|Photo by Ilene Cutler.
The Signs of Sustainability Project is a citizen-lead initiative created to show gratitude to our friends and neighbors in the Rondout Valley who demonstrate sustainable practices. Sustainability is defined by this project as stewardship and care of the present and future vitality of our wild, agricultural and human resources. Since it began in October 2012, the Signs of Sustainability Project has recognized 24 local individuals and organizations by documenting what they have done. Each year the past recipients of the award are invited to join in the selection process.
Around Ulster County we see many serious cyclists, some competitive and some riding to stay in shape. Their bikes are investments; their focus makes us contemplate the familiar narrow bike lane as inadequate for their task. But there is another type of rider in Ulster County. This type of bicyclist is extremely rare and that makes a sighting so sweet! Alice Weaver is such a rider.
Alice’s bike is over 30 years old. Her husband Ed helps her maintain it. Her odometer clocked 2800 miles in 2012. That’s just the distance she covers going for pleasure rides, running errands, and biking to The Stone Ridge Library. Her bike basket is always ready to haul a light load. It’s a special day when I catch sight of Alice, face beaming and legs pumping gracefully, as she whisks along the quiet roads of Stone Ridge. If we had sidewalks and wider bike lanes we might see more folks riding for pleasure.
When Alice rides, she says she “just likes looking around, seeing the land and the sky and it just feels good!” If you are lucky enough to catch sight of her riding along the town roads, you may feel like I do, and imagine yourself transported to a European village, the surrounding fields and meadows filled with wild flowers, your basket overflowing with fresh bread and veggies from the market. You may feel, as many do when the bicycle is their choice mode of transportation, a great surge of hope for humanity. Don’t be tempted, as I am, to honk and wave with joy and appreciation. Alice’s ride is serene and calm and we wouldn’t want to intrude on that!
It is for this reason that Alice Weaver was awarded a Signs of Sustainability plaque—her choice to ride gives us hope and shows us that it is very simple to choose a sustainable way of getting around. Let Alice inspire you. Get on your bike this summer!
–text by Lisa Jones