Hi everyone. My gallery, website, blog and store are now all in one place:www.Bikechik.com Please update you bookmarks and come over for a visit. All the news about Bike Scribbles and my travels will now be updated there, including the story about this:
Thank you for your readership these past four years. See you at the new place! -Kathleen
The good folks at Top Dog Coffee Bar have graciously allowed me to adorn their walls for the next month. There are Scribbles of all types and my abstract seascapes as well. Please join us on Thursday evening for Top Dog's famed munchies, signature roasted coffee and local wines. We can all howl as the full moon rises over the central coast. You'll find us in the middle of Main Street in Morro Bay.
When I was a baby I had carrot red, bone straight hair. For the first day of kindergarten my mother had it cut in the fashion of the day - the "Peter Pan" cut. The carrot red had darkened. Instead of making friends everyone said I looked like a boy and I went home in tears. I didn't want to go back until it had grown down to my shoulders. It took all the bravery a five-year-old could muster to get on that bus for the second day. By second grade it was long again but somehow wavy and dishwater blonde??? This persisted until...puberty. Something about those crazy hormones. The red magically reappeared. For sixth grade graduation I was a strawberry-blonde frizzball. Thank god Stevie Nicks made this look popular!
I struggled through junior high trying to figure out what to do with it until fate and Mom, again, stepped in. I had to have a major operation on my spine and would need to be in the hospital for a long time. Mom thought a perm would tame the mane and ease the management. It was genius. The frizz went away - FOREVER - and the bramble bush became oodles and oodles of 'cascadading' curls.
When I at last stood upright from my convalescence the compliments began. My hair became my glorious crown. I would get stopped in the street several times a week by strangers "You have such beautiful hair!" they would say. I had to wear a body cast and then brace for a year. High school boys are no more kind than kindergarteners. I had terrible acne for years. But no matter what else went wrong I could always count on The Hair. After each compliment I would always say the same thing: "Thank you very much, but I had nothing to do with it. It's a gift. It just grows."
I had heard of Locks of Love many years ago and stuck it in the back of my head - 'I have to do that one day'. I kept thinking about the little girl who had the gift of The Hair she could always count on until leukemia or some other greedy illness robbed her of her crown. I had to share. But the one trait The Hair lacks is that it does not grow long very well. Locks of Love requires a minimum of ten inches in a ponytail or braid. It would start to get straggly and I'd lose my nerve.
Eight months ago I looked in the mirror and saw - gasp! - a few white hairs growing out from the top of my head. It was now or never. It was of no use to my strawberry sisters if it turned gray.
I have spent more money on conditioner in the last eight months than in any five years of my life. But it was so worth it! The Hair grew long and survived until it was long enough for the ten inch ponytail.
Strawberry Sister, wherever you are, I lend you my crown. Beauty does indeed come from within but your road is hard enough without having to walk it with a cold head. You should have a choice of whether to be bald or not. All philosophizing aside every girl is entitled to feel pretty - whatever pretty means to her. Walk tall.
"Speak in French when you can't think of the English for a thing, turn out your toes as you walk -- and remember who youare!"
- The Red Queen from Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
My ponytail will not be enough. It takes six to ten ponytails to make one wig. So if you've heard "You have such beautiful hair!" all your life then grow, grow, grow and give! You'll never regret it. And in this day of "going green" what could be a more renewable resource?
In the fall of 2009 my road led back to the Central Coast of California and the little town of Atascadero.
I was met by it's wonderful inhabitants and some of the best cycling terrain I've ever had the pleasure to explore.
With breathtaking scenery on all sides that often had me whispering to myself "I'm soooo lucky!" I set about to regain some of the fitness I'd lost between Interbike and Thanksgiving.
I asked the locals where the main bike shop was and they pointed me in the direction of Kman Cycle and Run. My aging "Fiery Steed" was already having saddle slipping issues. Also, Kman's sister website Team Kman (@teamkman) provided me with a comprehensive list of trail maps incuding mileages that I went to right away to plan my training routes. It was a great way to get acquainted with the area.
My friend Martha VanInwegen (@marthvan) lives in Atascadero and, knowing me, also mentioned that Kman's had a BIG BLANK WALL that might be hungry for a Bike Scribble! Hmmm, do tell!
Well, I'm a muralist at rock bottom so while I may love to paint on canvas and draw on paper, I pretty much want to put everything I do on a big wall in the open air. Ever since I painted the first Bike Scribble on canvas I wanted to see it on a bike shop wall.
To my surprise, when I met with the owner Keith "KMan" Schmidt and his wife Robyn, they were smitten with the concept straight away. I don't think I've ever seen a project come together more quickly.
Keith "Kman" Schmidt
I chose my colors from the landscape of vineyards, olive orchards, lakes and lavender sunsets.
We met the first week in December and by January 8th the Scribbles were spinning vibrantly on the two story wall and visible from Highway 101. While I wasn't sure why I chose Atascadero for the next chapter when I arrived, now the purpose is absolutely clear.
While there were some grumblings from the city about needing sign permits and such, nothing in that regard has materialized. The City of Atascadero doesn't really have a public art policy or process and we're hoping, now that some redevelopment in the historic downtown area is planned, that public art will be a larger part of those plans.
With any luck this mural is the first of many. The plan is to have a whole peloton's worth of Bike Scribbles on as many LBSs (Local Bike Shop) as will have them, promoting the joy of cycling through public art. I've been talking to bike shop owners in several cities across the country and there is a great deal of enthusiasm for the energetic designs.
In between the brush strokes I've put in some delightful miles over the rolling hills from Atascadero north through Templeton to Paso Robles and west to Morro Bay. There are wineries and wildlife in every direction. The cycling community here is serious, dedicated, warm, wonderful and completely wacko in love with their region. I don't blame them. It's gorgeous here and I've made some great friends.
The Central Coast is Cycling Heaven.
On to the next Bike Scribble!
"@bikechik Thanks for sharing your great passion, inspired by riding through vineyards, indeed, almost a surfeit." -@RandallGrahm President, Bonny Doon Vineyard
This is the BIG HONKIN' Post-INTERBIKE blog POST. Bikes, bike clothes, bike food, bike art, bike peeps, parties, races, bike dot.orgs 'n' bike stuff. So pull up a very fancy beer, maybe a bowl of pasta, and have a read - this could take awhile...
View from the Voodoo Lounge atop the Rio Hotel
The last time I had been to Las Vegas I was not yet old enough to drink in a bar. My memories of the place are dominated mostly by being gently scooted off the casino floor and back across the invisible line into cafe or restaurant territory. It seemed a cacophonous environment even then and even as a child I knew all those colors did not belong together in the same place at the same time. I remembered that spine melting heat too, standing on the sidewalk thinking any passing breeze could blow me into a pile of dust. I felt then that Las Vegas had an eerie quality of not seeming to be connected to the rest of the world, as if once you got past the mountains you would simply step off into the void. Back then the place was decidedly adult and looked like a place adults went to disappear and forget what day it was. Now it looks like a mutant, make believe play city abandoned by a gi-normous 1500 ft kindergartner under the tree on Christmas morning. Only on this particular week the tree also had a hustling, bustling, very real, mutant dream bike shop under it chock full of shiny new toys!
YEAH!!! (nice curls too, kid)
Found this little guy cavorting amongst the bikes and around his dad, absolutely giddy with bike joy. I think I can safely speak for everyone I know, we all felt pretty much like him walking onto that show floor.
We set off across the desert, Martha Van Inwegen of Action Wipes fame, and I, to secure our respective niches in the cycling world. Best of all we looked forward to connecting with a universe of bike friends most of whom we only knew from social media, especially Twitter, and others we only get to see at race events.
Journos and photogs and podcasters, oh my!
We got down to that immediately the first night at a dinner with mostly media people. It was already fun putting faces and voices to the Twitter names. Among them, Carlton Reid of Bikebiz, David Bernstein of The Fredcast, Jeff Helfand and Gene Hansel from VeloReviews, Brian Hodes of VeloImages, and Markus Neuert of Cyclefilm who we already knew from the Tour of California this past February. Donna Tocci, you were sorely missed!
The Interbike experience began at the Outdoor Dirt Demo held in Bootleg Canyon. It had wonderful trails both paved and dirt to test bikes of all persuasions so test I did. I decided to focus on the less conventional bikes for blogging purposes. I cannot pretend to be an expert on technical aspects of bikes so I thought it would be more useful if I introduced the casual rider to some of the neato stuff you may not know is out there and available for your riding convenience and pleasure. Of course I brought a decidedly female perspective with me to the desert and allowed the flirty, pretty stuff to catch my eye. There were plenty of charmers.
Dahon Boost electric folding bike
There has been a lot of debate about the why and how of the new electric bikes. Is it almost a motorcycle? Too dangerous for the trail? I'll sum up: No. It's fun. This one folds and is a very pretty burgundy red. Remember I'm an artist. Color is ALWAYS key.
No waiting for you alone in the street, it can come in with you!
Dahon electric folding bike. I was intrigued. I like to ride for fitness, to challenge myself as fast, as far and as high as I can go. I don't need no stinking electric bike! But I'm also very pro bike commute and getting as car free as possible. I have been known to try and haul more groceries than I can safely balance on a regular cruiser. Enter the electric folding bike. If you know your work is not all that far from home and you really could ride the distance easily but think you don't really want to ride back after an eight, nine, ten hour day, this is for you! Say you want a good wake up ride and go on your own steam to the office but want to take it easy and use the motor for the trip home. Maybe it's downhill there and uphill back. If you're like me you want to ease into your day, let the coffee kick in and have a brisk ride back in the evening to shake off the sedentary hours. It's also good for riding to the store sans assist and come back laden using the extra power. The fun thing about this bike is that it can be set to sense your effort and suddenly it'll give you a little 'ziiiiIIP!' just like a giant hand giving you a push. I swear it made me giggle every time. Riding the Dahon folding electric bike actually improved my mood - and who couldn't use that after a long day!
120 lb me lifting bike, back not hurting, bicep barely flexing
Ever wanted a bike you could ride in the snow? Yep, you read that right. Jill Homer is an amazing cyclist with a rather fantastic lifestyle. She rides the Iditabike. Yes, like the Iditarod, in Alaska through the snow on a BIG FAT TIRE bike called a Pugsley made by Surly. It's also just fun in the sand and dirt. It's very "bouncy trouncy" and surprisingly comfortable. I swear you'll feel invincible on this thing and the best part - you'll feel a little like a cartoon character and totally like a BIG KID! Read Jill's blog. It's a treat and makes you dream of doing something awesome in a faraway place.
Just a little more of "Did you know..." The wind was blowing the sand up hard in the afternoon and I needed a sheltered place to eat my hot dog without a side of dirt. The guys at X Fusion offered me a chair so I queried them about their products. Anthony Trujillo explained that not all mtb forks are born equal. Ever wanted to try out hardcore mountain biking but found the bikes unresponsive to a lighter weight and touch? Well gals can get custom forks and shocks to suit our size and weight and go play in the rocks and mud to our heart's delight and not have to pay for our fun with a tweaked back and neck! Who knew? There is a trail I know in Colorado where this info would come in handy...
Big Tim in his element
When I needed to go out for a nice, long, real ride I went to my friend Tim Jackson at the Masi tent. Now big disclaimer here: Tim is a personal friend so... I asked him for something not too light, not too heavy, tires not too skinny, had to be pretty... He put me on a perfectly lovely steel frame Masi Speciale CX and it gave me a great ride. The day was perfect and the Bootleg Canyon trails were freshly paved. As I got farther away from the demo area I was peacefully by myself and the views of unspoiled desert were breathtaking. Not too hot, enough breeze to keep me cool and I just kept riding over the rolling hills until I poked through a pass and saw the city in the distance.. and turned back. Could've happily stayed out there all day. Thanks Tim.
The Bike Tweetup
Tuesday night saw roughly 200 bike nerds make their mark on the Strip at the Bike Tweetup held at the very posh Lavo restaurant. In case you were hiding under a rock at Interbike and missed it we had big, serious fun and raised over $1500 for Bike MS and Aids/LifeCycle by raffling off some super sweet schwag.
Back to the dirt...
KidzTandem puts the child in front of you where you can see him/her...duh!
I loved seeing this child friendly tandem bike because it always made me nervous seeing small children in seats of any kind on the back of a bike. Thank you KidzTandem!
Bike candy: VP Components pedals, headsets, bottom brackets...and plastic stuff.
...and jersey for women - hello! Had a wonderful chat with Patrick Tess about this outfit and it is yummy. Rumor has it some Bike Scribbles will be showing up on this kit shortly!
How long do you think it took me to home in on this baby?
Prologo Italy, Pucci inspired pattern, Choice DEA Women saddle
Finally it was time to move inside the Sands Convention Center where I made it a point to sample ALL the sports drinks and ALL the nutritional food bars in order to give you all a helpful assessment/my humble opinion of who hit the mark on taste and who did not. Let's face it life is too short to put something that tastes like cardboard in your mouth just because it's supposed to be good for you! And you don't have to.
So here are the best of the best: Luna Bars White Chocolate Macadamia and Cliff Bar Builder's in Lemon the best bar, IMHO, at Interbike. Shout out to Team Luna Chix women's pro team because they rock. Odwalla's bars were Ok but not yummy. Larabar was a little better than Odwalla.
The drink: H2O Overdrive hydration drink. Smells like Flintstones vitamins but tastes...YUMMY! All the other sport drinks I tried had me reaching for a glass of water to wash out the taste. Not even worth a mention. Sorry everybody. maybe it's just me.
Lots of celebs and autograph signing going on Some guy named Levi Leipheimer signing autographs - very big line for him.
Definitely a girl who kicks ass! Rebecca Much at the booth supporting World Bicycle Relief "The Power of Bicycles" (Sram cycling fund). Excellent organization! Please check them out.
Liz Hatch at the Lazer helmet booth listens to the cycling version of a fish story.
And then it was time for Cross Vegas!
Men's CycloCross race. Somewhere out there are friends Carlton Reid and Brian Hodes
I don't know how my camera did the ghost thing but all the shots of the women's race were like this. Because all cycling women are simply freaking SUPERNATURAL!
Sinclair party at the Voodoo Bar on the roof of the Rio Hotel 50 stories above the city. (see top photo of post for the view)
Now this has historically been a fun event at Interbike but particularly special for me because I got to meet Nelson Vails. If you don't know who this Olympic Silver Medalist is follow the link and get on it.
Nelson graciously appointed himself my Sinclair party guide for the night. We danced and drank - a little, Rahsaan Bahati swooped by to say "Hi". We saw George Hincapie holding court. Even ran into Dave Lettieri of Fasttrack Cycles in Santa Barbara! Then Mr. Vails took me past the velvet rope to the table where Oakley was putting together custom pairs of Jawbone shades...
Oakley High Definition Optics - Jawbones - Thank you Nelson Please also note the lovely earrings made of BIKE CHAIN LINKS! by Kristin Browne of Missing Link Design
Back to the show floor...
Juicy Woven - I LOVE these panniers!
Detour Sports of Hood River Oregon. These products are so cool in so many ways. Money from Trash is a grassroots effort of several women-owned and operated cooperatives in the Philippines who make products like these seriously beautiful and expertly crafted bike bags from recycled materials. Your purchase of a recycled bag empowers the women who run these cooperatives and their communities. Please follow this link to learn more about the B. Luz Cooperative .
My initial purpose for being at Interbike 2009 was to participate in the Urban Legend Fashion and Art show sponsored by Momentum Magazine, invited by the illustrious Thomas Prehn - who worked his butt off to put the Art part of it together. Thank you Thomas and thank you Rich Kelly - honestly I don't know HOW you do it.
Here we see cycling photographer Carson Blume on the other side of the lense for a change in a dashing urban ensemble, riding a bike that accomodates a massive bucket. Photo courtesy of BikePortland.org
"Spin" My contribution to the art show
This is what the prep room looked like before the fashion show
Elsewhere in Vegas...
What would Vegas be without hookers?...
...Like Interbike without a rhinestone encrusted bike! And that, as they say in the Biz, is the "Martini shot"
I found this kid just before the official closing bell of Interbike 2009 - after five long days of tightly organized mayhem - sitting at the bottom of the stairs that lead up from the registration area to the show floor. He looks exactly like we all felt at that point. I took down his name but can't find the card so if he's one of your peeps please leave a note in the comment section and I will credit him properly. I love this industry because it's full of people who love to ride bikes and to all my dear friends with whom I shared the week: Thank You from the bottom of my heart for making it memorable.
A professional artist for 25 years with a major crush on cycling. Please see my website for a look at my extensive portfolio of public, commercial and residential murals and paintings on canvas. If you are interested in commissioning artwork please email me (click on profile link below). I love to travel, especially wherever there are good trails and bike races!