Rediscovering the Wonder of Your Place

The Mid Century group! Thanks to Jennifer Volland for snapping this!

May as Bike Month has been very exciting for us here at Women On Bikes SoCal. Not only are both the organization and our spokeswoman Vice Mayor Suja Lowenthal profiled in Momentum Magazine, we're moving steadily on our fundraising goals, making amazing connections, had the pleasure of speaking with the Los Angeles Times transportation reporter Ari Bloomkatz, and started our outreach on 9/13's "Cycle Chic: Past, Present & Future" urban bike fashion show. 

Keeping track of bicycles showing up in the media the big story is L.A. in the New York Times in this mostly positive article by Adam Nagourney online yesterday and in print today. Very exciting to see Jen Klausner, Damien Newton and other LA based bicycle advocates in print! In June's Oprah Magazine has beauty editor Val and her beauty writers Jenny and Allessandra on a triple seated bike for an article on "Adventures in Beauty," and "W's" Giovanna Battaglia on a bike in Venice Beach for "L.A. Story" but unfortunately neither publication shared the images online! Drat!

I feel tremendous gratitude to be where I am right here, right now, with fun things to share. But spinning so many plates can get a little overwhelming so last night I just needed to decompress a little. I turned to one of my favorite programs and listened to Krista Tippett on On Being with one of this year's TED presenters, the young 23 year-old poet Sarah Kay. The theme of the conference this past March was "Rediscovering Wonder." When Sarah was given the theme she said, "ah, that could be my resume." I had to nod in agreement. The past three years have definitely been a journey of rediscovering wonder as I jumped into the world of bicycle advocacy.

There are three very big secrets of the bike that I want to help share with the world: 1) It's so much fun 2) It's community building - it's much easier to smile and say hello from a bike 3) You rediscover your world moving at bike speed (what are your big secrests you'd like to share?). Many of us are all too happy to jump on a bike while on vacation, understanding that bike speed is the perfect sight seeing speed. But once we return home we jump back into our cars and our hectic pace not realizing that the same transit tool that allowed us to so enjoy the sights and sounds of what was new and exotic to us can help us rediscover the wonder of our own neighborhoods.

The picture above is from our recent "Mid Century Modern Architecture by Bike" tour last month. Led by mid century experts and authors Jennifer Volland and Cara Mullio, the tour showcased several of Long Beach's hidden mid century treasures tucked away in the beautiful Belmont Heights and Park Estates neighborhoods. The tour was such a success we're talking about doing another one next year and perhaps an "Arts and Crafts" architectural tour for fall.

Bicycling has brought a renaissance to my life, not only of feeling stronger and more independent in mid-life by being able to travel self-propelled without a car (going on five years now without one), but introducing me to a whole new career. And what's been so fascinating and inspiring is meeting other people who are having similar experiences.

Earlier this week Charlie Gandy, Luciano Gonzales and I had the great pleasure of sitting down and getting to know Don Ward (aka Roadblock) of L.A.'s Wolfpack Hustle. The head of a riding club that is really a new type of bicycle advocacy (with arguably the coolest name), Ward and Wolfpack are profiled in an excellent article in April's Red Bulletin Magazine. Ward has been on our radar for awhile now, especially after Wolfpack's winning of the "carmegedon" race against Jet Blue, but the Red Bulletin article did such a wonderful job of sharing Ward's inclusive and safety focused vision that we needed to meet him now. Safety and street cred - that is definitely what bicycling advocacy needs!

What struck me about Ward was his understanding of the power of marketing (so needed to move bicycle advocacy into the mainstream of public consciousness) and media (this is a guy who uses Twitter in a masterful way) mixed with a great kindness and open minded inclusiveness.

I won't be part of the group when Charlie and Luciano join Wolfpack on an upcoming ride (I'm happy tooling along at my slow bike speed mostly during daylight hours) but I can imagine the thrill of discovering L.A. anew, of rediscovering the wonder of it by bike at night.