anna brones

writer + artist

Posts Tagged ‘bicycles

Coffee Outside, on a Bike Ride

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Coffee Adventures Outside is a collaboration between myself and Alastair Humphreys, released each month somewhere around the new moon. We hope you’ll join us in our coffee adventures, wherever you are. 

“The bicycle, the bicycle surely, should always be the vehicle of novelists and poets,” wrote Christopher Morley in Parnassus on Wheels. You don’t have to be a novelist or poet to understand the sentiment; the bicycle is the vehicle of dreamers, and as humans, we all dream. 

Whether we learned at 6 or 36, most of us likely remember the feeling of our first time pedaling a bicycle on our own. The freedom, the exhilaration. On a bicycle, we move all thanks to our own power, and while one of the simplest of vehicles, it can have profound effects. There’s creative power in a bike ride too, as movement has been shown to help stimulate our mind and imagination. But there is also the ability to access places in a way that’s different from in a car or on foot. The bicycle falls at the perfect sweet point in between; fast enough to allow us to cover distance, but slow enough that we pick up on all kinds of sensory details along the way. 

We notice the pungent smell of blackberry brambles in the late summer sun, the feeling of a fresh breeze on our face. We can hear the birdsong of an early morning, and spot a hidden pathway we might otherwise have missed if we were separated from the world by the steel and glass of a car. We can stop when we want, perching our bicycle against a tree to go and investigate whatever caught our eye as we pedalled along. 

Whether it’s slow or fast, long or short, a bicycle ride is an injection of energy. You are fueled by the knowledge that it is your force and your force alone that helps to carry the bicycle forward. 

How often do we feel that way? A walk can facilitate a similar sensation, but there is something glorious about the distances we can travel on a bicycle and the swooshing speed of the wind in your hair. After decades of riding, even we often remain amazed at how far we can explore, how much we are capable of. 

But the beauty of the bicycle lies also in the fact that its benefits come in journeys short and long. It is wonderfully versatile. There is as much enjoyment to be found exploring the streets of your neighborhood as pedaling across a continent. In need of a quick injection of good energy? A bike ride just might do the trick. Coasting down a hill, it’s hard not to break a smile. 

If you have traveled by bicycle you may know the power of these small experiences, how a bicycle makes you present for every single moment that makes up a day. There’s no autopilot on a bicycle—you are engaged and aware as long as you are pedaling—and that’s why it encourages us to be in the now. 

This month we are bringing our Coffee Adventures Outside to our bicycles, pairing our love for a coffee break and an excursion on two wheels. A coffee break by bicycle can give even a short bicycle ride the allure of a long bicycle trip; even if it’s just on your normal loop, it makes an everyday ride feel like a small adventure. 

A coffee break on a bike ride: this is the opportunity to find somewhere new to ride to, or make a stop on your regular route that you usually just pedal past. You may visit a local cafe during your ride, or pack a thermos and a mug and find a nice lookout to sit in and enjoy. If you want a full dose of adventure, you could even bring your camp stove and outdoor coffee set up for the freshly brewed experience.

No matter what your approach to your cup or your ride is, use this time to be in the moment. Feel every pedal stroke.

Watch the landscape roll past you.  

Be in your surroundings. 

Let your mind wander. 

Dream. 

Share photos of your adventures with us: #coffeeadventuresoutside

Written by Anna Brones

August 11, 2021 at 09:00

For a Love of Bikes and Books

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“There are perhaps no days of our childhood we lived so fully as those we spent with a favorite book.”

–Marcel Proust

I would add that many of those magic childhood days were also spent on a bicycle. Books help us explore the world, and bicycles do too. Reading a book is a solitary activity, and while cycling is often done with friends, for me there is a pull to those rides when it is just you, the pedals, the road and your imagination. Your mind can wander to new places, see new things. Just like reading. No wonder those childhood days, full of freedom and exploration were so magical.

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Written by Anna Brones

June 1, 2015 at 19:02

A French Product To Make Biking in a Skirt Super Simple

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We shouldn’t be intimidated to ride because we need special clothing or gear. Riding a bicycle should be simple.

Not all women like to ride in skirts or dresses, but for those that do, it’s always a bit of a hassle. Come on ladies: you’ve all been in a constantly-pulling-down-the-skirt-as-the-wind-blows-it-up situation. So I love the concept of this French product that’s being crowd funded which makes biking in a skirt super simple. As simple as popping this clip in your bag and then clipping your skirt to the seat.

They’ve got a couple days left to raise funds for the new product. You can learn more at Le Poupoupido.

Written by Anna Brones

January 15, 2015 at 09:26

You Can’t Buy Happiness… But You Can Buy a Bicycle

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Truth.

Now, I hope everyone gets out and rides a bike today.

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Written by Anna Brones

June 3, 2014 at 10:58

Afghan Women Challenging Gender Roles with Bikes

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I have found myself constantly inspired in the last year by the story of the Afghan Women’s National Cycling team, pushing the boundaries in a country where cycling is considered taboo.

I recently wrote about them and a new film being made about their story on GOOD:

What if you were told you could not ride a bike because you’re a woman? What if your younger sister wasn’t allowed to ride? What if every single woman in your family was kept away from bicycles simply because riding them was seen as immoral?

While most of us have the luxury of being able to head out on two wheels whenever we want to, for the women of Afghanistan, the world of two wheels is reserved for men. Riding a bicycle is a taboo and a sign of immorality. Something so simple—a means of transportation that so many of us take for granted—is off-limits if you’re a female.

But that is changing.

Despite the cultural taboo of females on bicycles, there is an Afghan Women’s National Cycling Team in Kabul. These women who challenge their country’s gender expectations by riding are the subjects of an upcoming film called Afghan Cycles (Let Media). Earlier this year, co-directors Sarah Menzies and Whitney Connor Clapper travelled with Mountain2Mountain Executive Director Shannon Galpin to Afghanistan with a stash of cameras and more than 350 pounds of bike gear. The goal was to document these amazing, courageous women, but also to provide support for what is hopefully a growing movement.

You can read the full article here.  And to support the team, Mountain2Mountain is currently doing a 100 Bikes by Christmas campaign – to help in the launch of a new women’s mountain biking team in Bamiyan – as well as a bike gear drive. To take part and support these women visit mountain2mountain.org/donation or email info[at]mountain2mountain[dot]org.

Written by Anna Brones

December 18, 2013 at 22:34

Buy a Copy of My New Book: The Culinary Cyclist

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The idea for the book The Culinary Cyclist came about December of last year, so for the last six months I have had bikes and food on the brain. Well, I always have bikes and food on the brain, but this time as I wrote chapters about coffee, picnics and planning a dinner party, it was book related.

And now, after six months, the book is completely written, the illustrations are drawn (thanks to the lovely Johanna Kindvall) and now somehow in a miraculous showing of support, we managed to raise all of our printing funds on Kickstarter in the first 5 days. That’s a lot of love for food and bikes.

What that means is that the book will without a doubt be printed, and for only $12 you can get yourself a copy! So hop on over to Kickstarter and snag one.

Written by Anna Brones

May 30, 2013 at 07:45

New Project for 2013: ‘The Culinary Cyclist’ Book

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A new year inevitably means new projects, and I have a few already lined up for this year. Planning for 2013 has been a lesson in putting energy into the right places and simply letting things happen… So it’s with great excitement that I let you in on the first one: the forthcoming book, The Culinary Cyclist. Yes, a real book. Remember those?

As these things often do, the idea for The Culinary Cyclist started over a round of kale smoothies (I am not kidding). Portland-based writer, cycling advocate and all around woman-that-makes-shit-happen Elly Blue and I were talking about the latest projects with her independent publishing company, Taking the Lane Media. This of course resulted in a bit of a brainstorm, including a discussion of local food and bicycles.

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Written by Anna Brones

January 3, 2013 at 07:26

Friday Photo: A Corner of Bikes

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Bike store, bikes parked, bike graffiti… there’s no better city for bike love than Amsterdam.

Written by Anna Brones

July 27, 2012 at 00:05

Portland + Bikes = True Love

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Written by Anna Brones

March 24, 2012 at 09:33

Friday Photo: Spring

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Some serious New York love this week, where the sun is shining, the cherry blossoms are out and bikes are parked at every street sign.

Written by Anna Brones

March 23, 2012 at 06:00