Festive 500 - The Holidays Are Over

Lake Michigan via Granville Beach, Chicago: Dec 2011.

   Masanobu Fukuoka talks about "do-nothing" farming a lot in his manifesto The One Straw Revolution. His idea, that instead of tilling and working the land ample crops can be grown by allowing nature's natural processes do the work for you, looks to a world that strives to limit the need for human intervention for progress.

   Initially, Fukuoka's attempts were failures - most farms he worked with were already too dependent to human involvement, too altered from their natural homeostasis to respond to his methods. In bidding to try the Festive 500, I was hoping that by simply upping my normal riding habits I could miraculously ride my way to victory. This was not the case.

   My final tallies for mileage is somewhere around one hundred miles (I updated my iPhone to iOS 5 and lost all my apps - including the Strava app which I used to track miles). That's only one third of the way to my goal, and by most perspectives a failure. I was down on myself for awhile, but there's also only so much time in a day and my social relationships rank a wee bit higher than riding my bike.

   Yet, as I look back on participating in Festive 500, I see myself riding almost everyday, unfased by weather conditions. I feel stronger and have more stamina on my bicycle. I'm happier riding my bike then I have been in a long time and feel ready to take the next step - taking longer rides to more adventurous locales. During this promotion, I rode the Lake Shore Path along Lake Michigan often. It's where I took the lovely polaroid in the upper corner. Bicycling has the ability to take you to beautiful places - many not accessible by cars - and by a beautiful route.

   Masanobu Fukuoka in The One-Straw Revolution, asserts that his inspiration for "do-nothing" farming came by a realization he had younger in life that, "There is no intrinsic value in anything, everything is a futile, meaningless effort." His pragmatically Japanese axiom inspired Fukuoka to smarter, more efficient farming; to me, has been almost permission to bicycle for the sake of the ride, the hypnosis of revolving pedals, and to not keep such a thing chained to merely purposeful travel. For, at times, the action is the purpose in itself.