Bikes Environment & Sustainability

Ben Weaver at Beargrease 2020

Photo by Scott Haraldson from

My main man of the Wheels and the Woods, Ben Weaver sent out an email about his participation in the Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon this year. You can read more about the race on their website and highly recommend you read Ben’s full post on his.

Ben said something so well I wanted to share it with a larger audience:

The topic of climate change and social justice are right at the center my work, however I feel concern that many of the mainstream conversations around them are missing the point. They are rooted in “war thinking” and focus on calling out the “other.” They perpetuate blame and work against efforts to strengthen culture through diversity. This is not helping us imagine a new way of being in better relationship to all things living, human and non. Instead it is ensuring that the old way of being, where we relate through separation  continues to lead.

We all know there’s enough division and divide in the world today. Far as I can see there is no time for any more of that. I have all the time in the world for figuring out unique ways to bring people together. Music, dogs, bikes, winter, food and stories resonate as a good foundation to build up from.

This is where my heart sits. In the dog fur, lit up with tree love. 


By Whatever Means Necessary

Sunday morning I was supposed to get out for the usual weekly ride with Titus, but it was pouring rain. We decided hesitantly to pull the plug. I don’t mind the rain really – it’s terrible for the bikes and means they would require more attention post ride – but when you get pretty much soaked and/or completely saturated within 5 minutes of leaving, it gets to be a drag really fast.

The TLDR version is I should have gone anyway.

The rest of my day went downhill from there – and my day started pretty early. So there was still a lot of downhill left.

Titus texted me later:

Titus: This one time, 
I'm glad we didn't go. 
It's still raining 
and it's cold and I 
am sore everywhere 
from farming.

Me: If you say so. 
I wish I'd gone. 
I should know better 
by now.

Titus: In all honesty, 
I live by that whole 
"one corrective 
action" philosophy...
it just so happens that 
for once it was the 
right thing to do 
to stay put.

Me: I should have learned, 
maybe have learned 
now that whenever I can 
ride bike, I should ride 
bike. Rest of my day has 
been shit. I should have 
gone even if it was just 
getting on my stupid bike 
with a basket and fenders 
and gone for coffee.

Titus: Sorry to hear that.

I have a bunch of bikes and quite the assortment of specialized and technical gear and apparel. Sometimes that all doesn’t matter. I’m always telling people asking me about gear or getting started cycling – “don’t worry about all that stuff. Just ride your bike. In whatever way you’re comfortable. If you’re not comfortable, you’re not going to ride and continuing to ride is the important part.” It’s still easy for even me to get caught up in all the trappings and bullshit.

Titus and I have developed simple philosophy/credo by which we feel most, if not all, of life can be navigated: ride bikes

As evening came and darkness was descending, the skies had somewhat quieted and my stir crazy was at a fever pitch. I basically jumped on a bike in what I was wearing and headed out. I texted Titus from the ride:

Me: Full Dirtbag Hoodride 
in effect. Hoodie, ball 
cap. Zero fucks given. 

Me: Considering an 
addendum to the Credo: 

Me: Always. Ride. 
Fucking. Bikes.

Titus: 'struth. 
By whatever means 
Lost & Found

John Beargrease

Ben Weaver shared this poem via his email newsletter and it struck me such that I wanted to share it. I couldn’t find it anywhere online to link to, so I’m sharing it here. Do visit his website and see what he’s about, and perhaps join his email newsletter as well to have magic like this show up unannounced in your inbox.

John Beargrease – Written for Beargrease 2019

Even in the most remote nights
constellations are inherently
stories of relationships,
connected leaps of
failed domestication
hooking ground into sky.
Some of my ancestors were leaves,
flames, tamarack, and waxwings,
I feel their pull and hear their singing
through a fabric of organized chaos,
placed near the end of the rapids
sending a chorus of birch seed
and agate out on the tail
of each snow mote.
Don’t get thrown off the scent
mistaking simpler times
for lack of sophistication,
complex systems of mutual
dependency and survival
have always been woven
into the chains that bind life to earth.
The poverty of the current time is that
the miraculous leaps
between these links have come to be
considered burdens,
with curiosity and generosity held hostage
by a cultural entitlement to comfort.
When I hear the songs of my lupine
and snowshoe hare ancestors
I am pulled into the thick and pregnant
fog of the land, where I am told stories
that remember,
when news from the outside
world came down the trail
behind a human on a sled
pulled by four dogs moving
at the pace of the land,
it was not a liability
to have an open heart,
it was an act of wildness.