A few months ago, before COVID-19 was a really really big deal, I was in New Zealand, riding bikes. A friend of mine was taking part in Love to Ride's Aotearoa Challenge. I had forgotten about Love to Ride for 2 years and suddenly there it was in my life, in New Zealand.
Love to Ride is an online platform where you can log bike rides, get points for pedaling and win prizes. Pretty wonderful right? I actually only took part the first time because the grant prize was a free trip to New Zealand and I figured, I bike a lot anyway, I bet I have a shot at winning...
Spoiler alert, I didn't win. I had to pay for that recent trip to New Zealand. HOWEVER, Love to Ride changed how I think about biking. They use this behavior change approach to biking which is really effective. I had a friend who rarely rode bikes and she joined the challenge because I convinced her to just sign up and see how it went. Well she ended up getting a better bike, and getting into bike commuter and nothing about that shift had to do with me. The constant positive feedback that you get just by doing short, slow rides around town was really encouraging.
So anyways, Love to Ride seemed to really work. It turned non-bikers into bike lovers. So I wrote an email that same day, contacted the folks at Love to Ride and said, let's do this in San Diego. Well 2 months later we're about to launch a 25-day bike challenge in San Diego, amid the COVID-19 crisis and I couldn't be more thrilled for this adventure. You can participate inside on a bike trainer. You can participate by taking solo rides around your block, or you can get out and go on bigger blood pumping tours if you're in a safe place to do so.
We're living in this strange time where suddenly we have no place to go, pollution is decreasing, car traffic has eased and biking is a beautiful option! What a better way to support those new bikers than giving them a great reason to bike...positive feedback and the chance to win prizes.
Well I inserted some Vie Cycle into the event and yes, we're doing a full 5 days of WTF focused prize drawings. So if you're a WTF biker, get on your bike horse and ride any time between May 25th and 29th. Everyday there's a different prize to win.
Here's a sneaky peak....
I recently taught a workshop at Bike!Bike! Tijuana. If you've never heard of Bike!Bike! that's cool. It's only a world wide annual conference for bike lovers, and in particular people who volunteer at bike collectives. The scene is usually packed with bike punks, anarchists, nomads, bike messengers, wrenches, advocates, organizers, you know...people who do it for the love of bikes and not for money.
If you're just here for the Multiple Intelligences zine, that's fine. CLICK READ MORE and you'll find it at the bottom of the next page.
I played a part in organizing the event by collecting bikes, hosting bike repair parties and organizing rides to Tijuana. The day before the start of the conference I met with 30 folks from around the world (Chile, Montreal, Wisconsin...) and we took a leisurely sunset ride to Mexico.
Oh wait, I'm supposed to be writing about Multiple Intelligences again, right.
Well, I'm getting there. I just thought you wanted a little lead in.
Ok, Bike!Bike! day one. That's what this post is about. I led a two hour workshop on something that I care deeply about and I want to share it with you!
I was out on a bike ride today and thinking about the ways that people in cars pass me. On multi-lane city streets, a lot of drivers understand that it is safer for everyone if they switch lanes to go around me and then return to my lane after they've made some space between us. Sometimes on single lane road, motorists get fed up with driving my speed and they zoom around me without leaving much room between us. This is especially fun in places with stop lights, because those lights are usually timed to accommodate a slower speed limit. So when I'm riding at about 14mph, I should be able to get most of the green lights if I time it right. Whereas motorists who get annoyed by driving my speed will floor it past me, stop and wait at a light (until I catch up and pass them) and then floor it past me again. Rinse and repeat.
So here's my solution for people in cars who pass too close...
I give you the, "Give me 3 feet or get keyed!"
It's a prototype, so I'm open to feedback...
I'm not advocating for velcro.
I'm talking about switching to bike tubes the next time you need to get new laces for your shoes.
Recycling and reducing waste is part of Vie Cycle's mission. Turns out there are a million and one ways to reuse busted bike tubes. Shoe laces!?! That's what's up and for real, they are the best thing. Every time I put my shoe on I'm like, "woah! this is such an enjoyable experience!" Maybe you feel that way anyway about shoes. I didn't. I hate having to untie, loosen laces, scrunch in my foot and then tighten up and tie my shoes every time I leave the house.
Bike tubes just made my Vans into slip on shoes that get instantly tight when my foot is in them.
Got chipped paint on your bike?
All you need is touch up paint and here's how to get it!
You can visit a bike shop, request paint from the brand manufacturer or you can USE NAIL POLISH!
For the nail polish option, you just need a few unpainted finger nails and a beauty supply store.
2011: The year of the thesis.
I was at Pitzer College, living in a house off-campus with five of my friends and most of us had elected to write a senior thesis to fulfill our graduation requirement. A house of six people with six distinct majors meant that hypothesizing and philosophizing abounded in our living room. It would have been hard to not learn from each other in this setting.
My thesis was about the role of women in bicycle cooperatives and I like to think that all of my housemates developed a love for bikes because of my influence, but this post isn’t about that. This is about the Theory of Multiple Intelligences, the subject of my housemate Bennett’s thesis.
Seven years after completing college, my thesis has informed my work, but Bennett’s thesis has informed my personal growth and lead to self-reflection that has changed my understanding of learning.
The Theory of Multiple Intelligences is the foundation of the women+ bike maintenance workshops that I teach. I’ll explain what it is and how I use it. My hope is that you’ll learn something about yourself in the process.
If you only read the beginning of this post, this should be your take away:
Always smile and wave at drivers.
...No matter how you feel about them.
It’s the best way to stay safe, be seen and gain respect. Even in a situation where someone turns their car in front of you and nearly kills you. Yes! Waving is still the best response. Many people respond to threats with anger and more than that, anger can be an automatic response and you don’t want someone impulsively responding with horsepower and their bumper. So next time you’re riding a bike and you have doubts about someone’s intentions behind the wheel, SMILE and WAVE.
Great, keep reading!
It's become a habit of mine to collect/salvage interesting bike parts. This is probably something that I picked up in university. Our student-run bike collective had a deal with a local bike shop; they let us climb in their dumpster and take home any bike parts that we wanted. As a business, it was their job to put new parts on bikes at their customer's request. Sometimes perfectly good parts would get thrown away simply because shops can't sell used stuff. Thankfully lots of bike collectives have a similar deal with a local shop. Many bike shops recycle their rubber and metal already. Some even send away their old bike tubes to organizations like Green Guru or Alchemy Goods. (Encourage your local bike shop to recycle their parts if they aren't!)
I've got my own use for broken and discarded bike parts.
Use 1: I collect parts for class demos and tactile tools. (I'll write about my teaching philosophy and whyI think people need tactile tools to fiddle with to help lessons sink in in another post.)
Use 2: Jewelry and bike art! That's what this is all about.
I want to get real for a minute about being a woman who bikes and also drinks water. Yeah, I'm about to talk about peeing outside.
But let’s start with water.
Vie Cycle got a shout out in Adventure Cycling Association's monthly newsletter! It's short but concise.
Stories from the road and bike shops en route.
Author: Sylvie Froncek
I've ridden thousands of miles, led group bike tours, taught maintenance classes and started bike collectives, all in an attempt to share what I love with great people. Read about my adventures and tell me about yours!