Yet even more construction debris on its way to a dumpster…
I was looking through some photos of a trip I took to Paris with my son last July when I came across this photo of a mail carrier’s bike (click here, here, and here to see more photos from that trip). I remember seeing this bike locked to a railing and thinking how much sense its design made…I wished I could ride it. The enormous front basket and sturdy rear rack could carry everything you’d need, I suppose. Bikes, in many instances–but not all, of course–are the answer to many of our transportation issues. I’m just saying…
Also, I wanted to mention that I will be away from my computer for a few days so I’ll likely not be posting until Monday or so. Until then, peace.
A book bag stuffed full of books, a camera bag containing two cameras, a classical guitar (my son’s), a laptop computer, and a camera tripod.
I’ve been meaning to post this for a while. It’s an excerpt for the upcoming documentary by Liz Canning on cargo bikes in America. Originally called (R)Evolutions per Minute it is now Less Car More Go. In this portion, which marks the very beginnings of cargo bikes in the US, it is mostly about the xtracycle, which apparently was the first or at least the first to offer them to the masses. I was actually interviewed for this documentary and briefly rode the streets of Buffalo with a camera on my helmet, but with the multitudes of riders interviewed–and many with a far more interesting story than mine–it’s doubtful I’ll make the cut. So meanwhile, I’ll promote bicycling as a viable form of transport from my meager little blog. Anyhow, if you are at all interested in cargo bikes–or bikes as viable forms of transportation–you’ll find this brief video interesting.
Here’s from the Vemo website…”This a rough cut of the first part of the history of the longtail cargo bike. Parts 1 & 2, when completed, will be featured in LESS CAR MORE GO–a crowd sourced documentary on the birth and boom of the cargo bike.”
I carried these items/used my bikes since yesterday’s “incident.” I road the same route today at one point. I’m shaken but not (physically) hurt…just a small bruise on my stomach and scratch on my thigh (likely from when I was vaulted over the handlebars), and my rib cage is sore (likely from when I hit the pavement on my side). With this said, I am truly thankful to be mostly unscathed. Anyhow, the items on the bike(s) are as follows…
#431 (top)…my son’s acoustic guitar, laptop computer, and his incredibly heavy book bag stuffed full of books.
#432 (middle)…a canvas bag containing my laptop, plus three books.
#433 (lower)…nearly two hundred dollars worth of groceries, and a canvas gym bag full of wet clothing.
Four cardboard boxes.
A nylon bag containing–among other things–a laptop computer, an extra camera, a book, a journal, a small magazine, and two granola bars.
Yup. That’s me in the above photo. Very rarely do I post pictures of myself on this blog but here’s one. And what’s even more odd is that it shows me getting into a car. My son took the photo of me getting into a Buffalo Car Share car last weekend. But as usual, I’m getting ahead of myself.
If you’ve been to this blog before you know a few things about me. One of them is that I’ve voluntarily given up car ownership a few months ago, and that I choose to walk or bike whenever possible. If it’s out of (my) biking range I take a bus or use Buffalo Car Share (which I joined around the same time I sold my truck).
Well, you may ask, what does have to do with theology (or at least my personal theology)? Plenty. Firstly, at a most basic level, living simply (using a bike instead of a car, for example) helps me be more in touch with our Source, the Divine within me, you, and each one of us.
But there is another relevance when discussing (car) ownership. What is ownership and do we really “own” anything? The house I live in, for example, is nearly 150 years old; Civil War era. I’m just one of many who have occupied it (click here to see what I mean). I’m sure there will be more; I just happen to live here now.
To take this a step deeper, think of our bodies themselves. Do we really own them? Is this all we are…just flesh and bone? I think not to both questions. We just happen to occupy them at present moment. Okay, some of you reading this may have atheistic views, and that’s fine; I can respect that. Personally I believe that there is more–way more–than we can comprehend. And while I consider myself a practicing Christian–meaning I try to follow the teachings of Jesus the best I can, but usually fail miserably–I also believe that all major religions carry the same truth and that all lead to the same outcome and that all are pure at their core if you look sincerely within them and within yourself. Is there an afterlife? I surely don’t know. Likely, I like to think, that after an undetermined period of time, rejuvenation, and learning we are offered a new body and life to live (for additional learning). Reincarnation. And this is not outside Christian doctrine because the original Christians did in fact believe in reincarnation (please do not send me hate mail), as do many other religions.
So what does any of this have to do with car ownership? Well, overtly maybe nothing. But underneath, maybe everything. My point is that whatever your views we will all eventually leave these bodies…we can’t take them with us. So to bring this back to a more materialistic level–car ownership–they (cars) are just things, like everything else, and you can’t take them with you. You, if you have one, are simply occupying it.
I have to admit that in a culture where our very core is embedded with cars it was difficult if not a bit scary to renounce ownership. But I did and hope never to have another. Since not having a car of my own I have only used one on three occasions, but the first was mostly out of novelty. And on all three occasions the car share worked seamlessly. When I needed a car to get me outside my biking distance I had one.
I don’t believe that I have to “own” everything that I use. I can share some things, even big things in my life. and this is what I was thinking about as I pedaled home tonight carrying my son’s guitar after his music lesson. It was a hot evening. I had a couple beers across the street while I waited for him. And as I pedaled home into a slight headwind with a warm breeze on my face it felt good. I felt free.
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
#465 (middle)…six peaches, six nectarines, a dozen apples, a half-gallon of milk, a jar of peanut butter, a jar of jelly, 5 pounds of dog food, 18 newly developed photos, two bottles of red wine, and a gym bag full of wet clothes.
#466 (bottom)…a collapsible wire rack with wooden shelves (which I found at the curb and will be a great gardening accessory next year…and yes, I looked through the shelf as I rode; didn’t know how else to load it), and a canvas bag containing–among other things–an extra camera, a cell phone, a Bible, a book, a magazine, a journal, and a 3-ring binder.
On the bike…four heavy stackable steel CD racks.
A quick comment…I was on my way home from church this morning when I spotted these four racks at the curb as trash. My son, who has an ever-expanding CD collection, is in need of a few new shelves for them. Perfect. They are a simple design and made of heavy steel construction. If I were to purchase them they would likely have been expensive. My point is, I suppose, it is really handy riding a bike as an “everyday bike” that also has the capability to haul stuff…you never know what you’ll find along the road.
A large bundle of firewood, an axe, a small shovel, and a mallet.
Ten split logs (firewood), an axe, a small shovel, a 3lb. mallet, and a canvas bag containing–among other things–a book, a magazine, a cell phone, and an extra camera.
On the bike…Groceries, sundries, cleaning supplies, wine, dog food and dog care products in and on two cardboard boxes and in a trailer from three separate stores.
A brief comment…This is mostly but not entirely referring to a previous post where I carried home a log on a bike. Things that can be carried on a bike is my original and favorite series of this blog. And I’ll often (okay, maybe not often…but sometimes) tell people about it or or about some of the things that one is able to carry on a bike; that it is possible to carry things home and elsewhere without a car. Anyhow, last evening while at work I showed a co-worker the picture of the log on a bike on my work computer (we were on dinner break). Anyhow, he says to me, some may think that that photo is not real. What do you mean, I asked him, that its Photoshopped? All I’m saying is that some people with dubious minds may think the photo is not real. Umm…welll…I think you’re a bit dubious, I told him. With that, I assured him the photo was real (and that I’ve never used Photoshop)…but I’m still not sure he was convinced. I also mentioned to him that in the same way that the journey is not always about the destination but more so about the journey itself, I carry things on my bike(s) because…well…I can, but mostly because I think it’s fun. I can afford a car but choose not to. Going to a store for purchases and bringing them home in a car is just that, but doing it on a bike is an adventure…and that is the most important part of it, to me anyhow.
Four picture frames (wrapped in plastic and paper). A canvas bag containing two books, an electronic reader, a journal, two new mechanical pencils, two sets of reading glasses, and a four-pack of printer ink cartridges (black and all three colors). A two pound canister of oatmeal, a pound of ground coffee, a quart of milk, and a coffee maker.
A couple quick comments…I’ve mentioned on numerous occasions the many comments I get while riding or parking this bike (and if you ride a long-tail or other cargo bike you understand this completely). The most common comment is whether I built the bike myself. Today, for example, while I was locking up the bike in front of a Chinese restaurant to pickup the aforementioned food, the bike quite literally stopped a guy in his tracks. He asked me all about it and even pulled out a pad to write down the bike’s name and website (I told him I felt like a cargo bike evangelist). A couple minutes later, as I exited the restaurant and was securing the food to the front rack, the owner and cook of the restaurant came out for a smoke. He too asked me about the bike. Then I asked him if he weren’t from China (he is) and hasn’t he seen more impressive bikes and loads being carried by bike there. He has, he said, then he pointed at the bike and said…but that is pretty impressive. And as I hopped on the bike he called out…have a nice day, Joe. It made me smile. I waved and called back to him that I hope he does the same.
On the bike…A full tank of propane.
Comments…First of all I love the slogan that Yuba often uses, “What a bike can do.” And I love the comments and looks that I often get while carrying stuff on a bike (looks that say…I didn’t know you could do that). The above image is one I took on my way home from exchanging my empty tank for a full one (it’s getting hot out–89F/31C today–time to start using the outside kitchen). As I was pulling into the lot of the store with the empty tank on the back a guy in an SUV slowed, then came to a complete stop to look at the bike and me as I glided up to the front door. At first I thought he was angry by his look, but then his frown–behind the air conditioned glass of his vehicle–turned to a smile then a huge grin. He gave me two “thumbs up” and I could see his lips moving and he said “What the f#*k (I take it he was complimenting me). Then, after paying my bill in the store and meeting the manager outside near the propane cage to exchange the tank, the manager offered to carry the full tank to “my car.” Not wanting to explain things to him (sometimes it can get tiresome) I told him I didn’t mind carrying it. He then told me that he was supposed to, that it was store policy. Okay, I told him, my bicycle is parked over there. Blank stare. Then I had to explain the bike and said that it was big enough to carry this. As we walked and the bike came into view his eyes got big and he says, “Holy s#*t!” Again, I take this as a compliment.