The Human Powered Summer Part 4:

_DSC6848The cycling as transportation process, and the whole point of this exercise is not only to get myself in shape, reduce my impact on at least my local environment, save a few bucks, and write some interesting articles, but to at the same time inspire others to do the same thing.

As a kid, a bike was my transportation. I didn’t have a driver’s license (too young) and my mom worked as a Christian school teacher for nine months out of the year, and odd jobs all summer. My brother and I were often left on our own.

_DSC6844The zoo, the park, Longfellow Elementary school (which had a good basketball court), and King’s (a variety store with a huge toy department in the basement) were all miles away. Not walking distance, but biking distance for sure. So we threw a leg over the saddle, got our pedal on, and rode.

This week I went to an annual bike giveaway sponsored in part by Boise Bike Project. Over 100 kids signed up through Boys and Girls Clubs and community centers all over the Treasure Valley to come down and get a free bike. The looks on some of the faces were priceless. These were families that for whatever reason, whether a parental job loss or economic hardship couldn’t afford bikes on their own. Bikes were donated, and Boise Bike Project did what repairs were necessary to get the bikes ready for the kids. It’s an even  that I hope teaches the kids and us at least a few things:

Compassion and Charity are alive and well. A down economy means a drop in charitable donations. People just have other priorities. However this event showed that even for something as simple as a bike for a kid, people are willing to donate time and treasure. It sets an example for the kids, the parents, and frankly all of us that cycle.

Thankfulness for what we have. I undertook this summer project on a relatively new Jamis Exile bike. Comfortable, new, with some of the latest gadgets: a cyclometer, headlights, tail lights, personal hydration systems: I have a lot of gear these kids will never see. Yet they are thankful just to be able to ride any bike. Every day we have more than what we really
need” we should be grateful.

_DSC6870Sharing Passion. Many of us have passions: maybe yours is not cycling and skiing. Maybe it’s golf, swimming, basketball, or knitting. There are those around you every day who could share your passion given the chance to try. There could be many reasons they haven’t, including just not being exposed to the enjoyment that comes out of certain activities. You could be the one to expose them to that passion and ignite that spark.

Kids’ eyes light up over the simplest things. Small toys, bikes, even someone just spending a little bit of time with them. Not everyone shares our advantages and our wealth. I’m trying a human powered season, just to see the difference it makes in me. It’s good to realize that it can make a difference to others too.

Click here to see an album on my Facebook author page containing more photos of the event.

Click the links below to read the first three articles in the series:

Part 1: Anywhere is in Walking (biking) Distance if you have the Time.

Part 2: One Jelly Doughnut. . .

Part 3: Dogs, Physics, and Helicopters