My Bold Brave Branding Dare

To the women who inspire us every day. To the women YOU inspire. To all the bad-ass women out there...we see you. And we're taking over the world together. Share on social. Tag #ThisBody. Find out more about these incredible women + shop the looks that inspire #ThisBody at http://lanebryant.us/39lBLW.

Even those of us who consider ourselves "change agents" can get stuck in a particular groove that feels comfortable. The problem is we like to hang out there longer than it's valuable.  I know I've been certainly been guilty of this.

But that won't get us to where we say we want to go. If we truly want everyone to be able to participate in active, mindful, sustainable mobility - safely and with confidence - we need brave bold branding. We need to be alluring and compelling to a much broader audience.

So I've got an idea for you, why not challenge yourself to do something that moves you out of your comfort zone once a week and more clearly and authentically signals to the world exactly who you are?

What could happen in your life if once a week you committed to doing something that frankly scares you? Too much to try? Why not once a month. Too little? Why not daily?

For myself personally I've started to dance again in tiny bite sized chews. Throughout my day, as I feel moved to do so - and inspired by the brilliant bold Lane Bryant #ThisBody campaign (video and image on top are from that) - I'm getting up from the computer, putting in my earbuds, tuning my iphone pandora to my "Earth, Wind & Fire" station and dancing for 3 to 6 minutes at a time. That's about all I can do. I'm still really struggling with my energy and stamina but even for that short little bit if feels great.

For Pedal Love, I'm committed to creating brave bold new branding this summer like our new hand-drawn logo. I'm committed to reaching out to one new person each week who could help spread the word of mindful mobility exponentially and...

About a month and a half ago I invited the young singer/rapper Laura Kaye to create a rap for Bike Month. She rose to the occasion creating a wry, tongue in cheek spoof on the pretty girl in the bike video. I'm so proud of her.

From Laura Kaye on creating the video:

"I wanted to make the video more entertaining than just a musical PSA, but I also wanted to sneak some education into the lyrics. When I was looking for inspiration, I was honestly disappointed in the hypersexualization of women in a lot of the popular depictions of bicycling (and in music videos in general). I decided to use the weight of that cultural enemy to fight back, so to speak. Creating the song as a parody made it easier to write, film, and edit, since the vision was clear... and just plain fun!"

I love it. I knew it would push buttons. And sure enough, the first note I received after posting it was one of angry scolding disappointment from a woman who thought that with a name like Pedal Love our website might finally be her tribe - but alas no.

The truth is Pedal Love would have disappointed her pretty quickly anyway. We're too feminist in our approach.

And that's great. Bring on your difference of opinion, but before you do that I respectfully ask two things (and if you're being bold and brave and want to borrow these two requests be my guest!):

1) Before you criticize me - and those who I choose to feature on PedalLove.org and our social media outreach - please share how you're creating true culture shift for active, sustainable, mindful mobility beyond yourself and your own choir who believes exactly as you do.

2) Recognize that we can agree to disagree with respect. We can illuminate and educate without needing to exactly agree on the road to take.

If we really want to move beyond our bike friendly/walk friendly/transit friendly choirs and engage the public at large..  That's why I'm so excited and inspired by how the clothing line Lane Bryant decided to get bold with their branding by demonstrating the beauty of women of all sizes and all colors with their ongoing promotional campaign for #ThisBody.

This year the brand took it a a few steps further and decided to proclaim you can also dance and sing and shake your groove thing by creating a video with the singer/song writer Lizzo, poet & spoken word artist Ashlee Haze and the dance group Pretty Big Movement.

The video has over 1.8 million views on Youtube. I can imagine a time when biking, walking and transit videos are this fun and get these kind of views - can you?

To me, dance is mindful mobility at its best.  We're grappling and struggling with growing both the bike industry, and active transportation advocacy, in big part because many have had a very narrow view of who this tribe should be.

Even when we're open about sex, race and income levels, even when we're advocating for those who most often have no voice in these matters, we can lead with long bike rides as our community building, rides that are beyond the interest, skill set and stamina of so many of the people we say we most want to serve.

Our tribe should be anyone who's interested, anyone who's intrigued to learn more and give active, sustainable, mindful mobility a try - whether they can ride 20 miles, 2 blocks, or haven't gotten off the couch yet.

How are you willing to be bold and daring this summer? Email me. I'd love to know.

Why I'm Drawing the Pedal Love Coloring Book

The colored in version of my Pedal Love Girl illustration wearing a Pussy Hat is available as t-shirts, mugs and other nice things on our Pedal Love online boutique at Zazzle.com. She'll also be available for you to color in yourself in the upcoming Pedal Love coloring book.

The colored in version of my Pedal Love Girl illustration wearing a Pussy Hat is available as t-shirts, mugs and other nice things on our Pedal Love online boutique at Zazzle.com. She'll also be available for you to color in yourself in the upcoming Pedal Love coloring book.

The idea for drawing a Pedal Love Coloring book slowly started to form in my mind after my sister gave me a set of beautiful Japanese watercolor pens and The Enchanted Forest adult coloring book for Christmas in 2015. While I loved the adult coloring world the talented young Johanna Basford (creator of The Enchanted Forest, Lost Ocean and other gorgeous coloring books you need to check out if you haven't already) has created, I realized I would actually enjoy creating and coloring in my own drawings more.

So I pulled out my old tablets, pencils, pens and colored pencils and began making some bike friendly illustrations. My first few attempts were fun if a bit awkward and not quite up to what I'd like them to be (and I drew the chain guard on the wrong side at times), but I noticed very quickly that I adored the creative process of trying to capture the ideas that were forming in my head. (At right: one of my early bike-friendly drawing attempts).

Moreover, I really enjoyed the social media conversation I was engaging in as I asked friends and family scattered across the U.S. and farther (even Canada and Italy!) what they thought of who I was drawing, and more importantly - what she should wear!

It was also a marvelous surprise to realize that even on some of my toughest fatigue days I could often still draw. That felt like such a delicious accomplishment, to be able to sit in bed and still be creatively productive even when I was too exhausted to take a shower.

Also, the whole adult coloring book phenomenon totally fascinated me. Talk about a growth market! In December of last year U.S.A. today reported it's a trend that isn't going to disappear anytime soon. It's such a wonderful form of stress relief in our busy busy lives.

As I drew more I decided to move to larger paper so I could create more detailed pieces, and that's when I really started to get my illustrating groove back. And idea started to form...

Was there, I wondered, something in this fun that I was having with drawing that I could harness for Pedal Love? Could I possible draw an entire coloring book that would capture the celebration of how bicycling is transforming people's health and well-being not just here in the U.S., but around the world? The truth is that I'm actually better at drawing than coloring my drawings in.

Could this journey to create this book in turn not only help me in my own physical healing, but to help to create financial wellness for myself and Pedal Love as well? Could I create a low cost residual income stream to help support myself financially so that by 2017 I can focus solely on Pedal Love - and pay my creative team as well?

It felt like a crazy bold idea, but so very very fun. My ego (whom I've named Cassandra) both applauded the idea, and then turned around and told me I was getting to big for my britches.

But wasn't this exactly the kind of "Permission Slip from God" moment I encourage other people - especially women - to give themselves? Was it perhaps time to return to my childhood and teen dream of being an artist? After all, I'd recaptured my childhood and teen dream of being a writer, hadn't I?

Could I follow through for myself on this? I did some research and found that on Blurb.com I could create a really beautiful 24-36 page soft cover book that would be very affordable to produce and still allow me to raise money to help support Pedal Love.

That's a lot of illustrations of people riding bikes. It takes me about a week to create a complete drawing on a 14"x17" piece of paper - large enough for me to get very detailed so that it will be actually fun to color in.

"Flights of Fancy" is the drawing I'm working on today. This is my second version of it. This is a shot from my iphone, next week it'll be professionally scanned so I can include it in a downloadable pdf as of May for National Bike Month.

"Flights of Fancy" is the drawing I'm working on today. This is my second version of it. This is a shot from my iphone, next week it'll be professionally scanned so I can include it in a downloadable pdf as of May for National Bike Month.

Can I do this? I'm not sure. But I'm willing to try. I'm going for it. It not only means I need to really focus on getting the drawings done, but I need to be courageous and bold enough to fund-raise while I'm drawing so that I can keep focusing on drawing rather than take on other freelance projects to pay the bill. If this is capturing your fancy please take a look at the fundraising levels we're offering. Yes, there's something for every budget. I promise.

Whew. Yes, it's pushing a lot of my deserving buttons even as I write this. But I've given up a lot on myself and my dreams in my life, how about you? I've often set aside my most creative, adventurous, active, curious self in order to fit in and do what society told me was a safe should that would make my life financially successful. Does this have any resonance for you?

What I learned in 2000 (along with many others) is that the Internet was turning the world upside down.  While it began to give us a an extraordinary platform from which we could connect with people all over the world easily, creatively and inexpensively, it also so shook up how we work and what we get paid for, and how we find that work, that many (like myself several times) have often been left under employed and worse.

Over the past 17 years the more I've either dusted off, or dug deep to learn new creative and artistic ways to connect digitally with others, the more I've thrived. My art and creativity, which my parents discouraged me from pursuing professional for fear I'd starve, has been the very thing that's given me any edge to succeed.

So is an adult coloring book that's sold on demand really that crazy? What do you think? And how is your creativity helped save your life? I'd love to know.