We are very proud of GreenTreks Network’s Executive Director, Barry Lewis, who is competing in the Ironman World Championship this Saturday in Hawaii! The Ironman triathlon is a true challenge to the human body and spirit. In less than a day, triathletes must complete a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride, and a 26.2 mile run. Barry has been in intense training for a long time (while the rest of us have continued an everyday regimen of intense snacking). His efforts are very inspiring, and hopefully will motivate others to get moving & go outside. We wish him lots of luck and hope that it’s a wonderful experience!
Follow live news and results from the Ironman World Championship this Saturday, October 13, here.
We’ve made it through the sweltering heat of summer (finally!) and now we’ve hit beautiful, warm-but-perfectly-cooler weather. I know us staffers here at GreenTreks are certainly welcoming it. Bike-commuting is much more enjoyable when you don’t arrive as a puddle of sweat!
Coming up at the end of September, are a number of opportunities to enjoy a bicycle ride and do some good at the same time. First up on Saturday, September 22, 2012, is the Schuylkill River Trail Bike Tour: Rails and River Towns Ride. Bike along the Schuylkill River Trail, learn about the history of the Pennsylvania Railroad during a presentation by Bob Thomas, and, best of all, support the Schuylkill River Heritage Area. This is the first ride of this new bike tour series, and it sounds excellent for all levels of riders (choose from a 18-mile ride & walking tour, a 20-mile ride, or a 9-mile ride and guided tour). Learn more about the bike tour and register here.
The next day, on Sunday, September 23, 2012, the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) is hosting Bike Fresh, Bike Local in Downingtown, PA. Proceeds from this ride benefit PASA’s work for sustainable, family farms in Eastern Pennsylvania. Whether you choose the 25-, 50-, or 75-mile ride, you’ll get to enjoy a lunch of local foods and enjoy a Victory Brewing Company craft beer. Plus, I’ll be volunteering at the break station for the 75-mile riders, so stop by and say hi! Learn more and register here.
It’s that time of year again, when all hometown eyes are focused on the nation’s largest urban park system and the waterway that wends through the city: the Philadelphia Insurance Triathlon takes place this weekend, so if you’re not racing, come out an watch.
This event has been called one of the nation’s best, and it’s near and dear to GreenTreks, not only because our Executive Director Barry Lewis has competed since the race’s inception, but because it highlights the key role a healthy environment plays in our lives.
Imagine if the Schuylkill River wasn’t surrounded by a system of parks to act as a buffer against runoff: there would be no way the swim-bike-run event could be held.*
*NOTE: In spite of the vast improvement in the Schuylkill’s water quality over the past decade, major storms flush significant amounts of pollutants and sediments into the river, so the swim portion is always dependent upon the weather in the days leading up to the race. For an up to date assessment of water quality, based on predictive models, check out phillyrivercast.org. At last check, at 11:30 am on Friday morning, the water quality was good and the water temperature was 79 degrees.
Imagine if we didn’t plan and care for greenspace by maintaining pathways through tree covered landscapes to provide shade and produce oxygen: how enjoyably could we ride and run amidst the paved in, built up city environment that heats like an oven at this time of year?
Imagine if we didn’t have a committed community of athletes, advocates, sponsors, city officials, and volunteers: the coordination, logistics, expense, and personnel requirements of hosting more than 4,00 athletes for a series of multi-sport events would never happen and could never result in such a rich experience for participants without every single person involved.
This year, we’re even more excited about the event, because race management is embarking upon a series of greening initiatives to reduce the event’s environmental footprint and give back to the community that makes the race possible. You can learn more about the initial phase of the race going green, which involves a partnership with Nathan Performance Gear and benefits the Fairmount Park Conservancy here >>
Actually, we’re over the moon about the 2011 race because Barry, who was selected as USA Triathlon’s 2010 Masters Duathlete of the Year, is once again competing as a member of Team PHLY–and they’re partnering with the Challenged Athletes Foundation to RACE FOR A REASON. If you think a triathlon is challenging, check out this video about CAF. Be prepared to be inspired.
Then get out and go after your dreams!
Then get out and go after your dreams!
In the U.S., it’s estimated that 40 percent of all urban trips are two miles or less. Unfortunately, 90 percent of those trips are usually by car, which adds up in fuel and carbon emissions. If you consider that each mile you travel by bike instead of car prevents one pound of carbon dioxide emissions from entering the atmosphere, the benefits of bike riding becomes clear. Add the calorie burning, cardiovascular building, body slimming benefits, and one has to wonder: why doesn’t everyone bike?
As it turns out, here in Philadelphia, more of us are doing just that every year. According to a recent report from the Bicycle Coalition of Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love boasts twice as many bike commuters per capita than any other big city in the U.S. and our ranks (yup, two out of three GreenTrekkers regularly bike to work) continue to rise. With new bike lanes planned and slow but steady progress in etiquette amongst and between cyclists, drivers, and pedestrians, Philly is poised to become what Mayor Nutter dreams of: one of the nation’s most bike friendly cities.
We’re well on our way, what with our many great bike shops, clubs that support the most low key recreational riders and hardest-core racers alike, and a super system of bike paths that wend through the city and beyond. Take to the saddle and become part of the bicycle revolution. Besides being good for you and good for the planet, it’s a whole lot of fun!
For the more ambitious amongst you, check out the resurgence of the cross country bike path movement, the U.S. Bicycle Route System, as discussed in this recent Blog post from GOOD >>
Better still, Get out and Ride!
From the Scientific American, January 28, 2011…
Would people care more about the environment if they had a better understanding of how it affects them personally?
No doubt many of the ways we harm our environment come back to haunt us in the form of sickness and death. The realization that the pesticide-laced foods we eat, the smokestack-befouled air we breathe and the petrochemical-based products we use negatively affect our quality of life is a big part of the reason so many people have “gone green” in recent years.
Just following the news is enough to green anyone. Scientific American reported in 2009 that a joint U.S./Swedish study looking into the effects of household contaminants discovered that children who live in homes with vinyl floors—which can emit hazardous chemicals called phthalates—are twice as likely to develop signs of autism as kids in other homes. Other studies have shown that women exposed to high levels of polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) flame retardants common in cushions, carpet padding and mattresses—97 percent of us have detectable levels of these chemicals in our bloodstreams—are more likely to have trouble getting pregnant and suffer from other fertility issues as a result. Cheaply produced drywall made in China can emit so much sulfur gas that it not only corrodes electrical wiring but also causes breathing problems, bloody noses and headaches for building occupants. The list goes on and on….
If you think you can’t do anything about it, wise up! Check out this segment from Protecting our Children’s Health: