Women on Bikes

Growing, Asking and Allowing

Happy Spring!

We are gearing up to grow here at Women on Bikes SoCal with our second big fundraising push. We not only want to be able to host our "Street Savvy" adult bicycle safety education classes for free to underserved areas of Long Beach and beyond this spring, summer, and fall, but we're also gearing up to host an innovative new advocacy + media training this summer, and a very cool "Arts & Crafts Architectural Tour by Bike" this July with the very talented Maureen Neeley of Houstories.net.

By nature or nurture asking for things for ourselves doesn't come easily for many women. I have found it much easier to ask for things when I could ask on behalf of someone else - say a friend or an organization. How about you? In my twenties and early thirties I was a successful sales executive this way (complete with a wardrobe of suits with padded shoulders), and have found it fun and exciting to place clients in the media this way as well. Now, however, it's time for me to learn to ask for something that includes my own needs as the Editor and Executive Director of this organization, as well as my creative team so that we can put all of our great ideas into play. I have to admit it's not a task I've been preparing for with ease, but I'm now at a point where I'm beginning to relish the opportunity.

For inspriation and courage I've been listening faithfully to Martha Beck's Joy Diet, and today I've just finished up reading about Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg and catching up on the food movement's talented word-smith champion Michael Pollan (like Jim Brown Executive Director the Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates I too feel the food movement has much to teach bicycle advocacy) in April's Oprah Magazine.

Do I feel 100% confident? No. But I'm ready to do it. I believe in this program and this wonderful synergy we're creating and most of all I believe in the diverse and talented group of people (both women and men) who have gathered together to make it happen.

We are now in the wild west of the "opportunity" economy and while I'm on this roller-coaster for my role at Women on Bikes SoCal I've decided I absolutely want two things as my constant companions: 1) A creative brain trust I adore collaborating with and 2) The ability to create new opportunities for women of all ages, races and backgrounds to become professional advocates, new media professionals, and spokeswomen (get it? SPOKESwomen?) as advocates for bicycling and active living advocacy.

Whatever other types of industries and economies develop in this new fast paced age it is absolutely imperative for the health of our nation and world that we have talented, dynamic, diverse female voices advocating for the fun and well being of a fit life by bike.

So my assignment to myself as I gear up for all of this has been to focus on what women so excel at - relationships. Over the past month I've made a commitment to get out of my little studio, out from behind my computer, and connect live and in person both with old friends and people I've been wanting to meet for some time now. And guess, what? Fascinating things are unfolding from this effort, one of the most exciting is that I was finally able to spend time with the delightfully effervescent energy that is Shelby Sanchez. And because of this in person connection, this new relationship, we now have a brand new columnist! I hope you'll take some time to read about this fascinating young mother here.

So what about you? How are you on asking for things that you want and need? And if it's been a challenge for you to do so how are you addressing that challenge and finding ways to move forward with asking anyway? I'd love to hear about your adventures.

Here's to Your Heart Part I


Happy Valentine's Day Week to You!

I've got an important question for you - what are you doing right now in your day to day life to care for your heart? I don't just mean your physical heart (though as an active living advocate I feel strongly about that of course), but your emotional and spiritual heart as well. In essence, what I'm asking is what are you doing to ensure your own well being?

If you have read any of my pieces you probably know by now that I come to active living advocacy as both a creative (an artist and writer) and a media relations specialist. I feel that active living advocacy in general, and bicycle advocacy in specific, need the compelling engagement of the very best emotionally impactful storytelling, and the full outreach potential of the media, if we are ever going to successfully reduce the current negative and growing impact of sedentary diseases and become a society that embraces and encourages the active wellness of our citizens overall as a top of mind objective.

The universal needs to become very very personal if we are going to influence millions of people to reset their thinking from speed and convenience to actively creating better health for ourselves with our daily routines - we've been given all of the evidence as to why we need to eat better and move more and it's not working so well. Last week on Time.com Alice Park reported that after years of the Baby Boomers being touted as the healthest generation it turns out that research is finding it simply isn't true - and sedentary diseases are the big culprit.

As a Baby Boomer (albeit a reluctant one, from the very last year) my sense of urgency in trying to do something about all of this is heightened.

To play my part I am working on becoming the best possible storyteller I can possibly imagine. To do this I am reading, and listening and watching master storytellers to discover what they do, and say, and present that opens my heart, heals my heart and inspires my heart in the hopes that one day I might be able to share active living information in a way that will do the same for others.

I am so excited that this is Valentine's Week because it is the perfect time to share with you one of the advocacy organizations that has used masterful storytelling so very brilliantly. This organization has so so inspired me, and has much it can teach bicycle advocacy. I'm talking about Eve Ensler's V-Day organization.

Five years ago I gathered together a talented group of lady friends here in Long Beach to perform a reading of Eve Ensler's "The Vagina Monologues" for the Ten Year Anniversary celebration of the V-Day movement. Personally I wanted to be involved in hosting the event to honor the memory of my birthmother Shirley who was a rape survivor. Working on this event was one of the most profound and rewarding experiences of my life. It was so easy to work with the V-Day organization, they had all of the tools and tips ready and available online, as well as helpful personal at the ready to answer personal questions. Our performance sold out, and our cast put on an unbelievably marvelous performance - and yes I can say that as I was just the MC host!

But it is what the V-Day organization continues to become and how they continue to get their message out that continues to inspire me now. As an organization lead by an artist they have no need to be politically correct. After all, this is the organization led by the women who made it okay to say Vagina in public! V-Day is fearless, absolutely fearless in creating moving, soulful, authentic, diverse, fun, heartbreaking and yes even sexy outreach pieces - especially videos. I am particularly impressed how they have now partnered with dance to bring a defiant, joyfully active angle, as if with each step of the dance women and girls are taking their own steps to actively protect themselves against violence.

I invite you to watch and dance along with them in solidarity. It'll be good for your heart, I promise!