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...
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, 

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!