Ride Like A Girl Cycling

Learn ~ Laugh ~ Love it!


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Bike Love Changes the World

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“True Love” is the first of five in a “Love” series sticker project. Inspired by the fun and naive essence of childhood, Tal (Berlin artist and creator of the series) says, “My bike was my favorite thing in the world!”

Travel is an amazing vehicle to discover new people, places and things, as evidenced today when I met “Tal” in Croatia and fell in love with this “True Love” sticker that she created.  Our bus-train commute from Zagreb to Split provided the opportunity to meet but when she shared her creation, I was instantly curious to know more. Tal (who wishes to be called only by her first name) is a Berlin artist, bike mechanic and community activist with a passion to “change the world!” With a heart for refugees (especially women), at-risk youth and other minorities, Tal generously shares her talents to the underserved in the local community; a unique combination of creativity, open and authentic communication, and heaps of artistic and applied mechanical skills (Tal built her bike from spare parts).

Tal identifies as Jewish and queer which fires a passion to help other minority individuals affirm who they are as a person rather than by the color of their skin, ethnic background, religion or sexual orientation. She teaches workshops on topics such as bike repair, up-cycling (repurposing used parts into usable and functional accessories), offering workshops in graffiti, street art, stop-motion animation and puppet theater. Her joy is palpable as she observes how the transfer of skills result in a sense of empowerment, increased confidence and greater self-reliance among her students.

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The bike that Tal built and rides today is the subject for the “True Love” sticker.

“I have the urge to do something to make a difference in the world … I am aware of how difficult it is to be a minority, how things need to change and what support other minorities may need.”  Tal explains that as she works with youngsters, shares her skills and develops a positive relationship with them, the chances are good they will be more inclined to respect and support other minorities they encounter in life.

One 9-year old Sinti Roma (aka, “gypsy”) boy accustomed to hiding his identity in his multinational but highly-biased Berlin neighborhood (for fear of being bullied), echoed the words he had heard Tal use to affirm her own identity. Tal witnessed the event when some children challenged the young boy’s ethnicity (which would inform their view of his social rank). “What are you? Are you Turkish? Arab? – What are you?” The young boy stood tall as he retorted with Tal’s words, “I am human.” The matter-of-fact manner of his response served to shift a paradigm of differences to one of unity and commonality. The conversation moved seamlessly and naturally onto the next, unrelated topic. As Tal’s story culminated with this timid-turned-brave boy redirecting peer bias, Tal expressed great joy and pride, “I smiled for a month!”

If you would like to view or purchase Tal’s artwork, you can find more information online at Cool Tool Facebook page.


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Cycle Oregon Riders, You’ve Got Friends

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Girlfriends connecting at Cycle Oregon

The unexpected. It shows up, uninvited, unprepared and unscheduled. As I write, ten named forest fires are wreaking havoc throughout our beloved state parks and national forests throughout the state of Oregon. Washington and Idaho are also engulfed; and newscasters dispense air quality alerts as regularly as mealtimes. The impacts will be assessed and recovery efforts worked for months and years to come. This post is an effort to reach out to our Cycle Oregon friends who have been impacted by the 2017 CO Classic Week ride that was canceled. Continue reading to learn of some Plan B options for you: lodging discounts at the Oregon Coast and group rides in Portland.

For our cycling friends, the impact hit especially hard when Cycle Oregon (CO) announced that the CO Classic Week ride, scheduled September 9th-16th is cancelled. Over two thousand riders from ten different countries, forty-eight states and Oregon are grappling with this first-ever cancelation in thirty years of Cycle Oregon history. Flights purchased. Hotels booked. Vacations scheduled. Carpools, buses and trains arranged. Ouch!

I experienced much of these events from a beachfront cottage in Pacific City, where the sky has been a beaming blue for most of the past week. I’ve been pedaling to my heart’s content in and around the Oregon Coast as everyone westward gets blanketed in air quality alerts, gray hazy skies and ash.

Girlfriends at the Coast

Girlfriends biking the Oregon Coast

As a five-time Cycle Oregon participant I grieved with my fellow CO riders and felt guilty as if I was rolling amidst a Pacific Northwest oasis of good roads, clear air, rolling hills and amazing vistas; and so I concluded, “We need a Plan B!”

In short, with a little collaboration with Kiwanda Hospitality Group and ride leaders from Ride Like A Girl Cycling, we have lined up a few options for our CO friends:

  1. Hang out in Portland and join Ride Like A Girl Cycling for some Cycle-Oregon type rides in the metro area (air quality permitting, of course). We are a women’s cycling group but for the week of September 9-16 we are welcoming guys to join us. There is no cost to participate, however, we ask that you join the club (just need an email) so you can RSVP. This allows us to communicate with riders and know who to expect. Details here: http://www.Meetup.com/RLAGcycling/events

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  2. Head to the Oregon Coast to bike in, around, north and south of Pacific City and receive a 10% discount on Pacific City lodging and a complimentary beer taster tray from the Pelican Brew Pub. Details here: http://www.yourlittlebeachtown.com/calling-all-cycle-oregon-riders.
    Haystack Rock

Got a question? Post it here! Or feel free to contact Carolyn Jen, Ride Like A Girl Cycling Founder and Girlfriend in Charge, at ridelikeapdxgirl@gmail.com or 503-913-3534.

Let’s hear it for Plan B!

 


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Linda’s Story Catches Media’s Attention

“Do I really inspire people?” Linda genuinely ponders how her seemingly simple story has captured the attention of the media when KATU, one of Portland’s local broadcasters, aired her story April 14th, “Everyday Heroes: Ride Like a Girl.”

No spoiler alert needed because you won’t find the details here; I’m including a link below so you can view and read for yourself. If as a result, you find yourself moved, tearing up or feeling motivated to overcome a personal challenge, perhaps you will share your thoughts and help Linda discover that simple (when combined with transparency) inspires!  Linda’s “Everyday Heroes …” story on KATU.

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Beatles-inspired Song for 2017

John Lennon and Paul McCartney inspired the world to tap the wellspring of friendship with the 1967 Beatles song, “With a Little Help from My Friends.” Stumbling upon their lyrics this early January morning, I felt creative and wrote a girlfriend version. I hope it inspires you to make 2017 the year to start biking!

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Here is my version that you can sing to the beloved Beatles tune. (Click here for a YouTube refresh of how the tune goes).

“With a Little Help from Girlfriends”

What would you think if I started to bike?
Would you stand up and tell me not to?
Lend me your ears and I’ll tell you my dream
And you will want to bike with me too.
Oh I get by with a little help from girlfriends
Mm I climb high with a little help from girlfriends
Mm gonna try with a little help from girlfriends

What do you do when I don’t know how?
(Does it worry you I don’t have a clue?)
How do I feel by the end of a ride?
(Are you sad because I’m happier than you?)
No I get by with a little help from girlfriends
Mm I climb high with a little help from girlfriends
Mm gonna try with a little help from girlfriends

(Do you need a brand new bike?)
I just need one that is safe
(Could it be a mint Bianchi?)
I just want a bike to love

(Would you believe I can ride like a girl?)
Yes I’m certain you’re wildly impressed
(What do you see when you view my Facebook?)
Would you believe I like wearing Spandex?
Oh I get by with a little help from girlfriends
Mm I climb high with a little help from girlfriends
Oh I’m gonna try with a little help from girlfriends

(Do you need a brand new bike?)
I just need one that is safe
(Could it be a Cannondale?)
I just want a bike to love

Oh I get by with a little help from girlfriends
Mm gonna try with a little help from girlfriends
Oh I climb high with a little help from girlfriends
Yes I get by with a little help from girlfriends
With a little help from Ride Like A Girl-friends
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Let’s have fun this year! Make the decision to dust off your bike and ride. Ask a girlfriend to join you (or help you get started). Find a bike shop to look over your trusty two-wheeler and make sure it’s still trustworthy. Then make it your goal to have fun, be safe, laugh a lot and don’t take yourself too seriously. You just might discover a freedom that you can’t get enough of, exercise disguised as play and girlfriends who are happy to come alongside you. And if you’re in the Portland-metro area, come and ride with us!
Ride Like A Girl Cycling