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Filtering by Tag: Seth Strickland

Two-Wheeling to Work

Seth Strickland


By Seth Strickland

Biking to work is fun. It's also great for all your muscles (including your heart!), it'll drive you to make better diet choices, and it'll give you a good chance to take a break from the ol' automobile. 

Citi bike has grown steadily more popular, as well as various bike sharing  programs, so it's easier than ever worldwide to get your hands on a bike without having to actually buy one. But, chances are, there's a yard sale down the street, a recently-unexplored garage, or Craigslist, whereat a lonely bicycle is waiting, like a puppy, for you and only you. 

Where to begin riding? Think about your work commute. Is it feasible for you to bike to work? Look for perhaps previously undiscovered bike paths in your community - chances are, if you live in a bicycle-friendly community or an urban environment, there are bike trails all around you. Get in contact with your local bike commission for a bicycling map.

 I'm not advocating, though, that you pick up a bike tomorrow and set off on your 18-mile commute. Unless you do this already, I'm telling you that you're probably not going to make it. Plus, if you do make it, you might, through your tears, wish that you hadn't ever laid eyes on a bicycle nor been born or something foolish like that. But, if you have a commute of three miles or less (or more if you want to!), think about taking a day or two next week and biking to work. See how it feels. 

Think also about the quick run to the store. That store, unless you are suburb-bound, is probably not far away. A backpack and a bike can make that secret exercise. 

Why to begin riding?  Your muscles are something like 50 times more efficient, on average, per calorie, than your car. And, since every gallon of gas you burn releases a pound of carbon dioxide, your pedaling is more efficient and releases next to no carbon dioxide. Plus, there are all those healthy reasons I told you about before. You'll do your body and your surroundings a lot of good.

This week, dust off the old Schwinn, buy a used road bike from your Local Bike Shop (LBS), or teach your kid to ride. This week, pedal deliberately. And wear a helmet.

Like Riding a Bike

Seth Strickland

by Seth Strickland

"It'll be easy - like riding a bike." How many times in the course of an average month do you hear that phrase? It's not without reason - by the best estimates, nearly 27 million Americans ride a bicycle at least infrequently, but it's nearly certain that many more have learned. It's one of the trials of childhood - your pedaling guru holds you upright on two suddenly too-skinny pieces of rubber, and lies, "You'll be fine." A few dozen skinned knees and elbows later, you usually are. The phrase 'like riding a bike' itself, though, is a colloquial and positive version of 'old habits die hard', and it's positive for a reason.

There's the obvious positive that bike riding at any age gets you off the couch, but less obvious, perhaps, is the fact that twenty miles a week reduces risk of heart disease by half. Again: by half . While you're fighting heart attacks harder than whole wheat, you're also improving coordination, reducing stress, burning fat, and making your brain steadily more pleased with itself.

 'Okay, okay we get it!' cry out the fact-bludgeoned readers, 'we'll think vaguely about riding a bicycle!' Thinking about it can't cut it forever. Researching for this post has made me realize that most cycling articles have two main effects: they make the reader feel either slightly guilty or morally superior. So far, the bicyclists are feeling pretty good about themselves (see this cartoon chart to understand), and we, the spokeless masses, feel a little grumpy. But what do we do? How do we become one of the enlightened, a... cyclist ?

Here's the skinny: to be a cyclist, you only have to ride a bike. Amazing! Some gears, a chain, a handlebar, and a few brakes, and you will be welcomed into the elite echelon of bicyclists. And so, for the rest of this month, I challenge you to get out and ride one mile every day. That's all. By my count, that's something like six or seven miles. No sweat. Why? The first slow fingers of autumn are reaching out with crisp air, the kids are off at school, and the days are getting ever so slightly shorter. It's the perfect time for a bike ride.

To Start A Day

Seth Strickland

By Seth Strickland

Good morning. 

It's lovely to start a day. To start this day. The weariness of the night is gone; the dawn brings a fresh perspective and clarity. Some days. 

Most days, as we all know, start out something like the above idyll, but need a little umph, a little morning chutzpah we call coffee. 

For a smidge over half of Americans, coffee starts our days off right. Whether it's a spouse blindly hitting the grinder at five a.m. or it's you sauntering Saturday-morningly down to your kitchen to crank your lackadaisical   Porlex, the smell of crushed beans and sweet steaming water filtering through them is a true American ceremony. 

Coffee's ubiquity is deceptive. What  coffee are you drinking? Will it be here forever? Kew Gardens's  recent Vimeo release indicates that our world coffee supply lacks genetic diversity. No problem? Think again - this, combined with forces of rising temperatures in Ethiopia (you'll have to see the film to understand the full importance of this country) puts the existence of coffee as we know it in danger.

We don't like scare tactics here at Deliberate Life, but a lack of deliberation could mean that more than half your friends will be inhuman for days, and you'll have to Porlex pepper one of these days. Seriously, though, it's something to consider - coffee is not only essential creative and cultural sap for Americans or Parisians or Turks, it's a global industry which supports thousands of people and their families as this documentary by TwentyTwenty Studios reminds us.

Fair Trade certified coffees and the direct-buy movement in coffee houses (especially, it seems, in third-wave shops) make supporting these sustenance coffee farmers possible, but remember that you, the consumer, have the choice. It's you, pal. Think about this next time you sip a lovely cup of joe. Ask your barista where his house gets the beans. Sustainable living is possible, especially on this daily level, which might seem small until you think about how many people drink coffee and how often.

Live deliberately, even early in the morning.

Image by Becca