Another crazy bicycle: STEAMPUNK ArtRides April 2 & 18

Join the San Buenaventura ArtRiders Bicycle and Social Club for this month’s ArtRides to participating First Friday and ArtWalk galleries and art studios.

The theme is STEAMPUNK! No you don’t HAVE to have a Steampunk bike (I’ll be on my bikergo of course) but it’s fun to imagine a bunch of us riding around on these crazy bicycles!

Steampunk FFArtRide April 2:
Meet at the Ventura Beach Promenade Fountain at 5:30pm; ride leaves at 6pm.

Steampunk Sunday ArtWalk ArtRide April 18:
Meet at the Ventura Beach Promenade Fountain at 1:30pm; ride leaves at 2pm. Steampunk Fashion Show & ArtWalk afterparty at Bell Arts Factory 432 N. Ventura Ave. from 4-6pm with beer donated by Anacapa Brewery (thank YOU!) and food TBA.

Participants are encouraged to dress with the Steampunk theme of reINVENTion, reCREATion, and reCYCLE. There will be on-going workshops at Bell Arts and Vita to help.

Think Jules Verne science fiction.
Think Victorian-inspired like corsets and hoop skirts with a punk twist.
Think gears and wrenches, watches and horns.
Think vintage, and otherwise wacky, fun, ornate clothing in natural fibers and colors as well as jewel tones.
If all else fails, think Tweed Ride.

Please DO bring recent inventions, bicycles with headlights, cups for libations, and musical instruments.

Please DON’T wear contemporary looking clothing (jeans, t-shirts, athletic shoes). In addition to being a blast, ArtRides are a performance art piece as well as environmental activism: dressing up draws attention to cycling and to cyclists.

This family friendly ride is free, but donations are welcome.

Learn more about Steampunk and ArtRides at https://bikergogal.wordpress.com.
Join us on facebook: San Buenaventura ArtRiders Bicycle & Social Club.

Coming up FFArtRide May 7: Disco Ball!


Gearing Up for STEAMPUNK ArtRides April 2 & 18: check out THIS bicycle!

Since we decided to do a Steampunk theme for our April ArtRides to celebrate the reINVENTiveness and reCREATiveness and reCYCLEness of Earth month, I’ve been poking around the inter-web searching for all things Steampunk.

But this photo came to me from one of the Burning Moms who is friends with the rider of this amazing bicycle, Raina Woolfolk.

Not only is Raina a rider of stunning Steampunk Bicycles and wearing of Steampunk garb, but she is also a talented artist and jeweler, on sale in her esty store.

And what am I going to wear? Still working on it! I do know that I will be riding my bikergo; however, I have some ideas on ways to Steampunk it out!

I’ll have something ready corsetty and Victorian-esque to wear for the First Friday ArtRide, Friday April 2, which meets at the Artists Union at 5:30pm and leaves there at 6pm. I may even have something different to wear for the ArtWalk Sunday ArtRide April 18 which meets at 1:30pm at the Artists Union and leaves at 2pm. That ArtRide ends at Bell Arts Factory, 432 N. Ventura Ave at 4pm for Project Green Runway: Steampunk ReCycle Fashion Show and afterparty with beer donated by Ventura’s Anacapa Brewery.

Rides are free but we accept donations! Children are welcome; they need helmets and to be accompanied by an adult. Children under 8 need to ride WITH an adult.


How to make your own bamboo bicycle trailer from Magnificent Revolution

Magnificent Revolution (MR) is a not-for-profit education project based in London. Made up of artists, musicians, designers, ecologists, and engineers, MR has flourished into a cross-disciplinary organisation working in education, ecology, engineering, design, art, music and film.

Need to learn how to build a bamboo bicycle trailer? Magnificent Revolution teaches workshops at their site in London or use these plans I found on their website  to build a bamboo bike trailer on your own.

Want to learn how to make a pedal powered generator? Magnificent Revolution offers workshops to make your own people powered genie in four cities in England this year.

Visit their blog to learn about pedal powered cinema, blenders and more. These folks are so amazing they blow the tubes right out of my bikergo!

Not really but it sounds good.


20 Travel Tips for Ireland–for pedestrian, tourist, cyclist, or web voyagers

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

I’ve always had the travel bug but now that I’ve finally made it across the pond to Portugal, next time I go, I’d love to get to Ireland, Wales, England and Scotland too. And of course I want to bring my bikergo with me because the landscape there is perfect for cycling–provided you have protection from the rain!

So when I got a St. Patrick’s Day email from John McNally who travels to Ireland regularly, I thought I’d post the info he shared there in this  guest post; pictured is John, his wife Sally who was born and raised in Ireland, and their daughter on Summer Solstice 2008 touching the Lia Lia Fáil or Stone of Destiny on the Hill of Tara at which the High Kings were crowned.

To celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day, and to help people appreciate the Irish people and culture, John put together a selection of Irish websites along with a brief narrative for anyone with an interest in Ireland or who may be planning a trip there–by foot, by bicycle, or cyberspace.

These are my favorite places and activities,” writes John, “carefully selected and happily experienced as a result of a dozen visits to the Old Sod over the last three decades.

Top 10 Stops in DUBLIN Read the rest of this entry »


Portugal’s Poetry Lined Bicycle Paths

“The river of my village doesn’t make you think about anything.
When you’re at its bank you’re only at its bank.”

“The Tejo has big boats
And there navigates in it still,
For those who see what’s not there in everything,
The memory of fleets.”

Lines from “O Guardador de Rebanhos” by Portuguese writer Fernando Pessoa (written under his pseudonym, Alberto Caeiro)

About the same time I got my bikergo last October 2009, I wrote a 200 word essay and came in as runner-up for  a trip via  Jo Diaz’s Wine Blog from Enoforum Wines to accompany Jo to Portugal to taste wine in the Alentejo Region in November and to write about it. Then the winner had to cancel and at the last minute I was invited to go.

I know! Such luck! In the same month I get the most comfortable bike in the world–my own bikergo!– I win a trip to Portugal to travel and taste wine and to blog about it!

It was an amazing trip as you can see from these pictures, like this lunch in the Monsarez Castle with Jo Diaz, Delfim Costa and Enoforum Winemaker Joao (pictured below–the view from the bullfighting ring).   Read more about the contest and my entry: October 26, 2009 I’m a WINNER! Wine Predator to Attend European Wine Bloggers Conference & Enoforum Oct 30-Nov. 5!.

Traveling in Portugal, exploring the scenic castles, discovering the delicious, flavorful cuisine, tasting the nicely balanced wines,  jotting down as many of those experiences as possible, and posting them as quickly as possible on my blog was awesome and easy. I just didn’t sleep since my days were filled from dawn to well after dark! I kept telling Jo, “we can sleep when we’re dead!” Read about our whirlwind travels here–that’s Jo below at Monsarez.

Writing about Portugal, quickly and somewhat superficially, was easy. Writing about how and why Portugal impacted me and changed me is hard. Portugal had a profound impact on me–and that surprised me. There are a number of reasons but one is that I had no idea that the Portuguese had such a reverence for two of the most important aspects of life to me: the land and literature. And I had no idea they were so into urban cycling for pleasure, commuting and to site see that Lisbon has extensive bicycle paths!

I discovered that to write about Portugal is to try to express the importance of taking care of the land, maintaining a connection to the land, and expressing that love of life and land through the written word, through literature. Literature lives in the hearts of the Portuguese people–lit is not just a class they have to get through.

Living “green” and practicing sustainability is the way of life in Portugal. A people who have lived and thrived in one place for so many generations has to learn this in order to survive there and not run out of natural resources. According to my host Delfim Costa of Enoforum Wines, unlike other European countries, Portugal’s priority was not colonizing. Instead they established a series of ports so they could keep exploring–and then return home again.

After our adventures in Alentejo, where we stayed in a castle and enjoyed this view of the Roman Aquaduct, and saw how closely people live to the land, Delfim drove us to Lisboa. We had a little time on our hands to explore and since our hotel was located on the waterfront near the Aquarium,  that’s where we walked along a broadway that caters to both cyclists and pedestrians.

As an example of the importance of literature to the Portuguese, inside the spacious aquarium, the best one I’ve ever seen or could imagine, instead of only interpretive text, the Portuguese chose to post poetry in English and in Portuguese to articulate the importance of the sea to life.

Outside the Aquarium, we enjoyed walking along by the shore, the site of the 1990 Europian Exposition. Stalls which housed exhibits about various countries now were home to different restaurants featuring ethnic cuisines. The evening weather was mild and we saw plenty of people strolling and riding bicycles–even late at night when we were walking back to our hotel.

On our last day, we walked along the shores of the Tejo which greets the Atlantic near Lisboa and we saw under construction broad bike and pedestrian paths displacing roadways.  These paths are both for the many tourists who flock this area as well as for the locals. I found this dedication and forward thinking a cause of celebration; motorists of course are frustrated–the traffic there is dense enough already. How else will we transform our cities unless we make it easier and safer to commute by bicycle? Lisbon is following the lead of other European cities and is far ahead of cities in the United States.

As a cyclist, I was thrilled to see that Lisboa was making this move; I also knew that Lisboa recently hosted an Aeolian Ride (more Lisbon Aeolian ride photos here by Jessica Findley; I also plan to do a post about the Aeolian Ride there and in Santa Barbara in October). What better way to know a place than by getting out of a car to walk or cycle?

The generally gentle terrain in Portugal, especially the Alentejo wine region, lends itself to exploration by bicycle. I would love to lead a Portuguese castles and cuisine tour–by bikergo! A day or two on bicycles exploring Lisbon to get over the jet-lag then a few days in the Alentejo staying in castles and eating traditional meals with Alentejo wines would be fabulous!

On my last day in Portugal, the importance to the Portuguese of language, poetry, and staying connected to the land resonated within me. In the morning, we went  to the Jeronimos Monastery and saw the tomb of the famed Portuguese poet Luis de Camoes (1525-1580) who led quite an adventurous life, traveled to India and China by ship, and more which enriches his epic poem The Lusiads about Vasco de Gama on the voyage which ultimately connected Europe to India. He is such an important figure to the Portuguese that his birthday is Portugal Day and quotes from his work are commonly and prominently placed on decorate edifices in Portugal. Here’s a poem by Luis Camoes.

Because Enoforum Wines recognizes that a wine is more than the grapes, that it includes the poetry of the people who make the wine and live on the land, Delfim bought me a copy of the epic poem The Lusiads as well as a collection by Fernando Pessoa.

The following words by Pessoa grace the now open pedestrian and bicycle path. Watch a video of Portugal’s Poetic Paths here:

“The river of my village doesn’t make you think about anything.
When you’re at its bank you’re only at its bank.”

“Through the Tejo you go to the World.
Beyond the Tejo is America
And the fortune you encounter there.
Nobody ever thinks about what’s beyond
The river of my village.”

“The Tejo runs down from Spain
And the Tejo goes into the sea in Portugal.
Everybody knows that.
But not many people know the river of my village
And where it comes from
And where it’s going.
And so, because it belongs to less people,
The river of my village is freer and greater.”

“The Tejo has big boats
And there navigates in it still,
For those who see what’s not there in everything,
The memory of fleets.”

“The Tejo is more beautiful than the river that flows through my village,
But the Tejo isn’t more beautiful than the river that flows through my village,
Because the Tejo isn’t the river that flows through my village.”


Brides of March Info & FFArtRide “Brides Ride” Photos

Following the shotgun wedding at City Hall on Friday March 5, we rode our bikes down California Street to the sea where we took photos of the wedding party and popped the cork on a quite drinkable $6 organic cava from Trader Joe’s.

We had a number of brides, as you can see, as well as Lucy the Flower Girl, a few grooms, a mother of the bride (in lovely lavender), and a few bridesmaids too.

After the ceremonial toasting, but prior to more bicycle riding, we did some tree climbing. Several people took photos to prove it and I will post them when they show up!

We went to a number of galleries without mishap save two on the way to City Hall: the one pictured and when my veil got stuck in my bikergo (no photos but I was certainly delayed! Fortunately my friend David answered my desperate cell phone call for assistance!) Yes, I was quite the picture there on the corner of Santa Clara and Hemlock for over 30 minutes. You can imagine the looks I got!

The wedding reception was held at Bell Arts Factory with beer from Anacapa Brewery. It got a little crazy. But no harm was done to animals or artwork.

MANY Brides of March gather TODAY Saturday March 13!  Other Brides hook up next Saturday and Sunday March 20 & 21! Learn more about transforming a gown from a thrift store find into something you can wear yourself at your local Brides of March event.

Can’t find one near you? Make one happen! All you need are some brides. Some champagne helps. So does nerve. Go for it! It’s totally worth it. March lasts a few more weeks! Or set the date NOW for NEXT year: how does Saturday March 12 sound? You could even send out save the date cards!

The bottom line is join the fun and go for a ride! Next month’s ArtRides: STEAMPUNK First Friday ArtRide April 2 and ArtWalk Sunday Ride April 18.

And what do you think:
a Disco Bike Ride & Ball for May?

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Now THAT’s a WILD Steampunk Bicycle! ArtRides April 2 & 18!


The San Buenaventura ArtRiders Bicycle & Social Club
invite YOU to ReCycle & ReInvent the past as well as the future with the upcoming
STEAMPUNK ArtRides First Friday April 2 and ArtWalk Sunday April 18!

Even though my bikergo is so NOT Steampunk, I’m still dressing up! I’ve got a fabulous sapphire blue skirt, corset and scarf from a thrift store as well as another sapphire blue thrift store find that’s dazzling with jewels. I should be able to create something wonderful from those materials! And I may just transform my bikergo by wrapping it up in something rad and steampunk-like.

What is STEAMPUNK? Some describe is as a “step sideways in time.”

If you’re curious and in the SF Bay Area, check out the workshops, lectures, sessions, and discussions on all things Steampunk at the “The Nova Albion Steampunk Exhibition March 12-14 in Emeryville takes the best elements of traditional science fiction and fantasy conventions, combines them with the passion, ingenuity, and hands-on workshops of Maker events, and places it all in a steam-powered, neo-Victorian setting that spans the 1830s through the early 1910s, from the cultured salons of gaslit London to the rugged coast of San Francisco..

You could say, rightly, that Steampunk is all about making stuff. Making it yourself. Using old stuff to make cool new stuff like old gears and typewriter keys, using materials like brass (the working person’s gold), all in a color scheme far from artificial flavors and colors. An aesthetic that allows you to see the workings, that celebrates the hand that created it.

According to an article on the blog Temple SF, Steampunk offers a peek at clockwork corsetry and hydraulics operated moving machines. Steampunk tinkerers rethink where technology could have led us and the New Albion Steampunk Exhibition which begins today shows us how with a “mass of punks and nonconventional individuals in Victorian garb and laboriously created wings, monocles, wrist weaponry and whatnot, all milling about to waltz music in a very conventional hotel convention space.” Read the rest of this entry »