” You are one of us.”

“You are one of us,” I heard not long ago from my fellow randonneur, JH, a strong cyclist and brilliant storyteller who kept many awake, encouraged and moving with his tales at PBP. As I went on a last wet group ride, celebrating friendship and remembering France, there it was, wrapped in kindness: “you are one of us.” Belonging – a most warm feeling. Just as many in the world seem to shout right and left “more exclusion,” what a heartwarming reminder it need not be that way. Continue reading

“My Melodramatic Mom”

Parenting (and life!) is a lot like many of my bike rides: up, down, forward. It is, indeed, an adventure filled with headwinds and uphills. Tailwinds, however, thankfully abound – and I got a great one! Here it is, a melodramatic mom – yours truly, yep, moi – sweetly painted by my baby girl (please, allow her the due filial latitude in the description of my many, many abilities…): Continue reading

Coffeneuring for Glory!

Coffeeneuring challenge: glory, doing it for glory…

(written with my friend, Rochelle H. Photos by Rochelle H)

This was our first coffeeneuring challenge and we had a wonderful time! After careful soul searching, we concluded we are coffeeneuring for glory. No, we did not ride long routes, nor invent exquisite ways. But we showed up for the challenge through the hardships of recovering bodies, Seattle weather and life demands. And we finished, ending not with a loud gulp or a silent sip, but with a most resounding slurp. What could have been more glorious than flamboyantly tasting away tea in a Chinese tea house? In full bike gear after riding 4 whole miles? (Good thing we have Sevens, we were wisely told…) Perhaps celebrating almost 12 years of close friendship, cultivated through movement – run, ride, walk – and warmth. Cheers, coffeneuring, you made our fall gloriously colorful! Continue reading

Jabuticaba jam and Raindrops

Coffeenneuring marches on, almost completed. Meanwhile it has been one wet fall here in Seattle. Rain, rain that never goes away. Still we play! Soggy rides, however, earn special rewards: a warm shower and even warmer baked goodies – yum. Rain has other advantages, as one of my kids loves to point out: curling up with a book under a blanket, or getting lost in a movie – courtesy of gray skies and water sheaths. And so it was that I recently watched Inside Out in yet another drenched evening. Continue reading

Less is More

Randonneuring has the odd power to simplify existence: fuel, journey, rest. Repeat. Since I can’t go on any rando rides, this week, coffeneuring brought me back beautiful simplicity: a bicycle, a friend and coffee. While the actual ride could not have been shorter, barely hanging on to the rules, the joy was immense. I guess, my friends, that is the true beauty of the two wheeler… Continue reading

The Grand Coffeeneuring Challenge

Lucky me! Just when I needed something doable on the bike while nursing my knee, I found the delicious coffeeneuring challenge! Seven rides, in seven weeks, to get coffee, hot chocolate or tea, at seven different places, at least 2 miles away (round trip). Doable and fun! Riding a Seven bike, I believe I am particularly well suited for the challenge (duh!)

I am joined by one of my best friends here is Seattle, more like a sister really. My friend has held my hand ever since I arrived in town from Rio, 11 years ago. Together, we have biked, run, swam, and walked. The walks are priceless and I actually should have been paying my friend for all the therapy she offers me on those walks. Almost every week, once a week, for the past 11 years, we take a 45 minute walk together, usually around our favorite lake, Greenlake. How lucky am I! I know we can coffeeneur successfully and have a wonderful time. I am particularly confident because she is also very well equipped with a Seven bike…

Fall days are inviting for coffee, tea or hot chocolate.
Fall days are inviting for coffee, tea or hot chocolate.

But what exactly is coffeeneuring? What first attracted me to randonneuring were stories. Way before I dreamed I could ever ride 100 kilometers, I adored reading about the adventures of long distance cyclists out there, exploring their cities and surroundings. It was storytelling that brought me to the wonderful Chasing mailboxes blog (you can read about it here), which led me to coffeeneuring. It is basically a playful take on randonneuring, designed skillfully by Chasing Mailboxes’ writer, an avid cyclist and talented storyteller. It is accessible and fun – anyone can join (anywhere in the world) and enjoy, as the days grow shorter and colder. This is my first time and I am quite excited about it.

So, here we go, for the next seven weeks, seven rides to seven places on our Sevens! I guess our “theme within a theme” is, well, “Seattle’s Seven Wonders” I suppose! Awww, the beauty of seven – unsurprisingly, George Costanza’s favorite name for a baby…

Ouch! Recovery.

Waiting to heal hurts. I want to be back on the bike – on long rides, moving! – but the banged right knee (battle scar from PBP) is slowing the whole operation almost to a halt. The more I rush things, the longer the delay. So, not too many options but to sit tight “at the shipyard,” as the old Portuguese saying goes: estou no estaleiro! Come to think of it, the shipyard is not a bad place to be, a space for building and repairing. With the rando season winding down, I can surely use some estaleiro time.

the days are still so beautiful! hard not to go on long rides...
the days are still so beautiful! hard not to go on long rides…

Continue reading