The Cat Box

You’ll always find something of interest in the Cat Box

Get On Your Bike and Ride! — May 16, 2014

Get On Your Bike and Ride!

PeopleForBikes invite us all to imagine a place where one bike path leads to the next. Where trails, bridges, and underpasses lead safely to exactly where you want to go.

PeopleForBikesLogo
PeopleForBikes

They work to make this happen by connecting millions of riders to unite them into one voice.

They then take this strong voice to represent us all in building communities where, regardless of experience and fitness level, all of us can pedal across town.

PeopleForBikes, located in Boulder, started a national Green Lane Project to help cities build safer bike lanes to encourage more intercity riding.

In the first two years (2012 and 2013) of the project PFB worked with Austin, Chicago, Memphis, Portland, San Francisco, and DC.

In March PeopleForBikes announced six new cities where more safe bike lands will be installed and Denver is among the six cities including Atlanta, Boston, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, and Seattle.

Denver was chosen because of all of our biking initiatives and because our elected officials strongly support biking. One of the initiatives that sets us apart from other bike-friendly cities is our 15th Street Bikeway

New Green Lane on 15th Street in Denver
New Green Lane on 15th Street in Denver

The 15th Street Bikeway is a Denver City Works’ project that demonstrates our city’s promise to provide for and encourage use of all modes of travel. Using the bikeway, cyclists can now safely and easily access the Cherry Creek trail or lower downtown by continuing along the right side of 15th Street after the bikeway ends.

The left-side bike lane on 15th Street between Cleveland Place and Larimer Street helps organize all modes of traffic along the corridor, with bicyclists using the left lane, motorists in the middle lanes, and buses on the right. Yes!

Bike Denver

Denver is a great cycling city and the many biking organizations and programs for all levels of cyclists here make it easy to get rolling! Visit BIKEDENVER for resources and ways get on the road in Denver,

A Denver B Bike
Jump on a B Bike

jump on a B-cycle  at one of the many stops in Denver, or hook-up with a cycling Meet Up

for more push in your pedals. You’re in Colorado now so get on your bike and ride – safely!

When We Walk — April 3, 2014

When We Walk

I have always loved to walk and have accumulated many hours of memories and recorded thousands of impressions during my walking life. Walking always seems to have generated a heightened awareness in my senses stimulating my perception, my imagination, and my memories.

My mind can at any moment wander back to walking home from Muhlenberg Elementary School with my little sister. Sometimes I would trudge home, dragging the toes of my shoes, worried about some disclosure I would have to make to my mom upon arrival. Sometimes on the way Sallie and I would drop our book bags and run around laughing and teasing each other. And sometimes we would short cut over to our grandma’s house and share some delicious chocolate chip cookies that were always waiting in the freezer.

In Mid City, New Orleans I lovingly walked my newborn, Joseph, through the neighborhood, stopping along the way to allow my neighbors to admire the joy of my life. I could count on Miss Minnie’s being on her porch and she would always say, “Bring that baby up here, child. I need a closer look at that beautiful baby.” Joseph spent some leisurely afternoons strolling through Mid City and tipping a few iced teas on Miss Minnie’s porch.

When we moved to Denver from New Orleans we got a dog. Nelson was a Chesapeake Bay Retriever whose favorite activity second only to swimming was walking. Nelson and I put on many quick-stepping miles between our house and Nelson’s favorite swimming hole, the Cherry Creek Reservoir.

When our family moved to Evergreen, Colorado we adopted Boofy from the Evergreen Animal Protective League and my wilderness walking experiences took off. There was a dirt road that began up the hill from our house and descended into a beautiful woodland paradise that Boofy and I explored every day. I wrote about our walks here because they were so special to Boofy and me.

My dog Boofy in Elk Meadow, Evergreen, Colorado
Boofy in Elk Meadow

After my divorce Boofy and I moved to Denver’s beautiful Potter Highlands neighborhood and began hitting the sidewalks in what I think of as our own personal Urban Renewal. What an adventure it was being back in the city!

I could go on and on sharing my walking journal, but this story is called “When WE Walk.” When I say “We” I mean “You and me.” We receive energy when we expend energy and we don’t accumulate many memories sitting on our tuckus.

Walking stimulates our brains, our awareness, our lungs, our heart, and our smiles. When we walk we invite ideas, energy, and happiness into our lives. I invite you to go out and take a walk. It’s that simple, first one foot forward and then the other.

Now go on out and experience what happens when we walk. Let me know what you think.

More Healthy, More Happy! — March 28, 2014

More Healthy, More Happy!

Ed B walking in the neighborhood
Walking in the Hood
Physical activity and movement, so important to humans, has somehow slipped away from us.

We seem to have stopped moving ourselves around in our daily lives and started jumping into our cars to move us everywhere for everything.

Many of us have jobs where we sit. We have cars that we sit in, and when we are sitting around at home we think about ways to fit some kind of physical activity into a lifestyle that has very little time left for adding anything.

To buy our food, many of us drive our cars to a grocery store and look for the closest spot in the gigantic parking lot to the door.

I have written about the joy of riding my bike to my favorite neighborhood farm market in Sunnyside to pick up browns (eggs from happy neighborhood chickens) and greens (arugula, and kale, etc.) from the corner of 44th & Vallejo in Denver.

Denver’s Stapleton Community is an Active Living Partner of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Active Living by Design where physical activity is restored back into the fabric of everyday life. People walk or ride their bikes to work and school and to the store and this is good.

The whole experience of riding your bike or walking down neighborhood streets to a local garden or grocery store, chatting with your neighbors, buying fresh food and walking or pedaling home with it is rejuvenating and makes us healthy and happy.

Healthy and happy is worth finding time for no matter where you live and I know that “more healthy” makes me “more happy.”

Happy and Healthy!
Happy and Healthy!

Since I am pretty sure that “more healthy” will also make you “more happy,” may I suggest that you sneak some activity into your life and move it around a little bit.

If you need a little prod, travel on over to my Pintrest account and check out “Day 100” for some “more healthy, more happy” inspiration.

Be Happy!

Temporarily Not Quite Least Obese — March 10, 2014

Temporarily Not Quite Least Obese

Back in October of 2010 I blogged about Colorado’s status as the country’s least obese state. I was happy to report that we maintained our status again in 2012.

Well, the bad news is the new numbers are in and Colorado has lost our first-place rating as least obese to Montana!

Montana???

Come on people of Colorado. What could have caused this?

I know what it has got to be,
and the only thing I think it’s got,
it’s got to be the legal pot!

pot plant
Legal pot in Colorado

I predicted that the legalization of pot would ruin our fair state. Now my predictions and the predictions of other luminaries have come to pass.

Legal pot IS dangerous. I mean this year we had Girl Scouts stationed outside of pot stores quadrupling their sales.

But, we can turn this around Colorado.

If all you are lifting is a bong in one hand and a local craft beer in the other it’s not going to work.

You have to get up and move it around a little bit. Walk to Sunday brunch.

A Denver B Bike
Jump on a B Bike
Get on a B Bike to do the brewery tour. Get out to Red Rocks when there isn’t a concert.
Take a hike in beautiful Red Rocks
Take a hike!

And Montanans, don’t get too used to to your top spot. We’re at least a mile higher than you are.

More iPhone Phonetography — January 13, 2014
Early Morning iPhone Phonetography — January 10, 2014

Early Morning iPhone Phonetography

At five thirty a.m. I stepped out of my car and into the predawn chill. With an eye on the horizon, I searched for signs of first morning light. Suddenly, something heavy landed in the tree above me. I stopped in my tracks and slowly moved my eyes to where my ears had detected the landing.

There was an owl sitting there on the branch. I couldn’t believe my extreme good fortune as I stood there watching the owl watch me.

Facing Denver from South Platte River by REI
Pre-dawn Denver

Not wanting to appear the owl ogler I kept a cool demeanor and after a moment of appreciative observation, continued crunching through the frozen snow toward the river. I could hear her subsiding “whoo, whoo, whoo” as the distance between us grew.

SouthPlatteSunrise
South Platte Sunrise

Standing there on the path beside the river I turned myself slowly to get my bearings. Predawn is another world with its silence, its stillness, and its promise of the coming day.

LightsOnTheHill
Reflections in the Platte

Sort of spooky and mysterious, this situation puts me into a modified fight or flight state. I feel edgy yet calmed by it all. There I was all edgy and calm turning myself in a slow circle to get the feel of what was around me when a bicycle sped past me almost spinning me into the river.

ConfluenceAtDawn
Joining and the Journey Begins

That cyclist, passing within a foot of my black – clad body spinning in the predawn darkness brought me back to the real world of a Denver workday commute. So I shook off my nature buzz and pulled out my phone for some early morning iPhone phonetography.

Reason 421 Why I Love Denver — April 21, 2013

Reason 421 Why I Love Denver

Yesterday, 4/20, I planned to visit my favorite urban garden, take a Zumba class at Studio Thrive Fitness, and ride my bike downtown to investigate the 4/20 celebration.  I checked off the first two items on my list, but at the last minute decided instead to get on my bike and head the other way to find a place to get on the Clear Creek trail from my new house. Two people and a dog were shot at that pot smoking 4/20 celebration. Really? Come on people. What the H E double toothpicks is going on here?

Denver is my all-time favorite city, and to honor her I offer here reason number 421 why I love Denver.

My favorite urban garden, Sunnyside Farm in North Denver opened yesterday so I stopped by. I wanted to see what they had to offer, but I was especially interested in some neighborhood eggs. I was greeted by a smiling garden crew, spent a few minutes perusing the breads and jams and fresh greens grown in their newly constructed hoop house, and departed this happy garden with a dozen browns and some fresh-picked greens.

Experiencing neighborhood agriculture renews me, and luckily there are plenty of agricultural endeavors growing up in neighborhoods all over Denver. Urban gardens are a wonderful place to meet the people who live around you. You don’t just grow vegetables in a garden; you grow relationships too. Studies have shown that urban gardens create an oasis of peace in the hubbub of the city that reconnects people back to the earth. And no matter how crotchety or detached a person is, “garden magic” transforms every individual who ventures between the hoed rows.

Our Denver urban agriculture basket holds fauna as well as flora and goats and chickens live among us all over the city.

ChargingChicken

I peddled past a house in Arvada with a guy working under his car and a couple of chickens pecking the dirt around his feet. Why did that sight make me feel so serenely happy?

Goats

I set out on my bike yesterday looking for a route to the Clear Creek bike path and came upon a small herd of goats grazing contentedly not two blocks from my place. Why do goats and chickens and gardens make me feel so good? Why does discovering a bucolic pocket in the metro area warm my heart? Because animals are therapeutic, and they don’t shoot you.

This is Denver; pot friendly, garden friendly, chicken friendly, goat friendly and bike friendly. To honor our fine town, I suggest a teeny toke and a trip around your neighborhood on foot or on bicycle wheels. You will love what you find there. I guarantee it.