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The Travel Diaries | Haida Gwaii

Hi Everyone, 

We hope you have been enjoying the beauty of summer wherever you are. At the tail end of this wonderful season, we wanted to share our latest installment of the Travel Diaries where we caught up with our friend Carla. Carla recently spent a month in Haida Gwaii. Take a peek below to see what she was up to and how her fave Riyoko piece saw her through her travels! 

Let' start with a quick rundown: 
1. Who are you - Carla!
2. What were you doing - WWOOF'ing for a month

3. Where were you going - Haida Gwaii

4. When did you go - May-June 2015

5. Why were you there - To help on an organic farm and get out of the city
6. How did you get there - Bus, plane, ferry and bicycle

I went WWOOF'ing on an organic farm for a month on Haida Gwaii (formerly the Queen Charlotte Islands), an archipelago off the Northwest coast of British Columbia, Canada. WWOOF stands for Willing Workers On Organic Farms and is a great way to travel on a budget and integrate yourself with the local community. I also got to learn a lot of organic gardening, the Haida culture and life on a more isolated island.

Haida Gwaii - WWOOfing

I packed up my bicycle and flew into Sandspit from Vancouver. After putting it back together and spending the night at a local hostel, I biked to the ferry to Queen Charlotte City and then headed up the coast to Tlell. It was about 45-55km in total. I packed light with only my bicycle box for checked luggage. One pannier, a small backpack and a purse were my carry-ons. I had to take versatile clothes that would be able to do double duty, so I took my Classic Riyoko Tights in black. They were perfect for the cooler, rainy days as they were quick to dry even in the damp ocean air.

Haida Gwaii is known for its wildlife and unspoiled beaches and islands. The southern half of the islands are all a National Park joint managed by the Haida First Nation. There is also a huge Provincial Park, Naikoon, which covers the Northeast corner of the main island.

Carla's pics - Beach

One of the best bike adventures I had on the Island was a trip from Tlell to Meyer Lake. We loaded up my bike with paddles and headed off for the 20km ride. We then canoed across the lake, had a fire and lunch, then did the whole thing in reverse.

Thanks for sharing Carla! WWOOF'ing sounds like a great way to travel and a really cool experience. We are also always so intrigued to hear about all the unique places that British Colombia has to offer! 

As always, if you have a great story to share about your travels and how your favourite Riyoko pieces saw you through your adventure -- let us know

Until next time, 

Britt 

June & July Sister Cyclist, Carla Hills

June & July Sister Cyclist is Carla Hills. Carla is a steering committee member for Cyclepalooza, a ten day d.i.y bike festival that happens every summer in Calgary. It's in year five now, and we couldn't be happier. Carla started riding only in summer, was not excited about traffic, and now she rides everywhere, all year round! She even took her bike on a trip to Haida Gwaii last year...that is another story we'll talk to her about soon. Oh, and she also co-hosts Bike Town, a podcast dedicated to sharing stories about how cycling has transformed people's every day lives. Cheers, Carla, for just being plain awesome.

Tell us a little about yourself.

At the moment I'm a university student. I live downtown and have for the past decade. I've been riding a bike for four years or so, and it has become a huge part of my life. 

Tell us a little about your bike.

My main ride whenever there is no ice is a Simcoe 7-speed step-thru with internal gearing. She’s an upright city bike which I use for commuting as well as errands and fun. She’s taken me on camping trips, midnight rides, canoeing, grocery shopping and antiquing. Quite versatile!

I also have a dedicated winter bike with studded tires, it’s nice to be able to switch off depending on the weather here.

What started you cycling?

I don’t have a drivers license, and I lived downtown for four years before I really thought of getting a bike. I was always able to walk around my neighbourhood, but it was a bit far to even get to the next neighbourhood. I remember riding as a teenager and being able to go wherever I wanted, but I had hated my last bike and had bad memories of handlebar brakes and gears. I must have seen Dutch style bikes online somewhere (coaster brakes, few gears) and realized I could have my childhood bike as an adult after all. So, I got a 3-speed Gazelle and I haven’t stopped since! I’m totally good with gears and handlebar brakes now too.

What do you like best about travelling in your city?

I love the pathways which connected so many green-spaces within the city. It’s great to be able to ride away from the roads and experience some nature at the same time.

What is your favourite riyoko piece (and what do you wear with it)?

I love the Refleks leg warmers for cooler wet days or snow. They work great over skinny pants to keep my shins from freezing and my pants from getting dirty before I arrive at school or work.

Tips/Tricks for Cycling?

Just get out there and do it!

 

The Travel Diaries | The Penedès
Hello again!  This month for the Travel Diaries I caught up with Thea to find out more about her trip to Spain. 
Keep reading to find out how Thea came up with just the right cocktail of cycling, sightseeing and sipping on the best wine The Penedès has to offer! 
              
WHO: Thea Wingert, public servant, frequent cyclist and traveller, and part-time blogger with Zen Travellers
Thea and some future cava
WHAT: My fiancé Philip and I spent 6 days cycling through the Penedès wine region in Catalonia, Spain and then another few days touring around Barcelona.
WHERE: From Barcelona where we picked up the bikes, GPS, maps and panniers from Terra Diversions Bike Tours. We put the bikes on the train and got off at Sant Sadurni Di Anoia which is the cava capital of Calatonia and home to the Simon Coll chocolate factory. Once there, we toured the chocolate factory, Freixenet facilities, and enjoyed some amazing cuisine and hospitality. From Sant Sadurni Di Anoia, we stopped briefly at the Cordoniu cava vinyard before cycling about 45km to a beautiful rural eco-hotel called Cal Ruget. The following day we cycled 38km up Mont Rubi, toured the Bodegas Torres near Vilafranca del Penedès and headed back to enjoy the calm of Cal Ruget.
descending down from Mont Rubi
Freixenet, Cordoniu and Torres wines and cavas can all be found in Calgary in either the Spanish or Sparkling Wine sections of most liquor stores, and I strongly recommend you give them a try! Next, we had an easy day descending through the gorgeous Parc Del Foix and cycling over the cobblestone streets of Castellet before arriving at a peaceful seaside town called Comarruga where we enjoyed delicious fresh seafood and local wine. The following day, we cycled about15 flat km along the beautiful mediterranean coast and enjoyed a cava lunch before starting the climb to the biggest city in the Penedès region, Vilafranca del Penedès. Once there, we learned about the history of the region by touring the wine museum and walking through the old town square. For our last day of cycling, we descended to the famous coastal city Sitges where we enjoyed delicious paella on the beach and took in the lively night life. We had no cycle routes scheduled the following day, so we switched things up by going for a swim in the Mediterranean and touring the city on foot. After we tired of that, we reluctantly loaded our bikes onto the train and headed back to Barcelona. A short ride brought us back to Terra Diversions, where we dropped off the bikes and thanked them for setting up a wonderful tour.
WHEN: We went the first week of September which was great for the weather and lack of crowds, but seemed to be the week that a lot of places were closed since for them it was the end of the busy season. I would recommend going the second or third week of September instead.
WHY: We were there to travel by bike through one of the world's lesser known but still incredible wine regions and to visit an old friend in Barcelona. It was our first multi-day cycle tour and it was the perfect destination for us to learn to love travelling by two wheels.
HOW: We flew using points from Air Canada to Barcelona. We spent a few days touring Barcelona's incredible neighbourhoods and Gaudi architecture before getting equipped for our cycle tour through the Penedès wine region.

What was the best part of the journey? The food and wine in Catalonia is simply incredible and the best part was that since we spent the day cycling through beautiful scenery, we could enjoy all the treats guilt free!
What Riyoko piece did you take with you? I brought the Riyoko Sweater Love Dress with me.
                                   
The Sweater Love Dress is a classic Riyoko piece that is still available via the shop, or special order via email

Why did you choose that piece? As anyone who has ever done a cycle tour knows, packing light is essential. The Sweater Love dress was versatile enough to be worn as a technical piece while cycling during cool mornings and as a style piece once I had arrived at my destination in the evenings. I loved that I could have something in my pannier that could so seamlessly take me from riding to out on the town.
How did you style it? I wore it as an outer layer for cooler mornings on the bike and then styled it with leggings and a light scarf for late Spanish dinners once we arrived at our destination. I thought I would exclusively want it to be my going out at night piece, but I loved how it took the bite out of the cooler morning temperatures too.

Sounds like a lovely adventure, thank you for sharing Thea! I love the that the Love Sweater Dress was super practical and came through as a style piece for nights out as well as multitasking. Versatility in each piece is key when packing light and the Love Sweater Dress definitely fit that bill!
Make sure you reach out if you have taken any of your favourite Riyoko pieces on vacation with you! I'm off to look for flights to Spain...
Britt 
The Travel Diaries | Panama

Welcome to the Travel Diaries! My name is Britt. I'll be popping onto the Riyoko blog every once in a while to share stories about the places myself, and some of my friends have been off to with our favourite Riyoko pieces. First stop: Panama!

WHO: My boyfriend and I
WHAT: Vacation for a friends destination wedding
WHERE: Panama -- Panama City, Contadora Island, Playa Blanca
WHEN: January 2016 
WHY: A friend's wedding. The wedding was at a resort in Playa Blanca that most of the wedding guests stayed the full week at. We were after a little more adventure, so we did some traveling around the country first and ended our trip at the resort.

Playa Blanca Resort

Our first stop was Panama City. We stayed in Casco Viejo -- the old part of the city with a colonial feel that has been restored in recent years. 

In the city, we were on the move, usually on foot, everyday soaking up the 30+ degree sunshine -- we were melting. We escaped the heat at night, wandering town in search of some tasty food and drink. One of our favourite places to eat was at Tantalo Rooftop Bar.  Here, they offered a modern take on traditional Panamanian dishes and had some really unique decor. Rooftop bars seemed to be the theme along the main streets of Casco Viejo. Another of our favourites was the American Trade Hotel. While not as traditional as Tanatalo, it was located in the heart of Casco Viejo and had such an elegant and at the same time retro feel to it. Perhaps somewhere you would go for a really fancy meal in the 50's -- a Don Draper vibe.

Dinner at the American Trade Hotel in the black cami

I had a couple of Riyoko pieces with me the saw me through my travels. The black Cami was great to throw on with any skirt because it was breathable enough to help me survive the heat and stickiness of the day time and very easy to dress up in the evenings. 

Beating the heat in the shade, Panama City

Next stop was Contadora Island, part of the Pearl Islands just a 20 minute flight (in the tiniest plane) away. Our hotel was right on Playa Cicque beach -- the sand was white, the ocean was crystal clear and there was an umbrella with just enough shade that was calling our names. As you can imagine, we clocked some serious R &R here.

When we were touring around the island during the day and out for dinner at night, the black shirtband was my secret weapon! I wore it under my sheer dresses and skirts that I'd typically wear a full length camisole under. Paired with a black bra and a flowy dress, it eliminated the extra layer and made while keeping me covered up.

I would recommend the islands to anyone traveling this way -- only 300 people live on the island with a handful of hotels and restaurants. We visited almost every beach on the island and fell off the grid for a few days. It was very serene and I world highly recommend Perla Real By The Sea if your travels ever take you to the island. 

Last stop was the resort in Playa Blanca for the wedding. Back on the mainland, we ended up finding Woody's, a Canadian bar on the beach. Woody's helped us avoid homesickness right around the time we started longing for our own bed. 

Here, I loved that I had the shirtband with me -- even though the only bike I was on was the one I pretended to ride while trying to tread water in the ocean! The shirtband, the cami and some shades had me looking like one of the coolest cats on the beach! 

Cover-Me-Cami, Shirtband, and my other beach essentials

As I write this, I see it snowing out for the first time in weeks -- it's been nice reminiscing about the sun(burn!) and the sand. If you have brought any of your Riyoko pieces on an adventure, let's chat!

Bye for now, 
Britt

December/ January Sister Cyclist, Fa-Linn Woolings

December & January's Sister Cyclist is Fa-Linn Woolings. I met Fa-Linn at Winter-Bike-to-Work day this past year. Her energy, her style, and her 'swants' were inspiring, and since then I've bumped into her on the cycle tracks a couple of times in so-so to not-so-good weather - a testament to her 365 riding style - like I said, inspiring!

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m a geologist at a data company. I'm originally from Canmore. I’m the least athletic person and biggest wuss in my family (I don’t climb, ski or white water anything). I like to cook, eat and all the comforts of home. I knit (socks mostly). I don’t own a car.

  • Tell us a little about your bike.
  • I only have two bikes. I wish I had more (who doesn’t?)... A road bike, a fat bike, an e-bike...

    For everyday rides to work on clear roads, I have a bright orange, seven-speed, upright Dutch-style bike. I found it on Kijiji and I love it. Riding upright is the best (comfortable! dorky! the dresses!). It has fenders and a rack to get me and all my stuff around.

    I also recently bought a Yuba Boda Boda, which I use to run errands and haul stuff. It’s a big, stable, cruiser-style… mini-van. I put fenders and studded tires on it for this winter.

     

  • What started you cycling? What started you winter cycling?
  • In August of 2008, I transitioned from “person who bikes under duress” to “cyclist.”

  • Moving to big city Calgary from small town Canmore, I found biking in Calgary terrifying. The roads seemed busy, drivers didn’t seem to want me around (“Get off the road!”) and I didn’t have my driver’s license, so all those “a bike is a vehicle” rules seemed wrong!

    I love Calgary Transit, but the transfers are the worst. Even out of practice and out-of- shape, I was able to cut my commute time in half.

    Still, I didn’t I think I’d ever bike in the winter. That was crazy! People who biked on snow and ice were weirdos! But back to Calgary Transit - ever waited 40 minutes for a bus in the winter? I have. Enough said. Year-round biking is fun, convenient, saves time, and I get a workout in.

    Any tips or tricks you have for winter cycling?

    Ha! Winter cyclists have this reputation for being loud and preachy. We just want to spread the good word!

    Winter cycling is basically the same as in fair weather. Bike according to the conditions, wear less clothing than for walking, but more than for driving -  and clean the salt off your bike.

    My must-haves for winter riding are studded tires, a super bright light, lobster mitts and a nice face cream (chapped cheeks!). Some people don’t have that stuff and do perfectly fine, but it just takes the guesswork out of my ride.

  • What do you like best about travelling in your city?
  • I use my bike to go to work, the grocery store, my doctor’s office, the library, out to eat, to the mall, to the movie theatre. Biking is great and I love it, but it’s also just a thing I can do without thinking much about. I love meeting friends and the openness of the city, but most of the time I just appreciate the simplicity and utility of biking.

  • What is your favorite riyoko piece (and what do you wear with it)? 
  • The leg warmers! I levelled up last winter and started wearing skirts and dresses all year long.

  • 
What is your philosophy?

    Riding a bike is fun and easy. Even wusses like me can do it!

     

     

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