Friday, May 23, 2008


A Life Worth Living

My travel goes beyond business & pleasure

Oh sure I do both when I am in Europe. I am a poet and direct experience is the key to authentic expression, but partaking in the street scenes of the European city is a real part my life. I don't go there to get away from the prairie but to compliment the rich experience of this North American rural setting. European cities are much more to my liking than the sprawling megalopolises that US cities have become.

Use a bike to get around Chicago. Great idea if you are already on Lake Shore Drive but the buses, trams and trains hardly offer the kind of mobility that Berlin does, and Chicago is an exception at that. Davis CA? Hardly a large city. Portland? I love it, but most people still find cars essential for everyday life.

Restuarants that have people sitting outside when it's 52 degrees and slowly sipping a 3oz coffee while watching life in the street and chatting with me in their 3rd language (English) after it is obvious my pidgin is not up to the task. At 21:00 (9:00 pm) in downtown USA, wherever, forget it.

One example of the street life is checking people riding Velib bicycles that are found all over the city of Paris, not just Paris they are in many of the cities. They ride for free or a nominal cost and drop off at some other station near their destination. Let's see it took 20 minutes to go from Shakespeare's Bookstore right across from Notre Dame Cathedral to the Eiffel Tower. What a nice complement to watching migrating shore birds in a flooded soybean field in the Big Sioux River Valley that less than 2 miles on a bicycle from my front door.

It makes me want to push harder for Safe Routes to School so my grandchildren can do it here in he USA without the carbon emissions of international air travel.

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Where is the Eiffel Tower? :-))
Minneapolis is great for biking. Leaving the Twin Cities urban area...? Well, yeah, it's difficult, but who the heck wants to go to the suburbs anyway? Everything you need in within 10 miles anyway. :)

P.S. I biked to choir practice yesterday, to work at least 2x per week. Mike is way more hardcore than me--he gets visibly upset on days his schedule prevents him from biking. I think he's been converted. ;)
Jill is spot on about bicycle use in the Twin Cities. The cross town Greenway in Minneapolis is great and represents the kind of investments by the community in bicycling. We used on bicycles on our visit Ocber 2007 go to the posts here The new shop on the Greenway by Freewheel Bike Shop demonstrates the positive response of the commercial sector to the new lifestyles.

Thanks for the opening Jill, I love to talk about all the good things about riding a bicycle. There is nothing better than making it part of you daily routine. It makes life worth living.
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