GentleSoul Arts

Living a Creative Life


Reflections on cycling

This past weekend, I had an opportunity to really push myself on a 30-mile gravel ride that I ultimately opted out of. I rode a 20-mile gravel ride with friends previously, and that was pushing past my comfort zone (I’ll more about that on my podcast). 30 miles while probably doable, was more than I wanted to push right now.

I started thinking about the WHY of my cycling. I started 2 years ago for health reasons. My mom had passed away, I had turned 50, I didn’t want to turn into a “little old lady, piddling around the house”. That may still be my motivation for getting out the door, or starting a Zwift session but what do I get out of spinning it out?

Quiet time to myself, knowing that I can travel 30 miles easily under my own power. If it comes to where I don’t have a car, or can’t afford gasoline, I have reliable transportation. Noticing trees, butterflies, flowers, a slower way to travel, on paths that a car isn’t allowed.

Do I want to race? No. Do I want to ride gravel all the time, or roads all the time? No. I enjoy being able to ride in various areas. I’m not strictly a roadie or a graveler. I have zero interest in mountain bikes, bunny hops, or flipping over my handlebars after hitting a root.

I want to ride for fun, to see what my body can accomplish. Sometimes I want to ride alone, sometimes with my cycling friends. I don’t really know about riding events. I did two this past year. One I didn’t know anyone, and it was enjoyable. The 2nd was a larger event, but my cycling group was riding, so we ended up mostly together so it didn’t feel like a large event once we started rolling. I enjoy having a supported ride with traffic being stopped for us. I don’t want to ride with a large group I don’t know. Everyone I’ve met has been welcoming though, but I have my core group that I know will support and encourage me

I’ve accomplished a lot in the last 8 months in terms of my cycling goals. I went from a normal ride being 8-9 miles to it being 18-20 miles. I’ve become consistent, riding in groups when the weather permits, getting out on my own or with a friend on the weekend, or on my trainer now that the time has changed and it’s dark when I get home. I have 2 bikes (Frida, the road bike and Kismet, the gravel bike) and although I know the N+1 rule, there’s not a ‘next bike’ in mind. I’ve gone from flat pedals to clipless on my road bike. Although I don’t always embrace the term, I finally feel like a cyclist.

Looking towards 2022, I would like to learn basic maintenance & repair for my bikes. Maybe my next bike will be an upcycled scrapper I put together myself, just to learn to build one. I’ve done a few 30-mile rides so my next goal will be 50 miles (road miles – my gravel goal will be becoming comfortable with 20 miles and hills).

Mostly, I just want to keep riding.

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OVAC Art Crawl 2021

Art Crawl 2020 – Photo by OVAC

It’s that time of year again! The Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition’s Art Crawl! This year it is one day only, October 16th, and I’ll be displaying my art from 1pm – 6pm. I’ll have my urban sketching & visual journals sketchbooks available to browse through. (Sketchbooks not for sale) You can check out a map of all the participants at

I’ll be creating a fairy house out of a tree stump in my yard during the event and I’ll post progress photos later.

Stop by and say Hello!

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A quick break

Taking a break at work, I can’t check Facebook or Instagram since both sites are down and there’s really nothing on Twitter but people complaining about Facebook and Instagram. So I thought I’d type out a quick post, and reflect on life before social media. Because I’m old.

I took programming class in junior high (mid 1980s) but it was in DOS and our big project was printing out a big ansi/ascii banner (I don’t remember which). I didn’t spend any other time on a computer. At home I’d watch TV, read magazines, clean my room, sort out clothes, ride my bike. I was in band so I’d practice or play music for fun.

Now, I find myself grabbing my phone for a distraction. TikTok, Facebook, Instagram. I post and constantly look for a like or comment. I’ve contemplating deleting them. I could easily do without Twitter. I am connected with others sketchers & cyclists on FB and Insta, but how connected are we? I check for group ride notifications and cancellations. I thought about how people used to have phone trees, where each person was assigned some one to call to pass along a message. Now we have group texts. Social media is easy, but it’s not simple.

Even though I’m posting this online, I feel less connected with others than I did before I had an online presence.

Luckily my sketchbook is always in my purse with some fine liners and watercolor so even without social media dopamine monkey to chase, I can have “something to do”.