Glenn Charles

Adventurer | Photographer | Connector

Today I am a Time Traveler with a Camera... Tomorrow, who knows

Human Powered Transportation

Wabi Sabi in essence is all about simplicity and beauty in that which already exists.  For me, human powered transportation is at the core of my living simply.  Over the past 2 years, my choice of transportation has been by kayak and water.  The feel of my kayak gliding over calm and rough waters is ingrained in my soul.  I can close my eyes and feel the paddles entering and exiting, the glide of the boat, the drips of water as the paddle makes it's exit.   There is nothing like the perfect paddle stroke, one that enters perfectly, results in a strong pull with no cavitation and then exits with just a few silent drips of water.  Agh, I can feel it right now, it is a very zen like experience, especially on calm flat water where feedback is instantaneously felt.

The lure of human powered transportation is strong for many; it is liberating in its simplicity.  It empowers us to reconnect with our natural element, whether that is kayaking in the ocean or lakes, or biking through the city to work or the country side and the hills.  The health and well being benefits of stepping away from your car and powering yourself are many.  People physically feel better when they are moving themselves from point A to point B under their own power.  Pedaling a bike, an object which has changed very little in its basic form, is seeing a huge renaissance throughout the world and in the U.S. As we move into an age of alternative fuels and mass transportation, more and more people are choosing the bike as a viable way of transportation. 

There was a time when the bike was a major mode of transportation through our towns and cities.  With the advent of cars and the urbanization of America, many places became unfriendly for bikes.  While travelling from home to the grocery store was perfectly fine in your car, there were no bike lanes or paths that were suitable for the average biker to make the same trip.  Luckily, as we move through this renaissance, cities and towns are spending money to once again make the bike a viable and safe way to travel. States are passing laws that afford cyclists with the appropriate protections from cars;  cities and towns are working to make biking safer and easier within the confines of areas not typically bike friendly.  If it was easy and if it was safe, wouldn't more of us prefer to hop on a bike and peddle to the local grocery store.  How many gallons of oil would be saved by just this simple choice?

My upcoming Bike Around America will be all about promoting the path of simplicity and human powered transportation.  I will strive to get out the message that as a society and as a people, we must return to a life lived more simply.  That in order for us to survive and to prosper, we must take a few steps backwards and reconnect with a simpler way of living.  I am not promoting that we eliminate the automobile or give up our modern day conveniences, but instead make rationale steps that offer a better balance between where we are today and where we need to be in the future. The planet is under such duress and we as a people are so stressed, that this path towards simplicity offers to many rewards to ignore. 

Living a life of Wabi Sabi, of simplicity, allows us to focus on what we have and what is around us.  The more we engage our natural environment, through human powered transportation, the more we will be willing to protect it.  The more we realize how nice it is to bike through the hills and the country side, the more we will think twice about the destruction of wetlands to put in 6 lane highways that lead to no-where.  The more we paddle on a pristine body of water, the more we will care about the industrial waste that is bled into our lakes an streams killing the fish and grasses. 

It is all connected, and it all matters!  Driving through this world at breakneck speed in the bubble of the 21st century automobile, it has become to easy for us to get disconnected from that which is important.  Stepping back and stepping out, we can recognize that there are alternatives, and there are choices to be made.  There is another way, one that offers a bit more hope for us and for the planet.  Step outside, hop on a bike, smell the fresh air and connect with the natural world around you.  Mother earth needs our help and you can make a difference. 

Wabi Sabi Your Life and feel the power of making a difference.