Summer’s here and the time is right for dancin' in the street! I guess that makes 11 ways you can get from here to there while saving fuel, waste CO2, and building your summer tan all at the same time. Think about it- why travel in your car to the beach when you can start your tan on the way there? Depending on your skin type, location and sensitivity, sunscreen is always a good idea. But being in the sun a bit helps your body make Vitamin D, the fresh air will do you good, and a little bronze on the bod will make those summer whites look that much cooler. You can help save the planet while going for the bronze! Here are 10 zero CO2, max tanning rides for summer.
1. Walk the Talk! Walking is one of our first big accomplishments in life. Walking is great low impact exercise, easy on the joints and the planet. Start walking on those shorter trips, and when you’ve got time, walk on the long ones. Our town center is 4 miles from our house through the state forest. I’ll walk one way and get a ride back, or when I’ve got time for an 8 mile walk, round trip. Keeps me tan, fit, lean and green.
2. Horse Around! If you have the space and the time to take care of one, horses are the best return on investment as far as satisfaction with pets goes. Plus they double as transportation, whether riding horseback, or pulling a cart or buggy. Burns hay for fuel, low maintenance and CO2, and sometimes they talk, at least on TV reruns.
3. Paddle-to-the-Sea! This was my favorite book as a kid. Paddling is still a great way to get around, or just relax and build some upper body work out. Plus the sunlight reflecting off the water will double your tan. Drink water and wear a hat or shades. Going by water is so classy; I do it whenever I can, mostly at my cabin in Minnesota. We paddle to the beach or to visit neighbors on our lake.
4. Swim, Jim! Swimming is a great workout, easy on the joints, and if you aren’t going more than a mile or so in the water, a neat offbeat way to go visit a neighbor. I do this sometimes in Minnesota or at my in-laws place on Cape Cod. They’ll always lend you a towel when you get where you are going.
5. Take a Bike, Mike! Anybody can ride a bike, and you can build up to 5, 10, even 100 mile trips or more. Wear your helmet and drink water, but you’ll make good time- with emphasis on the word good- every time you ride your bike somewhere.
6. Segue to a Segway! I’ve never ridden one, but how hard can it be? The cops in Portland use them and look cool, meet the people and feel the beat of the street doing so. In an urban setting, they beat the traffic.
7. Scoot Around! An electric scooter can take you a little further than a bike if you are not in shape, and you can recharge both at home and where you’re headed. They aren’t real fast but at 10-20 miles an hour, are great for short hops. If you want more speed, electric bikes go up to 36 mph and 35 miles. Could be a summer commuter ride for you.
8. Skateboarding! In the 7th grade, I cut a piece of plywood into the shape of a surfboard, painted it black with yellow racing stripes, and screwed roller-skate wheels onto the bottom. It went pretty fast, and I’ve still got the scars to prove it. Newer rides like Firebird Longboards made from recycled woods give a great smooth ride and glide to your next stop.
9. Sail On Silver Girl! Sailboats run on solar energy- the winds that come up from sun baked air currents. Most relaxing ride ever. My wife and I literally left our wedding on Cape Cod and sailed off into the sunset to the B&B where we spent our wedding night. That’s all of the story of that evening you’re going to hear. But sailboats have carried folks across the oceans since time immemorial. Plus you get to say “harrgh” all the time.
10. Surfing USA! Ok, you can only paddle a surfboard out and ride it back in to shore, but having tried them a couple of times, I’ll take the feeling of a wave lifting me up and onto the beach over a jet ski any day. Moving with the waves, not fighting them. Get a windsurfer, and like a sailboat you can really go places.
I’m sure you can come up with other ways to get where you are going and your skin in the sun. Lower your environmental footprint, get some exercise and turn yourself a golden brown. There’s a great triple bottom line for summer. Now get out there!