I’ve heard that inactivity would soon eclipse smoking as the world’s number one cause of premature death. The report’s findings show that in 2012, 5.3 million deaths will be attributed to inactivity, vs. 5 million for smoking. It’s a new world.
The most stark finding, for me, is the potential loss of years of high quality life for this current generation of children. At current levels of inactivity, they risk being the first generation in the history of the developed world to not live as many years as their parents.
I’ve heard this before too. The Friends of the Cal-Sag Trail, a volunteer organization that I’ve long been involved with, produced a video last year that drove home the danger of inactivity to Illinois families and communities, and how a trail could help save them. Watch their video too.
The Friends are hosting their annual fundraiser, Bridges & Blues, on November 3. You can read more about it and get tickets at http://bridgesandblues.org. Their fundraising helps Cal-Sag communities pay for the trail’s construction and the signs and amenities that will integrate its use in families’ every day lives. Check your calendar, and see if you can attend.
The response from GITy Uppers! has been overwhelmingly gracious and positive. It was too hot a day for me to have slacked on route signing—too many folks got turned around, and the way finding on the Illinois Prairie Path and the Fox River Trail is too poor to be a reliable backup. To feel lost in that heat with an impatient kid…aye! The big improvement to look forward to next year—AWESOME route marking.
As for next year: the original plan for GITy Up! was to move it around the state year to year, to explore all of the state’s available opportunities for overnight, trail-based bike touring. I think we’re going to capitalize on our lurch up the learning curve, though, and return to the western suburban triangle in 2013. I’m so thankful for the riders who eagerly asked me to add them to the GITy Up! 2013 planning team.
Standing room only at REI-Lincoln Park’s GITy Up! Overnight Touring Class (there’s one more in Northbrook next Thursday)—I counted 40. Smitty, REI’s own legend in residence, led the class through his own experiences with routes, gear, checking for sprinklers before setting up camp, carrying ice so you’re always ready to buy beer, and the secret joy of camping in graveyards. He was great!
Nick, who runs the bike shop services at REI, came up for a moment to watch, and asked me to stop by the shop before I left. He and his family are signed up for GITy Up!, and he told me how awesome it was to have a bicycle ride actually invite him to bring his 1 1/2 year old along.
It’s something we thought about when planning this ride—there’s a huge niche for the family friendly bike adventure. Will County’s Ride to the Rock (rolling tomorrow) packs over 2000 people of all ages onto their trail system. Illinois families want safe corridors for biking, walking & running!
I knew our ride would appeal to families, but I admitted to Nick that I was caught off guard as to how many registered GITy Up! riders were bringing kids younger than 6—it’s more than 30%. That’s 20 families so far. If that trend holds, we could have 80 families with yungins’ in tow. We’re going to have to load up on more marshmallows, more chocolate, more graham crackers…no faces shall be clean, no hands unsmeared with s’more goo!
Trails guy Keith N. from Lemont sent me the picture at the top. Boy, that’s the GITy Up! right there for a whole lot of folks. It just makes me smile. Almost as much as catching our poster on REI’s bulletin board.
Do you have a kids on trails or kids in trailer picture to share? Please post it!
Moving the Friends of the Cal-Sag Trail’s video to Vimeo (it just looks better) lured us into watching it again. It’s wonderful. It’s a moving statement about what’s at stake for every Illinois community lacking a trail network connection. Enjoy!
I'm Steve Buchtel, the new Executive Director of Trails for Illinois. From 2001 to summer 2011, we were the Illinois Trails Conservancy.
I'm embarking upon an adventure: building a statewide trails community that will integrate trails and trail experiences into Illinois work, play, life.
This tumblr blog is just the start of community building TforI—hey, we got a nickname!—will do. It'll be our journal as we figure out our website, our membership, and fundraising, and a place to post trail news, issues and thoughts.