This week I learned that Thursday, yesterday, September 22, 2011 was World Car-Free Day. By shear accident I had decided that I was going to do all possible commuting by bike this week. I guess the idea was in the collective consciousness and I just happened upon it. I was not able to maintain a parked vehicle for the entire week, but I reduced my use dramatically, and thus forced exercise into my routine through bike commuting. Two weeks in a row we have had days devoted to rethinking our use of appropriate transportation. PARK(ing) Day (see last weeks post), and Car-Free Day. Rethinking cars. Is there a message coming through? Hmm..?
I recently had the opportunity to spend a week in Portland, Oregon. Portland is easy to bike around once you get the idea of the grid. Portland also has a thriving weekend artisans market. The Portland Saturday Market (Sunday too!) is centrally located under the Burnside bridge but stretching out in various directions to create a beautiful waterway panorama. It dawned on me while staying with a friend, about 8 miles out from the city center, that getting to the middle of Portland was actually easier than getting from Talent to Ashland. Many streets are designated for bikes. You can bring your bike on to the Metro line or on to the front of buses that run almost all the time. I was out in the early morning hours and saw bus activity until 2 a.m.. The RVTD (our local bus) doesn’t even run on Saturday and Sunday.
I guess the point of this little article as that we need to evolve beyond our dependence on the automobile. It is one of the worst forms of commuting in terms of energy efficiency; while the humble bicycle is numero uno when it comes to energy efficient transportation. It is actually possible to be an artisan and bike your wears to market. For over 3 months I did that very thing using an xtra cycle (long cargo bike) and pedal power from Talent to Ashland — about 5 miles.
Ultimately we have to create the world in which we want to live. Both advances forward and appropriate steps back (ie. back to the bike) are part of the solution to the global problems we face today. The Lithia Artisans Market of Ashland is in the unique position to help the City of Ashland move in the direction it naturally wants to go — the way of conservation, cooperation, and community place making. All of our efforts to make our open air art market more and more viable are worthy in our endeavor to green our planet. The artisan lifestyle is naturally inclined to global solutions by creating products locally. Local manufacturing uses less energy, local purchasing encourages growth of those businesses, capital flows and local economies thrive. Jump on your bike, even if its just to get the blood flowing. From that place of movement, ideas germinate.
Bike or walk down to your local market and support the artists, musicians, farmers, and self employed who are helping to create our new economy as the old one languishes.
Support local, it matters!
Here’s your music schedule this weekend.
Saturday, Sept. 24
11:30 – 1:30 Gene Burnett
3:00 – 5:00 Rail Birds
Sunday, Sept. 25
11:30 – 1:30 Jon Galfano
3:00 – 5:00 Band du Pay