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Posts Tagged ‘beauty’

It’s been five months since my last public confession ūüôā ¬†After five insanely busy months, I have the time to breathe and update those on what I’ve been consumed with.

For almost three years, I had been persistently and patiently working on two dream projects of mine: ¬†to bring the first ‘Open Streets’ to Columbus as well as piloting Columbus’ first ‘parklet.’ ¬†For those reading this that don’t know, ‘Open Streets’ is a free initiative that temporarily closes streets down to autos and opens them up for people to engage in fun, healthy activities like yoga, biking, breakdancing, and more. ¬†It’s all about experiencing streets as public spaces. ¬†When I was a kid, I played in the streets ALL the time. ¬†I rode my bike with my best friends and that’s just what we did. ¬†These days, streets are too dangerous. ¬†Playgrounds are built far away from the streets because the dangers of motor vehicle speeds and distracted drivers have reigned supremacy.

The ‘parklet.’ ¬†A ‘parklet’ is when you convert on-street parking spaces into ‘people’ spaces. ¬†I remember having this conversation with my friend Liz over two years ago. ¬†We met for coffee and I said, ‘Liz, I wanna pilot a parklet and I want to use one of your places.’ ¬†Without hesitation, she said, ‘absolutely.’

As one of my favorite people says, ‘Sometimes you have to turn things upside down to get them right-side up’ (Fred Kent). ¬†I whole-heartedly believe this with every ounce of my being. ¬†My two dreams projects did just that, turned things upside down. ¬† When it comes to parking and road space we’ve given too much to the vehicle that when we try to do what’s right and step in and change it, people go cray! ¬†The idea of closing downtown streets to cars to let people of all ages and abilities ‘play’ in them raised eyebrows. ¬†No matter if I came to them showing them the data of other cities putting on ‘Open Streets’ and how ridiculously successful it was/is. ¬†Successful from a public health angle. ¬†Successful from a business economics angle. ¬†Successful from a community engagement angle. ¬†Successful from a broader encouragement of multi-modal transportation. ¬†‘Open Streets’ has transformed cities across the U.S. ¬†Aside from the hard data, I had the privilege of experiencing Los Angeles’ ‘CicLAvia’ last April. ¬†When you think Los Angeles, you think of boxtox and traffic; ‘carmaggedon.’ ¬†Los Angeles’ CicLAvia / Open Streets has been such a raging success that they put on 3 / year and close anywhere between 6-12 miles of Los Angeles streets. ¬†That is not a typo people. ¬†The one I experienced last April, tens of THOUSANDS of people came out and participated in playing and owning their streets – free from motor vehicle danger. ¬†What resonated with me, as I stood in the middle of Wilshire Blvd was that so many families and people of all ages and backgrounds wanted to come and have a safe place to ride or play. ¬†There aren’t enough safe places to ride and we just don’t slow down enough to appreciate our environment. ¬†We have the ability to change our built environment when we realize the TRUE potential. ¬†That’s why Open Streets has been so important to me. ¬†I’ve seen what it does to people and cities.

After almost three years, organizations such as People For Bikes, Transit Columbus, Jeni’s, New Belgium Brewing, Capital Crossroads SID, Columbus Public Health , CD 102.5, Mt. Carmel East, Eccolyfe Designs, CDDC, Skreened, ID2014, and the Great Photobooth; stepped up to the plate and said, ‘we get it and they all invested.’ ¬†On Sunday, September 21st, Columbus joined the long list of other Open Streets cities. ¬†We closed 0.8 miles of downtown Rich St. ¬†I have to say it was a fantastic FIRST Open Streets for this city. ¬†Columbus still has a long way to go in order to be a contending ‘bike-friendly’ city. ¬†We’re making great progress but we have a long way to go. ¬†We’ve heard nothing but positive feedback about Open Streets Columbus. ¬†Our goal is to aim for ‘2’ Open Streets next year. ¬†Success with an initiative like this cannot come overnight. ¬†It must be recurring so people understand the concept and purpose. ¬†With all the people and kids that came out and enjoyed the day, they now understand why Open Streets is so effective and successful. ¬†All of those people will be future cheerleaders- spreading the Open Streets Columbus love as we put on future events.

I loved seeing how many kids were there.  I loved watching the parents not have any fear b/c that fear had been removed.  People laying a blanket out in the middle of the street b/c they could.  Getting people to look at their streets differently; seeing their streets as public spaces instead of only cars and parking is why Open Streets is so effective.

Here are some fun photos from Sept. 21st:

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We had about 18 high school students from the Mosiac school volunteer.  They loved it and we loved having them!

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Early on jenga users

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Headstand challenge at the intersection of High and Rich. ¬†I can bet ¬†this is something you don’t see everyday!
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So many people loved having the Rich St. bridge all to themselves.  Headstands, hangtime, biking, breakdancing, ska

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POGA Columbus held their last ‘pop-up’ yoga for the summer at Open Streets. ¬†What a great crowdphoto 4

Our ‘Scioto Beach’ was one of the biggest successes of Open Streets. ¬†Yep, we built a small beach on the Rich St. Bridge. ¬†Kid approved!zeke open streets

 

The comment above is the reason I have fought for Open Streets for so long.  This is exactly how we want people to feel.

Switch gears to the ‘Columbus Parklet Project.’ ¬†We had the great opportunity to unveil Columbus’ first parklet at the great Independents’ 2014. ¬†Getting more eyes and butts in the parklet would only help generate more buzz for the 30 day pilot over at Dirty Franks downtown. ¬†It sure did. It just so happened that unveiling the parklet at ID2014, was the same weekend as Open Streets Columbus. ¬†Needless to say, I was stressed, excited, anxious, and hopeful. ¬†No NEW project would be complete without its obstacles and we sure had some of those. ¬†But, you push through and you take every moment as a teaching moment which I did.

The parklet was a great success at ID2014. ¬†The following week it was moved outside of Dirty Franks Hot Dog Palace where it’ll be there for one month for the public to embrace (hopefully). ¬†Again, this is a concept happening in other cities that are getting people and businesses to re-imagine the potential within our city streets. ¬†Over 82% of drivers are single occupancy. ¬†You drive your car to Dirty Franks, you park right out front and its YOU…one person. ¬†You remove that parking space, convert it to ‘people space’ allowing people to sit, eat their lunch, converse, and just be visible to other drivers passing by, you automatically create buzz. ¬†If you’re a business owner giving people a place to sit and stay for while, chances are they’ll spend money. ¬†The idea of the one month pilot is to introduce the concept to both the people of Columbus and business owners. ¬†The sky won’t fall if you remove one parking space usually taken up by ONE person and you convert it to where 12+ people can share and enjoy it. ¬†We’ll collect data over the month during different times of the day as well as public feedback. ¬†Thus far, its been super successful (minus a few haters and there always will be). ¬†The Columbus Parklet Project had great support from businesses such as: MKSK Designs, Dirty Franks, Kaufman Development, Creath Landscape Design, Drift Industry, DRAC, Eccolyfe Designs, Columbus Eye, Square One Salon & Spa, and Wolf’s Ridge Brewing. ¬†What really catches my eye is that every one of these businesses has nothing to do with the other. ¬†They all come from different backgrounds yet they all see the Columbus Parklet Project as a great, fresh concept and are willing to invest. ¬†Our goal is to get buy-in from this 30 day pilot to where we are able to expand and build new parklets with new designs in different parts of Columbus. ¬†These small ‘interventions’ within our streets can become ‘destinations’ for people. ¬†Parklets are part of the ‘lighter, quicker, cheaper’ strategy that many cities are embracing. ¬†When people can be a part of a project from beginning to end there’s more personal investment that happens and a sense of ownership and pride.

I had some incredible people step up to help make this first parklet a reality: Ryan, Michael, Carey, Jess, Jerry, and Sarah.

Here are couple photos.  I encourage you to take a jaunt over to Dirty Franks within the next month.  Purchase a dog and have a seat in the parklet.

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The beginning stages.parklet progress

 

Setting up before the big ID2014 weekend.

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Lots of traffic during Independents’ weekend. ¬†first parklet DF

Ryan and Michael finishing up moving the parklet from Franklinton to downtown
safe_imageThe Columbus Dispatch published a piece on the parklet this past weekend.

And those are two of the projects I’ve been up to:) ¬†These two projects have meant so much to me¬†and I believe that with time and iterations of both, the people of Columbus will embrace. ¬†I look forward to both Open Streets Columbus and the Columbus Parklet Project expanding and becoming initiatives that people support and want to be a part of.

 

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The weather for our ride was perfect, the evening of our Halloween Ride. ¬†And to make it complete, my pals from Paradise Garage let me use their awesome Surly to which we strapped a wireless amp to the front and we jammed to music through the streets of Columbus. ¬†Below are just a few of the incredible images that the amazing Jennifer Grimm took of our evening. ¬†Our costume theme was simple: ¬†black skirts and fun, crazy tights! ¬†The girls had a blast and now I’m hooked on having music on every ride ūüôā

Keep riding and be safe.

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A handful of months ago, I was on the bus and my phone rings. ¬†It’s my friend Ruth. ¬†Here’s a summary of that convo:

Ruth:  Hey, what are you doing Oct.11th?

Me:   Volunteering for you, for Tedx.

Ruth:  How would like to be on the other side Рspeaking?

Me: ¬†Don’t tease me.

Ruth: ¬†I’m not.

Long story short, I spoke at this year’s 5 year anniversary TEDx Columbus on Oct. 11th. ¬†My talk was exactly the subject line of this post. ¬†Women and families are going to be the determining factor in how cities can really gauge if they are thriving bike-friendly cities. ¬†If cities really want to know how bike-friendly they, they need to quit with the surveys and get out onto the corners and start counting how many women are riding bikes. ¬†

Thank you, Ruth for believing in me to speak about my passion. ¬†TEDx has been successfully accomplished. ¬†Next: ¬†TED Talk ūüôā

Be safe and keep riding

Enjoy.

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I’m late but I have a good excuse: ¬†grant writing, presentation building for public speaking engagements and…. naps ūüôā

July’s ride was super duper fantastic. ¬†This month’s ride supported the one and only – Grass Skirt Tiki Room. ¬†Easily 40+ women showed up on a glorious evening for our ride. ¬†We slow biked from Grass Skirt and explored the Bexley neighborhood and it was one of the prettiest rides we went on. ¬†The evening temperature was perfect and the Bexley streets were so quiet and filled with beautiful landscapes and extroardinary homes. ¬†We made our way back by biking through Franklin Park Conservatory, Olde Towne, East, Downtown, and ending at Grass Skirt.

This random route was some of the ladies favorite thus far. ¬†Among the wonderful comments of the evening, I received one that really stuck out. ¬†One woman said she loved my rides b/c she gets to see neighborhoods she’s never been to nor biked through. ¬†She loves seeing all the personalities of the neighborhoods on bike. ¬†I loved hearing that b/c I always wonder if the ladies are enjoying the routes ūüôā ¬†The bicycle is so awesome in so many ways. ¬†Bringing diverse women together, building women’s confidence to ride more frequently. ¬†Creating friendships. ¬†Exploring neighborhoods and getting a taste of local businesses they may never have heard of and now would go back and support ūüôā

This is a good transition into another reason why my ride always supports 1-2 local businesses. ¬†We still live in the mind frame where a car parked out front of a business means economic impact. ¬†I want these businesses to have that light bulb go off and see that 16 bike riders parked in a parking spot brings a business more money and from a visual perspective, it adds life in front of that business and it peaks spectators interest who are driving past as well. ¬†We need to let go of this idea that parking is ‘end all be all’ of businesses succeeding. ¬†It can also help ease concerns from business owners should a nearby street be redesigned with bicycle facilities. ¬†Any interest in joining this incredibile and diverse group of women on bikes, shoot me an email ūüôā

Enjoy the beautiful pics taken by the lovely and awesome Jennifer Grimm

Be safe and keep riding

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Yesterday was a bit bittersweet. ¬†It was the last day for ‘Girls in Gear’ with this group of incredible girls. ¬†They have just been the sweetest, most thoughtful and super enthusiased. ¬†They have all been so kind to one another and have complimented and helped one another through the program.

The speaker / community leader that spoke with them yesterday is a dear friend of mine and life coach – Naila Chauncey Hughes. ¬†Through the program and getting to know these girls, Naila was the one that kept repeating in my mind to meet and inspire these girls. ¬†And, she did! ¬†‘The bike allows you to go at your own pace and that’s how you need live your life – at YOUR own pace and nobody elses.’ ¬†She engaged the girls in a way that they all could understand. ¬†I was inspired. ¬†I’ve only been in Nai’s presence a couple of times when she’s doing her thing and yesterday, she just reconfirmed how much she loves what she does and how good she is at it. ¬†These girls are still sponges when it comes to opportunities and I want ‘Girls in Gear’ to be this eight-week tsunami of opportunities and experiences that they all soak in and hopefully use throughout their lives. ¬†Thank you, Nai!

After, the girls received their bikes, we practiced the correct way to lock up your bike and then we took one last group ride together through the neighborhood. ¬†We also rode on W. Broad St! ¬†If any of you reading this are familiar with Broad St, it’s an inner-city highway that runs East and West. ¬†I pulled the girls over before getting on Broad St. and asked them how they felt and they WERE READY TO CONQUER! ¬†One of my graduates from the first round of ‘Girls in Gear’ Keagan took the very back of the group while I was in front. ¬†She was fantastic at being the end leader ūüôā

I’m currently recruiting for the next cycle and will be heading back to the Hilltop YMCA as they would love to have another round of ‘Girls in Gear.’ ¬†The girls from this round are all ready excited to come back and help mentor the upcoming round of young girl leaders.

Enjoy the pics.

Be safe and keep riding

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We had a fantastic evening ride last night. ¬†We began at Camelot Cellars (thanks, Janine) for our ‘meet & greet.’ ¬†As we rounded up, I walk outside and look to both my left and right and bikes were locked up to meters, trees, you name up; up and down the entire block. ¬†It was a beautiful sight!

We rode about 9 miles and through a variety of neighborhoods. ¬†As we were biking east on Long St. I stopped and counted 51 women riders. ¬†I’m really excited to watch the ride continue to grow throughout the summer and beyond.

Enjoy!

Be safe and keep riding

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About eight months ago, I had my two friends Mimi Webb and Jeannie Martin join me for a beer so that I could present them with an idea. ¬†I went to California the end of last summer for two separate Bicycle Conferences. ¬†At both conferences, there were specific ‘women forums’ to continue to forward efforts of increasing women ridership here in the U.S. ¬†Leaving California, I was both inspired and new what I had to do in Ohio. ¬†Fast forward to the evening with Mimi and Jeannie. ¬†I told them I planned to organize the first statewide ‘Ohio Women’s Bicycling Summit’ and would they be interested in joining me in this effort. ¬†Immediately, they said ‘hell yes!” ¬†So, for eight months, Jeannie, Mimi, and myself met and planned out this Summit.

Interest and excitement generated, immediately. ¬†Our main sponsors, ROLL and Trek were absolutely incredible. ¬†Then, Detroit’s ‘Autobike’ got in touch with us. ¬†ARC Imaging donated printing costs for us. ¬†And last but not least, food trucks! ¬†OH! Burgers! and Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams sponsored and killed it during lunch time ūüôā ¬†Green Bean Delivery covered all of the yummy fruits during the Summit. ¬†Thank you to all the talented and incredible speakers: ¬†Lisa Hinson, Tammy Krings, Marjorie Shavers, Lindsay Sherman, Lindsey Bower, Emily Burnett, Ohio’s First Lady Karen Kasich, Julie Walcoff, and Rep. Teresa Fedor.

72 women from around the state of Ohio and two women from Indiana.  The overwhelming positive responses from both the attendees and the presenters was absolutely amazing.  The Summit ran without any huge hiccups.  Women were learning, asking questions, laughing, meeting new women, and just enjoying themselves.

I’m grateful for such an amazing first Summit. ¬†This will turn into an annual event. ¬†My main focus is making our city inviting and safe to more modes of transportation. ¬†Men, women, and children deserve ‘choice’ to be able to move about our cities and feel safe doing so. ¬†Us advocates can provide the education; can organize bike rides to build confidence; but there are other components in making people feel that ‘choice,’ in moving around is priority: ¬†political will and infrastructure. ¬†Our wide, arterial streets need to be road dieted and designed with protected bike lanes. ¬†The perception of safety is what I feel a lot of our engineers are missing. ¬†I’ll say it until the light bulb goes off, ‘sharrows do not invite families to ride and feel safe on arterial streets that are four + lanes across and each lane 12+ wide. ¬†Road diets, the narrowing of lanes, and an integrated bicycle network of green lanes, protected lanes, bike boxes, etc. will announce that our leaders are serious about inviting people of all ages to move around the city. ¬†Our leaders making decisions need to be okay with hearing complaints instead of trying to please everyone. ¬†When you create change, you’re gonna hear complaints but the only way to change behavior is to change the infrastructure. ¬†You’re NOT changing the infrastructure when you lay down sharrows.

We have a long way to go and we’re doing better but… ¬†we could be doing even MORE. ¬†We can be building and piloting innovative and bold infrastructure that IS WORKING in other cities. ¬†If we continue to remain status- quo as a city, we’ll continue to get left behind.

Some photos from the first ‘Ohio Women’s Bicycling Summit.’

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Be safe and keep riding!

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If you follow my blog or just have seen some of my recent blog posts, you can gauge that I’m passionate about empowering women and providing them with the tools to feel confident to ride their bikes more. ¬†I’ve began this great monthly ladies ride ‘2 Wheels & Heels’ which spun from the original up in Cleveland via Lindsey Bower. ¬†There is a niche that’s been missing here in Columbus, Ohio and it’s this inclusive group that I’ve initiated and just with word of mouth and social media, seems to grow like wildfire.

Aside from bringing together all levels of women riders, I wanted to empower younger girls. ¬†Over the summer, I read this amazing research paper by Elizabeth Jose discussing how there really weren’t any girls-specific youth empowerment programs through the bicycle. ¬†The light bulb went off and I knew after reading that paper that I was the right woman for the job; hence – ‘Girls in Gear.’

It is an eight week program held once a week.  There are four areas of study that this program encompasses:

1.  Bicycle Safety.  Learning the basics of bicycle safety over a two week period (lighting at night, hand signals, proper helmet fitting, ABC quick check of bike, door zone, etc.

2.  Bicycle Mechanics.  Two women professionals will come in over a two week period and go over the anatomy of the bicycle, fixing a flat exercises, gear shifting, bike cleaning and maintenance, and brakes.

3. ¬†Urban Design. ¬†Two women professional will come in over a two week period and discuss the basics of urban design and planning. ¬†We’ll be conducting an audit of two streets in which the girls will then have the opportunity to re-create these two streets into their ideal, ‘safe’ street for all.

4.  Public Speaking.  The girls will then discuss in the class how they came up with their street designs.

Upon full completion of their eight weeks, the girls will be awarded a bicycle along with the opportunity to meet Mayor Coleman. ¬†The idea is to not only discuss ‘Girls in Gear’ but to also present their newly designed streets to the Mayor and talk to him about their creations.

I want this program to continue to flourish and expand as far as it can go.  Middle school age is very tough age.  Developmental changes, physical changes, peer pressure Рall these components that over consume a young girl.  Girls in Gear empowers them to learn how to fix things, problem solve, communicate, design streets to which maybe one or two them will end up going to school for City Planning or Urban Landscape Architecture Рall professions that are still heavily male dominated.  The four areas of focus in this program revolve around the bike however, these development tools can be manipulated to fit into any part of a young girls life and well into adulthood.

I’m just finished my fourth week yesterday and as each week progresses, the girls just impress me more and more.

Enjoy the photos.

Stay safe and keep riding

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Keegan created a ‘bike safety poster on ‘Sharing the Road.’

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Lindsey’s poster was on ‘reflective clothing.’

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Abigail’s was also on ‘Share the Road,’ the ‘do’s’ and ‘dont’s.’

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Anna from Roll and Emily from Paradise Garage were the two mechanics teaching the girls the basics.  They did fabulous!

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Showing the girls the ‘bare bones’ of the bicycle

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After Emily and Anna went through the steps of changing a flat, the four girls practice.  All four changed a flat by themselves.  It was fantastic!

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Abigail pumping up the tire she just changed.

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Alijah and Lindsey changing another flat.  These girls ARE impressive!

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Alijah and Lindsey both practicing releasing the brake, using the quick release and removing both front and rear tires.

 

 

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So, back in November, I organized my monthly ‘2 Wheels’ night to be a basic mechanics evening. ¬†Ladies were very interested and asked if I could set something up and of course I did. ¬†It was a super successful evening at Paradise Garage. ¬†Emily Burnett and Sarah Elizabeth were fantastic in teaching the ladies the basics about their bicycles.

Well, post holidays, I received requests about another basic mechanics evening since folks missed the first one as well as folks just learning so much from the first one – they wanted another.

So this time, Trek Bicycle Store off of Lane Ave hosted us.

42 women showed up last night. ¬†Women ranging from 11 yrs old to 50’s and older. ¬†Numerous ethnic backgrounds and riding abilities. ¬†All women wanting to know best practices, the ‘dos’ and ‘don’t’s’ when riding your bike. ¬†Trek’s Raeda and Rhonda took the ladies through the basics of changing a flat, shifting gears, lubing your chain, cleaning your bike due to weather, riding clothing, as well as a few safety tips. ¬†I’m very conscious of ending these events around 9pm. ¬†We’re women and we have numerous responsibilities let alone, we seem to always over extend ourselves. ¬†Well, last night women were asking such wonderful questions that even after the event, women stayed to continue to ask questions.

This kind of an environment was so humbling to be a part of.  It was comfortable, and nobody felt foolish when asking their questions.  The environment and the experiences that took place last night are exactly why I do this.  There IS a need for empowering women and providing women with these kinds of environments so they can build their confidence to ride more.

I feel like women left last night really excited about what they learned and about what’s to come for Women on Bikes -2013 in Columbus. ¬†I look forward to weather being beautiful and the ‘2 Wheels & Heels’ ride being out of control, over populated with women coming from all over wanting to become more confident in their riding.

Women make up over 85% of the decision making within families today. ¬†We are the majority when it comes to volunteering in our communities as well as when it comes to taking our kids to school. ¬†If women are confident and excited about riding their bikes, its going to be that much easier to funnel that excitement to their kids. ¬†The bike needs to be ‘normalized’ and women will be the one’s to do this.

Enjoy the photos from last night’s mechanics. ¬†Thanks again to Trek Bicycle Store of Lane Ave. ¬†If you’re a fb user, be sure to search ‘2 Wheels & Heels’ and ‘LIKE’ us. ¬†Also, search for ‘Ohio Women’s Bicycling Summit’ as myself and two other colleagues are organizing the first statewide women’s bicycling summit – here in Columbus, Ohio.

Be safe and keep riding.

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So, finally the clouds parted – the sun was shining and the temperature wasn’t bone chilling. ¬†This past Saturday was our winter Tweed ride ¬†which was a fantastic success. ¬†I’m guessing there were close to forty riders eagerly wanting to get back on their bikes. ¬†Prior to the Tweed ride, I hadn’t ridden my bike in five days b/c of the ice still coating the side streets of where I live.

Beginning at Cup o’ Joe in the Short North we then hit off to Franklinton Cycle Works. ¬†We hung out, I took more photos, and had coffee and fruit that was donated by Green Bean Delivery. ¬†On to German Village we rode. ¬†Every Tweed ride, we have a group photo at Schiller Park. ¬†This group photo was one of my favorites taken b/c of the snow covered grounds. ¬†It set a nice tone to our ride and of course, the picture.

Thanks to everyone who joined in on the ride.  I think everyone had a wonderful time.  One of the things I absolutely love about bikes and social bike rides is how it brings people together and how it creates friendships.  I notice that immediately and it puts a smile on my face.

Another Tweed ride will happen in the Spring so stay tuned.  Enjoy the photos

Be safe and keep riding.

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