls-out, hail-Mary style, is iconic.
Outside of cycling, I love Jon Stewart. There’s so much humor in his voice, and it’s a humble-yet-f@#*-you kind of sensibility that he has. He’s honest. I have a lot of respect for anyone who can walk a tight line.
There are a lot of musicians I respect too, just because they can walk that line so well. Especially the icons who have a head for business while still maintaining their authenticity. It has to be sustainable, but somehow, they do it. Shit. I admire so many people. How many words do I have here?! Ha ha!
What is your favorite cycling kit? Either all black or bright red. It’s the contrast for me… It’s psychological, and research says all sorts of different things about color and it really affects how we feel and perform and react. But this year, I’m running a pretty special kit. We’ll have to wait until it’s presented to see it, but it’s easily my favorite yet. A little bit of irreverence, but still very bright.
What are you most grateful for? Being alive and still (mostly) sane. My brain. My life. And really, my best friend, Brian. He’s family. I think my grateful list would be too long, but my family is there, too. I’m grateful I still have my five senses and that I’m somehow still walking, talking, and alive. A lot of that is because of the incredible people I have in my life.
Favorite place to ride? That’s a tough one because I’ve been so lucky to ride some pretty amazing places. Utah (not Moab) is at the top, for sure. A lot of people don’t see the rest of the riding around the state, but we have a hugely diverse selection of riding that I absolutely love.
Is there a fabric or pattern that you like most? I love flannel. It’s the fabric of my people. But I secretly love light, airy fabric that just kind of floats… White cotton and silk, especially.
What can you not live without? My cat. He’s a fluffy, funny dork that reminds me to not take it all so seriously… And I swear to god he’s part human. I’m certain of it. He changed my life when I adopted him, and he changes me every day.
What song gets you pumped to ride? Any type of hair metal or butt rock. AC/DC, Mötley Crüe, Metallica, all of it. I’m an 80s child. Joan Jett, Lita Ford…
What are you working on? What has got you excited? At any given time, I’m working on one project and hatching another… Always moving. Right now, I’m really focused on the #ProvingPossible project that I launched last fall to pay for women and girls’ entry fees for their first DH race. I’m also writing a lot, making trouble, and trying to get a crazy video project finished that I’ve been conceptualizing for three years.
I’m really, really excited about the #ProvingPossible gig… It’s changing the way women get involved in racing, and a lot of other lady pros have followed suit and stepped up to support ladies who want to race DH. I feel like that’s where women’s MTB (and cycling in general) is headed. I think we’re finally starting to realize the importance of infrastructure and development programs inside of our sport, and it’s influence on generations to come.