We’ve partnered with Nutcase Helmets to share the stories of three inspiring women we’ve met recently via our #LiveYourPassion Giveaway. Two dresses, two helmets, two winners! Because it’s just more fun to share it with a friend.
Click over to our Instagram page for details on how to enter. Increase your chances of winning by tagging more of your inspiring friends or sharing a picture of how you #LiveYourPassion – don’t forget to tag us so we can find it. We will announce the winners on July 24th.
Today, we continue our Live Your Passion series and the Nutcase/Nuu-Muu giveaway with another great interview. Read on to learn how April Streeter – self-described as a “blogger, freelance writer and author, and yoga teacher” – conquers the challenges and enjoys the awesomeness of living her passions in Portland daily.
Writing and Yoga, huh? Tell us about it!
I have never been very athletic – on my first report card the most outstanding comment from my kindergarten teacher was “April is a good rester!” But I always liked riding my bike, and as a freelance writer I got to follow my passions, so over time transportation and biking became a big part of what I write about and a really important part of my life–our family of four gave up our car in 2006 while we were living in Sweden, and when we moved back to the U.S. we just brought the bike-friendly, car-light lifestyle back with us.
I was pretty surprised, though, when moving back to Portland after five years away, that even though I was supposedly living in a bike-y mecca, the bike lanes still felt overwhelmingly male to me, and a little intimidating, especially when riding in them during the a.m./p.m. commute. I knew the statistics–only one-third of the biking population was female, but I didn’t quite understand why.
How did you know you wanted to do this? And how did you make it happen for yourself?
Of course, when a journalist/writer doesn’t understand something, she writes a book! So that’s what I set out to do in 2010. I wanted to know why women don’t bike as much as men, and also share my experience of how to make bike transportation work if you want it to.
Also, I wanted to try to see if there was any hidden bike history from a women’s perspective, and lo and behold, there were a lot of secret women cyclist heroines! Once I started researching I was really even further hooked on the subject of women and biking. But though I got an agent for the book, and she shopped it around, the feedback was disappointing and a bit contradictory. My agent recommended that I change the book to respond to all the feedback. My husband said write the book you want to write. I did the latter, and self-published. That was challenging but also satisfying. The first edition is almost sold out and the second edition will be published by Microcosm in early 2017.
Congrats, that’s awesome! What is the best thing about what you do?
The best thing about writing about biking is the community. When I was in the process of publishing the book I realized that I couldn’t just ‘preach’ the bike-as-transportation lifestyle through the book – I also wanted to share my experience with women who faced some of the barriers to biking that I identified and also that I had experienced myself.
For example, sometimes your partner is not the best person to show you the biking ropes. I had that experience with a first boyfriend who was a passionate cyclist, but he didn’t try to make biking comfortable for me. That actually turned me off biking for a while. That impulse–that I wanted to give back–lead me to form the Women on Wheels meetup group. Sometimes it is great to bike with a group of people that understand your experience and encourage you wherever you are at. That’s what our group is about – we bike all year round and we are welcoming to all cyclists who want to bike for transportation and recreation in Portland. Yoga is another way that I give back. I’m not a super flexible person who can contort myself into pretzel poses. The benefits of yoga are benefits for every body.
What is the hardest thing about living your passion?
Freelance writing and being a small-press author is not necessarily a lucrative profession. And neither is my ‘second’ profession of teaching yoga. In Portland, yoga teachers are a dime a dozen. I’m the only one I know of, however, that does ‘mobile’ yoga – I’ve got the mats and props and I bring the yoga to you! But the hardest thing about juggling these professions is making time for them and ignoring the laundry.
What advice do you have for folks who are thinking about embracing a life on wheels?
Start slow. As far as the bikey lifestyle, I don’t really believe in suffering. Many of the women who come to ride with us may say ‘I’m a fair-weather cyclist’ and I respect that. If you find you are miserable riding in the rain, well, don’t do it. I also think that after riding for a while, you may find out that a horrible-weather day on your bike is far preferable to all the other modes of transport. Or that’s what has happened to me – for me, city cycling equals biking joy, and I’ll take the joy. That said, I’m a Zipcar and Car2Go member and also use GetAround. I haven’t tried Uber yet – it only recently came to Portland.
How do Nuu-Muu and Nutcase help you along the way?
I love clothing that looks great and feels great, yet also performs for biking, and even goes from the bike straight to the yoga studio. My Nuu-Muu is super comfy and looks so fabulous. I also love the coverage of the Nuu-Muu – it is flattering to different body shapes, and I appreciate that. And Nutcase has been my helmet(s) of choice for a few years – I love to have choice in colors and graphics to suit my mood. For a few years now I’ve alternated between a red-and-white Mini Dots helmet and a Hula Blue. One of the features I love best about my Gen3 Nutcase helmets is the removable ear pads for winter wear. I also adore the magnetic buckle – you can take the helmet off with one hand, which turns out to be far ‘handier’ than you might think!
Writing and yoga probably keep you pretty busy, but what else do you love to do?
I love to cross-country ski, and I’m planning to take up the ukulele this year for our family’s holiday talent show, because I’m running out of new talents to display. Last year I sang the national anthem of the Philippines in Tagalog, and the year before that I tap danced – but my family is a hard crowd to please! They don’t tolerate repeats.
In Portland and want yoga delivered straight to your door?
April welcomes you to get in touch!
You can also find April’s blog posts at Treehugger.com.
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