“Thistle’s voice is provocative and powerful. With raspy realism, her lyrics paint a picture of life on the road (via bicycle), rage about the killing of the earth and a commitment to fight back.”
–Earth First! Journal
Who I am and what’s here
Hi! Thank you for visiting my site. I am a singer/songwriter and environmental activist living in Madison, Wisconsin. My birth name is Kristine Pettersen but I like to be called “Thistle” because when I rode my bike south in 2003, I saw lots of thistles and admired their tenacity. Holding firm is a trait I hope to honor and embrace in my chosen name.
About my endeavors and projects: I was co-founder of the Grassroutes Caravan for the 2008 Republican National Convention protests in St. Paul. The GRC was an intentional community-building institution based out of Madison from 2007 – 2012. Through this bicycle advocacy work, I volunteered on a committee to organize a mobile bicycle village to Detroit for the US Social Forum in 2010 and then the Soular Ride to Custer, WI in 2011 for the Midwest Renewable Energy Fair. Both of these rides included children ranging in age from 18 months to ten years old. In May of 2012, the GRC rode from Madison to Chicago for the NATO actions, demonstrations and protests. There were no children on that ride since parents did not want to ride into a police state with them. Eight of us were arrested by Chicago police and then interrogated by US Homeland Security after being picked up and taken to jail before we had reached the larger demonstration downtown. We were unarmed and clearly not a threat to national security, but the US often bullies, depicting unarmed, peaceful bicycle lovers as “violent terrorists” to justify their violence against us.
Check out the lyrics of many of my songs to hear more about adventures in taking on the fossil fuels war makers in mass movement and my own movement of personal re-wilding to Nature as I ride.
Musical background: I learned how to sing harmony from my Dad when I was growing up. I sang in choirs and musicals in high school and was in my college choir that toured Europe, California and Colorado. I left Madison, Wisconsin in September of 2003 on my bicycle and rode south to New Orleans with my partner Douglas. We lived outside of a car for five months on our bicycles that Fall and Winter, re-wilding ourselves and getting in touch with Nature. Biking influences the sound of my music. The steady rhythm of the wheels beneath me as I ride clears my mind of anxiety and the songs just come (except for when a car or truck gets too close for comfort).