BikeLife: Maine Savings and Loan

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Okay, friends, I’ve got to start this post with a shout out to our brothers and sisters in the Bahamas. We are neighbors and we need to act like it. They got their asses kicked by Dorian and they are going to need some help. I believe that photographers, and cyclists, are leaders not followers and this is our chance to prove it. So, before you go any further, think about making a donation. My father gave to the Red Cross for his entire adult life, and I am continuing with a donation today. Take a second and think about what it could mean. (If you do this let me know if you get a confirmation email. I never got one….)

This week I find myself in Maine. This is a yearly pilgrimage for us, but this is the first time we did not rent a car. We took a taxi from the airport, which was costly, but we are still going to save hundreds of dollars by not renting a vehicle. Instead, we borrowed bicycles. And we didn’t borrow brand new bikes, or fast bikes or beautiful bikes per se, we borrowed solid steel, older mountain bikes which oddly enough are perfect for our needs.

I believe bicycles have been oddly positioned by some of the activist organizations as a way of “saving the planet.” I honestly don’t think most people care. (I called two non-riders and asked if they saw bikes in this light. Both said “I never put those two things together, and if even if I did I don’t really care about that.”) I think most Americans are focused on other things. When you look at American energy consumption, food waste, financial and corporate crime, and rampant consumerism it is difficult to NOT stamp our culture with the “G” word. Greed.(This also applies to many other countries.)

Not like we don’t do good things, we do, but the trend seems to be wavering toward excess. Look at me, I flew across nearly the entire country just to vacation. Would the world be a cleaner, healthier place with all of us on bikes? Yes, for sure. But let’s take small steps with a healthy dose of reality first.

Tires designed for the wilds but they make a fantastic buzzing sound on the pavement.

I really thought not having a car here would limit my experience, but not only has it not limited us, even with wind and inclement weather, but it has also made me appreciate what’s possible and how EASY it is to ride where I need to go.

Maine isn’t big on wide shoulders but drivers are cool because there are A LOT of cyclists here. And the speed limits are low. I’ve never felt at risk even on narrow roads with heavy equipment passing relatively close. Maine, like a lot of other states, has a real chance to rebuild with alternative transport in mind. Time will tell if it happens. My guess is Maine, and many other states and cities, are just not there yet. Ask Manhattan. But this is okay. Like most interesting endeavors, like most new ways of thinking, we have to start somewhere. We chose to start in Maine.

Comments 8

  1. Fully agree on supporting the Bahamas. However, there are many orgs that provide direct support to disaster-stricken areas and do so with far lower overhead than the Red Cross. I give to Americares. Check them out. And thanks for the post!

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      Hey Alan,
      Nice. There are a ton of orgs working in the Bahamas now so we have choices. As long as we give we are on the right path.

  2. About 5 years ago I bought an Evoc bike bag for airplane travel and since then have always taken my bike with me when I travel.

    It’s saved me so much money.

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      That’s fantastic. We get killed here on flying with bikes. The charges are getting higher and higher. Alaska however, no charge for bikes. Amy and I have been thinking about buying Bromptons. Then, she noticed someone riding a tandem bike and she is all over it. “Danno, what is that?” “Danno, why don’t we have one of those?”

  3. Ha!
    I always wanted a Unicorn! 🙂

    On a serious note…
    I travel 20km to work and then the same distance back every weekday.
    It costs me approximately $200.00 in fuel and more in wear and tear on the car.

    I am now travelling by bike.

    No doubt, I am absolutely knackered (British slang for wasted) at the end of each day, but I sleep much better, have less ailments, save a lot of money and shed a humongous amount of pounds.

    I now feel I have a more fulfilled life and the next challenge is to get my partner to do the same. She is not quite convinced that forcing oneself through the elements to…just get to work…is what fun looks like.

    Oh…and one more thing….I now don’t spend time and money going to the gym. I have more than my fair share of fitness training every day.

    Enjoy your vacation.

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      You are the poster child for my strategy. Someone else wrote and said, “I’m back on my bike and also using my XT2’s to film.” Another great sign. Everything you touch on is what I’m going to be focusing on in the future. Cost savings, weight savings, health care savings, etc. And, imagine if 20% of the people you knew did the same or even part of the same. Imagine what that could mean! I commend you. My wife and I are still in Maine but scheming about folding bikes, Bromptons, for all our future travel.

  4. Dan,
    I never thought it could be so much pain, especially during bad weather.

    It was a work colleague who did the same, he is just a lot older than me. He commutes an hour to work on his old, dilapidated, steel bike, and back at the end of the day. After 22 years in military service and now in a civilian job since December last year…I had done no fitness…none. So I decided that I could do what he does…especially as I had a brilliant mountain bike sitting in the basement collecting dust.
    And a saving of about $1000 a year will go towards a vacation…and maybe some unicorns.

    And of course my Leica M6 (loaded with TriX…naturally) and the Zeiss 50mm F2 are always with me. I cań‘t go without…never!

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      And it’s the best kind of pain. Pain that you get used to and then crave. It’s so odd. And throw in mountains and high altitude and it gets worse. I once had a Bike Friday, a folding 20-inch wheel bike, which was awesome. Went for a ride once with a group of BF riders. One was an OLD guy on single speed with someone like 40,000 miles on it. He was the same a total GRINDER. As for the savings. Your savings pass on to other people and businesses, something I’m also going to be writing about.

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