To put it simply, WATCH & LEARN….why I haven’t been blogging like I’d like to. Prioritizing changing food forever.
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Find Your CarFree Favorite
To put it simply, WATCH & LEARN….why I haven’t been blogging like I’d like to. Prioritizing changing food forever.
I wish I could say that I’ve taken the last 6 months to build up a backlog of witty, insightful posts that will blow your mind and leave you changed forever but that would be a HUGE lie!
I’ve been eyeball deep in Freight Farms this entire year. I can’t say I regret it as building Freight Farm to the point we’re at today has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. The team at Freight Farms has allowed for me to be able to think about posting again on a more regular basis(no promises on that).
That said, my life is pretty basic at this point.
85% Freight Farms
10% Being Married
5% Everything else(includes my daily bike commute)
I need to recognize that my CarFreeBrad lifestyle isn’t a major part of my day and my most entertaining thoughts very often stray from the focus of my bike life and stumble into the other areas of my life. Before I start to wedge time into each week to write more posts, I’d like to know what people might actually care about.
Send some feedback and let’s get weird together!
This CarFreeBrad experiment turned lifestyle has been going for somewhere near 5 years and I’ve learned a lot during that time. Now that there’s been enough time, broken bikes, scrapes and experiences under my belt I’ve started to ask myself a compelling question.
Has a bike first lifestyle made me a better person?
When it comes to the important stuff involved in being a “good” person like kindness, compassion, honesty, humility and integrity. The simple answer is NO. I like to think I’m a good person overall with as many distinct personality flaws as the next guy. The quest to be a better person doesn’t have anything to do with how much or often I ride a bike or drive a car. To even start to speak on that requires a lot more than this blog can cover.
But Living this CarFreeBrad experiment has forced me to be better in many areas of my life that have only become apparent in the last year or so.
Time Management: Over these formative years of Freight Farms, getting my MBA and masters degrees, moving back to Boston and getting married there have been a growing number of demands on my time. Some of the greatest opportunities in my life have come from being patient and letting them develop over time and I try to look for the potential greater long game in every situation. The hardest part of this philosophy is these opportunities aren’t apparent at the onset and take time present themselves. Being tied to my bike first philosophy has required that I find a way to prioritize and place a clear value on my time in all that I do. It has inherently forced me to give serious thought to each meeting, cup of coffee and networking event that I attend. My commute time requires more planning(or layers) and forces me to account for all the “lost time” getting around. The ironic fact is that it often take me LESS time than others in cars and trains but it’s tremendous forcing function to keep me keenly aware of my time and prioritize accordingly.
Perspective: Being the most universally hated/misunderstood vehicle on the road forces me to evaluate my outlook on life at least twice a day. Riding the roads of a city with both cars and pedestrians forces intimate interactions with people at their best and worst. Inevitably, the road always finds a way to keep me feeling equally empowered and utterly powerless. I’m constantly reminded that my perspective can impact every ride and that I control the positive or negative outcome of each commute. I’m never more hated, yelled at and in physical danger than when I lose perspective and allow ego and emotion to cloud my attitude/behavior. This has forced me to spend at least 30 minutes a day living in the moment fully aware of everything from the cars, people, brakes, goggles and my emotions. No matter what’s happening in my life be it my wedding, customer meeting or a regular day in the office I must engage with my bike in order to have a fast, safe ride.
Simplicity: I spent the first year of my carfree life trying to carry on in all the same ways I did when I drove. That required a LOT of storage, racks, packing and planning. It wasn’t until the realized that I didn’t need all that extra “stuff” that I was able to embrace the bike first lifestyle. I’ve always been a “gear” guy and love to have all my special gadgets within reach just in case I need a hachet or a gopro camera at some random time. While both of these have come in very handy in the past, they have never been REQUIRED for everyday life.
I could go on an on with the various ways that this carfree experiment has made me a better person but I think these three have paid off the biggest for me to date and I would like to continue to improve on each one.
Unfortunately, I let my domain lapse for a few weeks and just now have been able to get CarFreeBrad.com back online. It’s not “in action” yet. To actually create content is a bit more involved. But topics that are on my mind:
How many riding days have been lost due to Boston’s winter?
Does CarFreeBrad make me a better person?
Gear Review: What I use to survive?
And many more……
The WordPress.com helped prepare an annual recap.
Here’s an excerpt:
A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,300 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.
As a fan of Hubspot from a product/customer perspective, I’ve thought about Dharmesh’s founding story quite a few times, about how Hubspot got started partially out of his experience with his blog Onstartups while a student in Boston. Recently, I got to hear him tell the story at Hubspots most recent conference(just before they went public) and realized why he’s been so successful and Hubspot is considered such a powerhouse.
The realization is nothing groundbreaking and not all that insightful. A key driver for Hubspots steady success, growth and general positive vibe in all phases of the game comes from the authenticity of a few people who LOVE IT to their core!
You might ask, Who genuinely loves inbound marketing? I know I did.
Don’t get me wrong, I love what inbound marketing does for my business and the thousands, millions soon, of other businesses out there. But I don’t feel strongly about all the various aspects of it and the struggles of how it was done before Hubspot and why the world should never go back to doing it that way ever again.
Early on when I heard Dharmesh tell his founding story, I was in a negative place in my entrepreneurial journey. I had witnessed hundreds of startup pitches/stories and hadn’t really found my voice yet. I had heard one too many times “you need to sell the story” and it had all started to feel forced and fake UNTIL I listened to Dharmesh tell his story. My negative mindset(mind you this was years ago) didn’t allow me to embrace why, only allowed me to believe he was just better at selling the story than anyone I had heard.
It was over 3 years ago that Freight Farms was revealed publically for the first time via our Kickstarter campaign and as I look around the office with a dozen people working late into the evening on a random Wednesday, I understand what CarFreeBrad has meant to Freight Farms!
Carfreebrad.com has been a documented journey that keeps me accountable to the genuine reason Jon and I committed to spending so many hours doing something that no one fully understood in a parking lot so many years ago that has come to personify our passion in so many ways in Freight Farms. It’s not as direct as Dharmesh’s progression and much harder to explain but it continues to give a glimpse into what was important to me 4+ years ago. I was questioning the status quo, focused on sustainability and obsessed with the role that infrastructure plays in our most entrenched industries(energy,transport & food).
I started by testing all my own assumptions and ditched the car for a bike then one thing led to another…..Freight Farms. Now this blog serves as a constant reminder of why I got into this crazy thing, why I love it and why I can’t ever stop!
I made this video on October 19, 2011 while living in Worcester, MA.
It’s kinda’ sad how much of my rain routine hasn’t changed. The one positive sign of learning, is my foot solution. I’ve iterated to something that “kinda” works unless it’s really coming down or I go thru a big puddle or ride for more that 20 minutes in a medium to light rain.
Not much, but progress!
It’s refreshing to look back to a few years ago when I was surrounded by so many talented and passionate people who had come together, each with our own interpretation of making a positive impact on the world.
I don’t know if this video was ever made available or widespread but it’s a great short piece done by a few talented woman who are both now doing really cool work in Alaska & Haiti(the last I checked) to impact and change the world!
Sometimes in my carfree life journey, I wish my brain could just dump it all on the page because every time I try to write my fingers can’t keep up and it comes out as complete jibberish. I’ve been having one of those weeks!
Although, I’m really excited some recent handlebar mods and eager to discuss seasonal transitions(ok, not eager but it’s the nicest way to say it), gear and struggles I’ve been unable to get it down on paper. Inevitably, when I’m overly distracted, I begin to rationalize not writing b/c there’s not much of a point and what value does CarFreeBrad.com really provide.
Believe me when i say I was firmly in that space when this lil’ dinosaur looking MOFO popped up on my phone and reminded me of what’s important by taking me through a journey of creation, joy and love over the last 5 plus years in my life. While some would argue I’ve done a lot over the last 5 years(thanks mom!), I’ve realized that we’re only at the beginning and I’m lucky to have discovered three great loves in that time.
[Some one in the background yells “wrap it up Brad”]
So what does Timehop(an app I now think you should get) have to do with any of this? Well, Ferris Bueller taught us that “life moves pretty fast…….” I forget the rest but that’s the point.
It’s too easy to forget what has happened and recognize all that HAS happened! Timehop is that lil reminder to pick my head up and acknowledge that there is a past and it’s not 100% about forward progress every second of every day! If I had to make it an equation, it’s drive and learning over fun and love.
Maybe it’s a chip on my shoulder from my days of biking in Worcester. I have to be honest, almost every time I stopped at the liquor store on my way across town back then, the bike rack was always pressed for space. It’s a tragic fact of life that a grown man riding a pink childs bike will always stick out and make it seem that there are more DUI riders on the streets than really exist.
Fortunately, these days biking has pressed on and (dare I say it) gone mainstream. The fact that it’s so common now has me conflicted about how to address this issue. I’m going to have to ruminate on this one for a bit as it seems to be parlaying into another concept that has been rattling around my head as I struggle categorize the most dangerous vehicles on the road.