An Ode to Spooky Bike Rides: Ghost Flats

starsntreesAs the nights grow longer here in Seattle riding in the dark is something you have to get used to. Lights and reflective accessories aside, I like the dark. I love pedaling near Lake Washington and seeing this vast dark space of the water and the glittering bridges that cross it. I like taking the dark roads, the ones with few street lights and good chances for owl encounters.

That being said there are those spooky moments, when you hear a startling sound. The tell-tale rumblings of an impending flat tire on a dark moonless night. Here is my ode to those moment from Pedal, Stretch, Breathe. Happy Halloween!

The other day I was biking home and decided, like I most often do, that I would prefer the slightly longer, windy road that leads up the backside of the hill. I am drawn to the winding curves of the switchback road instead of a beeline straight up. It is also home to one of my favorite spots in Seattle proper, the Louisa Boren Denny memorial stone on Interlaken Blvd.

In the 1890’s City Engineer George F. Cotterill was scouting out good routes for bikes and buggies. Interlaken was established as the primary route between Capitol Hill and Lake Washington. This road was specifically designed with cycling in mind, as well as to capture splendid views. It was these bike routes that laid the foundation for the city’s Boulevards. In 1913 the adjacent park was named after Louisa Boren Denny, the last remaining pioneer from the Denny Party, the white folks who “founded” Seattle.

About midway up the hill there is a memorial stone placed to honor Louisa by the Washington Women’s Pioneering Organization. I’ve always been drawn to the that stone and not only because it is a great place to stop for a water break. This admirable pioneer woman was interested in a variety of subjects including philosophy, chemistry and botany.
Legend has it that she brought her beloved sweetbriar rose bush all the way from Illinois to Seattle. The lovely and aromatic rose can be found growing along the shores of the Puget Sound today.

Riding a bicycle on these historic routes connects to me to the history of this place and the Pacific Northwest plants surrounded the streets. And in summer I love to nibble on the blackberries fighting to claim road space. They are not the native variety, but I guess me, Louisa and the Blackberry and all have that in common. Part of what makes riding a bike so wonderful is I can take the most beautiful routes around town. Instead of fighting through the traffic downtown and taking the (albeit very nice) buffered bike line across the bridge to run errands, I can cut through the park and take the bike path.

In the dark moonless nights riding on the crumbling road stirs sound of an impending flat tire. You stop to check, but alas your wheels are fully inflated. So you ride on, but the sound of ghost flats will haunt you until you reach the top of the hill. It is like riding in the tracks of all the people who have biked here before you.

 

 

Advertisements

Cycling the Seasons: Fall

Autumn – Early Winter (Vata):

The blustery winds of fall bring change. As nights grow longer it is important to prepared for the unexpected. Just as squirrels tuck away treats for Winter, cyclists need to start storing more “Just-in-case” gear in your bag.

On your bike: It is a good time to get a tune-up. Prepare your bike for winter with fenders, bike lights and pack extra layers as the evenings get chilly.  I am a OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAhuge fan of always having extra socks, gloves and sometimes, a change of clothes. Bike lights become essential. I am a terrible bike light owner, I lose them, I drop them or forget to charge the batteries, etc. So if you can afford it I highly recommend a Dynamo hub for the front wheel. The hub converts the energy of your wheel and powers your bike lights. I also like that the lights are bolted on.

It is also important to have enough food to energize you on bike rides. Nothing is worse than realizing your are totally exhausted, starving and five miles away from your destination. Bring snacks, even if you end up not eating it, there will be those moments when you are incredibly thankful for them.

On the mat: Fall is this great time to re-establish a routine. In my weekly classes I start to see the studio fill up with people returning back to the mat. Yoga is an incredibly grounding practice and can help you find a little bit more balanced in all elements of your life. In Fall, especially around the equinox I like to focus on balance. Balance is more like a dance with breath. We are always moving, always breathing, balance is not statue still. To have good balance is to dance with pose. Accept the shaking ankle muscles getting stronger as you hold Dancer. To have good balance means sometimes you fall down, but you get up and try again.

To learn about how to cycle through the rest of the seasons grab a copy of my book Pedal, Stretch, Breathe: The Yoga of Bicycling

Enjoy the Journey: Pretty Pictures From Bike Tour

Traveling by bicycle is a wonderful way to enjoy the process of getting somewhere, in fact that is half the fun. On the course of tour it was enchanting to explore the places in between our destinations.

When you are traveling at the speed of a bicycle you can catch better views of blue herons wading in wet lands and check out some of the scenic treasures of back roads.

photo(36) Albany Park in Corvallis, OR

During the workshop at Eco Fusion Fitness we rode over to Avery Park. It is a wonderful spot that even has dinosaur bones to play on, featured in the background of this picture. You can bet after doing a little bit of yoga we ran over to play!

Corvallis has bike lanes on almost all of the streets and it was very easy to navigate around town. I enjoyed biking along the waterfront and the rural road that led us to town from the Albany Train Station. When

From Bellingham to B.C.

photo(35)One of the most epic days of tour began just South of Bellingham at the Lookout Arts Quarry (photo on the right). Tom and I woke up in a teepee, one of the many creative dwellings at the Quarry. I took a morning dip in the clear and cool water and then we set off to Canada.

This day was some of my favorite riding in part because we got to see a diversity of landscapes from green filled forests, farmland and beaches.

photo(37)

This pier between Fairhaven and Bellingham was meant for moving slow and taking in the views.

Below is a road in Surrey, B.C. right after crossing the border before we headed up the hills to White Rock, where we caught transit into the city of Vancouver. I love the epic vistas of coast lines with islands in the distance. As someone who hails from a land locked state, Islands and large bodies of water still enchant me.

photo(34)

photo(33)Vancouver Island, B.C.

For the majority of the route from the Ferry Terminal at Swartz Bay to Victoria Tom and I were able to take the Lochside Trail. It was a good trail that again really highlighted the terrain of the island. We biked by waterfront parks, farms with really big pigs and even this hidden spot that was made for people named Kelli and had adorable recycled art that I of course totally loved.

photo(32)Port Angeles to Port Townsend

I can’t totally remember exactly where we were along the Olympic Discovery Trail when Tom took this one. All I know is we went over a lot of really epic bridges on this trip! This ride challenging yet worth it. The Olympic Peninsula does not hold back on her hills, but her views and forests are lovely.

I am very inspired to go back and spend more time bike camping on the Olympic Peninsula, but I have to admit, this time I would leave the books at home!

The Ups and Downs of a Mutli-Modal Bike Tour

I am back in Seattle after a whirlwind journey of the Pacific Northwest book tour to promote Pedal, Stretch, Breathe: The Yoga of Bicycling, using a combination of bicycles, trains, ferry boats and buses. The map below, made by Tom, shows how we pieced together our travels.

As any bike tour there will be some very literal ups and downs to the trip, especially in the Pacific Northwest. The trip was incredibly fun and rewarding, with many more ups than downs. The combination transit and biking really opened up a greater distance we could travel in a short period of time. Combining bikes with other ways to get around was efficient for our time and energy. This trip was really enlightening and I’d like to share with you some things I learned.

Lesson 1:

Allocate more time than you think you need when combining public transit + bike

Since the tour centered around events that were at scheduled times it was really important we had enough time to actually make it to the event. The bus can be really helpful for speeding up things. But also don’t count on making that bus or having room for your bike on it. Since many buses only have spots for two or three bikes, sometimes there is no room for you and you have to catch the next bus. Our friend Danny joined us for camping near the end of tour. When we were trying to get from Deception Pass to Langley by noon, Island transit was pretty vital to us making it on time.  I highly advise to bike to the point where the bus starts. We took all three spots, so there were people with bikes who had to take the next bus. This totally sucks and can happen. It also speaks to the need of more bike spots on buses.

Lesson 2:

On the Ferry Boat Leaving Victoria, B.C.

On the Ferry Boat Leaving Victoria, B.C.

Take Ferry Boats & Trains because they are fun

Taking the Cascades train especially because you don’t need to box up your bike for this train. The down side of course is that there is a $5 fee to put your bike on the train. The scenery on the train is great, I loved seeing the stunning mountains, farms, seas and forest. I enjoyed traveling by the train a lot and wish more Amtrak lines had bike spots like the Cascades.

Biking on Washington Ferry Boats rocks. There are lots of spots for bikes. The B.C. boat we took from Tsawwssen to Swartz Bay was very big and fancy, but there were only two specific bike spots, not enough to accommodate all of the bikes. There was another cyclist who had to just lean his bike elsewhere.

Lesson 3:

You will still get enough bike riding in, even if you don’t bike the whole way.

On a bicycle it is really easy to make connections between different towns and once we arrived bikes helped us explore the town we are staying in. It was also fun to compare bike infrastructure, like all the protected bike lanes in Vancouver or in Corvallis which has bike lanes on almost every street.  As it turns out, sometimes the train station is not at all in the town it claims to be in (Olympia) so you get to explore in between towns too. We definitely got to explore beautiful trails and remote roads in between towns, one of my favorite rides was on Lake Samish Drive, just South of Bellingham.

Please join me this Saturday at 4pm at Timbuk2 Store on 7th & Pine Downtown for my Pedal, Stretch, Breathe: The Yoga of Bicycling Reading and Release Party!

There will be giveaways for the first 25 folks who have registered that show up, a raffle, a slow bike race and more! Hope to see you there.

Timbuk2-Logo

A special thanks to Timbuk2, Cascade Bicycle Club and The Seattle Bike Blog

What is a yoga + bike adventure anyway?

It is less than one week until I take off for my Pedal, Stretch, Breathe book tour. Among the events I am holding are Yoga + Bike Adventures, a chance to really practice integrating yoga with bike riding.

What is a Yoga + Bike Adventure? Good question, let break it down a little bit:findyourflowchart

Warm Up

We start with a mat-free yoga practice that involves a few simple postures threaded together with deep breathing. This is a simple practice that allows you to check in with your body and loosen up a little bit before you head out on the road. This is inspired by the “Find Your Flow Chart” found in Pedal, Stretch, Breathe.

Grab Your Bicycle

Take a moment to grab your bicycle and test out how to use it as a prop to help you balance, twist and stretch out. On our yoga bike adventures I ask participants to pay attention to there surroundings, notice the sounds you hear as you ride and find a rhythm with your breathing and pedaling. On our tour we will be exploring some really beautiful places.

In Corvallis we will ride from Eco Fusion Fitness to Avery Park, where we will stop and smell the roses. Rumor has it that Corvallis has better bike infrastructure than Portland…so you know I am super excited to check it out.

Yoga Adventure in Seattle Roanoke Park

Yoga Adventure in Seattle Roanoke Park

In Olympia we explore the great bike trails nearby Wild Grace Arts. We will stop for a moment to practice a few poses and take in the beauty of Olympia.

In Port Angeles we will begin our adventure at Kula Yoga Studio and then bike along the Olympic Discovery trail and do yoga on the beach. Yoga, bike rides along the water…can life really get any better?

Restore

After our adventure taking yoga out of the studio and on to the bike path, we will return to the studio with the comfort of walls, mats, blankets and straps to move into some of my very favorite restorative postures for cyclists. These poses are great if you are feeling lazy  after a long ride and will help all that tight stuff unwind.

 

Break the Cycle of Violence with Cycle the Wave 9/15

There are so many wonderful things about the Cycle the Wave Ride and fundraiser! It is a wonderful event for women that is accessible to many ages and ability levels that raises funds to support domestic violence programs around Washington. I love that it is non-competitive and encourages self-care after the ride, including yoga. Last year I had the pleasure of joining in on the after party, offering yoga for the women who participated. And I am excited to announce that I will be teaching a juicy restorative yoga flow after the ride. Please Register Here 

Here is some information from the Cycle the Wave website with more details:

Cycle the Wave Ride '12 Post ride yoga!

Cycle the Wave Ride ’12 Post ride yoga

Cycle the WAVE (Women Against Violence Everywhere), is a sponsored, non-competitive, all-women’s cycling event. It is a venue created for women of all ages and fitness levels to experience camaraderie, increase awareness of domestic violence through visibility and raise funds for domestic violence programs.

The lengths of the varied routes offer something for everyone: 15, 23, 42 and 59-mile routes. And BRAND new for 2013 – Bike Spin Classes at our event!

The first ride in 2008 generated 233 riders and by 2012 participation had grown to 1,160 women riders of all ages. Registration is now open for our 6th annual Cycle the WAVE ride held on September 15, 2013!

 Even if you can’t make the ride, please consider donating to the cause here. 

Aside from the Reading & Release Party at Timbuk2 on Saturday 9/14, this event will be one of the first places to get your copy of Pedal, Stretch, Breathe: The Yoga of Bicycling. I look forward to seeing you there!

Pedal, Stretch, Breathe is Pedaling to an event near you!

psbcoverThe end of Summer is traditionally a time where we harvest what we have cultivated throughout the year. This year the fruits of my labor are taking up shape in an exciting Car-Free adventure around the Pacific Northwest to promote Pedal, Stretch, Breathe: The Yoga of Bicycling. In this multi-modal adventure I am riding my trusty bicycle, trains and ferry boats to share my favorite yoga poses for bike riders.

You can check out all of the Eventbrite pages for the tour here. Events range from yoga workshops, bike rides, readings and a little mix of all three!

Food, Yoga and Bikes! Book Release & Reading
Portland, OR
Monday August 26, 2012 7:30-9pm

The tour kicks off in Portland at Powell’s on Hawthorne. I am teaming up with the incredibly inspiring Anna Brones who wrote The Culinary Cyclist. Seriously, this event will inspire you to live the good life with bike rides, yummy meals and relaxing stretches, all drizzled with delight! A huge thanks goes out to Elly Blue and Powell’s Books for putting this event together.
It is a free event, so just show up!

 

Eco Fusion Fitness Presents: Yoga + Bike Adventure

Corvallis, OR
Wednesday August 28th, 5:30-7:30pm

Explore how yoga and bike riding inform each other both physically and mentally, on this adventurous workshop. Yogis will enjoy a scenic, bike ride to Avery Park where we play with using a bicycle as a prop. We will return to the studio and follow up with juicy restorative postures that complement cycling and restore balance. A big thanks to Brandee at Eco Fusion Fitness for helping with this event.
Investment $25, Get your tickets here!

 

Wild Grace Arts Presents: Yoga + Bike Adventure

Olympia, WA
Friday August 30th, 1:30 – 3:30pm

We begin our adventure at the studio with a mat-free warm up. Then we will explore the trails of Olympia on a bike ride and finally return to the studio for restorative poses. We will conclude the workshop with a short reading + Q & A. Thank you to Wild Grace Arts and Steve for hosting this event.
Investment $25, Get your tickets here!

Reading at Orca Books
Olympia, WA
Friday August 30th, 7pm

Everyday bicycle riders will find a lot of inspiration in this book, from breathing their way up hills to dealing with achy knees and tight hips to overcoming road rage. This is a free event, just join us at Orca Books. Thank you to Larry for helping put this reading together.

The Bell Tower Studios Pedal, Stretch, Breathe Workshop
Bellingham, WA
Sunday September 1st, 3:30-5:30pm

Explore the connections between yoga and bicycling in this unique workshop with Seattle yoga teacher and author Kelli Refer at the beautiful Bell Tower Studios in downtown Bellingham.

In this interactive yoga workshop we will explore how yoga is a great compliment to bike riding. Develop a realistic and sustainable yoga based warm-up to incorporate into your daily commute. We will step outside to use our bicycles as props for a variety of simple stretches. After that we will explore the joys of restorative postures to nourish sore legs. There will be time for dialogue and questions. A big thanks goes out to Tyson and Make.Shift to help make this event happen.
Investment $25, Get Tickets Here!

Kula Yoga: Yoga + Bike Adventure on Olympic Discovery Trail

Port Angeles, WA
Friday September 6th, 5:30-7:30pm

Explore the connections between yoga and bike riding on this adventurous workshop. Yogis will enjoy a scenic, beach front bike bike ride where we play with using a bicycle as a prop. We will return to the studio and follow up with juicy restorative postures that complement cycling and restore balance so everyone leaves smiling. A big thanks goes out to Travis at Kula Yoga for helping organize this event.
Investment Early Bird Registration $20 until 8/24, $25 Get Tickets Here!

Useless Bay Coffee Co: Reading & Yoga with Your Bicycle Demo
Langley, WA on Whidbey Island
Monday September 9th, 12:30-1:30pm

In this fun and casual reading you will here new writing from Pedal, Stretch, Breathe: The Yoga of Bicycling. There will also be a demonstration of a how to use a bicycle for a yoga prop plus time for a Q & A.
This is a free event, please join us at wonderful Useless Bay Coffee Company. 

Homecoming Reading & Release Party at Timbuk2 Store!
Downtown Seattle, WA
Saturday September 14th, 4-7pm

A super huge thanks goes out to Timbuk2 for hosting the Homecoming Party at the downtown store at 7th and Pine. This will be more than a reading but a fun celebration with games, yoga with your bike demos, giveaways to the first 25 folks who register with snacks and drinks to go around! This is a free event but if you register you have a shot to win a pretty sweet prize. I want to give the folks at Timbuk2 an extra-special thanks for sponsoring this tour!

Timbuk2-Logo

I am still working to coordinate events in Vancouver, B.C. and Victoria, B.C. If you are interested in hosting an event please email me at Kelli.refer@gmail.com.