Seven Days In
It has now been a week since I set off on my Single Speed Salsa Fargo with Bob and Bill in tow -- an attempt to travel the great loop of the country, more than 11,000 miles by bike. The first week has not been a disappointment in any way. The people I have already met have changed my life, and the country that I am peddling is breath taking. The nights have been chillier than I would like, but the days sunshine has brought blue skies and warm legs. The change from kayaking to biking is stark, to completely opposite ends of the travelling spectrum.
By kayak, life was largely solitary with only infrequent interactions with others. Biking, well, you are constantly surrounded by people, even if they are only in fast moving 4 wheel vehicles. Small towns dot the landscape and the ever present corner market is there to satisify your food cravings or the need to refill your water bottles. If nothing else, each one presents the opportunity to have a brief interaction with a store clerk that is most likely making way to little money and struggling to get by. None the less the interactions are welcome, a nice break from the sound of my chain and wheels as the miles roll by.
I have had the opportunity to talk with a number of local residents of some of these small communities and they all share the same angst over the health of our youth. The corner markets that dot the urban landscape specialize in selling that which the population apparently craves the most. Candy, potato chips, soda, beer, and cigarettes. When you look in these stores and realize that for many communities this is the only source of groceries it is no wonder that obesity is such a problem for many of the local residents, but most especially for the kids. Lacking any alternative, they choose the junk over fresh,and thus the cycle begins. In modern suburbia this trend is easy to miss, but travel through these rural communities looking for a fresh bananna or apple and you quickly realize that this is a major problem.
I hope that having the opportunity to speak to community organizations, school groups, and church organizations about my travels and what I have learned can help to inspire some of the kids and parents to stand up and make a change. It is clear that no one else will do it for us, it is up to each and every one of us to make the change. If you can, take the opportunity to visit my JustGive.org registry and find an organization worthy of a $10 donation. Many of these organizations are working at the grass roots level to help educate both kids and parents as well as provide funding for much needed recreational activities. Your help is greatly appreciated.