Meet Our #BikeInstead #WalkInstead Models

The joy of creating the #BikeInstead #WalkInstead social media outreach campaign running this July and August from Bike Metro and Pedal Love on Twitter (please follow us @BikeMetro and @PedalLove) in support of the Metro Los Angeles Bike Instead Walk Instead ad campaign this summer is threefold. First of course, it's a wonderful feeling to be officially asked to do what you and your team love to do - be creative about active living. Second, it's also a wonderful chance to share what's bringing us not only great pleasure personally, but allowing us to discover our own world anew, with a broader audience. I'm grateful to Avital Shavit and Julia Salinas at Metro for giving us this opportunity.

The third reason is getting to work with favorite people. The images I'm sharing here of the young couple we'll be featuring as part of the campaign are just a few in the series by the super talented photographer Lisa Beth Anderson of Sofia Ramirez Johnson and her husband Ryan Johnson. These two agreed to be our very charming models to help us showcase the kind of art, architecture, food, bike and placemaking infrastructure and more you can discover throughout Los Angeles when you bike and walk instead.

Sofia and Ryan so beautifully illustrate the wave of millennials moving to our country's dynamic urban centers to follow their career passions and often choosing to live car-free or car-light to do so. Residents of Silver Lake, Sofia works in the fashion industry for Emerald Sundae (and yes that's an Emerald Sundae floral lace faux 2-piece dress which can be purchased here, her sunglasses are from Franky's Barber Boutique, and her helmet is from Nutcase). Ryan's a Transportation Planner with Alta Planning + Design's Downtown L.A. office - and was Charlie's very charming intern at Bike Long Beach several years ago (and he was actually our very first official male supporter of Pedal Love back when we were Women on Bikes SoCal fyi).

Sofia was born and raised in Mexico in the city of Culiac├ín. She went to design school in Guadalajara and after graduating did a postgraduate course in editorial design in Barcelona, Spain. She met Ryan when they were in high school while she was an exchange student in Mississippi. They've been best friends ever since and are now married. A year ago she found her dream job at Emerald Sundae.

Ryan was born and raised in Vancleave, Mississippi - a small town near the Gulf of Mexico. He attended undergrad at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, focusing on Political Science and Sociology. He moved to California in 2008 to work in politics, but soon found he was more interested in urban transportation issues in Los Angeles. Ryan sold his car in 2010, earned his Master in Urban and Regional Planning degree from UCLA in 2012, and soon after started his current job at Alta Planning + Design. He also volunteers his time as a Ride Marshal for the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, and as a board member of the local chapter of Young Professionals in Transportation. In his leftover free time, he enjoys eating his wife's excellent vegan cuisine.

The #BikeInstead #WalkInstead Twitter campaign will also feature amateur pics from yours truly, Maria Sipin and Charlie Gandy and here's where it gets exciting and where you come in. During the next week we'll be sharing the rules of Metro's Twitter pic contest where Angelenos will be asked to share their own images of what you're discovering in LA when you bike and walk instead. You'll have a chance to win fun and valuable prizes like collectible Metro t-shirts and even TAP cards. Make sure you're following Bike Metro, Metro Los Angeles and Pedal Love on Twitter to get all of the details and check out what we're sharing with the #BikeInstead #WalkInstead hashtags.