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Showing posts from February, 2014

My Multimodal Adventure to the Silicon Valley Transportation Choices and Healthy Communities Summit

By 6:15 AM today, I was biking down the hill from campus, enjoying the moments of stillness right before the sun rose. Lights twinkled in the city below, a familiar view that has been part of my experience at UC Santa Cruz for the last four years. Most of the time when I see the city's twinkling lights, though, it's at night.

Seeing it this early in the morning dispelled any lingering desire to be in my warm bed, and it prepared me for a day of engagement with transportation issues. I was on my way to the Silicon Valley Transportation Choices and Healthy Communities Summit in Palo Alto, and this 15-minute bike ride was leg one of a multi-modal journey!


After biking fast down the hill with my bright yellow jacket on, I arrived at the Santa Cruz Metro Station downtown with about 5 minutes to spare. I put my bike on the bus rack, paid my $5 for the trip over the hill, and sat down to breathe. I promptly closed my eyes and half-slept while sitting and not letting my pannier bag f…

John Muir: Conservationist & Walker of the California Landscape

"I stood for a while at the lookout, taking in the state of California. For a moment, it all made sense. No wonder Muir stayed here. No wonder he came up with a powerful and personal philosophy about conservation. He walked the state. More than once. He knew the details, from rock to plant to person and up to mountain top. He attached a significance to the story of the land itself that few others could. He inserted himself into that story bodily, intellectually, and spiritually, beginning in his second day in the state." -- Alex McInturff, California Transect, 2009

Do you walk often? How does walking influence your understanding of the landscape, cityscape, or neighborhood around you? How is walking different from driving, biking, or taking a bus? What can it teach us about patience, progression, life?

Why Monterey Bay Aquarium Deserves a High Five

To celebrate 30 years of oceanic wonder and opportunity to learn about the secret world of the sea, the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, California had a week of free admission for residents of Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz counties. My co-residential adviser and I decided to bring two van-loads of our residents to the aquarium because as UCSC students, we also had access to free admission.

See all photos from my visit here.
We headed to Monterey today in the rain with 12 residents and 3 RAs including myself. I took tons of photos and enjoyed learning about and observing jellyfish, puffins, penguins, sun fish, sea stars, and ton of other interesting creatures.

It was really crowded because of the free admission, but I was inspired by how many people took the opportunity to visit the Aquarium, which normally costs about $40 per person. Free admission allowed community members and families of all means to visit and experience the wonder of the Aquarium.

Seeing children, teen…

Forest Trails Talk: A Speaker Panel on Upper Campus Mountain Biking

Last quarter, I participated in a Girls Gone Wilder mountain bike ride (Wilder as in Wilder Ranch State Park, of course). It was my first time joining them. The Facebook description for the group reads, "We're a Santa Cruz women's mountain biking group with a lust for the great outdoors. We're fun, welcoming, beginner-friendly and beer-positive. Join us!" I had a blast, and afterwards, everyone celebrated the awesome turnout with a beer at the Santa Cruz Mountain Brewery.

While enjoying the bike-induced endorphins and beer,  I met some really awesome people, Traci and Eric of Hilltromper, "the nature-worshiping, fun-loving adventurer's guide" to Santa Cruz and Dave Robinson of Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz, "a non-profit mountain bike advocacy organization and a chapter of the International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA)." We got to talking about how many of the trails in Santa Cruz, and particularly those in the upper campus of UCSC, a…

Bike love in the air & How I became a blogger for Pedal Love

It's not Valentine's Day yet, but bike love is in the air! It's rainy in Santa Cruz today and I have a cold, though, so I'll share some bike love through writing instead of riding.

A couple weeks ago, I submitted some photos of myself with my bike to the website Pedal Love to be included in their Valentine's Day feature. Little did I know that my submissions would lead to an opportunity to write blogs for this awesome site, an initiative of the California Bicycle Coalition.

Their website states, "Women on Bikes California marries active living advocacy for women with an ever evolving new media communications platform 'Pedal Love' to share dynamic and compelling stories of how ordinary people are making extraordinary changes to their lives by bike."

After I emailed my photos in, I received an email back from Melissa Balmer, Editor/Director of Pedal Love and Women on Bikes. The first thing her email said was "You made my day!" and then she…