“In those days, we finally chose to walk like giants and hold the world in arms grown strong with love and there may be many things we forget in the days to come, but this will not be one of them.” (anonymous)
About 3 months before the Honolulu Marathon, Morgan Nilsen and I – Justin Ancheta, decided to commit to a bike-music tour of Oahu that ended with my first Marathon run, and Morgan’s 5th; 26.2 miles. This commitment meant we not only had to train leading up to the bike-music-tour-marathoning, but we would also have to book and promote enough shows to sponsor this outing. Another main challenge, if we didn’t have enough already, was finding the best way to bring an electric cargo bike to the island to test the packability on the Hawaiian Airlines, as well as testing the bike transportation on the island of Oahu.
After reaching out to the local community of both Hawii and the Bay Area (California), we landed a folding xtracycle (cargo joe) that is due out in 2013, this coming year from Oakland based Xtracycle headquarters. We outfitted the bike with e-power from Morgan’s Yuba Mundo, and had our transportation to shows and nature planned out… roughly. We also booked an eclectic amount of gigs; Temple Emanuel for a Hannikah Celebration, life music for a yoga class on Waikiki, the Waipahu Library cultural sharing, Cycle City motor bike shop; enough gigs to pay our way. Everything was lining up. We were registered for the marathon, starting our training, and ready to get to the waterfalls I had yet to see on Oahu.
The Bike Boxing.
My goal was to see how little it could cost for the folding cargo e-bike to go on the airliner. For normal checked luggage it must be less then 50 lbs. and no more then 80″ (WxLxH). Anything over 100 lbs is not accepted [see airline rules]. The idea was to make two boes under 50 lbs. w/ the e-bike back wheel and xtracycle in one and the folding bike in the other. After 7 hours of trial and error, both boxes were packed with bubble wrap to protect the bike and motor, plus I was able to stick a few more bags and tools inside the boxes as well. Once we got to the airport, instead of getting the charge of $25 per luggage – we were charged the full $100 for the bike fee. The e-bike was going to make it at least so it was still worth it. I think it the boxes weren’t packed so odd-shaped, that they might accept it as luggage in the future.
We arrived in Honolulu mid day, unpacked the boxes,
and assembled the bike in about an hour and a half. It worked! and zipped back to grandma’s house in Waipahu about 16 miles away. The next 10 days was unreal. Family love, biking around in perfect weather to waterfalls and rainforest hikes; truly experiencing a paradise on earth. Many thoughts of how the car culture, capitalism and the ability of many acting on impulse as consumers, hoe it can destroy the natural beauty and ability to create a sustainable future. Although I am optimistic and excited for the next trip to visit sustainable farming, share at schools, and educate mysel and others on the amazing possibilities, we did see a lot of disparities along the bike pathways, as well as how car culture has monopolized an island that is made so well with weather and topography for biking and walking culture.
Stories from the past, my grandmother sharing how she would work in the rice and sugar cane fields, making her own wine and liquor, and selling and trading at local markets for vegetables and other things from her fathers lang; I had the re-occurring revelation that I sincerely want to find a healthy balance between technology and the human experience. So far, my research and dreams have led me to three main things of importance: 1) cultural sharing with family and friends close by (music, education, dance, laughter) 2) sustainable farming practices (aquaponics, vertical growing and rooftop gardens) 3) Bicycles – a local transportation to enjoy as well as get you from point a to point b; e-bikes and cargo-loaders for the family, heavy-haulers, or even the faster joy-riders like my pops, David Ancheta.
I have been to the islands countless times, unaware, or only partially aware, that I was going to a paradise. I saw the beauty of the beaches, white sands, parks, people, and tourist locations, but never had I ventured into the woods, the mountains in the distance, or sought out the waterfalls of Oahu, the island I was told was built up the most, that I should sit back and enjoy the L&L diners, fast food and shopping malls. Until NOW. Thanks to green-mountain-girl-miss-lady-mn-Morgan Nilsen, we ventured into the tropical rain forests.
By bike and then foot, we navigated our way to Palisade Falls, only 8 miles from my grandmothers house, where my father was raised. I asked him if he had ever been there and my father said he had not. We biked and biked to Manoa State Park look-out over diamond head, Monoa Falls, Maunawili Falls and trails that led to the peaks of the east side of the mountains of Oahu. In finding the necessity for technology and civilization, i find doing the opposite of the normal can lead to revelations. After sleeping under a banyan tree in Kapiolani Park, conspicuously setting up a small tent in the shadows, being woken by sprinklers, and moving over to the beach area to set up for the yoga-music event 7-9 a.m., then having the experience of more gorilla camping at the base of diamond head right next to the beach, and sleeping on the white sands of the easter shore waking to military boot camp training, as well as going to bed hearing blasts of some sort on the naval base peninsula, but having the most intimate and romantic conversations and musical sharings under the stars; I can’t help but think of what an amazing life and world this is – with many confused actions and intentions, politically, socially, and even personally – where it starts. I feel so blessed and honored to be sharing this humble story while flying back form a most magical journey. I hope you realize, family, friends, acquaintances that I do this renegade life style for the joy and passion; that I believe in a world of eclectic differences and learnings, where a Gap clothing store in Hawaii dores not need the same inventory of gloves, mittens, jackets, beanies and other winter clothes on an island that has a temp of 60-90 degrees weather 24/7. That we in a free society can choose to live differently then others and not be looked down upon, – that the disparity of income and wealth be seen as the actual freedom that we truly have. If someone wants to live poor, respecting their surroundings – why not allow for the space for this, away from the ghetto, drugs, stealing? You will find a people rise from such a place with offerings of wealth and prosperity in countless ways. I believe the Hawaiian and indigenous natives of america had this and have this. I want to find a way to live in todays society, respecting the technological advances, as well as creating a sacred space where this earthly experience can reach the fullest potential of beings enlightened. If there is mass – consumerism, then let it lead us towards a hopeful future, where we are enslaved to no commodity, dollar-bill, no land, or any ideal, from ourselves or others. I am hopeful to share this life experience and inspire our imagination and dreams to awaken what we have always had; nature, natural, family, love.