Posts tagged ‘Chattanooga’
Sometimes, my posting is like way I ride hills … lagging behind.
Yesterday I began the day with an early morning swim with Dillon. Came home to pick up the rest of the crew, and the boys and I headed to Chattanooga. Mason and the Governor’s School group were coming into the city on a trip to visit the UTC SimCenter (because that’s their idea of good times and excitement, lol) – and we decided to meet him for lunch and a quick visit. It was brief, but I think he was happy to see all of us … and likewise.
Enjoyed some good conversation about the Tour de Suisse, some geeky physics jokes (which were basically over my head), and a review of this years’ crop of Governor’s School kids – impressive as always. And when I mentioned to Mason that I missed riding with him, he responded in his typical manner, “Yeah, I miss riding with someone who’s a lot slower than me …” I, of course, hit him for that one.
Came home and got out for a ride … into town for a haircut. That was the extent of it. 😛 No camera, no pictures; just taking care of business. By bike.
Today it rained for a while, but fortunately the weather cooled off a bit. When it started to clear in late afternoon, Mark and I decided to head to the river for a paddle. I wanted to ride, so Mark hauled the boats and let me go by bicycle.
Spent a couple hours out on the water, exploring a few new stretches of shoreline. Rumbles of thunder in the distance, but beautiful skies and very comfortable temperatures. Fish were jumping everywhere, herons overhead. Spotted a beautiful Kingfisher, but couldn’t catch him by camera. Paddled back to the landing in the golden twilight. Rode home as the sky was turning pink. Perfect.
A while back, I read about Colin Beavan’s No Impact Project – and the truncated version of his experiment, designed for the masses, called the No Impact Experiment. I decided to sign up and try it for a week. Yesterday was Day 1.
The idea behind the Experiment is to examine and evaluate different aspects of our daily habits, and find ways to change our behavior and habits to make less impact on the environment and live a “fuller and happier” life in the process. Sounded very interesting and worth trying, so I read the official “participation guide” and signed up. Biggest obstacle – at least from my perspective – is the fact that Kids are in the middle of Fall Break, Mason and Ross home for a few days from college, and the gamut of other things we had scheduled to do during these few days, and the Experiment was not on others’ lists. Ah well, I am trying to make the best of what I can do, as well as I can.
Day 1 (Sunday) was an examination of consumption and our personal shopping/consumption habits. Step one, make a list of all the stuff I “need” to buy this week, and delete the items I can live without for the week. For the rest of the items, figure out a way to possibly borrow, make or purchase them second-hand. We were also instructed to use a re-usable bag to collect all of the trash, recyclables, and food waste we generated. I kind of failed with that last part…
Here is the list of things I would be contemplating buying this week:
- Watercolor block – decided I can do without for now.
- Boots – decided I can definitely do without; simply a desire, not a “need”.
- Electric bicycle conversion kit – long story behind this, but contemplating a retrofit of my mtn. bike for occasional use (when I am totally wimped, tired, and just don’t have it in me to pedal over the big hill)- considering possibility sending car off with one of the college Kids. Not going to make the purchase, for now.
- Food – the one thing I can’t take off the list.
How did it make me feel not to purchase anything? Well, I’m not a big shopper to begin with, so it doesn’t really bother me – at least for the short-term. I find that I tend to get something in my mind that I want to purchase – the camera, a book, some yarn, some bike accessory – and don’t typically “impulse” buy these kind of things. The boots (although officially one of SimpleShoes’s “green” styles) were an impulse consideration, and it was not a problem to nix the idea.
Did I really do a good job following the experiment to the letter yesterday? No. I didn’t collect my trash. We also took a ride into Chattanooga and spent part of the afternoon cycling on the Riverwalk and in the city. I got some coffee in a disposable cup. We all went out for dinner – by car. Could I have been more conscientious? Yes, definitely … but just trying to balance the wishes of the family with my own state of experimentation.
Did evaluating my consumption have an impact? Yes, I think so. Had I not decided to participate in the Experiment, I probably would have bought the watercolor block, and possibly the boots, without much thought. I do think it’s important to evaluate our purchases – do I really “need” this? I like the idea of making a list of proposed items I intend to purchase – that constraint alone could be very effective, and an excellent evaluation tool. I also think I need to re-evaluate my aversion to shopping at resale shops, thrift stores, etc. It’s one of those personal things I’ve just never been crazy about, but I know it could be worthwhile to try.
Summer is here, the Tour de France has officially started, and yesterday was Independence Day.
After spending the earlier part of the day glued to the Tour on television, we had an early BBQ at home and then headed toward Coolidge Park in downtown Chattanooga, via the Riverwalk – by bike.
The Riverwalk Route (map) is a leisurely bike (& pedestrian) path ride, winding from the TVA dam, near Amnicola Highway, into downtown Chattanooga/Ross’s Landing. It passes through several parks and picnic areas, the Amnicola wetlands/swamp (which despite the sound, is really lovely), and along the Tennessee River into downtown Chattanooga. Most of the scenery is picturesque, with the exception of a couple of industrial areas you pass through near the downtown end of the trail. Currently, I believe the contiguous path is about 8 miles in length – from TVA dam to downtown (16 mi. roundtrip for out-and-back). It’s a great opportunity for family riding, being almost entirely flat, smooth, and mostly free from street crossings.
Upon reaching the Bluff View Art District, you will need to travel one small stretch of low-traffic street to get to the continuation of the path near the Hunter Museum of Art. At the museum, you get to cross the slick little glass bridge (shown above); it offers a neat view of down below, as well as the Aquarium and the Walnut Street Pedestrian Bridge.
A quick cross over the Walnut Street Bridge and you are in Coolidge Park – home to the weekend downtown Marketplace as well as the venue for concerts and other gatherings.
I had the trusty Xtracycle to haul a blanket, our camp seats, a cooler, and the rest of the necessary odds & ends. We picked a shady spot to park ourselves, and enjoyed a couple of hours relaxing and people-watching. Chattanooga Outdoors was supposed to be offering a Bike Valet Service for the July 4th gathering, but we must have missed it.
We hung out till near-dusk and decided to head back, skipping the fireworks, etc. We’re a little unclear on the official Riverwalk policy, but I believe that sections of it are closed at sundown. There are a couple of lockable metal gates along the path, and we didn’t want to take the chance of getting trapped-out of riding back. I need to investigate this matter further, because we’ve often considered riding down for an evening Lookouts game, but are not sure we’d have access to the path to get us back.
It’s always encouraging to see the efforts being made by more and more cities to become more bike and pedestrian friendly. I’m happy to say I think we should add Chattanooga to the list. If you ever have a chance to use the Riverwalk to explore the city, or just to take a leisurely ride, you won’t be disappointed.
Kinda nice to add a new meaning to Independence Day – independence from the car!