Last Tuesday, if you happened to be in Fremont at the Center of the Universe — down the street from the rocket, south of the Lenin statue and north of the brontasauri topiary — you may have noticed a group of women with bikes gathered outside of Theo Chocolate.
It was the starting point for Critical Lass and Ladies “Heart” Bikes, an easy, women’s ride series put on in collaboration with local lasses and “moms extraordinaire” – Cathy Tuttle, Madi Carleson, Jennifer Litowski and Barbara Gordon, The Hope Heart Institute and Cascade Bicycle Club – to encourage more women to get out and ride bikes, promote women’s heart health by choosing healthy food and active recreation or transportation choices — but most of all, the idea is to offer women a supportive, welcoming environment in which to socialize, exercise, learn and play!
All types of interesting folks turned out including Cascade staff, Leah Pistorious and Erica Hann.
Brandt and Rijder Carlson and their incredible migrating salmon were in attendance as well. These two travel in style aboard Madi’s “Mama Bike” or tear around on Skut bikes at stops along the way.
Balloon Biker, Jami Krause, was there, having recently returned to the Northwest after a stint in Chicago and an “around the country” bike tour bringing balloons and general happiness to America.
Marteena Caple and Katie Erickson did a fabulous job riding and persevering until the wine tasting where we all learned a thing or three about the benefits of the anti-oxidants contained in red wine.
There were others too, who came to introduce friends to riding or just wanted to get out and spin their bike-legs.
Here is what Niki House, from The Hope Heart Institute had to say.
“My first ride with Cascade Bicycle Club and Critical Lass
Last night I had the honor of riding with CBC through one of their daily rides. This specific one was catered to women and an education event for my organization, The Hope Heart Institute. Being a cyclist myself, it was part work part fun. We met at Theo Chocolate to pick up some bars to carry on our ride and taste with our wine when we finished the ride at Fremont Cellars.
Before this ride last night, I had never ridden on the street or in a group of people or in the city. I come from up north and now live on the eastside so I’ve always ridden solo or with a friend on the Centennial Trail or the Burke-Gilman. It was a great experience! I live about six miles away from work but I drive there and back every single day. It has often crossed my mind that I should ride the six miles because I love being out on my bike and we even have a shower where I can get ready once I arrive at the office. The one main thing that has held me back from making this happen is riding in traffic and following the rules of the road. There is a lot I don’t know about cycling in traffic with cars, but after riding last night I learned a lot by just getting out and doing it. Robin was a great leader, calling out when we would be stopping, turning or if there was a car or a bump up ahead. Just being on this one ride, I now feel confident that I could make it to work on my bike when I decide to take the plunge.”
Way to go ladies — you are truly amazing for giving it a try!
There are a lot of reasons out there that women are or are not riding bikes — among them, it turns out that many don’t venture out but for the simple reason of flat tires and not knowing how to fix them — no one wants to be stranded and calling for help if she gets a flat out on the road! What better way to absorb the task of innertube changing than watching someone else get dirty while you are happily noshing on chocolate?
Voila – thus empowered with new knowledge, our merry band headed off across the Fremont Bridge and down the Ship Canal Trail for a local tour of our sunny NW waterways. We breezed past the nets and boats at Fisherman’s Terminal, stopped to take pics with the Ballard Bridge in the background, passed over the Locks giant gates, walked our bikes through the gardens and grounds and took a roll along the 58th street future Greenway — avoiding the treacherous “missing link” through Ballard and back to our endpoint at Fremont Cellars for a well deserved wine tasting!
Ladies “heart” Fisherman’s Terminal
And check out this link to see more bicycle portraits of lasses at the Locks.
Sally Thomae, owner and manager of Fremont Avenue Cellars, welcomed us with open arms, three kinds of wine — and of course — more chocolate!
She even had a trivia game for us to play about the health benefits of red wine. We learned about a polyphenol called Resveratrol that helps reduce blood clots, helps prevent damage to blood vessels and lowers LDL cholesterol!
Thank you Sally for keeping the wine shop open beyond regular hours and a big thanks to those who came out for the ride! Keep your eyes and ears peeled for our next ride in late August — details coming soon!