Dave Schlabowske
Bike Czar

The Thrill of Everyday Adventures

Life is short and bicycling provides adventures close to home. Are you missing out?

By , Bike Federation of Wisconsin - Feb 6th, 2015 12:20 pm
Get a daily rundown of the top stories on Urban Milwaukee
Exploring the frozen shore of Lake Michigan feeds my need for nature, even if the city is hiding just over the bluff.

Exploring the frozen shore of Lake Michigan feeds my need for nature, even if the city is hiding just over the bluff.

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” — Helen Keller

When our phones become more essential to our daily survival than our muscles, it might be time to re-evaluate our quest for convenience. For the vast majority of human history, the satisfaction that came from a good day’s work had as much to do with physical exertion as it did with a completed task.

So we clear our driveways with 5hp snow blowers, ride to work on heated leather seats, roll tractor tires at our CrossFit workout and watch Survivor before we drift off to sleep. Then we wake up and do it all again on a different day, except we watch Naked and Afraid on Tuesday nights.

Maybe I have been thinking about this a lot lately because I am 52 years old and can see my own mortality on the not-so-distant horizon. I have spent much of the last 17 years of my life working on a computer or sitting in meetings 10 hours a day.

With a freshman daughter in college, I can’t afford to make any big career changes to start an organic farm so I can put in an honest day’s work. I also can’t afford to ski across Greenland or climb Mt. McKinley. Instead I try to find challenge and adventure in everyday life. That is part of the reason I ride my bike to work every day, no matter the weather.

Frozen balls of ice are something I would never have seen unless I to the time to explore.

Frozen balls of ice: something I would never have seen if I didn’t take time to explore.

I actually get more excited the “worse” the weather is. So while many in offices across southeast Wisconsin are grouching about the latest winter storm, I look at it as an opportunity to test myself against mother nature. The trip to the grocery store is my big adventure for the morning.  Blowing snow means I have to shovel out our corner lot three times in a day — it’s a free crossfit workout.

Fatbike trips along the frozen shoreline of Lake Michigan and snowshoeing the fresh powder along the Menomonee River feed my need for wilderness and exploration, even if they are only urban illusions of what the pioneers experienced. Modern life can still offers challenges, particularly to the first generation not destined to do as well as our parents, but overcoming those problems, while just as important to our survival, doesn’t satisfy that pioneer spirit.

Getting to work via the unplowed sections of the Hank Aaron State Trail may not offer quite the same challenges faced by Fathers Joliet and Maquette, but it is still satisfying.

Bicycling to work on the unplowed sections of the Hank Aaron State Trail may not match the challenges faced by Fathers Joliet and Maquette, but it’s still exhilarating.

I bike to work for many reasons: because it’s good for the environment, saves me money and is good exercise. But also because every time I pedal out of the driveway, I feel a little like Amelia Earhart, who said it best: “Adventure is worthwhile in itself.”

This article was originally published by the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin.

Categories: Bike Czar

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Join now and cancel anytime.

If you are an existing member, sign-in to leave a comment.

Have questions? Need to report an error? Contact Us