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the gallon of milk


cartoon world of our local grocery store

Although I am tempted to rant about our local grocery store choices (or more accurately, lack of choices…), and the disappointing assortment of over-processed, over-packaged convenience foods within our horrid chain stores – we have no Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, EarthFare or anything remotely decent within a 25 mile radius – I will spare you my whining.  My family is weary enough of my complaints.  But I like to cook – and I like to cook real food.  Food “from scratch” as we used to say, rather than out of a box or a freezer case.

And today as I was heading to the grocery store on my bike thinking about all of this, wishing I had a decent grocery store/market within riding distance, I was reminded of a wonderful 3-minute video I had seen earlier in the week by the amazing people at Streetfilms: Moving Beyond the Automobile (Vimeo).

Of course it features the incredible cycling infrastructure improvements of the Big Bicycle Cities (NYC, Portland, SF, etc.), but what really struck a chord with me were some of the statistics about the exponential increases in ridership when safe, protected cycling infrastructure is provided to the public.  The old, “if you build it, they will come …” idea.  Tenfold.  One-hundredfold.  Exponentially.

As (my hero) Rep. Earl Blumenauer so perfectly states:

“People shouldn’t have to burn a gallon of gas to get a gallon of milk … “

He goes on to talk about the need to give people safe and accessible transportation choices of all types – choices that will reduce the demand for using the automobile, which can ultimately save people time and money, while improving their health and “ultimately enriching their daily experience.”  I couldn’t agree more.

So I cycled to my poor-excuse-for-a-grocery-store and got the gallon of milk.  And a few other items of “real” food.  And I dreamed about how wonderful it would be to have a bike lane, or even a little bit of road shoulder, to easily cycle to some Real Foods store …  Maybe someday.


the enriching experience part ... "cartoon" Xtracycle, back home with the milk & groceries



Posted by savaconta on February 25, 2011
  1. 02/25/2011

    Wonderful post and very true. Miss you on twitter btw. 🙂 so much has changed lately for me, one thing of which is moving into an area with a lot more bike lanes and trails. (Though FL is still #1 with a bullet on cyclist fatalities.) No Whole Foods close by, but at least I’ll now be able to bike for that milk with some semblance of safety!

    Anywho, miss you Cassie! Come back to twitter soon! Blue needs you to put him in his place! 😀

  2. 02/26/2011

    Truer words were never spoken. Love the “cartoon” effect on the photo. Very, very cool.

    Ride Happy!

  3. 02/26/2011


  4. 02/26/2011

    I want to believe that things are starting to change (with both food and bike infrastructure). I think that many people share your feelings about lack of real/whole foods at the grocer (particularly in smaller towns/cities), and not knowing what is actually in these prepackaged products that we so often feel trapped into buying. I think it will come down to the country as a whole standing up and refusing to buy the garbage on the shelves. When there’s no longer a demand for the product, it will disappear. I also believe some of the problems stem from being in less-large cities. Where there is a larger population, there tends to be more choice, but I don’t think anyone should have to live in a major city in order to have options. I sometimes wonder if we’ll see the change in our lifetime, or if change will come at all… but, I do hold out hope.

  5. 02/26/2011

    Whoa….I love the cartoon effect on the photo. You never cease to amaze me with your talents and artistry. I can feel what you’re thinking, and how beautiful the world would be if it were all done on a bike.


  6. 02/28/2011
    David Little

    Yes, our small community does not offer alot in the way of shopping choices for fresh food(s)…but I know there are many, and I mean many, folks that can’t even begin to imagine riding their bike to pic up groceries….just isn’t a real possibility…so even if you can ride to a bad store, its still pretty good…I do share your frustration though….even as recently as this past week, riding home from work when Cleveland City School Bus No. 50 decided to run me into the curb on an open, uncluttered city street, free from any other vehicles or traffic….I got mad, but then I kind of laughed with images of the bus driver in my mind… its really all about perspective?

  7. 03/1/2011
    Ryan Alward

    Great post! My wife and I kind of get sick going to the grocery store these days. We went for the first time in a month and got a gallon of milk, a pound of cheddar, string cheese, bacon and bananas. Everything else we get at the farmers market or delivered to us by CSA. Too bad you don’t have a good farmers market nearby, it seems like you live in a place that has a bit of agriculture? Speaking of ‘real food’ I just got a 2.9 lb grass-fed beef heart at the farmers mkt on Saturday. I can’t find anyone brave enough to eat it with me… wife is a vegetarian. LOL

    Good luck on your search for good food.

  8. 03/20/2011

    I had a similar rant today. Currently living in Flagstaff, AZ, another small town without a Trader Joe’s or a Fresh Market. I pedaled to Safeway with a couple of pannier and struggled to find the right mix of mushrooms, curry paste and other ingredients for one of my husband’s exotic culinary efforts for later this evening. Finally had to pedal over to the the expensive natural food store (New Frontiers, a small California chain) and was able to find a few items but not, of course, lime leaves). I should learn to keep a list of things I need to work in a trip to Whole Food whenever we’re in Phoenix. I lived in Johnson City, TN for a couple of years right out of grad school in the mid-90’s and it was a difficult place to find anything (especially a haircut).

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