Tag Archives: bicicletas por la paz

Full Moon – Art Auction

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This fall at the Joshua Tree Music Festival I participated in the Art Auction that donates half of the proceeds to the Joshua Tree Living Arts Foundation which supports and encourages youth to make art. The 12′ x 12′ piece was inspired by the full moon that came up bright and orange during the 8.5-hour drive to the festival from Oakland to Joshua Tree. I made a timelapse of the experience, love to support the festival and participate in the auction.

The 2018 May Joshua Tree Music Festival will feature the bicycle touring band that I traveled the west coast from Vancouver B.C. to Oakland, Bicicletas Por La Paz, click this link for their music page. I recently participated in a music video with them you can check out here:

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.

Oregon Coast on the 1 – Florence to Jenner

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We rode the next couple of days after Eugene through hot hot hot heat. It got up to almost 105 degrees and we would just soak our shirts in water to be able to withstand the heat. Thank goodness for swimming holes too! Champoeg State Park was the gorgeous location and still to this day, one of my favorite campsites. It is settled on the Willamette river and we had plenty of time for swimming and for hanging out. The hot heat really made the cold water enjoyable.

    

Inland Oregon has been difficult for us because the cars are not as friendly or accepting of cyclists. For example, my friend Nate and I were riding side by side enjoying music and riding together as we always do. Then, out of nowhere, a large truck came by and let go of exhaust into our faces and there was such an intense plume of black thick smoke we immediately stopped in our tracks. It was such an aggressive way to approach us and certainly dangerous.

 

  

 It makes me sad that people feel that way about us and cowardly drive away without engaging or knowing us. There were also people around this area as well that would yell “Get a job” and once I even got spit on. I think that this is such a small population of people that feel this way. Don’t get me wrong, we get way more positive attention and applause but there are dark sides to sharing the road with everyone, and especially motorists. Many people feel like we are getting in their way and that we should not be able to use the roadways.  I disagree of course!

    

We saw these cute guys in Elk, California on the coast. I kind of fell in love! What a pair!

We were happy to finally arrive at the coast as it brought cooler temperature and different terrain. We loved seeing that coast, large boulder rocks coming out from the ocean. The sound of the waves, and the bright starlit sky! Incredible! Lots of camping, sharing food and riding. I found that people on the coast were more used to cyclists and more friendly. This also made me appreciate riding the inland Oregon route because not many cyclists do it. I bet you many motorists we passed had maybe never seen anything like 15 cyclists riding together. The ocean route is much more popular.

   

  

 

  

So the coast was incredible. I loved hearing the ocean and climbing hills, like hills we had never climbed before. We passed many tiny towns, art was prevalent in the towns we passed through. Lots of artist coops and collectives. We met so many nice people and had epic camping spots.

  

  

We were on the coast for about a week and a half and I loved it all. Defiantly a lot of hills and crazy climbing. Did I mention that we weighed our bicycles and they ranged from 140-180 pounds? Crazy!

   

Jenner to Santa Rosa

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Leaving the coast was a much needed break from hills and from the dew filled air. The coast has such a dramatically different feel than even 5-10 miles inland. Jenner was beautiful, we met a man that owned the community center, and he let us stay at it. Everyone in the town of a population 136 were so nice and welcoming. The town lays at the mouth of the Russian River and is on the Pacific Ocean. The state route highway 1 runs through it, as well as the 116.

 

Typically heading inland there are a lot of hills, but to our surprise we didn’t hit any! We passed through Gurneville and had a beautiful dip into the Russian River and had some lunch before hitting into Santa Rosa, wine country and lots of traffic and cars!

Santa Rosa was amazing, we got to stay with Carolyn’s brother, Sean. He had a house and he let us stay in his driveway with our tents. We played a show at the Santa Rosa farmers market. It was amazing, we had a lot o participation and her brother came as well. We did a little wine tasting, a lot of riding and the anticipation of arriving at home is at the forefront of our thoughts! We are really trying to enjoy every moment. Less than a week left!

Port Angeles, Sequim, Port Townsend and Beyond!

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We arrived from the black ball ferry mid day into port Angeles from victoria that took about one hour and 36 minutes on the ferry. Again, epic as we passed through the islands and through the US border and into the tiny cozy town of port Angeles. Home of the Olympic and Hoh national rainforest it is where many people get their start before their trek into the forest.

   

  

We arrived in town and wanted to play a show so we asked a bar owner we met on the ferry if we could play at his bar. Two hour later we were on stage praise on the sidewalk and then later elevated on a second story stage that looked down upon the bar. At the bar called “next door” we met a man who let us crash at his place less than a mile from downtown and the venue we were playing around. So many nice people along the way! Yipppeee! The outdoor sidewalk concert quickly turned into a full on elevated stage venue inside and we played a couple hours on this stage that was on the second story looking down onto the bar. A pretty amazing venue.

We slept in the lawn of a friend and played music around the bonfire!

Next we traveled next to port Townsend and along the way we passed by squirm which is where my great aunt lives!

 

This part of the tour was super super super important to me. After my mother passed in 2007 I started using my mothers last name as my artist name. Molly Aigner turned Molly Keen for my art and inspiration. I sign my paintings M. Keen and my mother has been with me through all my journeys and paintings. So meeting another Keen was amazing. She is a painter herself and signs her paintings M. Keen as well! What a blessing and amazing thing to have in common. We spoke of family and I heard stories I never had before.

 

I gave her a last minute call to see if he could have lunch or coffee and she agreed! Met me within ten minutes at the Mexican restaurant down from her home. What a gift! Her name is Marion keen and he is an artist and painter as well. He was married to my grandfathers brother, Stan. What a beautiful reunion it was!

Marion let me know that she has a son and family in port Townsend so I grabbed the number of drew. The next morning after we camped at a clearing in the fleet and made a lovely fire. We stopped for gas at a gas station and sure enough there came Pamela and Drew running to our group of cyclists and asking “Which one of you is Molly?”. They had found our group and the reunion was beautiful. The last time I saw them was apparently when I was only a couple of months old and I was in their wedding. They are Keen’s as well! I loved meeting them and getting to know them. I invited Pamela to our show and she came for the whole set with chocolate and gifts included! She was so sweet to connect with and just retired from working for the library for 25+years! What a treat it was to be able to get to know her!

The show was set on the water at a park and we had a great turn out. After the show we rode another 5 miles to a friends house where we slept in the front yard. It was a great place to stay for the night and we were all super tired!

 

 

The next day we were in route to Seattle! We rode a different way from Port Townsend to the Edmonds ferry! I was able to ride early enough to get dinner with my family and enjoy seattle! More to come on the Seattle shows that I have helped book and put together. It is going to be an amazing weekend! Stay tuned.

Canada! Vancouver, Salt Spring & Victoria

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Getting to Salt Spring island was a beautiful adventure. We saw pods of orca whales on the ferry boat, and did some Tarot and card making. I started to get pain in my wrist so my friend Justin and I switched out my handle bars and met the rest of the group at the ferry. From my understanding they went through a huge tunnel on the ride, that was not meant for cyclists. They had no troubles and a road angel showed up and rode behind them through the whole tunnel protecting them from cars. I am glad that they are all okay!

  

 

Here you can see the group looking for whales and all of the 16 bicycles packed on the front of the ferry. What a group we have! The ride from then ferry into the channel was incredible. Orcas are considered rare to see these days, so we felt incredibly lucky. We pulled into long harbor, salt spring island around sunset so the lighting was incredible and you could see more bright green trees than water or houses. What a special island.

 

It was hard to say goodbye to Vancouver but the ferry ride into salt spring island was unbelievable. We got to play an amazing show at Centennial park in Victoria and a show at the Farmers market in Salt Spring island.

I couldn’t believe the one hour ride through the gulf islands. Those orcas are still with me! The ferry rides have been nothing short of epic and incredible as we get to take them all around the route we are on. They are so nice to bicycles and to be out on the deck and listen to the sounds, smells and experience all that the Northwest has to offer. I feel really lucky to be from this area and to have experienced so many ferry rides in my life. Below if a picture of the first place that we stayed, and an epic rock formation from Salt Spring Island.

  

We played a show at the farmer’s market and got caught in a bit of rain. We stayed a total of 4 days on the island. We were so lucky to get another ferry ride to Victoria and then played a show at centennial park with the pouring down rain. People still showed up and even for our bike ride after. We had a little moonlight ride through the rain.

It is a small town and the farmers market that we played at was super cute. I think that playing at farmer markets is really the best venue for our bike music festival as there are tons of children, local people and local healthy food. Playing outdoors is definitely a strong play for us to play as well. Above is a picture of one of the three children that we got to play with and get to know. Here in the picture he told me he was catching butterflies.

  

  

The island of salt spring has a population of 10,000 people and is on a Quartz! It was beautiful intense energy. The first night I met a 92 year old woman with a property right in a cove. She let us stay under her apple trees in the front yard. We sang some songs into the sound and to our surprise there was a group of sailors that heard us sing and they began to sing back! They eventually took a dingy boat to meet us and turned out to be two drunken older guys. But it was fun to sing across the cove to each other. In the morning we headed for our hosts home. We stayed with a family for three nights – Ashley’s friend Michelle who he travelled with in Colombia and Canada! Michelle’s sister let us stay at the enchanted fairy farm.

 

 

They had three children on the farm, three horses and two cats.The property was super close to mermaid lake. A wonderful lake with super clean and warm water. We played a show for the couple that hosted us. It was a long ride from town to the house with quite the uphills!

 

  

 

Canada has been nothing short of stunning scenery, nice people and friendly drivers. We all agreed that this is an incredible part of the journey and unlike anything else we have ever seen! Beauty!

The next day we took the black ball ferry to port Angeles. We are so thankful for all of the bodies of water we were able to cross with ferries! Really special! This leg of the trip is epically impressive.

 

 

 

 

Lastly, below is Michelle crossing the border off the ferry. You can see how much space all of our bicycles take up in the below picture as well! We are a sight to see!

 

 

Bellingham to Vancouver

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We made it to Canada! Check out the above photo of the 4 bands with a burning man sculpture that was used 20 years ago and is pedaled by solar energy! Canada was epic and we are so happy to be traveling now around the islands and B.C. We love this place!

  

What a beautiful ride we had to get into Canda! Crossing the border from United States to Canada was a breeze, we had to ride on the I-5 to cross but it was relatively easy. We only had 33 miles to ride this day, so we swam, took lots of breaks (as we always do) and arrived to Vancouver to the house of Adley’s brother, Chris. Chris let us stay in his back yard and was so gracious with his home. There are now 16 of us, three more joined us in Canada. Craig, our drummer, Dara an amazing writer and experienced cyclist that took a group across the U.S. with a theatre group the Agile Rascals and then Mega, who juggles, sings and dances. She has ridden with the crew before in previous bike tours.

  

We stayed a total of 4 nights and played a gig at the Vancouver Art Gallery in conjunction with eatArt that helped us with the burning man sculpture. We had a beer garden and a dance floor. There was also tricycle bikes they brought that people could test ride that we pretty amazing.

    
It was an incredible show as we played on the steps of the gorgeous gallery.

   

The show was incredible. I was pulling people from the street with my stilts and our sound was incredible. It was a sunny and beautiful day. It was great to relax and take time in one city. Vancouver is gorgeous right on the water and at the edge of huge mountains and glorious hiking. I was so excited to get to know the area and to get to celebrate Canada day! July 1st, they celebrate the joining of three colonies, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the Providence of  Canada into a single dominion within the British Empire. This all happened on July 1, 1867 .

  
We are in good high spirits and excited to continue the tour, meeting beautiful people and playing a lot of music. Have you gotten a chance to hear all the musicians on tour with us yet?

Check out the links below!

Biking WA – Mukilteo to Bellingham

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Rain started as a sprinkle as we drifted beyond the trees and the rivers and streams. Light playful rejuvenating rain. Heavy and thick getting louder and more powerful.

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Soon enough we were in full on downpour where our waterproof gear was suddenly not and we were chilly little bikers! For a couple of hours we rode in the rain. At first it was fun and exciting, but then it became cold and uncomfortable.

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The ferry was beautiful, and quite the ordeal with 12 bicycles. We walked on and the ride was only about 15 minutes to Whidbey Island. We were greeted with huge uphills! Beautiful, but wet ride! I am glad that we waterproofed all of our gear before it started. Because it did not stop anytime soon.

IMG_9183 Here is the first part of the ride from Mukilteo to Fort Ebey State park that was right on the water. It was a beautiful spot, but unfortunately rained the entire time. We were greeted with quite large hills on the end of the ride, which was difficult.

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We finally found a warm place to stop for lunch and made nori sandwiches and wraps then we’re off again. Beautiful and hilly Whidbey I remember coming to the island as a child and as a teenager for my grandparents’ reunion. Memories now shared with my present experience of this rainy bike tour. The land, so green and luscious. The trees, swaying with beauty, and the puget sound with smells of salt and seaweed. Smells from my childhood.

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We rode across the island only 50 miles to our camping site where we arrive with pouring down rain and tons of hills! One thing I love about this group is our ability to work together. We had two tarps. One tarp for cooking dinner and keeping the food and crew dry and the other for a team of people holding up a tarp so individuals could set up their tents! What an experience so organized and loving with all that rain! We were pretty cold and miserable. We warmed up quickly in our little tents and got dry as night fell.

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Here is the second part of the ride where we rode over a military part of the island. There was a lot of planes flying overhead and a navy base. It made for an interestingly loud ride amongst the beautiful green trees.  We made it to the Look Out Arts Quarry in Bellingham after two days and lots of rain! It was beautiful and we are thankful to have experienced that magical island!

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Dana Point, San Diego and Ocean Beach

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image I love this part of California. Great bikes lanes, gorgeous roads and just endless amounts of cycling. I really love it. South, south, and more south we go! Off to Dana point where we stayed with a family in the hills who had 3 dogs and a very interesting story to tell. We found them through warm showers and they gave us a place to stay and a warm shower and even cooked us dinner. What a lovely experience.

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They were a couple from Houston and love to tour. They just moved to California for the husbands job which involves helping dismantle a nuclear waste site that is near the ocean. He said it takes about 30 years to do. When they retire hopefully in 5 years they want to bike tour and pretty much live on their bikes. Super nice family.

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The next day we rode about 45-50 miles to Encinitas to see my family…Amy and Matt and the kids (5 total!!!) and get to spend time catching up with them and getting to know each other all overs against. It was so great, we had dinner together and we took the golf cart out the kids and i got some snuggle time with their two puppies who are adorable. What a great nights sleep!

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 Sal gave Adley and I the grand tour where we saw the property including the wine cave (above), that we says is haunted. We saw rabbits and dogs and horses and a swimming pool! Truly a unique and beautiful house. Maddie let me sleep in her bed and Adley slept on Sal’s floor! I loved it!

Next we were off to the San Diego Ocean Beach farmers market to perform on the street. We said goodbye to the family, saw the kids off to school and were off! Beautiful warm sunshine and a lovely day in front of us!

At Ocean Beach it was an actual gig and they help us get set up with a whole sound crew. I had my first solo back up singing experience and we just had a ball! I ran into a girlfriend I met back in mazunte Mexico last year when I was getting yoga certified. Small world! Here is to growth, new challenges, new perspectives and letting go of worry. Too many times do we plan ahead or think about yesterday when the moment is here. To live now. To be content, thankful and full now. Tomorrow off to Mexico tomorrow!! Dont know if I am ready for it yet, California went by so quickly!

  

*all of these posts are posted a week after it happened! We are currently in san quintin Mexico but blogs take time and internet! Love you all!

Biking to and through Los Angeles

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IMG_1127What a different experience it has been since we hit Santa Barbara. Next was Malibu, we camped on a hill near a construction site and behind a grocery store that’s was settled in a little forest. We actually door knocked for a little bit asking million dollar home intercoms if they had space for 3 tents. It didn’t work out too well. But the hill worked out perfectly.

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The next day we were on on way to LA to Venice beach and played a show at the WhitZend where we were greeted warmly and even had a green room to hang out in and play music before and after in. Incredible stage with beautiful lighting and awesome sound. I never thought it my life I would be playing music, let alone with all my friends and biking. Pretty wild.

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The next day we said goodbye to Gillian who set off to Costa Rica for a festival and then set off to Harry’s house that we met from Warmshowers. He sweetly offered us a place to stay about a 30 mile ride away in LA (yes the city is huge).

He was not home when we arrived so he left the house open and to our amazement were offered a guest house and a huge huge huge yard! It was a special place and as Harry said we “scored”. I love warm showers it makes me feel like I am not on the road but rather in a home. People that open their lives and houses to is really makes me believe in people and accept the generosity. Really it’s a full circle as we learn from each other and share experiences and stories. It’s truly beautiful.

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I was also able to see my friend Diana from college who happened to be in LA as well! What a great reunion, while i was gone she helped look after my things in the Bay Area at her parents house while I was traveling.

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Harry was so much fun to hang out with and after our two shows that we had in La we took a little break and stayed an extra day and played music and drank delicious wine!

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Unfortunately while at Harry’s my friends Carolyn and mega left back to San Francisco. So the dynamic of the group is changing it will for sure be a different ride.

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We have a show in San Diego on Wednesday so we are off riding our bikes 116 miles south!

Lompoc and Santa Barbara California

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Rode 62 miles from Lompoc to Santa Barbara. We got to see the ocean again! I missed it dearly! Found another cyclist named Cody from Vermont that joined our group for a while. Always nice to meet friendly cyclists on the road.

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We stayed with a warm showers house in Lompoc, with a Seattle native, Alden. We didn’t actually meet him he just gave us keys to his place and said make yourself at home. So generous and hospitable and there was a lot of seahawk gear around the house. I cant believe how open and welcoming people are of us!

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The essentials…kale, salt and vinegar chips, broccoli and a flower. The picture above is the backyard of where we camped in Santa Barbara.

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We get hungry…really hungry. We split the work load into teams, and everyone carries food evenly. Carolyn is our featured cook, we tried to get everyone to split the load but she is just so darn good at what she does! Coconut curry veggie stirfry was the hit of the tour. Adley, the inspiration and 3 time Oakland to Mexico adventurer and musician carries an amp and an electric guitar in his panniers. He is crazy. Literally, crazy. But he loves music and he loves what he does…and did I mention that he is also the fastest in the group? Not that I am keeping track, but really…is this guy serious?

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Once we hit Santa Barbara we stayed again with a warm shower host Alex who let us set up tents in his backyard. A musician himself his roommates and our band were jamming all night. We played a little bit at the farmers market and then enjoyed a good nights rest after I made lentil burgers and salad! Yummmmm! I am constantly in awe of how generous, welcoming and beautiful all the hosts we stay with are.

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Rafael, one of the house mates took us to a bike shop he volunteers at, Santa Barabara bike coalition and he helped teach us how to is our broken spokes and true a wheel! Great knowledge! I even picked up a bike bell! Ring ring! Love this place!

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Next we are on our way down south of course taking the Pacific Coast Highway and as many back roads as we can!

How to Start a New Adventure – Following Heart

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Traveling is a choice. We can chose to make time for it or leave it for our dreams. It takes making it a priority and follow through.

I say this all the time but you never will have enough money, or enough time, or the perfect scenario for traveling. Just do it, like today. Like right now.

I came back to the United States in May 2014 after being gone one and a half year in South America. I am not going to lie, I was pretty exhausted. I wanted to visit Seattle, my hometown, after feeling the need to connect with family and friends. I wanted to sleep in the same bed for longer than 2 days. I wanted a warm shower with my shampoo! Every time I walked into the same house, to find my bed, my clothes, my jewelry, my food etc, I almost became overwhelmed with thanks and appreciation. The gift of being in one location and building community is such a luxury! Never had I looked at my life from this perspective and still 6 months later I feel the same way. Its ingrained in me. I got rid of almost everything that I own in those months and really love to live the life in a more simple way.

So I worked 6 months in a bar and restaurant and made some wonderful friends and great money. Life was good! I was riding my bike, I was reconnecting with old friends and making new ones. I even displayed my artwork in 3 different Seattle locations. My art inspiration was pouring out of me and my family was feeling closer than ever. Everything that I had dreamed life would be back home midst traveling was exactly the way I thought it would be and more. I got everything that I wanted. Really, it was all right in front of me.  So…why wasn’t I able to live out that life with full happiness? There was a little something in the back of my heart that was trying to tell me…something wasn’t right.

There are constantly times in our life where our heart speaks. It is doing it all the time. Turn left or turn right. This would be good for my body and maybe this would be maybe not the best. We make choices. Sometimes its literal and sometimes its nothing more than a breeze in the air that gives us a certain feeling. It is different for everyone. The heart is a small (or large) feeling in the back of our hearts that pulls on us in little tiny ways, and the only way we can listen is to be silent and trust. It is a small muscle that will grow so strong with practice and patience. And yes, absolutely this sacred gift is within each of us. We already know deep down what we need and want. It is just a matter of listening and acting upon that feeling, and that is what’s so beautiful about life: we are constantly having to make decisions and choices and its all up to our own individual hearts in the end.

The outcome of all choices will be beautiful either way. What is important is that we aware of where it comes from and how it makes us feel. In my life, I listen to my heart all the time. I choose to take risks, become uncomfortable, change the way I see things constantly to understand the world in a more harmonious and deeper way. That way works for me! I want to speak about growth with a stranger, with a loved one, with the nature. I want to soar higher than I ever knew possible. I want to push my body in ways I didn’t know it could go. I want to climb mountains and sail oceans. I want to learn new things constantly. I want to speak Spanish for months on end and I want to live my life the way my heart feels is right. Is there logic there? Absolutely not. Is there love there? Why that is what is fueling it.

So I made a decision to leave the life was comfortable and in January 2015 and was off to Oakland, California where I used to live for 2.5 years. There I found my good friends in a cooperative house living situation. Sharing food, house meetings, garden, giving to the community and working together to live a sustainable and healthy life collectively. Musicians, artists, open communicators, activists and heart followers. In this house I found my friends who were ready to take on a adventure with me. The adventure I had dreamt of – Bike touring.

I met a dear friend of mine, Lukas from Germany while traveling in Peru. We traveled together for a couple of months after meeting at a mediation retreat near Cusco. We shared so much together: painting, singing, trying new things, cooking, learning Spanish, English and German and making new friends. Lukas was traveling by bike. He was the first cyclist I met that had toured. I would hear his stories, see his pictures and how different of a perspective his travels were contrasted to mine (buses and hostels).

Ever since meeting Lukas I knew this would manifest for me in my life. I didn’t know that it would be this soon, and I was not prepared but when are you ever? When the opportunity is there you must take it! So I link up with old friends in Oakland who have made this trip two years in a row, onto their third. I had trust that I could learn the ropes from them, and travel with some friends for a bit. The group we cycle with is a band and we are called “Bicicletas por la paz” translating into Bikes for Peace. We play Latin circus funk and we carry all our instruments and have gigs lined up along the way as we travel by bike. We camp in campgrounds, in random places off the highway, in friends houses, use warm showers (couch surfing version for cyclists) and we meet beautiful people that take care of us.

Its going to be an amazing ride southward and I am up for the challenge. I cannot wait to see the different landscapes of California and Mexico in a new way. I do not have any plans. I don’t know when I will return, quit my job and moved my things into two boxes. What I do know that I will be following my heart and that is what I do best! I don’t have any answers, there is no “right way” to live. We just have to find what is right for us!

To end, as I was preparing for my trip I emailed Lukas asking for advice. This is what he had to tell me: “For your Journy I wish you happynes and fullfilment and that you will meet beautifull people. If the situation around you is difficult, you only have to conact with a silence place inside you. There is no fear, no problems. This is the reality. Loos all fear and trust in every moment, you are so strong! The most important things for a your Journey, is your Opinel knife a good tend and a air mattress…If you buy one, you will love it! But the most impotant thinks you need are not heavy but so beautfull. A huge bag full of confidence and the next bag full of patience and you need always a open heard. If you have this, the material things dont have a big importance.” -Lukas 

Bike Tour -San Jose through the Santa Cruz Mountains

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My first climb up a mountain! Wet wet wet wet conditions and mystical clouds filled the hilltops. There was lots of mud, a little getting lost and beautiful music from the frogs, swaying of redwoods and smells of eucalyptus. This ride was transformative as I learned how to interact with my body in a whole new way. I was learning how to ride this new bike and how to make it up long climbs, something I have never done before.

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It was incredible, blissful, almost journey like and magical. The mountains were incredibly difficult to ride up not to mention the 30-40 pounds we carry on our bicycles. I also found out my gears were not as good as anticipated making the climb harder. Going tomorrow to get my bike looked at.

Climbing the mountain took me places I never imagined I could go. Being so physically dependent on my body, almost as a machine was transforming in how I think about the way I treat and take care of it. The quality of food, drink, and love that I put into it is all amplified while riding because it depends on these things to run well. My body wants to be stretched and massaged and given power foods that give me strength and nutrients. I also found I snack more contrasted to eating large meals in one sitting as my body needs time to break food down.

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Once at the top of the 7 mile climb of Mt. Charlie on the old Santa Cruz highway we were faced with an 11 mile downhill one way road 40mph speed limit for cars. Going that fast (not 40mph but breaking a lot) was exhilarating and terrifying in the same moment because you don’t know the road conditions. As well, I wasn’t sure how my weight in the back of the bike impacted the turns and speed. I learned quickly and am constantly being challenged.

We arrived at mystery spot road in the hills of Santa Cruz where we were greeted with eucalyptus trees, more rain, a nice man named Alan with his dog Ronnie and a cave! Yes a cave which was our next venue for the band to play. Acoustic this time.

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The cave was built by hand in 1900 by two brothers who only used picks. You can see the marks upon the wall. They used the space after two years of building for a wine seller as it was cool and dark and well insulated. When prohibition hit the cave was confiscated in terms of the wine production. How tragic! Since then the cave has been through many transformations including a speak-easy and a place for elected solitary confinement. Quite a history!

Playing in the cave was magical and it was so beautiful to hear music from our friend Emily and hear the band Bicicletas por la Paz acoustically. What a magical group of friends I have with me!

So far we have been staying with friends. First night a mansion in Cambell complete with pool and delicious meals and warm showers.

The second night we slept in a palapa a round structure complete with wood burning stove and romantic rain music playing on the roof. We had a rest day in Santa Cruz as our friends Tim and Emily took wonderful care of us. Chickens, forest, barking dogs, magical fog and rain, and much needed rest it was a wonderful trip to Santa Cruz.

Incredible how wonderful all the people that we meet are in helping us in anyway. People love cyclists here in California and the roads are so wonderful for cyclists! So many signs and lanes for us

Bike Touring – The Starting Point Oakland

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Bicicletas por la paz! A travelling group of inclusive amazing cyclists who like to play music, smile and ride bikes!

We are off to Cambell San Jose area! This bike tour has started, 5 in total and we will be heading to Mexico over the next couple of weeks touring with all of our belongings on our bicycles. New adventure!

Well the first day of our tour was rainy, stick filled streets, and lots of wind. California hasn’t had rain in months and the first storm in a while has miraculously hit on our first day. But our spirits were high and we were ready to take on the 40 mile ride or so. We had to take the BART train to the most south station and started from there. It was ridiculous day to start as we were head on with strong winds and pouring down rain. We were just getting used to our bicycles and it was pretty horrendous for a first day!

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6 hours later and lots of different directions later we reached our destination at New Jerseys bar. At this bar we walked in soaking wet with tiny lakes in our shoes and we were cold! It was already dark and we were ready for warmth!

The show was wonderful, lots of high energy, painting and dancing.

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Now today we are off to Santa Cruz through the mountains to play a show in a cave tonight! 30 miles! Should be a good ride!

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Hopefully the rain goes away soon and we wont have to travel with plastic bags on our socks inside of our shoes and walk into shows dripping wet and cold! What is this Seattle?? The storm should only last a couple of days. Can’t wait to get south to see what this California sunshine has to offer. Ready ready for some mountains!

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Bike Tour Preparation

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Today marks the first day of our trip south to Mexico on bicycles! But first just to San Jose, CA. There are four of us riding today and more will meet up with us tomorrow and along the way!

Our group is called bicicletas por La Paz, translation is bikes for peace. We will be playing music shows the whole way down, I will be live painting and we are all riding bikes! There will be a lot of random camping, warm showers, couch surfing and visiting of friends. Some will be joining us along the way and others will leave us along the journey as well.

Click here for the bikes for peace website

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Where will we stop? How long is the trip? It’s open ended and there are endless possibilities.

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The house “Hurricane of Bikes” in Oakland, California has been my home the last week. It’s a collective group of 8 people who all take an active role in the house by sharing food, gardening and putting on community events. The space is unbelievable and typically houses a couple of travelers and couch surfers. I am so thankful for this experience as its prepared me for the journey and I’ve met many people that are so beautiful and unique. Thank you hurricane of bikes house!

Here is to our first day! Off to San Josee, California in the rain for our first ride. I am nervous to carry all that weight at once! It will be a great new experience

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