Thursday, April 21, 2011

Water or oil/life or death

We fight for oil but we are powered by water.

Given we have the ability to choose also gives us the ability to be entirely incorrect with choice.

I have a belief that if we can’t speak it in one breath we are avoiding the real issue.

Here is my breath of the day.

We are about 70% salty water and every living creature is mostly water. Nothing, nothing lives without water and no life exists that is not water based. If there was something to worship and protect and respect universally in would be water. An intergalactic unifying religion from 1 billion light-years away to the mirror, water says and does it all when it comes to life and living. We are by design aquafarians and take water for granted given it granted us life and ongoing freedom from death. It is simple, the essence, and the majority of every living organism alive. From our vegetables to our bacteria water drives everything.
It is clear, clean, simple, and abundant.  Now what is oil, everything dead and dark?

When we walk, bike, run, swim we are watered powered and recycling water all the way, enjoy your journey from home.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Cyclists life traded for cellphone grab

Food for Thought

Yesterday on the Bike Florida touring event a cyclist was murdered by a driver who just meandered into the bikelane. This was March 30, 2011 and it was no accident but a crash of a deadly kind.

How did we get here, to a point of unaccountability as to what our autos and automatic behaviors do to others. Are we not accountable? Are we not the drivers?

This thought has perplexed me for decades, the exactly how we became so juvenile with our motored power. How car-nivorus we are, how car-casses of pedestrians and cyclists just are part of the risk of the mix of traffic as accepted deaths and destruction. The drivers seldom are charged, sun in their eyes, reached for a purse, swerved to miss a dog, just did not see him or her, and in this case "reached for his cellphone".

These are real statements of crashes I have observed over the years, all the driver walked, all the cyclist and pedestrians pushed daisies.

A new theory has just now entered my mind one that goes back to the days of the first powered street vehicles, the wagons powered by horses and their kind. A cantankerous powerplant for sure with minds of their own and just as dangerous as any car today.
People were killed in the streets then many of them were trampled, run over, compresses beyond the limits of skin and bones by heavy objects in movement. 

The gas pedal and the reign are very different but the placement of blame stays the same. The car did it, I am sorry they say like the car had a brain of it own that was outside their control.. Horses did cause much car-nage before the car age but they were beasts of wild nature that could spook, freak, and easily ignore the commands of their drivers. Beware of the streets in the 1800s was real, it was a risky place to be and the citizens knew the risks, horses were unpredictable.

Today the street still exists as does the vehicles, only the engine and its controls are different. The engine is us, our mind and our soul, we are the horse producing the horsepower, controlling the horsepower directly with our mind and foot. Why can’t we be accountable since we are logical, human too just like the cyclists and pedestrians we murder. How do we begin to make the roads a safe public utility that is  for all users and all ages?

Humanways not highways, change this word first then enact legislation of responsibility that many other cultures have like woonerfs: 
A woonerf (Dutch plural: woonerven) in the Netherlands and Flanders is a street where pedestrians and cyclists have legal priority over motorists. The techniques of shared spaces, traffic calming, and low speed limits are intended to improve pedestrian, bicycle, and automobile safety.

Recondition the drivers and condition youth to the truths of driving by new standards of training and accountability. This would open healthy option for travel that are safe, sustainable and proven.

This all may be true! We still use the term HORSEPOWER to define the engine that powered us in the roadway yesterday and today.

Only then will we leave the tailing behaviors of the past come to an end.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Racers and conflicts

Sometimes I just cannot take the abusive nature of conflicts. The conflict between bicycling racers training in packs and the driving public is out of control.

 Since the invention of the bicycle a byproduct has been the bicycle racer.  Racers that ride bikes are different then those that race cars, bicycle racers are racing reality. Nothing is more physically demanding of so many muscles or so many senses.  Watch the 21 days of the Tour De France just once and feel the emotion and the mission.

Bicycle racers race in packs and must train to win and gain expertise. Bicycle racers may go 50 miles per hours or more. Bicycle racers train on the roadway system worldwide. There is NO other place to train and no other way to learn but to train as you race—IN PACKS.

I am not a bicycle racer, was never one but I am a bicyclist and have been all my life. I love the bicycle because it offers me health, economic freedom, social networks and affordabilities never imagined in our consumer world.  Look the bike it is under 30 pounds, last forever and has a small impact on the planet. It is a supremely sustainable devise that does what it is suppose to do.  It is one of the few devises that exceeds expectations  .  

Toss yourself in a 4,000 pound box and drive around endlessly, complacently and unsustainable and notice the difference. Our planet needs some of the health the bicycle brings to us. Racers are constantly combated by those big boxes.  They spend 40 hours or more a week training and much of the time alone in traffic being abused.  They are cut off, hollered at, pushed off the road by impatient passers in their boxes.  It seems that drivers believe that that box has more rights then the little person on a 30 pound devise has.

Day in and day out the racer get abused—then on weekends they get to ride in packs. Packs are like hornets nests pulsating with energy not to be disturbed. Packs have a mission and that is training and flowing. They also have real power and use it often to keep the abuse from rising out of the boxes all around them. Messing with 50 or 100 cyclists is different than running a lone one off the roadway.

In the 60s motorcyclists had similar problem with drivers. Constant harassment, blatant abuses and endless conflicts. A group formed from all the conflict and set as mission a unity of one for all and all for one. Since the law was not assisting they implemented a strategy of fear into the driving public. If you mess with a Hells Angel other Angels will get you no-matter where you live.  Offending motorist were tracked down and beat up by the brothers. Very quickly word spread and still exists, if you mess with an Angel you will get hurt. 

People quit messing with motorcyclists pretty much since they could not tell Angels from just other riders. I was a motorcyclist those days and still am and I thank Hells Angels for suffering the agony and enduring the legacy of a transportation system too big, too arrogant and too driven by speed alone to be fixed.

So the bicycle racer is being run out of towns, off the roads and seen as a nuisance. He is a reflection of a system that is still arrogant, intolerant and not fair to other users.  Times have to change now that our health, the planets health and oil is now not affordable or soon available.
Give the packs some room and some relief. Stop and rest 5 minutes and let them go ahead out of sight and mind. Cool off and think about them differently, think of them as hero’s of the roadway powered by intense personal energy and a small 30 pound devise. They are models of health, transportation, inspiring to watch and like a wasp nest something to let go without disturbing.

Begin to be careful of those single bicyclist that are all around you. They are easily injured by traffic, easily made unstable by passing them too close, turning in from of them or just  more. THE LANE IS A PUBLIC UTILITY it is full of people using different devises. Learn how to cooperate. 

We all need to know, understand and obey the traffic laws--all of us.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Laneism and laneists—who or what are you?

In the late 50s and early 1960s motorcyclist were discriminated against much like bicyclists are today. They were seen as not wanted roadway users and often suffered serious injury with little recourse for accountability from the driver or court systems. The Hells Angels formed directly from this issue with a one for all, all for one mission. If you injured an Angel all the Angels would come together and disturb that reality wherever it was. It went from disturbance to severe violence against drivers including physical beatings, shootings and death of the deemed guilty drivers that hit or killed Angels. 

Auto drivers during this havoc, began to notice motorcyclists and were scared to death of this mission and of the Hells Angels. Other motorcyclists took advantage of the opportunity and became some of the badasses of the lane. Until then motorcyclist had a very small percentage of ridership and this was mainly on the west coast.

Some brilliant minds were working in Japan and they noticed the motorcycle backpressure building, Hell Angels work also started to make being a motorcyclist cool and safer and the general public was noticing this too. Ridership was increasing and so was the amount of press associated with riding them. Honda motorcycles created the slogan “ You meet the nicest people on a Honda” This split the ridership but preserved and accelerated motorcycling.  The American Motorcycle Associated (AMA)  formed and now riders could be cool on a motorcycle and nice too.

It was 1965 and my nickname was Hondaman, I lived this transition first hand and carry the experiences of being the nicest person. As a young child I saw motorcyclists abuse drivers first hand and it disturbed me, at 15 as a cyclist I understood, but still it disturbs me.   I am also a bicyclist and have been since that time too, we need the ump that Hells Angels gave motorcycling for bicycling. Lanism,  the abatement of this practice can do this without the violence.  

I have never cared for biases they get in the way of the observable reality.  The LANE the public utility we all depend on for travel is a place to move people and goods. The lanes beginnings go back to game trails in the forests, then hunters trails pursuing game. Later travel routes for trade and travel. Game is killed in the lane still, we hunt stores and places and of course we move goods and some bads. Biases and isms too travel, they sail oceans, cross mountains and effect realities sometimes in intolerable ways.

Historically blacks in this country received scraps on a good day, whips, chains, verbal abuse on most days, few whites ever thought it wrong. Blacks had a place in America and it was as slaves. What a sorry bunch of ignorant and intolerant people we were. Well many are still racist and being from the south I still see it almost daily.

Now just to make a point let’s call cars whites and bicycles blacks. Let’s use the lane as the mixing ground for community. The lane is the public utility that works on a first come first served basis and services the needs of people to get around. This is all people period. Some of these people use devises or vehicles to get around and have since they were born into this culture, the main devise is still the motorized automobile. Main devises have changed often over time some were even animals.

Most of us were born into being laneists, the car and its dominant place in our lives along with a life long memory of being in it combine into a rigid attitude of entitlement to it and its lane. I am one of those people but I also found enlightenment well some reason anyway to rethink this madness.

Bicyclists ride on the side of the road where all the debris is blown by traffic. Everything that falls in the lane ends up on the shoulder, everything, glass, bolts, car parts, tree parts, gravel, sand, on and on. As a cyclist you must navigate, why navigate? That is a naval term, well navigate the debris fields on a devise that is articulated, requires balance, and has little tires, little suspension and the ability to quickly crash if you make any mistake and it will toss you to the ground hard if you make the smallest of error.  You are also at the same time being diligent of safety concerns, meandering around 3,000 pound or bigger vehicles while they relax in their easy chair like devises with air conditioning, cell phones, radios using a finger to steer and a toe to go faster.

They have seat belts, air bags, metal cages of protections all of them, they are protected from cyclists and each other. All of these people are laneists, just like our forefathers were racists. It is so deeply ingrained in all of us we do not see it. We were born in cars some of us. Our earliest memories are of cars and families, new cars, first cars and cars and dating. We are biased, bigoted, arrogant, intolerant and just lost in our own delusions of right and wrong.

Ok take a breath and smile now, I am not a radical crazy person just one who worked many crashes, rode motorcycles, drove many cars and has ridden a bicycle often too. I am the boomer who grew up car crazy, I just found a way to have economic freedom and health and it includes bikes, walking and talking sense.

We are more than not, under-active, unhealthy, obese, unsustainable, and mean as hell to others. We are on the road to hell and driving the car that will take us there the fastest.

We, all 200 pounds or so of us jump into a 3,000 pound devise and go a mile, pick up a couple pounds of food and go a mile back. We are the slaves and the car has made us this. We are afraid too of the bicycle, of walking, of being unprotected. We have had this 3,000 pounds of protection our entire lives just like our great grandparents had black laborers to do the work. Cars did our work and protected us too. Laneism is much more powerful than racism.

The lane is a public utility with different types of vehicles and devises using it.  All these devises are operated by the same species of animals, a species that breeds, loves and thinks. A species that is lost somewhat now as the culture changes from oil empowered to brain empowered. A lot of thinking has to go on if we are to prosper and survive this depression. Yes it is a depression and the price of driving will continue to rise, the cost of healthcare will continue to rise and the cost of ignorance and intolerance if left in place will rip our communities to parts never to be reassembled.

Health displaces healthcare, activity provides health, the bicycle has many forms and anyone even with most disabilities can be comfortable, sustainable, and reasonable while using one. If each one of us used a bike for trips under 30,000 feet 50% of car use would disappear overnight. I would not doubt that 50% of our healthcare cost would too over a year or two. I would also guess that 90% of our inability to get along would vaporize as we rode together unprotected side by side in conversation each day.

There is a bike waiting for you and skilled lane taking cyclists have the skillsets and training programs to train you. Upright bikes, tandems, recumbents, trikes that go fast, electric assists on and on. Sure they make you feel like a kid again, but that is the best part besides being healthy, being happy and being sustainable and well adjusted.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Dan Burden

Dan Burden runs viewers through a slide show of how we can do better with our cities.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Children and cycling

Modified tandem proved a perfect solution to adult-child cycling dilemma

You can see them on any given sunny day: a frustrated parent begging a tired, cranky child to pedal their tiny bike just a little bit farther.

It’s a no-win situation. The parent less than a mile into what they thought would be a much longer outing, the child seeing bicycling with Mom or Dad as a no-fun experience. The bike trailer solution is adequate while the kids are very young. It’s less than ideal, however, when they are bike-riding age, bored with slouching in a trailer and should be exercising anyway. A tandem is an excellent alternative.

I started thinking of the options 20 some years ago because I was ready for a change from pulling my daughter—and later my son—in a bike trailer. Today the kids are grown and the device I fabricated many years ago has been borrowed over and over. Upon its recent return, I decided a story was in order.

At first, I played with different tandem stoker kits offered by the major tandem makers. Unfortunately, they put children a mile from the ground and their instinctual security. That was not what I wanted. I wanted the child to be able to have the same experiences on the bike as I did. The child should be able to touch the ground, mount and dismount easily and enjoy a few creature comforts like variable hand positions and foot rests.

Eventually, I found a 1970s Jack Taylor tandem made for boys to ride in the front and girls in dresses in the back, no real top tube just an open space. Schwinn made a 5-speed like this for 30 years and they are still pretty easy to find. The Jack Taylor was bent and cheap, but it was also a classic with 650 B tires and wildly designed stock accessories.

Friends shouted, “Stop!” after I pulled it from a grave of bent metal tubing, “Don’t cut that bike up, you #$%*$*. Find a junker.” I did not find a junker so I cut up the Jack Taylor for my young daughter, Taylor, who at the time was 4 years old. I lowered the seat to child height by cutting out the top set of seat stays (both the Schwinn and the Taylor have four) and dropping the seat. I also retrofitted the cut out parts so you could make it a standard size again (the missing triangle has never been used—or found, for that matter—and the bike has stayed a lowboy/lowgirl).

I then removed the crank and built up the sides so I could drill holes through it so I could move the pedals up and down on the crank, adjusting for the child’s leg length. On the standard stoker kit a crank add-on bolts to the outside of the crank arms. This pushes a child’s legs wider apart than what I considered was normal. As a first-time Dad, I was paranoid about this and could only imagine my child being bowlegged for a lifetime.

My best idea was bolting a couple of motorcycle foot pegs on the downtube in a comfortable position as a rest for tired legs, or just relaxing fun.
I also spun the rear drop bars around and made them close to the rider for comfort. So I welded and drilled, cut and brazed, bolted and hoped.
In all, I spent about 75 bucks plus a few hundred for the bike. But the big questions still had to be answered. Would she ride? Would she last as long riding the tandem as in the trailer? Would she fall asleep and fall off?

Well, almost two decades after Taylor’s maiden voyage, no child has ever been injured on the bike. Both of my children rode thousands of miles on it and another pile of kids did the same. I never had a bad day on Jack with the kids. The strangest occurrence was when Elliot, my son, once saw a friend in his trail-side yard as we rode by and simply jumped off the bike without notice.

After the resulting boyball stopped tumbling I thought it necessary to explain that just jumping off could most likely lead to injuries one day (he was four at the time and I most likely spoke needlessly; he eventually earned the nickname, Boyzilla). Some of the fun came in speed and racing others, for example we kicked butt beating former Bike Florida’s Director Greg Wilson (kids love beating up on adults. Oh, Greg wasn’t an adult then, was he?)

Other good things come from riding a tandem. Taylor rode the tandem 6 months, then wanted to try her own bike. After 10 minutes and only one mouthful of dirt, she was on her own. That was cool since she had never before even tried to ride alone. The balance and coordination was learned behind me on the tandem.

Taylor also learned to read like a maniac on that wonderful bike (so long as she kept her balance, she could hold and read book after book while pedaling).
She and many of our friends’ children learned to ride with mentorship, comfort, and an easy reach to the ground that was just under their feet. I hope I never find that missing part that would take this bike from the kids’ world to the one of adults again. I hope my kids use it when their children are that age. It will be here, ready for action, waiting for the call of great healthy family fun.

I came up with a few other cycling solutions over the years, the very best may have been a bike trailer with car seat suspended in it for young children and fast downhills. Kids are used to car seats and they give great support. Just make sure they have a shield to protect them from flying objects and that no overprotective mothers are on the ride.

Later Taylor and I rode RAGBRAI on a tandem. She had long outgrown the Jack Taylor but the books and conversation were the same and the pace much faster due to the awesome power of two longtime tandem riders. We traded leg burn back and forth for recovery and flew by single riders, exhilarating in a certain power undiscovered by others. No foot pegs or reversed bars were in evidence that week, but Jack was there in spirit.
I hope he lives a long, long life with many children. Maybe he too has found his youth and place in immortality.

In hindsight, refitting the Jack Taylor for a child to ride on the back was one of the best projects I ever conceived and executed.

Kids are kids and not little adults. They need frequent stops, things to do and plenty to eat and drink.

If you treat them correctly maybe you’ll get to ride behind them someday. And besides all the great function and fun it provided, it always led to good conversation and great health .

Jack is now being packed up for delivery to Montana where Roger DiBrito (Bike Educator Extraordinaire) will be training his 5 grandkids for the new vision of transportation.  

Point of Change of Perception

The illusion of stillness is crippling us. We are dynamic living animals reactive and engaged in life’s struggle like it or not.

We have thousands of colonies of bacteria living in and on us. Tiny bugs on our skin and eyelids. We are shedding skin, hair, dehydrating with every breath and composed of mostly just water. Each day we replenish that water with more, ever changing the mix and the creatures that call us home.

We are changlings morphing each day to fill the void of needs we represent on a cosmic scale. Every living thing around us is too in exactly the same way. Some tiny creatures live their entire lives in a few days, some live for centuries. We live as we please and that is the difference.

I was walking the roadside and noticed an oyster shell as fill. It struck me deeply as different, it was subconscious, I without thought picked it up. The shell was thick and heavy 10 time heavier than any oyster that I had seen before. Upon observation the oyster lived to about 200 years adding to the shell yearly as they do to grow. I left thinking, wondering about the thousands of these I just saw. Common knowledge is oysters live to 30 and maybe 80 years, research showed the same.

I have been back to the oysters as fill site many times now looking and digging for clues knowing that reality exists outside our perceptions and beliefs. It exists as it has and will always as fact, unquestionable and undeniable true when you hold it in your hand.

The oysters were part of a catastrophic change event tens of thousands of years ago. Buried alive quickly and forever until a backhoe hit them 10 years ago inland in Franklin county and began to use them as solid fill. I have found many bone fragments, whole intact oysters, monster teeth and unidentified remains in the road fill by the side of the road.

I have rethought how we think and what we do to a point of beginning thinking of being that 200 year old oyster in the shallows existing till its shell became so large it could not manage the weight any longer. Everything is on a timeline, even the dead remains of the oysters shell. Broken down and recycled over and over from sand grains to solar systems all is changing.

Imagine using our self guided discovery for good. We live as we please purely and honestly the only creature in the cosmos known to do this. The only creature, the only creature that can both create and please. Imagine the power we have to connect dots, to assist in good work to knit profound dimensions together with understanding and resolve.

Natures solution is water it comprises every living thing, it compromises it too over time. It is the salt water womb that life began in much like a silent big bang boom. How can we be like water and get along, understand and prosper with all things?
Every living creature but us has a natural bio-logical dance attached to its life. It is code driven by timeless passages of time. Evolution is the word we use but it is so much deeper a word cannot convey it. 92 essential and universal elements create everything, just 92. Stardust stuff, 98% of the cosmos is helium and hydrogen these combine under heat and pressure to make the others. Simple stuff all proven undeniable. Natural un-amendable laws of nature do the rest.        

Here we are in a depression while nature is fine and prospering with no gold, god or regard for our problems. Over our civilized time we have transformed those 92 elements into millions of things that we use, want and believe to need. Our culture keeps us intact as a material society and the material we need is manmade we think.

We tried to civilize the aborigines around the world by giving them shame and fear, it failed. We have tried to tame and control nature, it failed. We have tried to manage ecosystems, it failed. We try to get along with others and it fails. So what works?

Good works and good is big. Less is more too in the world of good. Our mind needs repointing as well if we are to discover good as a way of timeless ongoing proactive discovery. Good, God and Gold need to be managed and understood for their real values. Three words hold the future of our genetic code hostage now and forever unless we act as we must to prevent our own demise. We have this choice nothing else ever ever has had.

It is all about the Journey and Home is where we find comfort, it can be a place, a time or a simple realization.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A few simple facts

How do we define then repair the damages that our auto-based culture has created? First step is fully defining the problems, their causes and their effects. Oh and a few simple solutions too.

  1. We live in a culture of speed and to hell with everyone else it seems. Everything associated with the way we develop our highways leads to more and faster flow. Level of Service (LOS) crawls up to level D or F and we build our way out of it at a cost of billions each year while the cars themselves haul hardly more than one person each. If we filled the cars with people every rider would mean one less car on the roadway. 2 people per car almost 100% less traffic, 3 people per car almost 200% less traffic and so on. LOS is related more to our driving attitudes than our roadway needs.
  2. We have only one roadway system and it has many users and uses. The road is a public utility for people to use, vehicles to use and courtesies and laws to be respected. Issue is most individuals and most enforcers of the rights and laws have minimum understanding of them. Roads are now a biological battle ground with  powerful motor vehicles abusing non motorized vehicles rights and rules.
  3. Around a million people are killed on roadways worldwide each year. In the USA we kill about the same amount of people each year that the Vietnam war killed over its full term. For children traffic is the most likely way they with die and or be injured. Traffic trumps all other diseases and accident types. For an adult up to about age 39 traffic is the most likely way to perish. Over 50% of people using wheelchairs were put there by traffic related crashes.
  4. We all begin our day as pedestrians, we all are pedestrians even while driving our vehicles we are pedestrians. The sadness is we are under trained pedestrians. Looking, seeing and understanding the dynamics of the traffic and traffic patterns could give us great skillsets in and around traffic. But also as important it would give us the understanding of pedestrian needs and an ability to fold  the pedestrian into our trafficked world as the person with real needs he or she is. Knowledge is power and understanding but our 3 generations of auto culture, speed culture and power has diminished our ability to be human. This was not with intention it was by default and there are ways of correcting it.
  5. Humanways not highways, just changing a word, a POV can have deep and long lasting effects. Our trafficked culture is still in adolescence, be it an ugly one, but still in its infancy. We can alter our perceptions by playing with words. A word about to hit us front and center is PEAK OIL. This is the time that fuel prices outpace income and availability becomes questionable. If we do not humanize the roadways and courtesies and encourage same road, same rules, same good attitudes we will be left stranded at our homes up to our neck in debt and without a way to get around. Efficient cars are one thing, efficient minds are another and both are key to survival.
  6. 30,000 feet, if each and every one of us used alternative transportation for trips under 30,000 feet everything would change. At the present time almost 50% of auto trips are less than 50,000 feet. These auto based trips would disappear and health would reappear without doctors or drugs as we mounted our cycles and hoofed it some. Mount Everest is 29,035 feet and you could be your own Everest thinking up, up the mountain and to the end of the breathable atmosphere at the top of the world.  Laying it all, 30,000 feet of it out in front of you to conquer. The bicycle is king of these 30K trips and under and often outpace auto in city competitions.
  7. Reality is that the need for health and dollars will drag us from our autos one day. I am a motorhead too, but a pragmatist also. I dislike being left behind or trapped in old ways that dysfunction today.  Oiltopia lead to suburbia and the need to drive. Health and dollars will lead us to a way to thrive. Greenways and trails, liveable communities where retail and residential are mixed are all thriving. People out active self police their own world displacing that that is abnormal by simple presence. The world is changing, we are changing evolving constantly still. We are learning too what is good, right and sustainable, mother nature still bats last.    
  8. Key to a new way of dealing with travel or the journey is being skilled at the ways needed to effectively understand the real options then to apply them safely. Journeys from Home is a skill based program that begins in Kindergarten and follows through 5th grade. It empowers children to be competent, confident and predictable in and around traffic. It provides honest insight into traffic and the journey providing choices by way of hands on experience. Instructor certification is required and a 2 day workshop is available. If you change the world of a child you change the world. Empowering children makes for great adults. Once the cycle is broken choices can be seamlessly implemented into our culture. Fact is if all our school children were empowered and self dependent by the time they were adults the entire traffic system would naturally become a Humanized one with Humanways and multimodal users. It is simple but takes a new way of thinking.  

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Worlds first Pizzabike

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Robert (me), Karl and Lynn in 1959

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Everything is about the Journey

Journeys From Home, JFH is for the journey we are connected to, no user group or vehicle type—we exist to bring insight and solution to conflicts that result in injury or crashes. It is simply about the WAY to think, look and act as you and all of us Journey from Home everyday.

From my earliest recollections I wanted to be Zorro. I was 5 and part of the planet. A planet that was pure and thrived with nature cooperating constantly to keep us safe and amused.

A kids eye view of things from the perspective of a five year old is pure and simple. What you see is what is, and what you need you get. Zorro was like the representative of children keeping the playing field fair. In reality he played with adults that were greedy, selfish and self serving, but those adults were just kids that had lost their way somehow.

Looking back at the 50s and being that child that wanted to be Zorro like, but not remembering exactly leads to conclusions that are just speculation if we have forgotten how to be kid like.  But if there is some kids left, even just an atom it can be grown again and Zorro will surface and solve the perplexing problems of greed and ego of the day.

Journeys from Home is the place adults can visit to reconnect with that kid. Whether it is the kid of their past or the kid of the present or future it is about the kid and it is about his or her journey. Our mission is to keep the kids alive and thriving it is that simple. With this mission we get the very best adults, the very best communities and the very kids in the best world possible.

In and around about 1980 a young physical education teacher had an idea. It was an idea based on empowerment and activity, it was and idea that involved 4th grade students and their bicycles. This PE teacher, call him Rocket, penned a curriculum for those students to become hands on empowered. He had realized that training and educating those kids on bikes about traffic and bicycles would one day lead to their freedom, health and their awareness of the journey, taken daily by all of us. This journey of growth can be safe, sustainable and enjoyable too.

Rocket was far ahead of the curve and those students that were trained in the 80s and early 90s have moved the bar along the way and have tracked Rocket down and are requesting that he assist them with their own childrens freedom and futures.

This overview is the simple version about the mission and exactly what is underway. I am the filmmaker that began as one of the partners in 1984, a dreamer too, a Zorro. Those kids Rocket trained have requested the opportunity they were given be given to their children. The opportunity to engage and understand journey options, roadway systems, development trends, quality of life issues early so better decisions can be made later.

Incidental evidence supports the conclusion that all those thousands of trained children ended up much better drivers, more informed transportation partners than the general population is for sure. Today around 25% of our income is used as transportation and the cost are rising quickly. Today the largest killer and crippler of children is traffic related and up till age 39 it is the most likely way you will die.

As one by one of us jumped on this bandwagon in the 80s we knew the facts. I was producing visual tools for the traffic crash reconstruction industry dealing directly with vehicular homicides. Rocket was in the schools teaching, my kids were in the middle of it all as actors in the early program materials we developed. They are savvy and skilled at keeping that 25% of their income, while gaining health, freedom and mobility.

Another friend from the inception is Dan Burden head of Walkable and Livable Communities institute (Walc) now. In the 80s he was a dreamer and Florida first bike coordinator in our Department of Transportation. He was not welcomed with open arms into FDOT, an auto based culture at that time where bikes and pedestrians were just troubles in the road to be dealt with. Problem was he was (implanted) directly by our then Govenor Bob Graham a visionary leader and statesman extraordinaire. The problem was for FDOT not Mr. Burden. It began for me in 1984 when I walked unannounced up to his new office annd said “ I am Robert Seidler a filmmaker and here to help, put me to work” he did! Still does.

Dan and Rocket are from Missoula Montana where the 4th grade program began. Roger and Dan were friends from the late 70s where the crack in mobility began and lead to Florida.

A little backstory is needed here that is not explainable but just is. I live in Sopchoppy Florida a little town lost in time. It is 35 miles and 100 years SW of Tallahassee, has 400 residents and only a dozen different names in the phone book, so I say.  In 1979 a group of visionary leaders wanting transportation improvements met in Sopchoppy for a long weekend of braining. This was way before any of this had entered my radar and lead to Dan Burden being selected and hired a few years later. So Floridas bicycle movement began in Sopchoppy my home by default.

I discovered Sopchoppy on a February bike ride with a friend when a cold rain hit 50 miles into a century ride. By the time I entered the town I had hyperthermia and was out of my mind. The local restaurant, Moms, took me in, covered me with blankets and brought me back to life. In 1982 Sopchoppy was 90% abandoned having been so since the railroad was pulled in 1946.  It was an off the main road town full of original store fronts and surrounded by a river system, cool place, frozen in time. 

I had a newborn daughter at the time and had just found full time employment after college. WFSU-TV was my creative home and film my dreamworld. My Journey from Home had all the parts by 1984 when I met Dan, he provided a mentorship like no other imaginable, still does.

Shortly after meeting Dan and beginning program development Rocket and family began to visit Florida to provide training for PE teachers. Dan invented a 4E approach to his job including Engineering, Education, Enforcement and Encouragement, Enjoyment would follow. Rocket lead the education segment, Roger (Rocket) DiBrito the oldest of 11 Italian Catholics was a white tornado. He had mastered teachers needs early and student motivational needs at birth it seemed. By this time I had determined for sure that Dan was an alien life form planted here on this planet to do good work. I had found a pack of Zorros to work and play with, I was in heaven and I had a mission, they had a mission and it all connected with a good, sustainable and green future.

That is the prequel to today 30 years later and the formation of WALC for Dan and JFH for Roger and I. Social networking, social marketing, the web and digital media have given way to ways to deliver content and instruction effectively and affordable to the masses and our children, their friends and those trained a generation ago is the motivation to grab our swords and virtue and scratch ZORO everywhere people need to journey. From the womb to the tomb JFH can assist you in finding the WAY to empower up so you too can get around safely, efficiently and in a community that supports you.