Saturday, July 13, 2013

5 things I learned from my bicycle

1. Sometimes you just have to stop and smell the roses. 
This week I started biking out to the farm in Fairhaven, about a five mile ride each way. On day three, as luck would have it, I rolled over a big piece of glass about 3/4 of the way there. I got to push my bike up a huge hill and realized that it might have actually been better than riding up it. I snapped a few photos of the cool neighborhood around the farm on my way there. I noticed plants, houses, and animals I never would have seen while zipping by on my bike (let alone in a car).

An overgrown garden path

Beautiful front door(s)

A house that used to be something else. Maybe a church?
2. Be thankful
I was oh so thankful for our beautiful waterfront trail that allowed me to walk my bike two miles from the farm to the community bike shop. It was nice to not have to walk on the hot sidewalk next to speedy cars. Silly me for not having a patch kit!

The South Bay Trail, connecting downtown B'ham and Fairhaven. It has beautiful greenery and lovely views of the bay.
3. People are nice
Just like the friendly bike shop guy that taught me how to patch a tire. Again, it was silly of me not to have a patch kit, even though I did have a bike pump attached to my frame. I couldn't use it without a patch! I was also thankful that the hole was small (though the glass chunk was big) and I didn't have to buy a new tube.

4. Hills are hard
All I have to say is after riding 10 miles a day, uphill for about half of it, my legs are tired and sore. I got some good use out of our hot tub this week. It made me rethink not wanting a tub in my tiny house if I'm going to get around mostly by bike.

5. When the going gets tough, imagine your supporters
When I woke up on Thursday with tired legs, windy weather, and a few hours less sleep than I would have liked, I sure didn't want to ride my bike. It's so easy to hop in the car, protected by the wind and propelled down the road by the slight push of a pedal. But if my goal is to go car-free in college I have to stick to it. So I imagined my bike cheerleaders. First, there's my friend Jessie who bikes insane numbers of miles in a day, just to train for a bike race twice that distance. Then there's Lina, a tiny house enthusiast like me who gets around mostly by bike and some bus. And finally, Tammy Strobel and her husband, Logan, who live car free (in a tiny house, of course). I just picture them cheering me on as I take off from my driveway and pedal my way towards the farm. By the end of the day, I'm happy to fall into bed tired, knowing I earned my shower and most certainly my dinner. But I sure can't wait until biking becomes habit and I don't have to force myself to roll out of bed early for my 30 minute commute (instead of 15 by car).

If you're considering commuting by bike- do it! I started with biking to school (even in the rainy winter) and progressed to grocery shopping, volunteering, restaurant eating, and picnic going- all by bike! While living car free may not be possible for everybody, think about making small trips (1-2 miles) by bike. You'd be surprised at how easily a bicycle can turn a boring errand into an adventure.

Enjoy today,

Friday, July 5, 2013

What I'm up to

I am so grateful to have so many great opportunities this summer. There's nothing like kicking of my newly-graduated adult life with a few months of excitement.

I started off the summer with a 4 night trip to the Oregon Coast with my friends. We filled up three cars and journeyed the 8.5 hours to Sunset Bay in Coos Bay, Oregon. It was great to spend some quality time with my buddies. I finally learned how to use a camp stove, the importance of a sleeping mat, and why long underwear is still a must-have for camping in June (especially in the PNW). We took along this stuffed giraffe (he was actually a stowaway) and he became our mascot.

This week I started a few exciting projects. First, I had my first few days at Bobbibrook Farm volunteering for Common Threads Farm. This is the organization that I was volunteering in the elementary school garden with this spring. They do great stuff, providing garden educators to public schools during the school year and hosting great programs for kids during the summer. This week was supposed to be my first week with kiddos, but it was cancelled due to low enrollment. Instead, I got to spend three hours weed whacking one day (sore arms), ditch filling another (dusty shoes), and organizing the shed on the final day (yay!). I can't wait to start programming with kids next week. If you know any elementary aged people that would love some farm time, send them our way!

I also started on a super exciting project with a dietitian. Later this summer I'll be helping with a nutrition class to kick of a 12-week healthy eating program. I've begun collecting sweetened beverage containers (apple juice, vitamin water, soda) to show the participants just how much sugar is really in those things. I'm most excited to plan the cooking demonstration. Needless to say I can't wait to really dig into this project.

The reality that I only about six weeks until I leave has started to sink in... Even as I write this I'm taking a big *gulp* as it sinks in even more. What am I doing leaving this wonderful place?? Fingers crossed I'll settle in and find my place in Colorado. Stay tuned, I'll most likely be hopping on the plane home for Thanksgiving and asking the pilot to fly extra fast towards Washington. I'm hoping to find some sort of tiny house community up in Fort Collins though my preliminary research googling "Fort Collins tiny house" drummed up some pretty measly results. I'll continue my research but if any of you readers know of anything, let me know please. Pretty please. With a cherry on top. 

I hope all is well with my fellow tiny housers and simplifiers. Enjoy the sunshine (I know I am).

Enjoy today,

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