look at you

Look at You! (#3)

Today we’re profiling regular reader and frequent commentator, Jean. Jean is a self-identified “lifestyle cyclist” whose commitment to cycling through winters in Calgary is enough to silence anyone (like me, Tracy) in Ontario who complains that it’s too cold and snowy to ride through the winter!

Jean has offered many helpful and inspiring words of cycling wisdom since we started this blog. She has a blog of her own, Cycle Write Blog, where you can read more of her musings on cycling and other fitness pursuits, and see her wonderful photography. She has also blogged about bike art at Third Wave Cycling Blog.

Jean: Lifestyle Cyclist: When It’s No Longer Exercise, No Longer a Chore

Jean Chong riverside path dec 2013

I’ve been car-free for over the last 3 decades. I gave up my driver’s license in my early 20’s, when I realized my discomfort with driving would endanger others. So I traded a car for active transportation and good health –cycling, walking and transit.

I have consciously chosen to live and invest in walkable and cycleable neighbourhoods in Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary, where it’s close to a bike route or two, public transit and within a 15-min. walk of some shops and services. I haven’t known the cost of gasoline for last 30 years. I’ve saved a ton of money for other stuff. Read my post about how I did that, here.

In 2014, I will be bicycling into my 55th year. I returned to bicycling 23 years ago. I have 3 hybrids and 1 folding bike in Vancouver and Calgary. There’s even a 4th well-used bike, I gave away to a sister in Toronto. I borrow it whenever I visit my extended family in Toronto.

Cycling is integrated into my daily lifestyle by cycle-commuting to work, shopping, for fitness and on our self-made bike trips. I’ve never had an indoor bike nor bike rollers. In 2010, I started winter cycling with some snow when I relocated to Calgary. Since dry prairie air and warm chinook winds that sweep from the mountains, suck up melting snow, I’ve been able to cycle at least 70% of winter days on clearer pavements. Since our winter days are much colder, I learned to bike down to -24 degrees C (-11F). Maybe I’ll get studded tires one day.

I range from 3,000 to 7,000 km. of cycling annually. Our bike trips with my packed bike panniers, each cover from 100 km. to over 1,000 km. Every year, we cycle at least 1 trip or more, at least over several days. Since my partner is consummate cyclist himself, and local cycling advocate where we’ve lived, I’ve learned bike routes and how to string together multiple routes so that I can ride on my own or with friends. One can bike 60-100 km. in 1 day, by cycling within the borders for each of these 3 Canadian cities! I love exploring locally by bike. So “exercise” by bike is so much more psychologically effortless.

So find your favourite daily exercise for life. Then it’s no longer a chore. Read more about this approach here.

Jean Chong summer

If you’d like to be profiled in “Look at You!” please send a photo of yourself in action and a 75-150 word bio focusing on what you do to stay active. You can send your submissions to fitfeminist50@gmail.com. We look forward to hearing from you!

look at you · swimming

Look at You! (#2)

Today we are profiling a colleague of ours from Western, Savita Dhanvantari.  Love this picture!


I’m a scientist, swimmer and lover of the great outdoors. This is a selfie after a terrific swim this summer at Gibbons Park pool in London, Ont. I belong to a Master’s swim club, the London Silver Dolphins, and our motto is “fun, fit and fast”. Fun comes first! Swimming is an inclusive sport: people of all ages, body types and physical abilities can do it. On our team, there are ex-Olympians, Para-Olympians, Special Olympians, and age groups 20-87, all swimming together, pushing and motivating each other, and having a blast.

My other ways of staying active, in order of “fun”: cross-country skiing, canoeing the magnificent lakes and rivers of southern Ontario, hiking in the woods. My workouts at the gym include free weights and machines, treadmill, spin class or stationary bike. I started following this blog a few months ago, and am really enjoying the conversations and issues around fitness and feminism. I, too, am “almost 50”; 2015 is my year!

If you’d like to be profiled in “Look at You!” please send a photo of yourself in action and a 75-150 word bio focusing on what you do to stay active. You can send your submissions to fitfeminist50@gmail.com.  We look forward to hearing from you!

look at you · reader profiles

Look at You! #1

We have such great readers!  Two people stepped up with “Look at You” submissions after yesterday’s call. So today, we launch our new regular feature with profiles of Stephanie Drago and fitness blogger Robin Kadet.

Stephanie Drago

Stephanie Drago

I’ve been a fan of the blog for probably most of 2013.  As I write this, I am nine days away from turning 40, so stories you tell and the adventures you have give me ideas of what is yet to become for me!

As you can tell from the photo, my big hobby is running.  This is a snapshot a friend took at the San Diego Rock & Roll half marathon in June 2013.  2013 has been a big running year for me, since it started with the Carlsbad marathon back in January.  While that was my sixth marathon, it was the first I’d run in 9 years, and I can say that training, racing and recovery has been a little bit different with nine extra years under my belt.  I am friends with a foam roller in ways that I never thought would be necessary when I was in my 20s!  Training just started for my next marathon, which will be Los Angeles in March.  I said I would retire from marathons by doing one when I turned forty, but anyone who runs with a group knows how peer pressure works, so we’ll see how that goes.

When I am not running I enjoy other activities like yoga, spinning and Pilates.  I unfortunately don’t do as much strength training as I would like, so I always have aspirations of focusing on that.  And my secret aspiration is to one day participate in a century ride.  Considering I haven’t owned a bicycle since I was in high school, I read Tracy’s posts about getting on the bike with great interest.  I still have plenty of time, right?

Robin Kadet (Blog: A Fit and Focused Future)


My name is Robin, and my whole future revolves around staying fit and healthy. Every day I have around 45 minutes to an hour of formal workouts, involving weights, yoga and various strength training workouts. I call this my “formal exercise”, but really I do this so that I can stay in shape for all the activities I love to do outside in rural Vermont where I live. Whether it’s wading through the river behind my house, fly fishing, hiking, foraging for mushrooms in the woods or snowshoeing and skiing in the winter, I find the strength, flexibility and balance I have gained w/ inside fitness enables me to make the most of whatever I like to do outside. I love to write about fitness and health, and help others in a relaxed way, keep their health top of mind. I’m an advocate and cheerleader for my son and my husband, and anyone else who would like to listen. Because keeping fit as we get older is hard, and so many people I know want this to happen, but don’t really know how to make it a priority. It doesn’t come by chance. Sometimes I need the reminder too, and writing in my blog every few weeks, (and reading others, like yours )even when other priorities vie for my attention, always helps me circle back to where it needs to be.

Thanks so much for your blog–I really enjoy reading it.

If you’d like to be profiled in “Look at You!” please send a photo of yourself in action and a 75-150 word bio focusing on what you do to stay active. You can send your submissions to fitfeminist50@gmail.com.  We look forward to hearing from you!