Good health is the foundation for everything we do. Good health enables us to be the best versions of ourselves for others in our lives. Many of us aspire to be selfless, to give. The importance of giving is clear, but we must also recognize the importance of investing in our capacity to give. Invest in your health, so you can show up for your family, your friends, your community, your world. To take care of your own health is anything but selfish: it is the essential foundation of selflessness.
Invest in your health through nutrition, movement, and connection. Nutrition isn't rocket science; feed your body the good food that it needs. When I’m on the bike, I love Clif Bar for their commitment to organic, whole-food ingredients. Speaking of bicycles, I highly recommend them as a healthy way to get outside and move, but anything that gets you up and going will do the trick!
Human beings are social beings. We thrive on connection. Isn't life more fun when we share it? For many of us, the cycling community becomes a family that grounds and connects us at home and even abroad. It's a good feeling. No matter what you do or who you are, there are many ways you can support your community -- local or global. (We're all in this together, after all.) Volunteering is a great way to connect. I volunteer as a mentor for Network For Advancing Athletes and the Connecticut Cycling Advancement Program, as well as our local advocacy organization Bike Mansfield.
Whatever you like to do, there are probably folks out there who would love to share the experience or support you. Reach out and connect. You never know who you might help or inspire. Chances are, you could have a much broader impact than you ever thought possible!
Caring for ourselves and our communities includes caring for our environment. There's a lot of talk these days about ecological footprints, and doing what we can to minimize them. When you really start to think through the concept of an ecological footprint, it can be overwhelming to consider the myriad ways our daily lives impact the environment. But it doesn't have to be overwhelming; commit to a few basic practices that help reduce your impact. Every little bit helps. To illustrate, let's use some basic arithmetic: if you were to carpool once per week on your regular commute -- just ONCE -- it would reduce your carbon footprint by 20%. Imagine if everyone in your state did that. Now imagine if everyone in the country did that. Imagine if they all rode bicycles rather than driving cars! Small changes are effective changes.
I am a big fan of active transportation: getting around under your own power, whether on a bicycle or on your own two feet. The League of American Bicyclists and People For Bikes have great info for folks interested commuting by bike. I love how Bikeflights.com enables me to take a bike wherever I travel and to reuse and recycle those hefty cardboard bike boxes!
There are plenty of things you can do. Simply picking up litter on a walk, choosing products from socially responsible companies, or recycling at home can make a difference. Clif Bar is a great example of a company committed to environmental and social responsibility. Be realistic and integrate environmentally friendly choices that work for you.
Bicycles! These miracle machines can actually enhance health, facilitate connection AND reduce environmental impact. Bicycles are fun, and they're accessible. You don't need a fancy bike. You can bring almost any bicycle to your local bike shop (I love Storrs Center Cycle if you're in the neighborhood), and they'll make sure it is safe for you to ride. Throw on a helmet, and you're ready to rock! You won't regret it. Planning an upcoming vacation? Need to travel for work? Bring your bike with you! Bike trips are all kinds of rad (mainly because they involve bikes), and BikeFlights.com is a super easy and affordable way to get your bike to where you're going. I love them and use their services all the time. Say goodbye to ridiculous airline bike fees! Say hello to the wind in your hair! (Under your helmet of course.)