“Nice bike!” “Actually, it’s a trike!” —Me

Yes, I’m 28 years old and I ride a tricycle. It’s a magical machine painted floral and Barbie pink, beautiful with streamers and a basket. Riding my tricycle has changed my life. She is my baby and she inspires me to fearlessly explore my city in unimaginable ways. I am healthier and more in tune with the world at large because of my trike. A whole new world has been opened to me. The people I have met and the community I have gained access to is by far one of the best things that has ever happened to me.

Everyone remembers their first time. That wind blowing through your hair – the thrill of moving fast and having independence is intoxicating. I remember learning to ride my first bicycle when I was a little girl. My huffy was a rockstar, I chased many ice cream trucks on that bad boy. Biking is a way to regain childhood innocence and zest for adventure. Just put down the car keys and strap on a helmet, you will instantly feel better.

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Before and after: A trike transformed

Being a cyclist is more than just a hipster trend; it is a way of life and passion for better living. Bicycles and their variations are a healthy and quick means of green transportation. Fixed gear bikes have a sleek design that fills the need for speed. Many people go to great lengths to customize their rides into moving masterpieces. Freak bikes may include double decker bikes with two welded frames, low riders, pimped out tricycles, unicycles, and other even more creative mods.

Vintage cruisers are popular for leisure riders and in the fashion world. Runway fashion shows featuring bikes are trending. I was lucky enough to be in one! Dressing for your destination is a theme. Tweed rides are slow roll bike rides where riders don vintage tweed apparel. It’s so charming to put on those cat eye sunglasses and vintage dress , hair done up with extra hairspray of course, and cruise on a sunny spring day. Be careful with billowy dresses though- they can get caught in your wheel. What I normally do is wear shorts under my dress and tie it in a knot when riding. You learn that real quick.

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Chelsea Lee Jones

My trike is pretty. I often think that I am going to get mugged by a gang of Hello Kitty clad 8 year old girls for it. It’s so me, it’s the ride I always dreamed of. A very close friend of mine, Chelsea Lee Jones, was a passionate cyclist and true creative force of nature. She helped me transform a tricycle that I picked up out of a garbage pile into a magical ride. She insisted that I pimp my ride. We disassembled her and painting everything with spray paint and lace as a stencil. It is a true work of art. I am very proud of the work we did. Tragically Chelsea passed away shortly after the trike transformation was complete. Every time I ride it’s for her, she is with me protecting me, she is in my heart.

Chelsea didn’t give a fuck. She danced, she was loud, she loved, and she biked in mini skirts. I remember biking with her during Buffalo Porchfest, drinking beer, watching bands, and enjoying life together. I will forever miss her beauty, wit, and sweet grace.

My trike is like me: slow, colorful, and it has a wide ass that gets her into all kinds of trouble. I smile 100 per cent of the time I am on it. I’m always the last one at the midnight bikeride, a ride where at least a 100 riders explore Buffalo into the wee hours of the morning. But I can carry a case of beer and a boombox, so I always have friends. I don’t endorse or recommend riding under the influence of alcohol, but honestly that’s why I ride a trike, stability.

My precious trike is a real panty dropper. I have literally picked up guys (and a few girls) in bars with the line “get in my basket” and rode off into the sunset with them behind me. Winning.

I’m not the only tricyclist in Buffalo. Madonna is my trike style inspiration! She is hardcore. She is a truly incredible woman. Her outlandish style is perfectly eclectic and simply charming. Her trike matches her look, a vibrant spectacle of stuffed animals, horns, and found objects adorn her epically pimped out trike. She is the personification of a smile. Check out this blog about her here.

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Madonna photo by Jon Piret

Buffalo is a very bike friendly city. More and more bike lanes and paths are popping up and it is easy to ride to any part of the city. Big rides like the Critical Mass Midnight bikeride on Sunday nights, the slow roll, the sky ride, and even more smaller rides make it fun to explore with friends. Go bike buffalo advocates bike safety and infrastructure and holds workshops for cyclists young and old as well as bike recycling.

Shameless plug time. I work at the Hostel Buffalo Niagara. It’s actually where I write most of these blogs, last minute the night before deadline. This place is fantastic, anyone who plans on coming through Buffalo should come say hi. Besides the art gallery, kick ass VHS collection, a sexy staff, and rad ping pong table we also have a free bike share! I have also been incredibly inspired by the cyclists who have come through here on their way across the country. I will never feel lazy riding on the slight up hill on my 2 mile ride home again. We also have a discounted rate if you are traveling by bike! Food Not Bombs happens here every Saturday with bike carts carrying free food for all. It’s a magical place. Calling all Montreal cyclists to come up to Buffalo, let’s go for a ride together! It’s a beautiful day.

Korean food seems to fly under the radar in Montréal. That’s why I enjoy eating at certain downtown Korean spots so much. You sit down, you order, you go out on a limb–and you can almost dodge that nasty critic mind creeping in, the one so intent on spoiling pleasure, insiduously benchmarking all dishes against the 100 other similar varietals in town (I’m looking at you, French and Italian restos).

Seafood paejon
Seafood paejon at GaNaDaRa

Though bibimbap has not (and likely never will) enjoy the big-bang explosion of other recent culinary phenomena (ramen, poutine, tacos, etc.) its variations have nonetheless multiplied tenfold in the past decade. The Montréal Korean food scene may be modest, but its offeringsare steadily diversifying.

Consider your options. You could hit up some fantastic pork bone soup at Bulgogi House, gorge at the requisite all-you-can-eat Seoul Chako BBQ, or even grace a table of Mi Kyom-Kim’s slightly-more-upscale Omma–a delectable resto depicted by Sarah Musgrave as “gentler, softer and, dare I say, more feminine than most of its counterparts.”

Gentle and soft are okay, but if you want comfy, quick, salty Korean fare (and fast), there’s really only one option: GaNaDaRa, the tiny, jam-packed, feel-good eatery on de Maisonneuve at St-Mathieu. If Omma is the gentlest Korean fare in town, GaNaDaRa is certainly the cuddliest.

The small, simple room is labeled after the “first four letters of the Korean language” according to my menu/catalogue/scrapbook and is constantly packed with warm chatter and smiley servers (no matter how chaotic the line gathering out front). Oh yeah, it’s also plastered with Hello-Kitty-derived illustrations and unsettlingly bucolic quotes like this one. (It’s hard to know if GaNaDaRa is trying to be ironic or just maddeningly positive about the future.)

I’ll tell you one thing: you can come here in any mood you like.

dak tuikim aka popcorn chicken at GaNaDaRa
dak tuikim aka popcorn chicken at GaNaDaRa

Uninspired? The seafood pancake (paejeon), once dipped in soy-rice vinegar sauce & topped with a side of that addictive housemade kimchi, will stimulate your creative flow.

Angry? The puffy, greasy chicken with Korean sweet sauce (dak tuikim) will put a smile on your face– temporarily, the way KFC popcorn chicken used to cheer you up at 6 pm when you’d had a rough day at school and mom decided to order in.

Downtrodden? The spicy deep-fried tofu or crazy ketchupy-piquant sauce with mochi-like rice blob-cakes (Tteokppoki) will put fire in your belly…and force you to have an opinion one way or another.

Majestic deer by the washrooms

Sure, many of the appetizer dishes at GaNaDaRa are best shared (lest they be too oily to finish off solo), but the prices are so affordable, and the variety so thick, that you’ll have no problem ordering three or four.

Buoyed with happy kitty drawings, feel good comfort food and homey fermented veg, visions of a majestic Love Deer on the way to the bathroom suddenly just seems…so right.