The “Academic” Cyclist is a “Non-“

Sir Ken Robinson, well-known author/educator, says that the chaos that is modern education stems from earlier times of industrialization. Essentially, we are factory processing children into boxes based on age and then continuing the process by declaring one an academic and another a “non-academic.” Obviously this is due, not to capacity, but to economics.

A personal reflection post-deliveries last weekend in the snow.

“The fork that attaches the steel utility trailer to the back skewer of the rear wheel of my 9-speed has officially frozen. It’s 29 degrees, going on -10 and there are coffee beans to be delivered. I get paid in nothing more than my own stock of coffee, but these beans are freshly roasted and a perfect cup of joe every time; worth a few hours of riding in the snow.    Only half of the deliveries have been made and my fingers, like the trailer fork, are frozen as well. There is a part of me that wants to go inside, make a cup of this great coffee and call it a day. Maybe I could send an email to the customers exclaiming that “it is just too damn cold.” Luckily in my trailer I have a dry rag that I use to rub off the icicles. I carry on my way, sometimes entering people’s homes for a couple minutes of warmth, other times slipping into the road where drivers have become Evil Knievel and I fear for my life. The snow flakes are large and I can taste them if I keep my mouth open while riding. I quickly imagine those delivery kids in Wyoming or Chicago–if they can do it through that kind of weather, what’s a snowy day in Blacksburg? There’s something outrageously intoxicating about holding your breath as you suddenly hit a black ice patch or feel your back wheel skid out of control during a climb. As I descend into the parking lot of my apartment where I hang my helmet, my bike and I are both spent. Of course, the trailer will not detach from the back skewer; the caked ice has returned. If you have ever tried to do anything without functioning fingers, blind too perhaps (if you count the now heavy snow fall), then you may know how it feels to perform a task that will eventually lead to a total (and in this case literal) meltdown. An adrenaline surges when you can imagine, in my case, that warm cup of really anything and your feet + warm slippers. The hours that followed this experience did include hot cocoa, my slippers and a complete disassembling of my bike. A bit of snow in those crevices equals a painful and annoying rust that accumulates over time, so it’s better to catch it while its young. After 8 hours of cycling and cleaning, my snow day had been entirely devoted to delivering coffee. I choose to do this because I value holding my breath, giving people a joyful shock as I roll up to their doorstep, imagining how other people do this, waving to the kids making snow people, being a better driver than the ones in the cars, cleaning the machine post adventure, and the coffee…the stock of beans that connects me to at least 4 other continents at any given time.”

Myself and two other partners operate a coffee delivery business by bicycle (www.spokenbeans.com). We also offer complete education services for our deliverers: learning to be alert, aware, attuned, globally conscious, social, and active. Spoke ‘n’ Beans is currently lacking in time efficiency.

Modern economics wants us to deliver our coffee fast. 

Our customers and our deliverers are educated differently?

We value something a bit slower.

 

 

 

 

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