Pedal Love

Melissa's Crush List May 2016

My partner Charlie likes to tease me about how I plan well ahead of time what I'm going to wear for certain meetings and events. I just smile. I've been like this since High School. Planning what I'll wear makes me feel at my best. That's why fashion is so powerful. It can help us feel we're putting our best selves forward. Every woman I know has a "go to" outfit or two in her wardrobe, don't you? Items that make you feel polished, together, and express your true personality?

It's really no different than planning well for a speech or presentation (where we're learning approach is as important as content).

This spring I'm crushing seriously on classic staples like black, white, and denim. From upper left I love: The look and feel of this loose v-neck t with the elegant detail on the sleeve from Reformation for $28; this Po Campo Uptown Trunk for $79.99 which matches another Po Campo bag I have and means I could walk out my door on my bike packed for the weekend - sweet!; Yellow 108's sustainably produced Dylan Fedora for $108 that gives more sun coverage than most; a statement suit that can be easily mixed and matched and this J. Crew Window Pane Tweed at $168.00 for the jacket, and $98 for the pants so fit the bill; Levi's commuter line for women denim shirt (found it online once, now I can't find it again but I'll keep searching), and yes all this chic wonderfulness deserves a new pair of Warby Parker Ripley Shades starting at $145.00.

How about you? What's your #StylishbyBike crush wardrobe for this spring?

Moving the Bike from Must Have to Must Ride for Women

This December Electra made Oprah's favorite things list. Imagine if this bike not only showed up as a "must have" item as above but also ended up featured in an article in the same magazine on how riding a bike has improved a woman's life? O Magazine has over two and a half million print subscribers + their internet audience. If having an item on Oprah's favorite things list can set a company up for months in sales, imagine what having an inspirational bike story could do?

Right now the bike is hot as media darling as a "must have" item in all kinds of lifestyle press but editorial stories and features about how bikes are being used by ordinary people to make extraordinarily positive changes in their lives aren't showing up much. Let's change that. This January I'll be pitching stories about the women in our creative team and beyond as editorial stories to a variety of media outlets like O Magazine, More, Vogue, Refinery 29 and others for May as National Bike Month.

Do you know someone the media needs to know about? Let me know! Maybe it's you! Imagine how exciting it will be, and the hearts and minds we'd inspire to get back on the bike (or try for the first time), if major lifestyle media outlets started to regularly feature stories of how women are reversing diabetes, gaining strength, enjoying their city more, and saving significant money all by bike?

And what if we were able to get stories of the bike as a tool for optimism in the media not just about women but girls too? It's during the preteen years that the self confidence of girls starts to plummet. Now at 50 I am thrilled by the bold adventurous young female heroines I read about in books and see in movies. So why is it still ok to use the term "Like a Girl" as a acceptable insult? How can we help change that? Talented creatives are working on it - but imagine how inspirational stories of girls riding bikes could help.

I don't know about you but I'm guilty of saying sorry way too often. But what stopped me cold about the sorry scenario is when my two year old niece started to say it too. Yikes! This commercial from earlier this year by Pantene hair products (of all things) does a beautifully witty job of illustrating just how frequently women use this word. And what if, when top creatives are putting together sassy smart stylish ads like this they just automatically showed women biking and walking? Imagine the culture shift that could happen and let's invite them to do just that.

Melissa Balmer is a writer, media relations specialist and active living advocate. Her mission is to share the power of artistry and personally engaging storytelling to inspire. Her passion is to recruit fresh voices from diverse multi-generational perspectives to share their stories in traditional and new media platforms to engage new audiences in active living. She has developed a multi-faceted strategy to exponentially grow positive stories of biking in California’s media and beyond – with an emphasis on women.