American Bicycle Girl


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Oh, the people I meet. Lunacy, west coast culture, foodie thoughts

I’ve just returned from Lunacy Music and Arts Festival in Santa Barbara. The weekend was beautiful and the people, were exceptionally inspiring! The festival centered around celebrating community and freedom of expression under the full moon.Why Lunacy?

Since time immemorial, the moon has been a timekeeper, allowing us to meter our journey through the universe.  It is nocturnal illumination, it brings us light when all is dark and guides our adventures in the night.  We celebrate it’s coming to fullness together as a community.

Our cultural crowd is the convergence of brilliant and progressive hearts and minds from the near and far corners of humanity.  Artists, thinkers, creators, dissenters, debaters, movers, and shakers; a myriad of groups converge to create the techno-savvy tapestry of modern humanity.

This October, we will converge to celebrate the full moon and it’s light.  We will dance under the purest light to crisp cool beats echoing in the night.  We believe in the celebration of life.  We’re bringing together creative technology and innovative minds to celebrate the power of humanity, and we want all of YOU to come together and help bring this to life.

Nicholas and I climbed to the top of the Lunacy main stage jungle gym and doubled hula hooped. Yes we are both spider monkeys.

From camping with a wild, wonderful lady of a Burning Man friend to meeting a solar-power van spiffing, hang-gliding, parkour acrobat to hitching a ride back to LA with earthy, dready Lunacy musician, The Genie, the weekend was full of beautiful people. I find more and more, west coasters are passionate about their hobbies, and often times turn them into careers. People here also have a great sense of place and feel deeply connected with the environment they live in. They frequently travel to Yosemite, Zion, Death Valley, Lake Tahoe, Yellowstone, Catalina Island, Joshua Tree and other national parks destinations of extreme beauty. Hence, they love the outdoors on an intense spiritual level. And with unbeatable So Cal weather, people are able to recreate outdoors all the time!

Californians are also much more conscious of the food that feeds their bodies. Super raw foods and fruit shakes with cactus and celery are not uncommon. I had the best festival food I’ve ever eaten at Lydia’s. Their quinoa burger and vegan yogurt paste was unbelievable. There are also unique vegan restaurants like Euphoria Loves Rawvolution in Santa Monica with mind-blowing raw foods creativity. In addition to their environmental business commitment of composting food scraps for fertilizer and fuel, ELR is big on building activist communities (see mission statement below). I first learned about California’s push for ‘Yes on Prop 37‘, a label on food that’s been genetically engineered, while eating ELR chilled pad thai kelp noodles one afternoon.

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The strong slow food movement out here always reminds me of the great work my two favorite foodies, Elena and Liza, are doing out east! Elena is now working on her Sustainable Agriculture Food Masters at Michigan State University while Liza recently took on an AmeriCorps Farm to School position in Marlinton, West Virginia. (Farm to school initiatives involve connecting schools with local farms by bringing fresh, nutritious foods from local farms into school cafeterias. Such initiatives serve both to help support local farmers and keep food dollars in local economies, and to help create a generation of informed food consumers)

Keep up the great work amazing friends! I miss you.


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Girl Bike Power in LA

I LOVE all the women bike empowerment I keep learning of in LA. And the most exciting piece is how we’ll soon be able to connect all these groups through the League’s Women Bike Program. Here’s a short list of wonderful women bike groups I’ve become acquainted with from the four weeks I’ve lived in LA + my fresh off the boat perspective.

1. Ovarian Psyco-Cycles – “Sometimes our ovarian cycles make us turn into ovarian psycosAs such, we invite you to ride off the stress and get a workout and connect with other wombyn on the streets of Los Angeles”

Yes! A cycling sisterhood. These gals organize fun rides like Clitoral (Critical) Mass and Luna Rides every full moon! They’re also incredibly active with Take Back The Night and womens rights. While I’m not the kind of lady to sport a cog-ovary handkerchief over my face, I cannot wait to connect with this close-knit female collective. Why? The Ovas offer a space for women and raise awareness about the difficulties of riding in the city as a woman.

I’ve already mentioned moving to LA has been a huge struggle, and finally I can expand. When I’m out on the streets, I’m a target. Riding a bike as a young woman here is scary, as is riding any public transit! Men catcall and moan at me from the sidewalks, under bridges, or their cars, approach me as I’m locking or unlocking my bike emphasizing that they’re single or just stare at me when on the bus/metro. I love being car-free here, I hate the sexualized attention. It makes me feel vulnerable, and that’s crap! I’ll have to share these experiences with the Ovas soon. That’ll help me feel more comfortable here on my bike!

2. Iron Unicorns – Female activists dedicated to creating equality for women cyclists, both on the streets and in society; to create an environment of togetherness and comradery among women and other cyclists regardless of gender.

With a focus on multi-culturalism, feminist ideology and riding in solidarity with people of different backgrounds, these gals are all about helping women in our communities feel confident to get on a bike and ride. Thanks to Last Nights Ride (promoting fun on 2 wheels; photography of LA’s vibrant bike festivals, rides, parties and tours) and the Bike Oven’s monthly Spoke(n) Art Ride, I had the opportunity to meet founder Michelle Padilla!
               

3. Bodacious Bike Babes – Another girl bike group! The BBBs are wildly fun and popular. When they’re not working CicLAvia as hub volunteers or route angels, they’re riding their traditional route to Golden Road Brewery for drinks, gathering ladies for a new monthly Womens Bike Brunch, or just plainly building energy for the next crazy biker party. They work closely with the LA County Bicycle Coalition on growing the current 16% of cyclists who are women (stats from last year’s bicycle count). They also work hard at breaking down the ‘too dangerous’ feeling most women have when thinking about street cycling (advocates are increasingly pointing to women riders’ safety concerns as a way of advancing a broader agenda of making streets better for all cyclists and pedestrians, of all ages).

I met Mama B, or Andrea last Friday at the Treats and Beats/BBB/Monday Night Rehab biker’s castle bash last Friday. We clicked. She gave me a BBB button. Now I’m a BBB! Done. Can’t wait to attend upcoming ladies only sleepover + fix a flat party.

4. Team Luna Chix – A national competitive and recreational women cycling club! There’s a local chapter in LA. LUNA Chix Local Teams bring together women interested in learning new sports, staying active and inspiring others to do the same. “We are a team of women who love to ride our bikes and are dedicated to getting more women into the sport that we’re passionate about.  Join us between April and October for free weekly rides every Tuesday out of Pasadena Cyclery.  Our rides are geared toward beginners who want to improve their cycling skills.”

I’d like to join Team Luna Chix! Even more inspiring, a Luna lady won this past weekend’s UCI Elite Women Spooky Kross race. And she’s a redhead!

5. Swirl Scouts – a bike art girl activism + skill trade group. They make patches! more info soon.

6. Bicycle Bitchen – Monday nights are reserved for women at the Bicycle Kitchen Co-Op. I’ve yet to go, but can’t wait to check it! Straight from the website:

Bicycle Bitchen is a weekly women and transgendered-only night at the Bicycle Kitchen. We encourage women of all skill levels to experiment and explore while learning bike mechanics and maintenance in a comfortable atmosphere. Come experience the satisfaction and joy of building, fixing or souping up your own bike with a group of women who love bicycling. Monday nights, from 6:30-9:30 pm we open up the space to make it more welcoming to women and transgendered folks by staffing the shop by women and trans cooks for women and trans only. We ask that men respect this by coming back during our other open hours. We’re open to doing special workshops for women’s, feminist, or LGBTI groups. If you are interested contact us at: kitchen@bicyclekitchen.com, LA Times article

7. Women in Bike Polo! There’s a team, close to Gorilla, but Girilla? More info soon! There’s even a push for more women in this punky sport of hitting a ball around with a mallet while balancing on a bike. I attended Tuesday Rookie night the other day and it was a blast! LA Bike Polo is quite the movement here. Everyone is very encouraging of new people getting into the sport. I never gave Blacksburg Bike Polo a shot, but here there’s a huge culture around the sport with weekly pick-up games.

8. Women on Bikes SoCal – primarily based in Long Beach, I met Melissa Balmer while at Pro Walk Pro Bike 2012. more info coming!

Ok people, what other women bike groups/events am I missing in LA? I’m posting this blog now, and will add more before I send off to League of American Bicyclists and others who will be amazed! There is incredible energy here for encouraging women to bike. I love it.

Lastly, here’s a great article on why all these women-focused grassroots groups could mean a safer, healthier, more livable LA: Sisterhood of the traveling bikes


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Rail~Volution

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I made it! I heard about this wonderful conference last minute and the organizers were able to accommodate 😀 A little secret: reach out, grab what you want in life. That’s how I’ve attended Velo-city Seville, Interbike and now Rail~Volution. Ok, so I’m definitely a conference junkie. Ask me how and together we’ll go places. While I’ve been a complete bike nut for the past 4 years in small college town Blacksburg, so fiercely focused on getting people to ride their bicycles, living in LA has transformed me. This city is BIG and bus/metro riding is a must if you’re as lucky as me to be car-free. As such, I’ve evolved into an outstanding LA County multi-modal commuter! In fact, I should win an award. Here’s my crazy weekend trip itinerary: Anyways, this post is about how I’m delving into the public transportation field. Rail~Volution is about building livable communities with transit. Yes.


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Luminous Weekend

Well I was going to reflect on CicLAvia and the SoCalCross race this past weekend, but yet again more exciting open streets/bike events keep popping up!

50 trees along sidewalks are being cut down to make room for this thing to roll down the streets? Come on LA, you can do better

As I sit here typing in the Marina Del Rey boaters lounge, I’ve just been reminded that the Endeavour Space Shuttle will be making its 12 mile journey through the streets of LA starting at 2am Friday (tonight!) What does that mean? Well I hope spontaneous 2-day long space-costume themed bike rides and parade parties! Luckily I live close to the LAX airport, so I’ll just hop on my bike and ride a few miles down the road. How appropriate that I’d attend another spacey, star dusty event after getting my Luminous Movement on last night. I must really be a luminous being having a human experience!

Ze shuttle route. I’m in Marina Del Rey above!


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Farmers Market Friday

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I whole-heartedly agree with New York Post article, Los Angeles is the Future: “it might be rough around the edges, and sometimes you have to dig to get to the greatness —that’s LA in a nutshell”. I’ve been having a hard time getting settled into this big scary city. It’s a much rougher place than Berlin, where I lived for 6 weeks this summer. Maybe I’m just a small town girl, either way, this place is full of possibility and I’m staying! Everyday, I start noticing just what bike/ped planners told me at Pro Walk Pro Bike in Long Beach – LA is one of the most inspiring urban settings in North America. Furthermore, I happened to land around the corner from Venice Beach, arguably the ‘coolest block in America’. I’ll always remember how Hoopnotica spontaneously recruited me while hula dancing on the Venice boardwalk. I just wanted to play with the pretty pink polypro sitting next to the DJ! Two weeks later and I’m on their Street Team to lead workshops, hoop jams and perform. Unfortunately I’ll be missing this sunday’s Abbot Kinney Festival, which kills me, because it looks awesome, and reminds me of my favorite Steppin Out festival in good ole Blacksburg. What’s a girl to do when there’s a CicLAvia and SoCalCross race happening the same darn day!? Obviously, I’ll attend the bike events. Bikes Rule!

Back to tales of extreme LA culture shock. Luckily, this morning I found the type of event I thrive at – farmers market! It was an early one, 7-11am in Venice. Found it using this handy farmers net. I made new friends from goat cheese farmers to German bakers.

Side rant: The Germans are everywhere, always! I’m convinced they are the most traveled people. I saw them winning CX in the OC elite women categories last Sunday, heard them at today’s market, was amazed at Interbike for impeccable good pannier design with Ortlieb (translated ‘place-love’), and will always remember seeing German moms and dads in New Zealand,pulling a trailer or riding a tandem bike with 2-3 kids on the back, a Deutschland flag flailing in the wind. In conclusion, Germans = bikes, beer, good design, engineers, serious, organized, intense, strict, sincere, healthy&slim. Just a few words that come to my mind.

Well this has been a rambling post! That’s what happens when you blog at 3:45am just for fun. Good night! I’ve got that REI job interview tomorrow, fingers crossed they adopt me. (And they should, I’m perfect for them)


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The CicLAvia Countdown

While I’ve participated in Seville, Spain’s Ciclovida while attending Velo-city 2011, I cannot wait, finally, for my first American Ciclovida, or in this case CicLAvia! Who would’ve known Los Angeles and its primarily car-centric, sprawling city would attract a crowd of over 100,000! Apparently, CicLAvia is Los Angeles biggest block party. And what a way to be welcomed to the city.

Hi, my name is Lyndsay. I’m new here. Please be my friend!

Better yet, ‘Ciclavia is all about discovering Los Angeles. As you bike or walk the route, you’ll find streets you’ve never seen, undiscovered neighborhoods, and shops you’ve never walked inside.’ – cheers to an adventure!

Now for some history and reasons to come:

“Inspired by ciclovía, the weekly street closure event in Bogotá, Colombia, established over 30 years ago, CicLAvia consists of the temporary opening of Los Angeles streets to all Angelenos. Free to the public, it interconnects diverse portions of the city, creating a web of temporary public space, free of car traffic.

Connecting communities and giving people a break from the stress of car traffic. The health benefits are immense. Ciclovías bring families outside of their homes to enjoy the streets, our largest public space. In Los Angeles we need CicLAvia more than ever. Our streets are congested with traffic, our air is polluted with toxic fumes, our children suffer from obesity and other health conditions caused by the scarcity of public space and safe, healthy transportation options. CicLAvia creates a temporary park for free, simply by removing cars from city streets. It creates a network of connections between our neighborhoods and businesses and parks with corridors filled with fun. We can’t wait to see you at CicLAvia!”

Yesterday I volunteered with the LA County Bicycle Coalition at the Community Arts Resource Center for their pre-Ciclavia packing party. It was a blast! On Sunday I’ll be a Hub Volunteer at MacArthur Park from 2-4pm. Come find me there.