A Free-Wheelin’ Summer with the Milkweed Editions Staff05/01/2012
Replacing light bulbs, collecting rainwater, recycling paper, or choosing public transportation can seem futile—nay, foolish—when the sum of one’s daily sacrifices are overshadowed by the latest oil spill or climate-induced wildfire run amok. But just like our organization, the staff at Milkweed Editions is committed to treading a lighter foot on the planet. Few of us drive ourselves to work, even on the harshest of Minnesota winter mornings. We’re a rowdy bunch of avid cyclists, carpoolers, persevering pedestrians, and bus-riding idealists.
We think you can learn a lot about someone by how they get to work. Meet the staff at Milkweed below, many of whom have set challenges for themselves to reduce their time spent behind the wheel of a car from May 1 to October 31.
Associate Editor, Intern Coordinator
Daily commute? 2 miles.
How often do you bus to work? Every other day or so.
How often do you bike to work? 3-4 days per week.
What’s your setup? Bianchi Cortina.
“At Milkweed, we’ve made it a goal to produce books as sustainably as possible. To really work toward this goal, responsibility rests not only on the organization, but also on the individual. Organizationally, I feel great about the “green” initiatives we’re undertaking. But on an individual level, I find a great deal of room for improvement in my own workweek routines—especially those routines that offer an easy, “greener” alternative.”
My summer goal: To walk or bike to work at least four days per week.
Sales and Marketing Director
Daily commute? 8.3 miles.
How often do you bike to work? I’d love to ride in to Milkweed this summer.
What’s your setup? A 1970’s Schwinn one speed with back-pedal brakes and a Cannondale R600 road bike (not taken out since pregnancy, sad to say). My commuter bike outfitted with a child’s seat—and we both have helmets! Did lots of biking in Brooklyn before we relocated to Minnesota.
“Biking is good for the body, mind, spirit, and the planet. I rode in five AIDS Rides both in Boston-NY (300 miles) and California (600 miles) to raise money for AIDS services. Although I drive to work, I commute in a 2001 Toyota Echo, which gets great mileage and makes me feel better about the planet.”
Publisher and CEO
Daily commute? 2.5 miles
How often do you bus to work? 3-5 times each week.
How often do you bike to work? Most days in the summer.
What’s your setup? My steed is a Trek 1200 road bike. 1992 vintage and still as fast as it is sturdy.
“Being a one-car crew of four in a city without truly outstanding public transportation (I moved here from NYC, where I lived on the subway) is one way my family attempts to be green. We also get our kids out camping and hiking as much as possible, and are active members of a CSA.”
Editor and Program Manager
Daily commute? 3 miles.
How often do you bus to work? Once a week.
How often do you bike to work? About four times a week.
What’s your setup? A Maruishi touring bike that was sold in Australia in the late 70s and early 80s. Some might think that such a unique bike would be cool. But with it’s 27” wheels and weird-ass components, I find that it just makes people scratch their heads. But it’s made of steel, and I’ve probably put upwards of 3,000 miles on it at this point while only spending $400 or so over the years to keep it rolling.
“I would say the biggest reason I bike to work is entirely selfish. We spend so much of our days sitting, staring at screens or paper, and so little time engaged physically. To be forced to engage with the animal part of me everyday, to carry myself to work rather than being carried gives me a release that, to be honest, keeps me sane. Add to that the things I see every day that I ride—from the birds that are out, to where the possibly-homeless guys drink in the morning, to the community garden run by seemingly ageless Hmong women, to the simple observation of the changing seasons—the benefits are huge. And sure, save the world, be selfless, etc, etc. But the air! The wind in my hair! Contact! Contact! So, essentially, Thoreau is why I ride my bike. So terribly cliché!”
My summer goal: Bike to work 100 times between May 1 and Oct 31.
Daily commute? 3+ miles.
How often do you bus to work? Every day (plus a short leg on foot or light rail).
How often do you bike to work? Occasionally.
What’s your setup? A cherry red “Antelope” with gears. It’s my dad’s old mountain-ish bike from mid ’90s. It does have new tires, though, but no kickstand. I know these things are important.
“I was born on Earth Day, so being green is sort of required. After living in NYC for six years and Japan for one, I’ve tried to bring a few earth-friendly lifestyles back to the Midwest. (For example, in Japan everyone carries hand towels because there are no paper towels in bathrooms!) As for my job, I’ll say that development work is nothing if not about relationship-building—and, for me, being green (sort of a “taking a bit more time to do things”/ “walk lightly” perspective) helps in approaching that work with energy, passion, and commitment. The world in general moves so fast—and the fundraising world is a flurry of requests, grants, meetings, a 24/7 job. I find that being “green” in even small ways helps create mental and creative space in the day, so that our work at Milkweed can be successful.”
Administrative Assistant, Intern Coordinator
Daily commute? 2.1 miles.
How often do you bus to work? Due to complicated bus math, public transit takes me longer than walking, so I save the bus for below zero weather and carrying-heavy-things days. What time I wake up also influences my decision.
How often do you bike to work? 3 or 4 days a week, ideally.
What’s your setup? A Vista, made in Japan, with a hamburger-bell.
“I’m excited to work somewhere committed to maximum cultural impact with minimal environmental impact.”
My summer goal: Bike four days a week—giving myself only one lazy day per week.
Daily commute? 3 miles, give or take.
How often do you bus to work? 2 times per week.
How often do you bike to work? 3 times per week.
What’s your setup? A ladies’ Schwinn World Sport.
“Mostly I want to avoid commuter traffic and integrate some physical activity into my workday. Being green is a nice bonus.”
Daily commute? 4 miles.
How often do you bike to work? Every day.
What’s your setup? Most days I ride a Lemond Nevada City, a street-beating road bike that encourages me to make dangerous maneuvers near fast-moving vehicles. When I’m feeling fancy, I ride out my cherry-red cyclocross bike that looks great with my skinny jeans.
“At first, selling my car and commuting by bicycle was a way to mitigate the sting of student loan debt when I was working only part-time. Later, I found year-round cycling did wonders to assuage my unreasonable personal health anxieties. After living on two wheels for the past three years, starting my workday with thirty minutes of exercise and sightseeing keeps my stress level low and makes me more mindful and creative throughout the day. And, of course, I can’t wait to get on the pedals and ride home.”
My summer goal: I plan to take the bus into work no more than three times between now and the end of October.