CIPO-VAN is a collection of stories that, together, make for an interesting exercise of building community across many realities. This is a space where each member, or comuner@, can explore their craziest ideas and put to practice their skills as we work together to build a better world for everyone today.
We have work alongside indigenous communities in Oaxaca, Mexico. Our hope is to go beyond traditional solidarity and build connections that turn our words into reality: we are all many hands with a single heart in this struggle. We take our name borrowing from the Popular Indigenous Council of Oaxaca “Ricardo Flores Magon” (CIPO-RFM), an organization of indigenous communities from the Southern Mexican State of Oaxaca that struggle for their reconstitution and free association. CIPO-VAN’s history is part of the history of struggle and alternative-building that we share with our friends, brothers, and sisters in Oaxaca, in Chiapas, in Mexico, and around the world. We believe that our project is a concrete expression of being part of a larger community that resists and builds together, not simply simpathizing with the struggles of others.
So after our misadventures just North of San Francisco we made it to Oakland, where we spent a couple of nights recovering. We were really excited about meeting the Slinghsot collective, so we went to the Long haul infoshop. This is a community space where several collectives host their activities and events. When we got there there were quite a few people still having dinner provided by Food not bombs, and others were busy typing away at the space’s free-to-access computer room. We met some of the organizers there, who showed us around and were happy to see us.
This was truly a cool place. Lots of people where there for different reasons, and they were all very friendly and interesting. Some where local activists or residents, and other were travelers like us. We actually met a bunch of young people who were preparing for a bike trip from San Francisco to Mexico as well, and they were very interested in our trip when they heard we were doing the same thing =) Continue reading San Francisco: awesomeness everywhere!→
We haven’t written since we left Arcata, and it’s been a LONG time since that happened! It’s not that we’ve been lazy, or that we’ve enjoyed being outside riding our bikes so much that we always put off writing for the next day, or that we’ve forgotten about all of you (we know you must wake up every morning and run to your computers to check if we posted something new to the blog :-)), it’s just that, um, well, life is tough!
So, this part one of a massive tale. Go grab your coffee, tea, beer, or hot chocolate and prepare to be thrown into magical lands and hear of awesome adventures!
We left Aracata on November 27, and embarked on a trek through the redwood forests of Humboldt National Park. We had already been through the redwoods just North, and this trek gave us such an eerie sensation as well. It’s as if, somehow, the air within these forests was “heavier”, as if we were riding into a headwind, but there was no wind whatsoever. I don’t know if we were too tired or what, but we’d like to believe it’s got to do with the awesomeness that are the forests. Continue reading The cipo-caravan is still alive (barely) in California→
We spent a few days in Seattle preparing for our next city, Portland OR. We hoped to organize something there, so we got in touch with friends and caught a train down (we know, not quite biking but hey! the time we saved we can spend in the city instead =). The day before leaving we met with Alec, a friend who lives here. You can see a small video of us riding around the waterfront leading into Seattle. We then hopped on the Amtrak train, and headed for Portland.
We’ve spent a few days here in Portland, and it’s really a great city (as far as we can tell!). There’s more cyclists here than I’ve seen in my life, and that just feels so warm and fuzzy (even though the weather’s been cold and cloudy). There are bike paths left and right, bike parking corrals everywhere, and in general it’s super easy to get around on a bike. There’s also a bunch of coop stores where people seem to really have a sense of belonging, and “buy local, buy organic” seems like a mantra everywhere.
One of the first places we checked out was the Red and Black Cafe, a vegan, anarchist cafe in SE Portland. If you ever come to town you MUST go! =) Super awesome people work there, the food’s tasty, and the angry letters the get (and posted on their windows) are hilarious! Then we super-quickly checked out City Bikes. This is a sort-of OCB bike shop, but with much less emphasis on teaching and letting people do their thing. It’s still a coop bike shop, and they have used parts for cheap and are super friendly. Check it out if you can.