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!



    July Sister Cyclist, Signe Bray

    Cyclepalooza is a community-driven, do-it-yourself bicycle festival held every summer in Calgary that brings people together through cycling for fun and transportation. This year it will be held from July 10 to July 19 starting off with the annual bash, Bike Prom, on the eve of July 10, so come on out in your Neon Disco best YYC, and bring it on your bike, and on the dance floor. Signe Bray is one of the original volunteers for Cyclepalooza and is a current member of the organizing committee. Oh, and she's also a brain scientist. She hails from Ottawa, via California, and has settled in Calgary over the past few years - The city is lucky to have her in it.  Signe is riyoko's July Sister Cyclist.  

    Bike travels in Berlin, Germany

    Tell us a little about yourself.

    I am a year-round Calgary cyclist  and a member of the Cyclepalooza organizing committee for three years now. I love hiking, biking, and skiing in the mountains. I am a neophyte gardener and Bankview resident. I have a penchant for vintage clothing and vegetarian food.

    What events can people look forward to during Cyclepalooza this year?

    My favourite Cyclepalooza events are the ones where people share a piece of the city that you might not otherwise know about. The last few years, I have done an urban farm tour, a middleburbs tour, a public art tour, a cycling infrastructure tour, and I have regretted missing a few, like the urban beekeeping and tree tours. Using cycling to share local knowledge is really a perfect partnership.


    'My summer commuter bike is a custom-built step through frame in a deep purple colour from a shop in Berkeley, CA called Ebisu.'

    Tell us a little about your bikes. 

    I have four bikes, all steel. My summer commuter bike is a custom-built step through frame in a deep purple colour from a shop in Berkeley, CA called Ebisu. It has fenders and a front basket and is lighter than it looks, so it rides beautifully. I also have a Nobiletter road bike, a vintage Salsa mountain bike which is my winter commuter, and a pink early 90s Bridgestone 550 that is sadly a bit neglected these days.

    Signe cycling in Cali, France and Spain

    What started you biking?

    I didn't start riding until the year after University. I was living in Toronto and discovered that biking was just this amazingly convenient way of getting around. I started summer-commuting and using the bike to get around the city as much as possible. I actually did not get a driver's license until I was 28.

    Los Angeles, California

    What do you like best about travelling in your city?

    I am totally spoiled by my commute. I get to ride along the river every day, and there is exactly one traffic light between me and work. Calgary is a great sized city for meeting people and running into them again; I enjoy spotting friends around town or on the pathways. I am not a native Calgarian, so I also love figuring out nice/ fun ways of getting places on surface streets.

    What is your favourite riyoko piece?

    I love my Sweater Love Dress. I have a penchant for tunic length layers, and it is so comfortable. I mostly wear it over leggings, occasionally jeans, and often with a big scarf.

    What do you never leave home without?

    Wallet. Keys. Passport? I have a Roots hoodie that was a Christmas gift from my sister a few years back, and I always kick myself if I travel without it.

    What is your philosophy?

    I have yet to formalize my philosophy, but I try to get out to the Mountains every few weeks as a restorative experience. I probably don't always implement this as well as I could, but I think it's important to recognize how lucky we are to be where we are and be grateful.


    Spain into France
    photo credits: Paul Barclay


    June Sister Cyclist, Carly Schreiber

    June 2 is Bike-to-School day here in Calgary, and riyoko is very proud to be a sponsor. We hope that days and events like these will help get more women riding at an earlier age. One of the teachers participating in this event is Carly Schreiber, a grade 5 and 6 Humanities Teacher at Simon Fraser Jr. High School. She took some time out of her busy end-of-year schedule to chat with us and tell us a little about her bicycling ways. 

    Tell us a little about yourself.

    I love sunshine, going on adventures with my family and playing outside. My newest pastime is cycling around Calgary with my daughter in the chariot behind me. 

    Can you tell us a little more about the Bike 2 School event? How are you involved?

    Bike 2 School is an event that encourages students to ride to school. With so many students relying on bus transportation, and living in communities they do not also go to school in, the students do not really get the chance to build in the daily walk, run, or bike-to-school activities that many of us grew up with. The Bike 2 School event day loosens time constraints and adds safety features to enable all students the opportunity to ride to school. I think nearly 90 schools are participating across the city this year - how cool is that?! I will be meeting students and riding in as part of a convoy that morning and riding to school.

    What kinds of safety features will be added on Bike to School day to make it easier for the students to ride to school?

    Individual teachers have been speaking to students about bike safety including road rules, as well as having bikes prepared and in good repair.There is strength in numbers. Students are encouraged to meet in their communities and then ride in together. All the routs have been mapped out to take as many pathway systems as possible. We are hoping that commuters will be mindful of these young riders when they are riding in the larger groups. Once all the riders arrive at school, we are securing the bikes in our gym for the day rather than trying to accommodate hundreds of bikes being locked up outside.

    Tell us a little about your bike. 

    Ummm…which one? I actually have three bikes, all serve a different purpose. I ride a Trek FuelX-8 out in the mountains. I have a Jamis Aurora that I have used for several cycle tour trips around different parts of North America, and now it hauls my chariot and serves as my commuter. My third bike might be my favourite; it was my mom's bike from the 70s with most of the original components. I added a basket to it last year. It is fun and comfortable, and I love that it is so old and still pedals smoothly.

    What started you biking? 

    Cycling in the city came as a result of living in the inner-city neighbourhood of Sunnyside in Calgary. It was far more convenient to ride a bike to get where I needed to go, and it was less stressful. Having the river pathways right near my house was awesome and got me biking almost every night. Since then, I have taken up touring, and completed several bicycle tours, riding and camping for weeks on end. The treats at the bakery/ coffee shop that I encounter along the road less traveled sure taste better after a day of riding!

    As for mountain biking, I bought my first mountain bike about 15 years ago after taking a riding hiatus for a few years. I was inspired by those riders taking the single track and not the paved pathways. It looked like it was more fun. After my first true ride in the mountains, I was muddy and bloody, and I was hooked!

    What do you like best about travelling in your city? 

    Travelling by bike is such a unique way to view the world. Yousee way more than you ever would in a car…and it is faster and more fun than simply walking. Plus, I get to avoid traffic and get some exercise. 

    What do you never leave home without when riding? 

    A tube, some tools, and $20. You never know what you will see. Sometimes I see lots of patios and need to stop to hydrate.

    What is your philosophy?

    Play outside! 



    Part II: April Sister Cyclist, Laura Roberts on Family Cycling

    With Spring in swing, I see more and more families out on their bikes with their kids. How does one begin that journey with their family? For many people, it may just be where to start. With more of my friends having kids, I've had those questions on my mind too because, selfishly, I want them to keep cycling with me! And, although not in the current cards, I have wondered if, one day, there is a cute little rugrat I need to transport with me via bike - how will I do it? Well, earlier this month, I spoke with Riyoko's April Sister Cyclist, Laura Roberts, about her experiences in cycling, and we got talking about her family's experiences as well. Laura and her husband have been cycling with their children since the children were babies. It was a perfect chance for me to ask! And I couldn't think of anyone better to ask than Laura.

    For your family, what has been the process for getting the kids prepared to ride on two wheels?

    We started both of our kids on balance bikes around 12-18 months once they were steady on their feet and tall enough to stand over the bike. Along with the *balance bike, we also had them riding a *fixed gear tricycle to get the hang of pedalling.

    For my oldest, we purchased a 14Spawn pedal bike when she was just over 3. We took her to a grassy field, gave her a few pushes and she was riding on her own! Shes now on a 20wheeled BMX bike as she is really tall. My son is almost 3 and he recently started riding the Spawn pedal bike. We followed the same approach with him and he has done really well.

    We are now going on increasingly longer familycoffee ridesevery weekend. The kids swap back and forth between riding their own bikes and riding with us. We installed bike mounts on the back of the Surly Big Dummy so we can tow their bikes. We are hoping to do some longer day trips maybe in Kananaskis this summer.

    I would also say that you need to be prepared to change things up over time as childrens size and abilities change. We purchased the Surly Big Dummy with a child seat when my oldest was around one year old. 













    Eventually we transitioned her to her own handle bar set-up and put our son behind her in the child seat. Last year, with them getting so much taller and heavier we decided to purchase a Metrofiets Box Bike as it is more stable with their weight low to the ground. We are also now able to put one kid on each bike and tow their bikes. We are really fortunate to have so many options now!








      What is a balance bike? A fixed gear tricycle? And, where did you get them?


    A balance bike or run bike is a small bike with no pedals that allows kids to learn steering and balance with their feet on the ground before they learn to pedal. They are available in every bike shop these days. We found it was helpful to get one with a hand brake as our son is a little bit of a speed demon!

    A fixed gear tricycle requires you to actually put force onto the pedals to move the bike forward. This helps teach the pedalling movement. We had to look around a bit to find one, and actually purchased it when we were living in another city. If you can find an old school metal tricycle, they will typically be a fixie.

    When we were talking the other day, you'd mentioned you get extra attention when you are out riding the Metrofiets cargo bike with the kids. Can you give us an example? 

    When we go to playgrounds with our kids, other parents often come up and ask us about the bikes, especially the the Metrofiets box bike because you don't see many of those in Canada. We love telling people all about how easy and fun riding with your kids is!

    What are a couple of the questions asked most often?

    People typically ask where we got the bikes and if it's hard to ride with the kids.

    How do you answer those questions?

    We usually point them towards our local shop, BikeBike, as they have the best cargo bike selection in the city of Calgary, and they really cater to family riding. Regarding riding with the kids, I would say riding with kids has its challenges just like taking your kids in the car, but they are typically in better moods being outside on a bike. Our kids are on the big side for their ages, so we definitely find it easier having them split between the two cargo bikes. Riding with both of them on one bike is definitely a good workout though, and the Metrofiets is more comfortable and stable when riding with both kids as their weight is lower to the ground.

    Can you give us some tips on how you chose your bikes? What kinds of questions did you ask?

    I would suggest:

    - Use Instagram,Twitter, and/or Pinterest to check out family riding and cargo biking set-ups. Some good hashtags are: #yycbikekids #morekidsonbikes #cargobike, #familybike, and #carfreefamily

    - Read online reviews and blog posts of people that have tested various cargo bikes

    - Go to your local shop and test drive a bunch of bikes

    - And think of your current needs but also how you will be able to adapt or re-purpose the bike as your family or cargo biking needs change.

    Do you have a tip or trick for making the process from in-the-home to on-the-bike with kids more seamless and efficient?

    Having all your gear ( and the kids gear) in one accessible place is really helpful. We have hooks set up at kid-level for their helmets and bins for their jackets and gloves, so that they can help get themselves ready. 

     Do you have any tricks or tips for riding on the road with kids in the cargo?

    In general, we like to make ourselves as visible as possible with bright helmets and other gear. The Metrofiets is great because it has lights that are continually on when you are riding. We also like to stick to bike routes, city paths and less busy streets in general. i'm very excited to see some more bike lanes into downtown Calgary in the works!

    Any favourite gear you use for riding with kids in the cargo?

    Wool buffs or neck warmers they can pull over their faces. Sunglasses. A good waterproof blanket. Little toys to keep them entertained on longer rides.

    What is one thing you never leave home without?

    Probably sunglasses or snacks for my kids.

    Any other info you wanted to share?

    If people have any questions, they can get in touch at bikefamyyc@gmail.com.

    Thanks so much Laura! I had so many questions and you answered them all. Happy Biking everyone!

    Part I: April Sister Cyclist, Laura Roberts

    Riyoko's April's Sister Cyclist is Laura Roberts. Laura and her family bike everywhere, and their cycling ways have grown through different stages of their children's growth. Cycling as a family may not seem doable, but as Laura and her family know, it absolutely is. For many people it may just be where to start? I know I wouldn't know where to begin. I had too many questions for Laura to fit into one blog post, so I split the interview into two parts. In Part I, we get to know Laura through own her experiences in cycling. And later this month, in Part II, we'll talk more about her experiences cycling as a family and as a cargo bike family. Here we go!

    Tell us a little about yourself.

    I am a mom of two little kids and work part-time as an environmental engineer for an oil & gas company. My family is bike crazy, and we spend a lot of time cycling together. For me, the best days include a family bike adventure exploring the city, playground hopping, and good coffee or craft beer!

    What do you like best about travelling in your city?

    I love exploring the city by bike because you get such a good sense of the topography, and you see so much more than you can in a car. I love seeing the seasons change - sometimes overnight! Many of the bike paths in Calgary traverse such beautiful areas along the rivers. On a bike, you have the opportunity to chat with people as you travel along. I really enjoy that interaction. When I take the kids on the cargo bike, one of my favourite parts is that every person you pass smiles at you. You can't help but feel happy!

    Of the places you have traveled to, which one(s) have you like travelling to/ through the most, and why?

    Before we had kids, my husband and I did a cycling trip through Barvaria. It was great to see the countryside by bicycle. That area of Germany is really well set up with secondary roads and bike paths to get you in between towns. Lots of great beer to get you through your ride as well!

    Tell us a little about your bike.

    For commuting to work and errands around town, I ride a purple Glitter Dreams Surly Straggler with a Brooks saddle that gets better with age! I probably spent the most time riding one of our two cargo bikes around with my kids though. We have a Surly Big Dummy long tail with seats on the back, and a Metrofiets dutch-style box bike. We always get a lot of attention and questions from other families.

    What started you biking?

    I didn't do a lot of biking as a kid because I grew up on a big hill! My husband and I met in University, and he has always been into cycling, especially mountain biking. I've slowly worked into it over the years. I really enjoy all kinds of cycling now, especially mountain biking with my girlfriends in Bragg Creek! The Trek Dirt Series and Calgary Spin Sisters really helped me progress my mountain biking skills. I also did a couple cyclocross races last fall (Dark Knight - yippee!!), and I'm planning to do some more this year with the Bicisport Club. Cyclocross has a great atmosphere plus the races are short!

    Do you have a favorite riyoko piece

    My favourite riyoko piece are the Bamboo Fleece Tights. They are amazing for commuting on cold mornings or under dresses for running around on the weekends with my kids.

    Tell us a trick or tip you have for cycling and/ or traveling.

    I try to keep all of my gear in one place so I can grab it quickly and go! We recently converted a big part of our garage to a mud room and gear storage, so this helps a lot.

    What is your philosophy?

    Do it now! Life is too short to wait for the perfect weather, the perfect age or perfect time!