Sunday, August 2, 2009


Since Ollie and I began the on-the-road portion of the Bikeable Feast -- 100 days (tomorrow) and over 1000 miles ago -- I've noticed a few questions keep cropping up. As such, I thought it might be useful to answer some of these FAQs (frequently asked questions, that is, for those who might be unfamiliar with the term -- and if you haven't been working for the government, a nonprofit, or in the public school system, you might not be)....

1. The #1 most asked question so far has been "How much does that bike weigh??" Now, people, you don't want to see a grown woman cry. I purposely haven't weighed Ollie all loaded up. She's heavy enough that when I come to a fallen tree across the path (usually amid a torrential rainstorm) I have to unload her, carry everything over in stages, and then reload her to continue biking. She weighs enough to pick up momentum on the downhill stretches such that we have passed the occasional car. I've moved bushels of carrots and bales of hay, but I cannot lift her, loaded, more than about 2 inches off the ground. In short: I don't want to know. A lot.

2. Next up is a tie between "Where are you headed?" and "Where did you start?" The answer to both is Washington, DC. The more nuanced answer to the second is "via Seattle, San Diego, and Houston."

3. Next up is "What made you decide to do this?" I generally give folks an abbreviated version of the first two blog entries, but basically I was becoming increasingly agitated the more I learned about the way we as a country deal with food: the way it is grown and transported, what and how and why we consume the way we do, what food systems we as individuals (and our communities and larger government through its policies) are supporting, who has access to good food and why, the devaluing of farming (and farmers) as a critical component of a healthy population and economy. And so I decided to leave my previous job and devote myself to learning as much as I could about these and other issues, about the challenges and solutions, and be something of a pollinator by sharing what I learn. (The unparalleled access to amazing fresh produce, dairy, and meat is an added bonus. And seeing the country by bike has been an incredible experience so far, in spite of the rain, hills, potholes, clipless pedals, and scary drivers.)

4. Fourth in line is a tie between "How long are you planning on doing this?" And "Are your parents nervous wrecks?" It's looking like it will take about 14 months total to get myself around the country with a reasonable number of stops to learn and work (and before my savings run out). As for my parents, initially, yes, they have been working very hard at being supportive in spite of a plethora of fears stemming from idea of their only daughter traveling around the country alone on a bicycle. If you see them, hug them. And give them a hand in the back yard, which is steadily shifting from a lawn into a vegetable garden.

5. Finally, there is "What do you plan to do after this?" You know, I'm not sure. Grow things, I'm sure, and educate, advocate, write, get the word out. And continue to not only shake the hand that feeds me but help it grow stronger.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

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