Pedal Dancer® - A bike travel blog for fans and cyclists. Interest, information and enthusiasm about being a fan, cycling, traveling, and riding a bike. Light on opinion, heavy on information and joy of the sport. Quality of information is very important to me as well as creating a sense of cycling community for visiting fans to any bike race. Pedal Dancer is a sport and travel guide with cycling photography, maps, stories and travel recommendations.

About Pedal Dancer®

PEDAL DANCER - sharing photos, maps, and stories.

Contact Pedal Dancer

Do you have ideas or comments for me, please email me directly at (remove the spaces) PedalDancerBlog @ and also to PedalDancer @ (if international, please use both emails in case our servers block email). I answer every single email and am always happy to hear from you. I welcome any comments on the Pedal Dancer Facebook page where I now add all of the posts on this website. Thank you for visiting!

Life is like a box of chocolates. In Breckenridge, 2013. Photo by a fellow random USAPro fan.
About Pedal Dancer

Pedal Dancer® is a bike blog and guide for Cyclists, Travelers, and Fans. A blog about the cycling lifestyle; a resource for cyclists and cycling fans. Those who ride or attend bike races and events in the USA and Europe while enjoying travel, tourism, food, drink and fun before, after and in between. Light on opinion and heavy on information and joy of the sport, topics include: race and event calendars, bike routes and cycling climb descriptions, educational topics and news about the pro racing teams, riders, rider's interests, and the bikes and equipment used in the sport of cycling.

I have chased pro races for thirteen years on the Continent and in Europe. I am a huge fan and supporter of the sport of cycling. I have worked hard volunteering my own time and resources to write, photograph and travel to races where I sometimes request to be Media. I share with you my inside tips on how to see and enjoy a professional cycling race and what is going on behind the scenes. My love of travel, maps, photographs and human interest blend with the love of any bike, a good competition in sports, and a better story. Welcome and enjoy the ride!

Follow Pedal Dancer:  Facebook  |  Twitter
I am a proud contributor to the Colorado Sports Photographers at:
I am also a photographer listed at: Bicycle Racing Association of Colorado

Going to in 2014
2014 USA Cycling Cyclo-cross National Championships
2014 Amgen Tour of California
2014 Giro d'Italia
2014 USA Pro Challenge
Recently Been There in 2013
2013 North American Handmade Bicycle Show
2013 Amgen Tour of California
2013 USA Pro Cycling Challenge
Been There in 2012
2012 Tour of Flanders
2012 Paris-Roubaix
Stories from Belgium (and Italy)
2012 Amgen Tour of California
2012 Elephant Rock Century
2012 Ride the Rockies
2012 Tour de France

2012 USA Pro Cycling Challenge 
2012 Interbike
2012 Cross Vegas

Been There in 2011
2011 Tour of California
2011 USA Pro Cycling Challenge
2011 Interbike
2011 Cross Vegas
Been There in 2010
Five Weeks Cycling in France
2010 Tour de France
2010 Tour of California

Been There in 1982-2014
Ireland, England, Scotland, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, Hong Kong, Philippines, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, United States.

Purpose of Pedal Dancer® helps promote events, races, equipment and the sport of cycling to national and international audiences online. I intentionally drive traffic to news sources and services, equipment and events, so that cyclists may find the best information to learn and enjoy the sport. My focus is Colorado, France, the Grand Tours, Spring Classics, ATOC, USA Pro Challenge, National and World events, bike shows and equipment, local event rides and races in the western United States, plus generalized cycling topics for fans and cyclists.

History of Pedal Dancer®
Pedal Dancer is created by Karen Rakestraw. I am the writer and main photographer, the one who pumps the tires, and the one who packs and unpacks the bags. A long time skier, kayaker, climber and mountaineer (and guitar player/singer), I turned to road cycling in 2001 after attending the Tour de France with my brother and sister-in-law (huge cycling fans). Pedal Dancer® was created in 2003. sprinted onto the scene on April 12, 2010. Inspired by the date of the Paris-Roubaix (one of my favorite races) and friends who where attending the race. I wanted to share my stories and what I had learned by chasing races for a decade.

Pedal Dancer® at the race
I have been to the Tour de France 6 times, to the Giro d'Italia, Critérium du Dauphiné, Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, Tour of California since its beginning, and the USA Pro Cycling Challenge since its beginning. Interbike,
NAHBS, Cross Vegas, USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships, plus ridden many long distance event rides.

Climbs in France I have ridden on a bike:
Alpe d’Huez, Col d’Agnes, Col des Aravis, Col d’Aspin, Col d’Aubisque, Col de Boderas, Col du Chaussy, Col de la Columbiere, Col de la Core, Col du Croix Blanche, Col de la Croix de Fer, Col de Fer, Col du Galibier, Col d'Ichere, Col d'Izoard, Col de Lauteret, Col de Latrape, Col de Marie Blanque, Col de Murs, Col d' Ornon, Col de Peyresourde, Col de Port, Col de’Portet d'Aspet, Col d’Portillon, Col de Soudet, Col du Solour, Col de Tamie, Col de Telegraphe, Col du Tourmalet, Col de Tramassel, Cormet de Roseland, Hautacam, Hourquette d’Ancizan, Lac d'Estaing, Lancets, Luz Ardiden, Mount Ventoux, Pla d’Adet. (Areas: Bordeaux, Roussillon, Provence, Vaucluse, Vercours, Alpes, Ariege, Pyrenees, Basque Country,
Cautarets, Cirque de Gavernie,).

Event rides I have participated in:
Triple Bypass, Etape du Tour, Bicycle Tour of Colorado, Ride the Rockies, MS 150, Ragbrai, Copper Triangle, Solvang Century, Elephant Rock, Santa Fe Century, Moab Century and many other century rides.

Hardest climb (for me) that I have ridden (yes even of the climbs in France and Colorado)
Mt Baldy, California  (I know, and that was with my Campy 50/34 32!)

My favorite climbs
Col du Soulor - Cirque du Litor - Col d' Aubisque, both directions, including the cafes on either side and both Cols. Mont Ventoux, France, which also has a couple cafes (I think I see a pattern here). Also the Hourquette d’Ancizan - Col d’Aspin loop in the Pyrenees. And along the wineries in Foxen Canyon near Solvang, California.

My favorite places to ride a bike 

Midi-Pyrénées, France;  Tuscany, Italy;  Rocky Mountains, USA;  Le Grand-Bornand area, Haute-Savoie department, Rhône-Alpes, France.
Copyright and Trademark
Pedal Dancer® is a registered trademark for content and this website. My photography and original content is marked as © copyrighted. However I am happy to share with sites promoting cycling, please ask me prior to use or please credit my work with direct links to Created and Published © by Pedal Dancer® . My purpose is to compile and share information about the sport of cycling. In return I always include links and credit to photography and content of others if made available. I appreciate your help in spreading the word that is an excellent resource for the professional cycling fan. Thank you.


Karen Rakestraw, Writer/Photographer
About Karen:

I am an American and an Irish citizen. I grew up near the beaches of Los Angeles County, California, and now live in Colorado to enjoy the mountains. I enjoy the creativity of writing, love maps and discovering new places. I especially like the unknown of travel. I learn all I can before I go, expect the plans to go awry and find the best times in total surprises.  I have no tolerance for routine, if I did, I'd be a much better bike rider. Mostly I'm an adventurous artist who knows how to move around at a bike race. Being media is important so that I can learn the inside scoop and capture original photographs for posts that I write throughout the year and especially pre race. You'll notice my photography is always from the angle of being a fan or being on the bike itself, with real life perspective of what it was like being there. 

At the summit of one of my favorite climbs - Mont Ventoux in 2010. Photo by a random Belgian rider I climbed with that day on Ventoux.
At the 2012 Tour de France on the Col d'Aubisque.  Photo by my friend Monica.
That's me (center) singing with my instant Belgian friend at the 2012 Paris-Roubaix in the Trouée d'ArenbergPhoto by Gregg Germer of The Chain Stay, Belgium
My dog Jack Denny and I chasing and photographing cyclocross races in Colorado in 2012-13.
Photo by Annette of Mountain Moon Photography

Willie Reichenstein, contributing Photographer at Amgen Tour of California 2012, 2013
About Willie:

An introduction by Willie's wife Liz

As an athlete and Coach originally from Scotland, Willie is a California transplant with a passion for most things competitive. As a long time avid bike rider and with a history of canoeing at the highest level, he stays active in these endeavors. For the last several years he has embraced photography, be it birds, landscapes or sports. At the local high school where his son had attended, he is a constant figure capturing athletic events. Volunteering his time to create a website so that the school and parents can view and use his photos has introduced him to many new friends. Able to ride one amateur stage of The Tour of California last year, his interest was peaked. He is attending with a camera this year but will certainly understand the grimace of these amazing competitors. (meet Willie)
Willie Reichenstein at the Tour de France

Ryan Wallace, contributing Photographer at USA Pro Cycling Challenge 2013

About Ryan:

Ryan is a graduate of photojournalism and photographer at RevLine Photo. He is an excellent action photographer of motocycles, cars, and bikes. One single photo of Ryan's is like gold. You can see some of his images at See Ryan's work: Ryan Wallace Photography of the USA Pro Challenge.
Ryan Wallace shooting Cyclocross in Colorado, 2012.  Photo by Karen at Pedal Dancer®

Contributing Photographers: For more about the other generous talented photographers who have shared their work with me including Laurie Valaer, Ron Long, and Chuck Parsons, contributing Photographers at USA Pro Cycling Challenge in 2012 or 2013, please go to: Pedal Dancer Photographers

More Contributing Photographers (and people who inspire): Mike Rakestraw, Susan Benner, Kenny Rakestraw, Brian Graves, Jason Maxwell, Monica B., Duke Mike N., Katie Strausser.

The image at the top of blog is the Cirque du Litor between the Col du Soulor and the Col d'Aubisque in the French Pyrenees. A place of special meaning to me, and a highly recommended ride!

Read my list of cycling industry Recommendations and Resources.
Read my latest opinion piece on the sport of cycling and its sponsors: Cycling is Growing

A sampling of my favorite posts on Pedal Dancer®

  • Writing - where creativity and passion merge
  • Jens Voigt p/b Cookies and Coffee
  • Colorado Cyclocross Championships
  • Welcome to The Rocky Mountains Phil and Paul
  • Stage 17 on Peyragudes
  • Jens Voigt on the Podium
  • You are looking good
  • The fans want Podium Girls?
  • At the Race at Tour of California Stage 6
  • A day on the Kwaremont
  • I was a fan at the Paris-Roubaix
  • A side trip to Italy
  • Beers in Belgium
  • Stories from Belgium
  • More Cowbell!
  • Packing Tips for Cyclists
  • How to order a coffee in France
  • 1 year! - I'd like to thank the fans
  • Today I saw the Tourmalet bring a man to tears
  • France is a place to be enjoyed slowly
  • I was there that day on Luz Ardiden
  • Andreas' excellent adventure
  • Dancing on the Pedals on 8%
  • The Men of the Peloton
  • Word of the Day: Dossard
  • Betsy will kill me
  • Faster than a landing Fly
  • For the love of a bike
  • I love Mont Ventoux
  • The Baguette
  • Calpe Diem
  • The Tour Hag
  • Cycling is Interesting!
  • The best climbs in Europe
  • Pedal Dancer Best of 2010
  • Favorite moments as a Fan in 2011
  • "21 levels of hell", or 21 steps to heaven
  • Cyclist