Human Power

Adventures of a car-free life.

Monday, March 24, 2014

A Grand Failure


Each day I wake up, unable to sleep, yet hesitant to leave the warmth, I lay and recall my dreams until I cannot see any more.  Shuffling down the hallway, cracks of light escape from beneath a few doors, the rest lie dark and silent.  Outside, I step along the balcony to the small room with the large mirror.  On my mat I stand, and bend, and lie in awkward positions as my muscles slowly lengthen.  Beads of sweat break out on my forehead despite my lack of movement, my breath courses slow and deep through my nose.  I am alone, my mind is never silent unless I find it that way, when again it is surprised into thought.  Each day is lived as it comes, not necessarily in the moment but without thinking much of the before or after.  My forecast is a look out the window, feeling the air on my face.  My schedule is always the same; work, ski, at once.  When I come here, or to the pages in my journal, my mind wanders, looking at pictures of my own I am taken back, memories and emotions tingle at the base of my spine.  Talking with friends, scheming, planning, I look forward and see the future, not as it is or as it will be, but how it exists now in my mind.  Ideas are coming to life once more as the sun returns and the reality of melting snow, warm stone, and open roads grows closer.  The words are on the tip of my tongue, the spark of creativity once more slowly catching hold of the connections that have been made over the last few months.  

I'm looking ahead more often these days, as the time returns for me to leave.  Maps and mountain ranges spread out on the desk before me.  But before I start sharing my picture of the road ahead, or the musings of all I've learned, experienced and seen over the last months, for myself, and you, I'd like to look back once more, on the last adventure I had.  It seems, anyway, as the most appropriate way to begin.  

Monday, March 10, 2014

(Another) Case for Place

Winters, for me, have always been a practice in hibernation.  Not in the most literal sense, and I haven't always seen things this way, but as my time here continues to unfold and my views and values continue to evolve, it's easy to see how the seasons affect many changes in my life.  My food, sleep, work, my mobility, my drive, and so much more, all are grounded and shaped by the colder months, where and how I spend them.  This year marks the ninth winter season I've come to Alta, Utah.  Each of these seasons has seen progression, regression, evolution and expansion.  I've loved, learned, limped, and continued to move forward.  While I've never had a vehicle with me for any of my winters here, it's only been since 2008 that I haven't owned a car year round, and only in the last two years that I've truly embraced the bike.  This season makes the second winter of Nature of Motion, and it's interesting to see the hint of a pattern here.  Winter is truly a time for introversion, a time for reflection and renewal.  As I look back, look forward, and look inward, I continue to notice new things, re-connect with the familiar, and find my creative spark to progress.  It's easy to look to the side of the screen and see the pattern, the abundance of posts and activity in the summer months, and the scarcity in the winter.  Granted, there's been a lot more than just my change in transportation in these last few years, but I think that reflects a lot of what goes on behind the scenes.  Recently, I've been thinking and journaling a lot about this topic, this sort of seasonality and localism that plays on my life each winter.  March is usually when I start to wake up and dig myself out from the haze of the winter, it's also the month of my birth, so it's a pretty appropriate time to be reflecting inward on my progress and position.  A little over a year ago I wrote a piece on this subject entitled A Case for Place. Here now with a year gone by and I find myself in the same place, thinking along the same lines.  But what do I have to add?  What have I learned or how have a grown?  I find it helpful to look back first, to gain some of this perspective of time and place, so before I spewed out all the nonsense below I took a minute to read the original piece, if you've got a minute, and think it'd help you too, check it out here. Enjoy.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

A Word on Gear



I’m not really one to write about gear.  Talk about it, obsess over it, over-analyze it, yes, but there’s something about personal blogs that feature gear reviews and gear talk that makes me nauseas.  I didn’t start this to get free gear, free trips, whore myself or promote the continuation of our material culture that is leading to the degradation of our environment.  Lest you believe I’m a total cynic about this sort of thing have yourself a read of Craig Childs' piece of the “Buying and Selling of Nature”, and Dane’s piece about the “Elite” attitude of sporting becoming the norm.  Although these pieces might not actually say much it is a pretty good jumping off point for the conversation of the amazing duality that exists between outdoor enthusiasts and the material “gear” culture that we’re so entwined with.  We rely on our gear, it’s a huge part of what is enabling us to push our boundaries and find new limits.  You’ll not be finding a thousand-word blow-fest about a mid-layer polartec hoody here, we can leave that for the “athletes” with pretty faces who’s job it is to sell things. Mostly themselves.  What I do want to offer you is a glimpse at the gear I use, how normal and average it is, how it fits on the bike, and how easy it is for you to make the transformation yourself.

The impetus for this post is a recently published write-up of our Zion trip to my friend Ed’s site VerticalMinded.com.  If you haven’t yet, check it out, it’s mostly a bunch of pictures but there’s a little bit of the insight and reflections that went into (and came out of) that trip.  I don’t plan on re-posting it here but I thought I would instead include few things that I left out of that posting, mainly, a look into the gear we use, what we brought, and how you can do it too.  In the hopes that others might follow suit, here’s a quick look into our panniers, our minds, our bags of gear, and why packing all of the same stuff into your car is weak sauce.  Enjoy.



Monday, December 23, 2013

Y.O.B Photo Dump


Nothing fancy here, just a bunch of pictures.  No need to spray a drawn out trip report or step-by-step account of our adventures.  We climbed, we played, we ran errands, we did all the shit everyone else does, only we rode our bikes.  

Year of the Bike


For those of you that missed it, 2013 was Salt Lake City's Year of the Bike.  Personally, a claim like that brings to mind the far reaching social and infrastructural changes required to undermine urban motorized transportation, make cycling the primary mode of personal transportation, and take a big step towards ending the air pollution or "inversion" that has become a near constant threat to the health of SLC's Residents.  Laws prohibiting single occupancy vehicles, expanded bike lanes and trails, economic incentives for cycling... Basically shutting down all vehicular traffic inside city limits except for trucks, buses and trains is pretty much what I have in mind when I think of a city giving over an entire year for the advocacy and awareness of bicycling.  Claiming anything as "Year of" should mean it's influence is far greater than any other social or political force.  Think, Year of the Axe Murdering Homeless Man, or, Year of the West Valley City Gonorrhea Infection.  Although those might be titles you'd affix after the point, they pretty well capture what has happened.  So looking back on the last year, it's hard to notice any real changes in Salt Lake's transportation hierarchy.  Although I'm not a resident of SLC, and my time spent there usually amounts to a few weeks in the spring and fall, from my perch atop Little Cottonwood Canyon it's easy to look down and see the murky, poisonous soup, and know damn well that it's not a bunch of cyclists that've caused it.  But while SLC didn't under go any major cycling-themed transformations, they've still managed to put together a few initiatives worth mentioning.  Also, in honor and celebration of the year gone by, I've dumped a bunch of pictures and captions in the following post that wrap up our bike-powered adventures in and around SLC this fall.