American Bicycle Girl

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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


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 ciclovĂ­a, the weekly street closure event in BogotĂĄ, 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. CiclovĂ­as 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.

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Home Sweet Boat!

Man it’s hard to blog while traveling, conferencing, job hunting and home searching! Thankfully, I’m finally on my way to getting settled into LA, or should I say sailed in? That’s right friends, I’ve moved from the Appalachian mountain town of Blacksburg, Virginia to Marina Del Rey in Los Angeles, California. And I have the incredible website to thank! Just 3 days ago I messaged Rob, one of FOUR warmshowers hosts in the Marina (turns out touring cyclists and adventurers thrive in boating communities, always sailing around the world, leading minimalistic livestyles and such). He promptly took me in and a day later invited me to stay as a roommate and share live-aboard costs until I’m accepted into one of LA’s intentional communities. So I live on the boat pictured below! This definitely marks the billionth realization I’ve had of how little ‘things’ one needs in life. Coming out west with a bike, pack and pannier bags wins yet again.

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A dream, realized. Interbike!

What kind of career would allow me to focus my energy on sustainability activism, adventure the world and encourage communities to embrace livability through bicycle transportation? The answer, as I continue to realize, is to become a thought-provoking entrepreneur in bike advocacy. And luckily, I’m full of vibrant ideas on how to transition the U.S. to an active transportation culture! Pro Walk Pro Bike 2012 and the National Womens Cycling Summit in Long Beach last week left me in awe and has prepared me to creatively tackle America’s immobility and car dependence in whatever community I inhabit. 

So where does the wind blow my wild red hair? Well of course I’ve gone west with only a bike, pack and two pannier bags. Pro Walk Pro Bike 2012 was the endpoint, and although I never imagined I’d stay in the sprawling suburban car-dependent City of ‘Angels’ and Hollywood frou-frou, it’s the people I’ve met here who have changed my mind. Boy did I meet the most awe-inspiring, entrepreneurial bike/ped professionals who are actively crafting and creating innovative, livable LA communities! (I can’t wait to move into an intentional community/eco-village, too)

During Tour de Fat this past Saturday in LA State Historic Park, I met colorful bike nuts from all walks of life from sponsored Velodrome track racers to start-up bike messengers to pedal-powered Sustain LA volunteers. I’ve always known bikes and beer was a winning combination but New Belgium’s Brewing cycling circus cultivated a captivating, interaction-driven Eco-topia and Burning Man-esque bike festival this weekend. Every bike scene in LA was represented and celebrated through an unparalleled costumed bicycle parade, eccentric entertainment and performances, and local food carts. Props to the LA County Bicycle Coalition for the bike valet service and sucking new, interested people into the bike advocacy movement.

Back to my realized dream. At the National Womens Cycling Summit I attended breakout session ‘Women in Bicycle Sports’ where I met the wonder woman who’s bridging competitive cycling and bike advocacy. Her name is Dorothy Wong and she’s an elite pro-racer, SoCalCross Series Director and Founder of The Team, a competitive female cycling team with an eco-advocacy mission. Dorothy’s been dubbed the ‘Queen of Cross’ and her passion to encourage more women cycling is the reason I’ve decided to stay in LA.

It’s oh so hard being a woman in cycling! There’s few of us and little support. I, myself, raced competitively on the Virginia Tech Cycling Team for three years, but was always disappointed by the lack of females on the team. I look back at VT Cycling with fond memories of nerdy in-training engineers gossiping about new aerodynamic, lightweight components on the way to races, yet riding in a van full of college boys wasn’t always the most supportive. The year I was most committed and raced every weekend with the team also happened to be the year where I was the only actively racing female. I would finish my race and there’d be little discussion on my performance. VT Cycling was financially supportive in encouraging women to join by waiving the $150 member dues for a year or so (thank you!), but even that didn’t necessarily keep women as female social support was always low. There were however, a handful of strong female cyclists on the team who came out of the woodwork (or VT Triathlon Club!) shortly after I switched out my training/racing time for an internship with VT Alternative Transportation. Even so, those women are rogues and we need to encourage more women in cycling!

What has my mixed bike racing and advocacy background led to? Well, that’s what I’m still trying to figure out! We need more women in competitive cycling and commuting by bike. We need competitive cycling to embrace bike advocacy. So empowering women to bike seems to be the key.  So, let’s get more women into cycling and support them in every way! Luckily, WABA and the League of American Bicyclists are on the cusp of launching Women Bike.

In two days I’ll be in Las Vegas for Interbike! I’ll be attending as an advocacy promoter for The Team and SoCalCross. Thank you for this opportunity, Queen of Cross! While attending this world class bike industry conference and trade show, I’ll continue the conversation on how to bridge the worlds of bike advocacy and racing (although surely it’s through women 😉 ) 

Another little secret in case you haven’t heard – Richmond, Virginia will be hosting the 2015 World Cycling Championships! What a great opportunity (thank goodness for Tim Johnson’s Ride on Washington and announcement at National Bike Summit, now we can better prepare ourselves!). As a native Virginian I know I’ll be there and hopefully as a bike festival organizer or maybe I’ll just introduce the first ever UCI Critical Tits community bike ride around the race course. Empowering women to cycle shouldn’t only be left for the Burning Man community! (5,000 women do this ride every year)