Moving the Masses

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I rode the city bus quite a bit when I was a kid.  The stop was at the end of my street.  It cost 25 cents.  I would either ride it downtown to the music store, or out to the mall.  It was long before I could drive a car.  At that age it provided an almost unbelievable amount of freedom.

I traveled to Minneapolis a couple of years ago, and wanted to visit a local store during some of my free time.  I asked the concierge at the hotel about a taxi.  He responded with “why not just take the bus?”  I will admit I blanched a bit at the proposal.  He assured me that their buses were very efficient and would cost much less than taking a taxi.  I thought, well I am in Minneapolis if they’re known for anything it’s their public transportation (and near manic devotion to bicycles).  The experience was pleasant, the bus stopped a mere block from where I wanted to go and it was terribly affordable.

The experience got me thinking.  I wondered if I could go 30 days without using my car.  I would ride my bicycle when I could, and use buses when I couldn’t.  The bus company has a Twitter page that posts the current status of individual buses.  After monitoring that for a couple of weeks, and seeing how often they were delayed, I gave up on the idea.  It is still something I circle back to from time to time.

The city of Indianapolis does not have a vibrant mass transit system.  The city itself is very spread out.  Logistically this can make using mass transit here challenging.  There are plans for a better, faster and more efficient system.  I think that would be a benefit to many people.  I also think that to be a modern city that appeals to the younger folk, you gotta have a public transportation that works.

What are your thoughts on mass transit?  Do you use it?  If not why?

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Jazz

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I’ve watched all the Ken Burns documentaries.  Some in part, others in their entirety-some of those multiple times.  “Jazz” belongs in the latter category.  It’s just stunning.  This 10 part series shows you the genesis of an American art form.

The common thread that runs through the series is the life, and influence of Louis Armstrong.  The mark that “Pops” left on the world is hard to fathom.  I’m not a religious person, but that man makes me believe that he was a gift to the world.

Even if you’re not a fan of the genre, it’s worth the watch.

If you’re a PBS subscriber it’s available on their app, iTunes and many other places where one can consume media.

The cold, dark days of Winter

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Many of my writing ideas come from daily interaction with people in the store.  When the weather is like it’s been here lately (read: COLD), interactions are few and far between.  What’s a guy to do?

My relationship with winter has changed as I’ve gotten older.  In my 20s and 30s I would wear shorts in the bike shop all winter long.  I spend a handful of years skiing upwards of 20 days a season.  I rode my bike in temps down around (and sometimes below) 20 degrees (F).  Not.  Any.  More.  Dammit.

Couldn’t I ride my bike indoors? Sure.  I have done this in years past.  I could also stick a fork in my eye.  It’s just too mind numbing for me to even contemplate.  It will take a couple of weeks to get my legs back underneath me come Spring, but it’s a price I’m willing to pay.  I have no one to keep up with but myself.

The flip side of this is I’m getting older (aren’t we all?).  It’s not necessarily a great idea to just let myself go to pot during the winter months.  Again, what’s a guy to do?

My solution should be body weight exercises.  Air squats, push ups and stretching (maybe even yoga-gasp!).  All these things could keep me mobile during the long, dark winter.  Then again, I could go back to binging shows on Netflix.

If you live in a cold climate, keep the faith.  Spring is nigh.

I was a guest on a local podcast last month.  We talked about cycling in the city of Indianapolis.  If you have an interest, you can listen to it here.