When lower and slower are better

IRAIA thoughts
IRAIA thoughts

Some of my friends and colleagues were curious why I chose to take the six-hour train ride from Amsterdam to Berlin (and the same ride on my way back) instead of Easyjet, which is cheaper and faster.

This became the topic of conversation during a Berlin dinner with Tanja, Susanne, and other Misereor friends. At first I explained my choice with practical reasons such as train seats being more spacious and comfy, and the Hauptbanhof being a short walking distance from my hotel. Then I ended with a cryptic “It’s a philosophical question, actually.” They seemed to pick up my line of argument quickly enough, and I promised them a blog piece on the topic when I have time. Which is now.

Continue reading “When lower and slower are better”

So call it gloating. It’s my moment of superiority.

I am a leaf on the wind. Watch how I soar. Call me serenity.
I am a leaf on the wind. Watch how I soar. Call me serenity. Music saleswoman Elena Koniaraki, 39, rides her bicycle between cars at a central street in Athens July 11, 2012. REUTERS/Yorgos Karahalis

I’ll make this short and sweet. Short and sweet, like my trip home on evenings like this.

So it’s a Friday, and a payday at that. So most everyone with bulging pockets are rushing out of their workplaces—as if they were running away from a fearsome monster.

So hordes of them are trooping to their favorite TGIF foodie corners and weekend hideaways—the farther away from the feared work monster, the better. Continue reading “So call it gloating. It’s my moment of superiority.”

Biking for Teddy C.

Ex-girlfriend and one of her bright ideas

I’m not sure if my one and only senatorial candidate, Teddy Casiño, has a bike or if he even knows how to ride one. I don’t know if his campaign machinery has any biking event listed. But, whatever the case, it’s a nice idea for bikers who support Teddy’s bid for the Senate to organize a mass bike ride on or around Earth Day or any other memorable date before the May 13 elections.

The idea actually came from my ex-girlfriend, who is immensely busy these days with her own hectic race to complete her university studies and get the degree she’d been aiming for since time immemorial. So she asked me to put her suggestion into blog form.

Like me, Ex-GF was at first doubtful of Teddy’s chances at winning a Senate seat although we had been supportive of his party-list’s program from Day 1. Truth to tell, we cringed at his first tentative steps to craft his messages for a wider audience, such as his rather tacky “Don’t touch my talong” slogan against GMOs.

But as he plodded along, or rather jogged and chatted and expounded his way into public consciousness, slowly gathering momentum, he started to shine, and XGF’s mental light bulbs started to emit brilliant flashes.

“Jogging is ok, but too slow if he wants to cover more ground,” she noted. “He should bike all around the city, and call on all bikers—including you,” emphatically pointing a finger at me, “to join him and help distribute his leaflets.”

“Hmm,” I said, contemplating her finger. “There’s an Earth Day bike ride on April 21,” I noted, checking a website calendar for the Firefly Brigade’s “critical mass rides” for this year. On the other hand—I corrected myself—it would probably be a bad idea to politicize an event that has already established itself as non-political.

So taking off from XGF’s idea, the next best thing is maybe for Teddy’s bikers to organize their own mass rides to raise environmental issues, bring their ecological philosophy and program to the masses in a creative way, and involve a wide range of activist and advocate groups—even plain biking enthusiasts and pedicab drivers. They can trace a well-chosen route that’s long enough to cover much ground, but not too long as to be exhausting and self-limiting in terms of participants. Continue reading “Biking for Teddy C.”