Category Archives: USA

Completion of Bike Tour- 1,500 Miles Canada to Oakland

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PleasantRevolutionIn June 2016 the start of summer, I rode the Amtrack train to Seattle, Washington from Berkeley, California. 24 hours by train with my bicycle panniers and an extracycle bicycle that I had boxed and ready for shipping. From Seattle, I joined with 12 other cyclists and we started out on a journey that would last 2.5 months and over 1,500 miles of pure cycling. We organized over 31 human powered festivals with the 4 bands on bicycles. We are called the Pleasant Revolution and put on Biketopia Music Festivals all over the world.

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We each had loads on our bicycles consisting of microphone stands, stilts, food, stove, pots and pans, 2 amps, a subwoofer (80 pounds made into a trailer), cables and more! At the end of the tour, I personalized the people that went on the entire tour into a drawing.

1-omar 1-carolyn

1-adley  1-heather

1-kristina 1-maiesha

1-matt  1-molly

1-nate  1-nikki

We all had large bicycles making it possible to pull anywhere between 100-180 pounds. What is so challenging about bike touring? It forces you to slow down. If you need to ride 45 miles (which would normally take an average cyclist 5 hours to bike) in a group, it takes three times that amount. So you are slower, there is no destination because if you focused on that you would constantly be stressed and worried about getting there. In this specific community, you had to let go and enjoy. Swim, eat, talk, play music, and let things go with the flow. Sound easy? It was life changing, but with all that down time and time on a bicycle makes for some great reflection and inner work. I love cycling alone but with other people, it’s immensely powerful. I think its something that everyone could benefit from. You have to be strong physically but even more important, mentally. Balanced and rationale and put the group first.

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Here you can see the humans pedaling/making the electricity for the music. The bicycles have individual generators on the back wheel that are connected to a utility box designed by Rock the Bike in Oakland. From the utility box, you have output to the speakers and microphones. Pretty incredible!

The tour was incredible. The bike tour is so much more than cycling especially with the power of community and riding with a large group of friends with similar values and mission. Below are the group agreements created by the 2016 Pleasant Revolution west coast tour:

  • Slow is beautiful- take a breath, slow down, and pedal
  • Leave no trace.  Become a steward of the earth-  pack it in pack it out, clean up after others, dig a hole when you poo, gather wood in a considerate manner.
  • Be an active guest- consolidate your belongings, do a chore, cook a meal, give a gift.  Make your impact on someone’s space neutral or better than when you came.
  • We offer the highest musical and performance content.
  • To change the world, we must change our own consciousness and lifestyle, the bicycle liberates
  • Use music and performance as a political platform whenever possible.
  • We work to uplift the feminine in all of us to move beyond the patriarchs well as the binary to create balance in our group and ultimately in society.  We work to embody nurturing, supportive, loving energy among us.
  •  We respect to act in the highest regard for the webs of all life.
  • We operate on modified consensus- everyone’s voice matters and we won’t move forward on a decision if some have a strong block, however, if one is willing to stand aside even if the decision being made is not their preference the group will move forward with the decision.
  • Hold a culture which allows folks to speak any discomforts and work to address it right away
  • We work to educate and inspire the communities we travel through on fossil fuel alternatives.  We work to be a living example of sustainable living.
  • Everyone should strive for direct heart centered communication.  We should address conflict on a person to person basis, if the group needs to be called in we will facilitate that.  Take it to the source.
  • Everyone should be emotionally responsible for themselves, able to employ de-escalation skills on themselves when necessary.  
  • This is a Group lead tour- every person is a working part and doing their part. This is truly living interdependence.  We all have the opportunity to lead and be led.
  • We work to uplift everyone’s strength while also challenging growth in each individual.
  • Always do your best and have fun!

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    Here is the extra cycle Novara bicycle I rode for the tour. You can see the frame is extended backwards making the bicycle into a cargo bicycle. Her name is Gunther! Can you find the stilts?

We are talking about a 2018 6 month Europe tour that we already have a solid group of 20 cyclists for and I am already planning on making some murals for the tour and getting funding to make community art projects happen. Why do we start planning something almost 2 years away? We need funding, sponsorship, grants and more. It is  great timing for booking festivals and for planning out the route and logistics. I look forward to it.

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Santa Rosa to the San Francisco

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We made it back home! Can you believe it? All the way from Seattle to Bellingham, Vancouver, Salt Spring, Victoria, Port Angeles, Port Townsend, Whidbey Island, Bainbridge Island, Seattle again, Olympia, Portland, Eugene, Brownsville, Coos Bay, Florence, Fort Bragg, Jenner, Santa Rosa, Sebastopol, and Oakland! 

 

The last couple of days were wonderful, annoying the last moments. We ended up staying at a geodesic dome in Sebastopol with a pool for Nates birthday. We had a beautiful brunch in the morning to celebrate and rode a couple miles to our Petaluma to play our Farmers Market show.

 

The show was incredible, we were overwhelmed with all of the food that we were gifted to the crew and we loved playing!

On our way home, we were lucky enough to go by Yuba Bicycles headquarters in Petaluma and get a tour and talk to the people that work there. We test rode some bicycles. Two of our 10 extra cycles were from Yuba so we were happy to provide feedback and hang out with them.

 

For the final 20 miles, we decided to take a ferry into San Francisco. We were able to fit all of our bicycles and it was my first time to get into San Francisco that way. We were all so excited to see the city and it felt so weird to see that familiar city skyline. It had not really sunk in until that moment for me. We are home. My bed is close by. We are not sleeping in tents anymore! It was a very strange feeling I can not quite describe it.

  

BUT! Our shows were still not over, we had two more to play and decided to stay together as a group at night to not end the energy or disperse. We played a Friday night gig at Oakland’s art walk called “First Fridays” and we had a 10 bicycle system instead of our typical 4. There was also a huge double decker bicycle called “El Arbol” or “The Tree” that lights up and is also a generator bicycle as well. It was a beautiful show and we had an incredible turnout.

  

The second and final show that we had was at PLACE for sustainability where we had all the acts of the tour players, and I even got to sing a song. It was a blast and we spent the night all together to keep the tour going! The next day, it was hard to part and felt very odd. I still can feel the feeling but not quite put it into words. Pedaling away from everyone after almost 3 months of being together anywhere from 10-2o people at one time. We really loved the tour, hanging out with each other all the time and playing music with one another. We are even talking about riding 6 months and playing shows in Europe 2018 summer and there are still more plans in the work for the future of the tour! Thanks for reading and following. This tour has been a blast BUT there is more to come so stay tuned.

Mural in Oakland 

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Where: Oakland, California at the Oakland Music Compex (OMC) in West Oakland with acrylic paint; January 2016

Happy New Year Mural! This piece is located inside the music studio of musicians. The building is amazing and is home to many working artists who practice and record. While painting I could hear multiple bands at one time.

I started with the moon and got into a drippy white paint scene and then started with writing out the poetry that the musicians selected. Poetry, lyrics, words and drawings. The musicians and I (Sara and Max) came up with the concept. We wanted something with words, but not over the top. We wanted to words to fade out and then become stars and constellations. We made sketches this time, which I normally do not do, and it was helpful in the creation of the piece.

The Progression:

 

  



Here I am! This was day 2 in the process. Below are more detailed images of the poetry and intricacy of the words,

 

   

  

   

The writing is poetry from the band, it is not meant to be read easily. I want viewers to engage with the piece and have to try and read it. In addition it makes the energy more scattered and interesting. I like the idea that you have to work for it! I think I put something like 30 different poems and sayings and songs.

 

   

How long did it take: 4 days, 8-10 hours a day

What I learned: Painting on a ladder is dangerous. Especially if you are on the top step! Communicate with building managers before you begin the mural and take more progress shots! It would be great to do some progress videos.

The Exchange: Paid commission

Whats next? I am on the hunt for a studio space in Oakland so hopefully some shows and some good time for making new work!

Happy 2016 -New Year Mural

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Happy New Year everyone! I am so excited to ring in 2016 with a creative and artistic start! Today I paint a mural in a music studio and its going to be space/astrology/star mapping/geometrical themed!

I am excited to get back in the studio and begin to work on some murals, canvas, windows, and solo/group shows! This is a different direction, but exciting. I spent some wonderful time with family in Seattle and now onto making art from the heart back in Oakland!

Happy 2016! Best wishes to all and stay tuned for more on the mural front!

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2 Days 190 miles – Portland Maine to Townshend, Vermont

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Back on the road again, and this time solo.

First I wanted to see what it was like to ride alone, and second I wanted to visit my friend, Tyler who I originally took the train to the East Coast with.

The plan: Ride 2 days to ride to West Townshend, Vermont from Portland, Maine to see Meadow Bee Farm where Tyler and friends were working and staying.

       

The first day I cycled 100 miles to a town outside of Manchester, New Hampshire to a warm shower host, Art and Sarah who welcomed me at the end of the bike trail. They gave me a bed and a wonderful comforter and a beer and in the morning catered to my every need and made me fruit and yogurt and PB&J snacks for the road. I felt like a daughter it was beautiful! They had a wonderful garden and two lovely dogs and a great home.

   
  

The ride was intense as it was my first trip riding 100 miles and the last 15 miles was on dirt road with tons of large rocks and roots exposed. I had some difficult time with my google maps biking directions that took me into strangers back yard, sand roads that are impossible to bike on, and large up rill dirt roads that were ridiculous and absurd to take a touring bike on. Part of me thinks that the directions are for mountain biking and not road touring.

  

   

I was fortunate enough to learn about the history of my mothers side of the family from my grandfather Bruce. He told me that in the early 1600’s that my family was located in Maine in what is now called Saco its just south or Portland. I couldn’t believe it was on my way so I took some time to get a coffee and enjoy the town. Unfortunately most of the information in the historical libraries only dated back to 1750’s so I wasn’t able to find information on the Libby’s, who owned a market in town. Pretty amazing history and special for me to visit the town.

  

The next day I was up early and headed to Goffstown and road a good 90 miles to Brattleboro, Vermont where I met Tyler and we swam in the lake and headed to the Farmers market where we met all the Farm friends! I got to see the farm and then we headed to Chabot at a friend bakery “Earth, Sky and Time” where we sang beautiful songs and had a potluck. More about the farm soon, just wanted to send a update about my riding solo time! What a beautiful life this is!

   
    

Biking from Vermont to New Hampshire

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Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 10.07.21 AMHere is the map of the bike trip so far. We are going to call this tour the “North East Tour” which so far has included New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and currently I am in Maine. Many people talk about how I am in “New England” and just to clarify that means a tour through six states. Can you guess them all? Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont! I didn’t know all 6 so if you didn’t guess them no worries. Anyways the journey has been full of mountains and green beautiful land.

  

Vermont and New Hampshire do not have any lack of lakes and rivers for swimming! Waterfalls galore and beautiful people to meet! I think there was not one night that we didn’t camp next to the water. What a wonderful way to go to bed and to wake up in the morning. These day we are averaging anywhere from 25-50 miles a day, swimming wherever we get the chance, and just enjoying the local people and surroundings!

  
    

New Hampshire is one of the founding 13 states and actually the first to technically declare independence from British North American Colonies and the first U.S. state to have its own constitution. The license plate motto here is “Live Free or Die”. So humorous to see that on plates. It is also nicknamed “The Granite State” for its granite and quarries.

 
  

Here are the typical roads and the green highways. We typically have a shoulder and it is quite the contrast from Mexico. I enjoy the roads here and relax quite a bit. The hills, even the mountain passes are nice and gradual.

     

I love to ride my bike. I ride because I utilize my body in ways that I didn’t know it could function. I ride for the challenge, for the sweaty and hot uncomfortable feeling. I ride because I realize my privilege and resources available to me and want to take advantage of it. I ride because I know I wont always be able to take on this many miles and this many weeks camping. I ride because it is meditation and frees my mind and soul and lets my heart sing. I love to ride. It gives me power, clears my mind and gives me a beautiful perspective on life. When you ride a bike it takes you longer to get places. It makes you really mindful about who and where you spend your time and the life tends to slow down. I cant stop!

   

 

Riding through some of these small towns is really crazy because many of the buildings are over 100 years old with beautiful architecture and stunning farms and landscapes. This small town had a pharmacy that also had a diner. I guess its been open 75 years and the gentleman in the lower right hand pictures name is Jon and he owned the last gas station in town and now is a banker. He is 80 years old and was quite knowledgable about the area.

     

One night we stumbled upon Bethlehem Flower Farm that had flowers, pigs, goats, sheep, chickens and a garden. The woman that worked and owned the farm for the last two years was my age and we got to chatting with her about the possibility of doing some work trade for sleeping in the back yard (full moon) and getting some eggs from her chickens as well as some zucchini. It was a great trade we worked in the garden weeding some onion plants and feeding the baby goat! What a great time we had, we made popcorn and had some wonderful conversation. This farm was settled in at the top of the White Mountains and was picturesque.

 
  

 

Here below is Ian in the onion patch at the farm.

    
 

I love the landscape and could bike across this part of the country any day!

    

 A Mural in Burlington, Vermont

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Vermont is a beautiful and magnificent place! It is the leading producer of maple syrup in the United States, it has forests that cover over 75% of the state! The green mountains are located within the state and the state is bordered by Massachusetts, New York, Quebec Canada and New Hampshire.  I ran into old friends, and made new ones. I never could of imagined it would of been this green and luscious, I am still in awe of the beauty and how friendly people were. Billboards are outlawed and there was no sign of cooperation’s, just tons of farm and local businesses.

I made my way to Burlington, Vermont after New York. We took a ferry about 20-30 minutes across Lake Champlain. I met with my friend, Cody that I met on a bike tour of the west coast and he actually met us on the other side of the ferry. He took us swimming and showed us around town. We got caught in a storm that was so intense but short. We met a woman who let us stay in her garage until it past.

It was great to catch up with Cody, to swap some bike touring stories and he hosted us for two nights. It was such a blessing. We also met wonderful people through warmshowers.org and turns out Ian knew them! Dan and Christine were their names and they help run a community bike shop and a bike shop in town. We ended up staying 1 week with them and so thankful for their hospitality. Their project is called Burlington Bike Project and if you click the name you can check out their project and website.

Their website also features me in their blog. You can click this link to check it out.

Who: Essentially the Old Spokes home is run as shop for just about anyone who needs help with their bike and then Bike Recycle Vermont helps create access to affordable education, job training opportunities, and a supportive and encouraging environment for people who need it!

Where: Burlington,Vermont

  

  

How long did it take: Only 3 full days of painting! This also included a day where many cyclists came through for a celebration of the North neighborhood called “The Ramble”. This included a community BBQ, displaying of the mural and tons of kids and adults asking about the mural. It was a pretty incredible space.

Dan and Christine introduced us to some beautiful people and we were able to plug into the Burlington scene pretty easily with their help. Potlucks, cooking, music listening and making, hair cutting and just hanging out I would move to Burlington because of the people and bike culture. They had a lovely co-op that we hung out at quite a bit speaking with cyclists about bicycle benefits, which Ian helps promote and run where you get benefits for riding bikes! It is as simple as that, empowering more cyclists to get moving and start commuting, touring, or just getting out there and riding. The program is amazing and I feel excited about helping out.

 

The mural was so much fun to create. I really enjoyed it, although its an older style I felt that it was the best thing for the Bike Shop and the community. I was able to paint certain local businesses and community organizations that the clients could relate to.

  
  
  

Here is the mural in detail, this was also one of the first times that I drew people in my painting. It was fun, I met some amazing people and wanted to include them. Ian is also pictured here with doughnuts as he handed out doughnuts to cyclists a couple mornings in the street. I drew Dan and Christine of course, and then I am meeting RJ and his children who helps organize Bike Party Burlington.


     

Here is more on the mural!

  

 I love to ride my bike. It makes me feel the true sense of the word free. I feel alive, I feel free, I feel strong and I feel like I can do anything in the world that I set my mind to. It is a beautiful feeling and a wonderful way to see the world.


  
  

We left Burlington after a week and headed to the state capital, Montpelier which is actually the smallest capital according to population in the United States. There our goal was to check in with all the businesses that supported Bicycle Benefits and make sure that they were still accepting cyclists and just promoting the cause. We tabled at the local co-op again and met some amazing people just encouraging people to get on their bikes. Bicycle benefits program is great it allows cyclists in many cities throughout the U.S. to buy a sticker for their helmet for only $5. Then they can go online and see the different local businesses where they get a discount. Discounts range from 5-20% off purchases, free cookies, free chocolate, free coffee, and more. It is allowing local businesses to support cyclists and cyclists getting rewards for cycling.

  
   

We got to ride through a lot of green beautiful mountains, I felt like I was back in Washington State. I am still in awe of the State.

   

   

Rain, rainbows, libraries, meeting new people!

              

I would absolutely live in Vermont, I loved it there. I think that I would have to live through a winter to actually understand what the state is all about. But either way I would be open. Thank you to all the people and friends that we met and spoke with. What a beautiful life! The plan now is to head east! New Hampshire and Maine!