Did You Know?

A bicycle commuter who rides four miles to work, five days a week, avoids 2,000 miles of driving and about 2,000 pounds of CO2 emissions each year.

The things you find

From our Footprints Coach, Mike Erickson

I went to Working Bikes Cooperative on Saturday. I figure if I'm telling Footprints people about it I better see what's up with the new location. 15 minutes before it opened (noon on Sat.) there were 19 people in line, 24+ by the time it opened. I saw Sarah Miller, Assistant Director of West Town Bikes there shopping with a girl friend and helping people adjust seats. The friend is a bike racer who was getting a practical bike for around town. She had been doored for the umteenth time and was determined to keep riding in the city, just not on her racing bike.

Phoebe (12 yrs of age) bought a cool BMX-type bike (Haro Bikes, Dave Mirra 540 Air Signature Series). She won't ride the practical bike with fenders and basket she has any more — too big and bulky, out of style, everyone else is riding the BMX-type. I got a Sears & Roebuck Greenbriar Free Spirit for $55. Talk about uncool — I look like a crazed English Country Gentleman! Sarah Miller liked it anyway, and she has the coolest bike I've seen in ages. Ask to see her custom spokes on her front wheel! I'll continue to recommend Working Bikes Cooperative – it is new and improved, and has a great variety of bikes at inexpensive prices.

So I've got this great new Sears bike, what next? Let me go test it out on the Old Plank Trail and get some interviews and surveys in the bag for the Footprints program! Next thing I know I'm where the trail crosses Cicero Avenue in Matteson talking to a couple of trail walkers from England. The English couple agree to try walking to their local grocery, a 3-mile round trip. It’s good for their health and the environment…they'd save almost 10.8 pounds of air pollution, most of it CO2. I handed Ed a gallon of water and explained that the weight of 1 imperial gallon (e.g. UK measure) of water weighs 10 pounds by definition, at a specified temperature and pressure. In other words, if you could bottle the air pollution that’s what it would weigh. Impressive comparison, eh Ed? Finally he laughed and said he owns a hybrid…cheeky Americans.

Hey, you don't make every sale, right?! But you learn something from every encounter. What about those two guys by the side of the trail east of Harlem? I stop and chat. Bill and Ken don't drive at all, neither have driver’s license. Both are on pretty good looking bikes. They both reside within a mile of the trail, they both work, and neither guy needs the Footprints program. We talk philosophy. Bill says no one really needs to drive, and Ken says you need a car for certain trips. A lady cyclist stops to ask if we need help. Bill is using his screwdriver to install a Schwinn bell to the handlebar of my new Sears bike. No thanks, all is well.

I go on to make another six sales for the Footprints program before evening. The trail is a great way to see so many things. I saw a large wet furry mammal run across the trail from a lake to a pond on my way home. Happy trails to you. My suggestion, as a Footprints Coach, is to get a new bike, ride it on a trail, and talk to a few people. Life is good.

PS. By the way, does anyone need one more reason to ride a bike or take a walk? How about 120?

You find more money. Riding home at noon last month I found a Ben Franklin sitting on a side street. I hadn't seen the likes of him in a while. I'd have missed him if I was driving a car. Cha ching. And thats not all. Walking across a parking lot two weeks ago I found an Andy Jackson laying in an access lane. I was on vacation and I spent it on Carnival tickets in Green Lake, Wisconsin. Cha ching. You don't save found money — you do your part for the American economy and spend it. Cha ching.
Moral of the story, keep on biking and walking, and keep your eyes on the road — scanning for pictures of famous dead Presidents. Yesterday I found a dime, and today a nickel. Cha. What did you find?