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Archive for January, 2012

It’s the dead of winter and as I type the wind is howling and snowflakes are bumping up against my window. It’s sub-zero temperatures and my bones ache from cold and all the while I’m seriously jonesing to get on my bike. I’ve lost all touch with my biking buddies, I don’t remember the last time I’ve stepped foot in a bicycle shop and I’m starting to feel lonely.

Bicycling is more than just about being on the bike. It’s about the entire culture that goes with it. It’s a way of living. It’s a part of who you are.

The Bike(s). They are extensions of you. Each bike holds a special place and has a special relationship with you. Your first bike, your road bike, your downhill bike, your ‘get over anything’ bike…doesn’t matter. This bike defines and expresses who you are and what you’ve accomplished. Each scratch, each mud mark, each wear on the cog has a story. It’s more than just a machine. You and the bike work together and finish rides together. It’s with you when you struggle, there to blame when you fail, and there to stand tall in the picture as evidence of surviving that epic ride.

The ‘Flow.’ What is so addicting about biking is that rhythmic, exhilarating, flying through the air state of ‘flow’ that is created when your feet start moving in that familiar circular motion. The tingling in my arms, the stretch of my lips as I break into a grin (or grimace), the burn in my legs, and the air in my lungs are all incredibly present when I’m on my bike. Fear, pride, excitement, accomplishment, FUN…I want to stand up and give a “WOOHOO!!!!” just thinking about it.

The Bicycle Shop. We all have our favorite. The place where everyone knows your name and the mechanic can tell you the entire repair history on your road bike, mountain bike, and single speed in less than 30 seconds. It’s where you meet pre-ride, where you run in to change your clothes…your home away from home. You can come in muddy, bloody, loud, laughing, or crying…you’ll get the same raucous welcome. Somehow, this cozy, supportive home is abandoned when your bicycles sit in the corner of your living room, ignored.

The Peeps. Recently, Sh*t fill in the blank videos have been going viral. Shi*t Mountain Bikers Say and Sh*t Bicyclists Say made me laugh so hard I think I really did give a little pee down there. Roadies take themselves too seriously (and get made fun of by mountain bikers) and mountain bikers don’t take anything seriously (and thus are completely crazy). The truth is, eventually, the roadies sneak over to the other side (the funner side…) and the mountain bikers begrudgingly slide over to the ‘dark side.’ In the end, we’re all bikers which makes us all part of the big happy family. When you challenge yourself, work hard to accomplish something, and physically make it through…you all come out supporting each other and respecting each other. We bike for the love of biking. We bike because we don’t know how else we would live. There are key people in every community that are involved in building, supporting, loving, and participating in the bicycling communities around the world that make it possible for the rest of us to come together. They keep the trails open, create the community events, raise the money, raise the awareness, and advocate for a better tomorrow.

The trails. If there were more non-car paved trails in this country, I would be able to say, “I love road trails!” but there aren’t. I will say, “I would love to ride road trails!” but it’s not in the cards for where I live right now. But really, my heart lies in the woods. I love dirt trails. I love twisty, windy smooth singletrack. I love gnarly, rooted, rocky downhill. I even love when I sailed over my handlebars and slammed into that tree in Vermont. I love the smells, the colors, the sounds…I love being in the forest and riding as fast as I can on my bike. I have my favorite trails, my secret trails, my group ride trails, trails on my wishlist, trails for breakfast, trails for lunch…

My bike is me. I am my bike.

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When I started Roam Your Soul, it was imperative to me to define why this project was so important to me. Why only women? Why outdoors? Why online? Why an adventure format?

It all came down to one important factor:

As women, taking educated risks that challenge our comfort zones, make us take in a breath of fresh air, and help us connect to one another will help us manifest into who we want to be in this world.

Connecting to other amazing women inspires us to share our amazing abilities as well. That’s why, upon starting Roam Your Soul, I began searching for amazing women doing amazing things all around the country. One of my first encounters was with Rachel and Jessica from Against the Grind. I found their blog post on GirlBikeLove and immediately became one of their biggest cheerleaders and fans. NOT avid bicyclists, NOT exceptionally wealthy, and NOT exceptionally crazy…these two ladies took off on a cross-country bicycle journey and are still on the road.

This week, our adventure challenge comes from two of the bravest women I know: Rachel & Jessica. A big thanks to them for being so inspiring and for being a part of the Roam Your Soul Project. They’ve gotten so much support from the bicycling communities they have encountered on the road that part of our challenge this week is to connect to our own bicycling communities. It’s time to connect to yours as well. Look up the bicycling association in your neighborhood, visit that location bike shop. Get on a bike. Talk about the bicycling community in your own town. Connecting to a bicycling community is an incredible way to connect to others and build adventure in your life!

 

Dirt Rag, Dirt Fest 2011

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When I woke up today, I regretted how I went to sleep. I went to sleep angry and frustrated. And that’s how I woke up.

Life can be disappointing.

and then I fell on the sidewalk on my way to work.

Son of a bitch.

If only my 11 hour day had been this easy...

I left work angry and frustrated.

Sense a pattern here?

So I decided to break the pattern.

to try and combat my rocky morning and 11 hour work day…I did a snow celebration dance. To prove society wrong about what I am supposed to live for.

And I felt a little better.

These feet, one day, will walk past this same spot again...and keep going. And THAT is what is going to keep me going... for now.

Trust your journey.

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ChristineJosh-9Hometown: Seattle, Washington
Current town: Lake Placid, NY
Favorite Vacation Spot: Copan Ruinas, Honduras
Passions in life: Traveling, Mountain biking, reading, spending quality time with friends/family

Christine has traveled the world in search of purpose and excitement. From the age of 15, she’s been taking solo trips to experience adventure, meet new people and understand the world around her. With a degree in Elementary Education, a Masters in School Building Leadership and several years as a project manager and executive assistant, Christine has a varied and eclectic toolbox of skills that has allowed her to develop a unique leadership approach.

After packing up her belongings in her Honda Civic moving from Seattle to New York in 2005, she started the largest and most successful book club in Westchester County that created a community of women and a fantastic environment for conversation, reflection and participation. With over 82 active members, 175 total members, and several community outreach programs within the book club, members found a place of long-term friendship in a place that can sometimes be difficult to find and make friends.

Christine has led several leadership workshops, developed and coordinated youth and adult conferences and is an over all amazing “planner.” She has a knack for bringing people together, speaking to your spirit and creating a clear and meaningful purpose in what she says.
Contact Information:
Christine
christine@roamlife.com
(914) 297-8446

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Learning to advocate is an important part of becoming a complete person. We advocate for ourselves, we advocate for others, and we advocate for organizations. A focus of this workshop is to help develop the inner-advocate. In my line of work, I have found so often that girls, women, children do not know how to self-advocate or advocate for a cause they are passionate about. Where do you begin? How do you gain the confidence? How do you really make a difference? How do you make that educated risk? Week 2 of the Roam Your Soul workshop is all about that.

There are three steps in advocating:

First, we learn how to Self-Advocate: Being a self-advocate is how we get ourselves through and beyond life’s challenges. As a self-advocate we build self-efficacy, confidence and the ability to win/overcome challenges and barriers.

Then, we learn to Advocate for Another: Once we learn how to better our own situations and stand up for what we believe in, we move to advocating for those that are unable or unknowledgeable of how to do so. We find the friend who is in an abusive relationship and reach out a hand, we bring food to our church to hand out at Thanksgiving, and we begin to notice those around us that may need inspiration and we seek to provide it.

Then, we Advocate for an Organization/Group: We begin to realize that there are many more people in the world that have come from similar situations or haven’t had it as great as we have and we now want to make a bigger difference in a bigger population. We no longer can sit in our bubbles and do nothing while knowing that something can be done and is being done through wonderful organizations around the world. We become a pro-active advocate.

There are many ways to actively advocate:

Think outside the box. You can participate in a marathon, a march, a protest, a sit in, a walk or you can shout from the top of a building. Decide how you would like to advocate. Make contact with whom you would like to advocate. If it is yourself, do some journal reflecting and talk to your advocacy friend. If it is another person, reach out and discuss ways advocacy can occur. If it is an organization, make some phone calls and find out more about how you can be involved.

 

Being active is key to advocacy:

Follow through on your plan for advocacy. Climb that hill and shout from the rooftop. Make your signs and sit on the corner. Visit the community center and volunteer. Make advocacy an active part of your day.

Advocacy comes in many forms:

Each person expresses him or herself differently. We all have different skill sets and different experiences. Find what is meaningful to you and incorporate that with what you are good at. Students from MIT created a video game to discuss being gay, It Only Takes a Girl made a powerful video based on international statistics for women, She’s the First coordinated a rock concert to benefit girls’ education, and so many many more people have taken an idea and created a message.

What’s your message?

MIT: A Closed World, Video Game (Click the picture)

It Only Takes a Girl, A Short Film

She’s the First, a Short Film

She’s the First from She’s the First on Vimeo.

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