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Friday, April 11, 2008

Yesterday I dropped in at a session at Parkland about sustainable energy choices. Seems there's a group trying to make such things a priority.
Now, transportation is only one issue for energy use here, so lots of time was spent on heating and cooling issues, the acres of land that are mowed lawn instead of something more sustainable, and the fact that the food services aren't using local food sources.
However, when transportation came up, cycling was conspicuously absent. Someone asked whether things could be done to encourage walking, but there are very few students who live in walkable distance.
There was also an acknowledged emphasis on technology, while expressing that well, actually, behaviors were going to have to change... but now, let's talk about technology again, shall we?
Then there was the conversation I had with the fellow who "cycles, but not to work." After all, he lives so far away in Urbana. "Oh, like I do." Well, yea, but, he works in two different build... and he stopped and said "don't say it."

I probably would have said it, yea, but only because it's a teeny, tiny bit better than not saying it. Actually, I explained that I'd started small - when I worked 10-3 and knew I'd be riding in daylight, and only on nice days. THen the meeting started, which I had to leave early.
THen the conversation started fermenting. Why had he stopped considering riding with "It's too far" - when he wasn't even satisfied with the answer? I just have to wonder... was that the goal - to find an excuse that all the rest of the folks who don't ride would agree to? Now that I've challenged that... what's your next step?
What I see too often is: Note sustainable act. Recognize that you don't do it. Find excuse for it. Commiserate with peers, who then feel reassured about their habits. THen wonder why everybody else doesn't make the changes you've made.

Here's my challenge: If you really, actually are concerned - not just belonging to a nice club of concerned people - take it a step further and ask "and is there something *I* could change?" and maybe even try it. Tell me why it didn't work when you **tried** it... not why it Just Can't WOrk for you. I tend to be sympathetic.

(And now I'm going to figure out how I can *get* the food-deciders in my household to use more local food, instead of making my own excuses...)

Boggles the mind, it does. "Everyone should change! Oh, but me personally? I, uh, can't." But everyone else should change!"
I would like to join the Prairie cycle club but don't know if I'll have the time. I just started to ride my bike more often due to a back injury and unable to run. I want to commute to work but my wife is afraid for my life. I'm a nurse and have taken care of 4 cyclist that have died. We are doing what we can for the environment, we have solar panels and a wind turbine and I am trying the commuting and doing local errands on my bike with my new bob trailer.
How is the cycling club?
You can ride with us and try things out before deciding whether to join or not. Saturday has all levels; Tuesday night is a beginner level if you want to start small (Saturdays we go further, though sometimes more slowly, because sundown is not an issue, and the ride leader - me - is not as good a new-rider-teacher as the Tuesday leader.)
I fear for my life, too... but choose not to let the fear run my life. I can die as easily in the car, too - and frankly, I'm a much more alert and aware person because I"ve got practice being alert and aware every day. The attention mistake that dumps me on the pavement with a skinned knee might have been the one that had me drive a car into a bicyclist if I were driving... we don't tend to make those attention mistakes when we're fearing for our lives ;)
'round here, it's all about finding a route IMO.
Come to the BikeFest May 4- (Hessel Park) we'll have a map there with the most bikable routes in town...
Oh! And!

League of Illinois bicyclists.

You want to fear less for your life in illinois, become a member & support 'em.
My partner and I started out very simply: I walked to the grocery store. I had a choice of over 6 within a 1 mile radius, so it was *well* within my capacity.

Then he started taking the city bus to work (after I'd demonstrated that it was Really Not Hard).

Start small. Turning your life upside down makes the changes harder than they need to be. The little changes build on each other, and give you skills for the next change.
I'm such a self-righteous twit there's absolutely nothing for me to do to improve. Absolutely not!

(But of course, there are things I can still do, but I becoming increasingly despondent over the small effect I have *sigh*)
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