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. You can use Inside Tracker for an accurate look at what your body might need, as well as recommendations for yummy foods that can help you get healthier. We highly recommend bicycles as a healthy way to get outside and move, but anything that gets you up and going will do the trick. It's worth noting how perfectly the Farm to Fork Fondos incorporate eating delicious and nutritious foods with riding bicycles in beautiful places, too. Just saying. Lastly, connect with your community...
Human beings are social beings. We thrive on connection. Isn't life more fun when we share it? For us, the cycling community has become a family that helps us feel grounded and connected 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. Amber volunteers as a mentors for Network For Advancing Athletes and the Connecticut Cycling Advancement Program, as well as 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!
We believe that 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.
We are big fans of active transportation: getting around under your own power, whether on a bicycle or on your own two feet. The League of American Bicyclists has great info for folks interested commuting by bike. Our friends behind the magic of the Farm to Fork Fondos use their events to promote social good with an explicit goal of leaving their host communities better than they found them. Their events support local farmers, economies and efforts to care for open space in their host communities.
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. 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. As such, we'd like to give bicycles the nod for MVP when it comes to living a Good Life. Bicycles are fun, and they're accessible. Have you ever heard the saying, "it's just like riding a bike"? It's true that once you learn to ride, you've got that skill for life. Might as well put it to good use in creating more health and happiness! You don't need a fancy bike. You can bring almost any bicycle to your local bike shop (we 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! Get some friends together and take a trip to one of the Farm to Fork Fondos. (Or all of them!) When you put a mega-fun event like that on your calendar, you'll not only get to enjoy all the giddy anticipation, but you'll also have a teeny bit more motivation to get out and ride at home (okay maybe a lot more). You won't regret it. We promise. Bike vacations 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 (click here to find out how they can ship your bike to all of the Farm to Fork Fondos). We 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.)