Travel the world

Taking and making the time

I went for a bike ride today. Not really because I wanted to go for a bike ride, but because as part of training for Kilimanjaro, I’ve been doing 5+ miles (in about 55 minutes) on the stairmaster at the gym, and I wanted something different for working out.
There are some of the most amazing paved trails near our house. I knew they were there, but I had no idea how cool it was.
And I was able to take DVD’s that Carrie had checked out from the library, back to the library, which is a little over 4 miles away (on a bike).
The 8+ mile round trip bike ride made me realize/reaffirm a couple of things.
– Inspiration is often found in the most likely places, so making the time to go to those places is important.
On my ride, I was next to a river, saw a dead mouse that the ants were recycling, saw a fire station in the distance where Smokey the bear was instructing little kids (Saying, I’m sure, the famous “Only you can prevent Forest Fires, Kids.”), and an amazing amount of wildlife. Each place would have been a great place to stop, write some poetry, draw a sketch, or simply sit and be. But my goal for the day was a bike ride, so I let that be my inspiration.
– Americans make working out a PART of life. Europeans (and many other parts of the world) make working out a WAY of life. This is a huge distinction. Yesterday, when crossing one of the two major streets necessary to get to the bike path, a car totally ignored that I had the right of way as a bike (I even had the little white “Walk” guy). But he, eating his french fries (seriously), turned the corner without stopping or looking. Why? It simply didn’t occur to him that there COULD be someone riding a bike there, because NO ONE usually is!
In Europe, a car can be zooming along at 35 miles an hour, but if you’re in the crosswalk, they will screech their tires (if necessary) to stop from hitting you. Why? Because the person driving was that person on the bike or walking just two days ago.
I would estimate that 50% of our health problems (and some of the environmental problems too) that we face as Americans could be lessened or resolved if those of us who lived within biking/walking distance of our grocery stores and the other places we visit, would simply put on a backpack and bike to the grocery store, walk to get the mail (there’s a guy on our street at the end of the culdesac who gets in his truck to drive 300 feet to the mailbox – seemingly every day), and do the everyday activities most of us do that are generally within 5 miles or less of our homes. This little thing would seem to make very little difference on a daily basis, but compounded over a series of years, would make a HUGE difference.
Here’s the interesting thing. I was going to go to the gym yesterday. In the car, it takes me 15 minutes to get there and back, with stoplights. I work out for 55 minutes and have a 10 minute cooldown or do abdominal workout. Total workout time (incluing travel time) is generally 1 hour and 25-30 minutes.
Today, I returned the DVD’s to the library, got in 8+ miles on the bike, had an awesome afternoon outdoors, and got a litle more tan. Total time round trip: 1 hour and 25 minutes.

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