Two birds, one stone: Transportation and health

Beach cruisers

Beach cruisers at ABC Bicycles in St. Pete

At the end of May, Joey Szekeres wrote in to Frugal and Fancy-Free in St. Petersburg with ideas on transportation and health: “Even some of the most frugal will not ditch the car… only the hardcore .. It is hard.” As Szekeres pointed out, we all have our priorities when it comes to spending. His own priorities tend toward buying healthy food, rather than running an automobile.

Szekeres wrote, “ I just think it is interesting where if you look at areas where people walk to where they need/want to go generally there is a better body mass index. Because walking is easy really, but yet you are working out. When I was last in Europe, I saw the difference big time, but many areas in the US are just not designed for this life style. . . . ”

People who drive simply have to “get active in the gym later,” Szekeres also noted.

I myself became more aware of this issue, along with the benefits of relocalization, after I read a 2005 article by Bart Anderson on “Zones & Sectors in the City” in the Permaculture Activist. Anderson discusses how we can redesign our life styles to focus our activities closer to home and adopt alternative transportation options, which tend to wear less on the planet and support our health in the ways that Joey Szekeres values.

In my personal quest, I have discovered a terrific compromise between walking and driving: the beach cruiser bicycle. With fat tires and kickback brakes, this bicycle is the kind I grew up on and oh-so-easy and comfortable to ride. I bought mine a few years ago at ABC Bicycles on Central Avenue and 66th Street, where they now sell for $260 to $690, pretty competitive with a gym membership and almost any other vehicle.

What tips do you have? Get in touch anytime or post your comments below.

Till next time, stay frugal and fancy-free.


on “Two birds, one stone: Transportation and health
2 Comments on “Two birds, one stone: Transportation and health
  1. Just caugt wind of your post from Joey himself. An old friend of the family, he tossed it up on our shops web page. It’s interesting that you talk about lifestyle changes, in directly hinting towards the old battle between bicycle and car. Here’s our story. Close to ten years ago, my wife, I and our (then) seven kids lived in Saint Pete. Once night we sat down and watched Al Gore’s “An Inconvient Truth”. Once finished we both just blinked, and open mouthed turned to each other and said “we need to make a change!” Now, putting out your recyclables and using recycled paper is a good start, but we were looking for something MAJOR. We mulled it over for a few days and came up with what most would consider unthinkable. Why not get rid of one of our biggest expenses and headaches, our 1993 Dodge Caravan. As I worked within two miles of our home, and had an old bike collecting dust in the garage, I could use that to get around. The grocery store and a multitude of entertainment venues were within walking distance and the more and more we discussed it, the more it became apparent we really did not have a NEED for a gas guzzling, pollution making head ache. So with mild fanfare we sold the van for scrap and have not had another vehicle since! As time went on, we moved out of Saint Pete making our way to Clearwater. Fate stepped in, in the later half of 2007. Having lostmy job in construction during the crash, we found ourselves scrambling for some way to make a few bucks, and having now accumulated many bikes in our garage, we fixed a few up and plopped them in our front yard with “For Sale” signs on them. We sold 4 in 45 minuets. At this point we discovered we found something. Now, seven years later, after establishing RE-Cycle Bicycles of Dunedin, we enjoy the distinction of being one of the only “refurbished bicycle shops” in Florida.
    See, if a (now) family of eleven can live without a car and still manage to get around, do all their shopping, get to work, school and play with NO cost and minimal effort, while at the same time having children who are healthy, vibrant and have zero body fat (in a country where morbid obesity seems to be a childhood rite of passage) ANYONE can make the shift! And yes, it may seem daunting, especially when for some time Americans thought it wise to live an hour or more away from where they work, but with a little planning and will power, everyone would be SO better off both in their health and the health of our planet!

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