by CJ on THE VINE
posted Feb 24 2014 10:15AM
Recreational Work Outs Are The Best!
I won't say how long ago it was, but shortly after I married me and the husband headed to a bike shop in the Bay Area and I bought my very first legit bike. It was a sleek little blue beauty designed for street riding with skinny tires, a suede seat and multiple gears. Over the years I've taken bike rides, some in San Leandro (where we lived at the time) others in the Napa Valley both solo and with my kids, and currently in North Sacramento where I live on the weekends. After moving to the Napa Valley, I realized that as much as I loved the easy speed that the bike tires gave me, riding amongst the vineyards required a sturdier tread - thistles kept penetrating the tires and into the inner tube. A local bike shop recommended I change out the tires to hybrids - ones that would work fine on paved roads, but tough enough to take dirt paths. My husband has had several bikes, but a few years ago, I decided to surprise him with a tough Trek bike - so off to the bike store where he tried out various styles. The bike shop owners at St. Helena Cyclery were very helpful, and we walked out of the store with a fine bike indeed. And then it stood in our garage for several years, mostly unridden. About a year and a half ago I began campaigning for us to take bike rides together. This last weekend, we finally did! WIth temperatures in the 70's, it was hard to resist, and after replacing an inner tube and pumping up the tires and putting on those silly looking helmets - off we went. I told my husband we could take a shorter ride for our first time out - but true to his nature, he pushed a little further than what even I had expected. There's real magic in riding a bike, I think. You can get to places faster than walking, and can check out new sites a little easier since you don't zip by them as quickly as you would if you were in a car or motorcyle. We came across a super, giant warehouse sale and took a few minutes to browse. We enjoyed the sights and smells of a warm, early Spring day. And the husband says that despite some sore muscles he's ready to do it again. By the way, have you heard about the grass roots organization in Napa that is promoting a walking/biking trail system connecting the entire Napa Valley? The Napa Valley Vine Trail hopes to design, fund, construct, and maintain 47 safe and scenic miles of level, paved, family-friendly, free-access Class I trail, stretching from the Vallejo Ferry to Calistoga. They can use our help, and think about it ... if their vision becomes a reality, any of us, on any given day can hop on to our bike and enjoy a safe ride in beautiful Napa Valley. Here's to bike riding ... one of the best recreational workouts for all ages.
by CJ on THE VINE
posted Feb 5 2014 10:32AM
Connections Make The Community
A few years back, when I was unemployed, I sat back to reflect on what I could do with what I had. I still had a good relationship with the company that had let me go. The cut backs were in response to the down economy, and my job fell into the cut back category. So I volunteered to work for free, to be sure on a limited basis. My reasoning was that at least it kept me in the industry of my choice, and my former boss gave me some freedom to foster relationships that I hadn’t previously had the time or opportunity to develop. I realized that despite living in the Napa Valley for some 20 years, I had been so busy raising my kids, I hadn’t taken time to get to know the people. I decided that I would make a point of reaching out to groups in the community that I supported but didn’t really know. The first group was one that I believe plays a vital role in our society and especially in this community, but is overlooked, underappreciated and perhaps just assumed. That would be the artists. You may wonder, by now, what I could do for artists? I was a volunteer part time weekend radio host on 99.3 The Vine. I invited artists to talk about their projects, their philosophy of art and how they were making an impact in the community with what they created. Over time, I eventually was re-employed and had the opportunity to work with the non-profits of the Napa Valley – which put me into contact with another vital aspect of this valley. Do you know that Napa Valley boasts well over 100 non-profits, many of which serve the needs of residents who are often ignore or marginalized? These dedicated citizens quietly go about their day helping hundreds of folk throughout the year, making a difference that improves the lives of individuals and families, giving them hope and help. Now, in addition to making connections with artists and helping non-profits get their message out to the public, I have the chance to work with the small business owners. And I’m discovering yet another vibrant part of our community – the entrepreneur. They work hard to market goods and services, and have great commitment and enthusiasm for their product. Now some five years later, I realize that at one of my lowest points I found a way to reach out into a community that is alive with creativity, a will to do good and the confidence to pursue an idea. We all benefit from the artists, the non-profits and the business owners. I realized that I have come to the place where I could very well run into some of these amazing folk outside of work and have a conversation with them, not necessarily related to our professional relationship. At the very least, I could say “Hi, how’s it going,” which to some may not seem like much, but for me, it’s big. Just this morning, I was out getting my cup of java to start off my day in downtown Napa, and I saw a gentleman I had done business with, also heading to the coffee shop. As I passed him by, I stopped and said, “Hey! How did it go for you?” – referring to a recent promotion and interview we had given his business. He looked at me with a friendly smile, but puzzled look. So then I asked him if he was the manager of the certain business, and he said, “No,” … flustered, I smiled brightly, and wished him a good day anyway, and he kindly did the same. I could feel embarrassed, but instead I’ve decided it was a great opportunity to make yet another connection in this amazing community. Have a great day ya’ll!