Miles Today: 45
Miles to Date: 18,372
States to Date: 45
Pete Parsons, a Texas gal of supersize personality, has put me in touch with fascinating people all across my journey. She outdid herself in setting up a meeting with Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, a cycling enthusiast and health advocate. Mayor Price and I met at the Blue Zones Project Festival at Bluebonnet Circle near Texas Christian University.
A number of cities across the United States have initiated Blue Zone Projects to encourage people to make choices that extend life and health according to the precepts of the world’s Blue Zones. There are about thirty communities in the US with active projects supported by local non-profits and foundations. Fort Worth is the largest city to fund a Blue Zones Project. The city monitored its relative health by several parameters before the project started, funded the initiative through 2018, and will assess them at the completion. The project works with individuals to take the ‘Blue Zone 9 pledge’, employers to incorporate movement and mental release in the work place, and educational groups to spread the message. Fort Worth hopes to become a designated Blue Zone City, for improving Blue Zone attributes (which is not the same as being a Blue Zone; that represent generations of behavioral traits).
Steve, my host for the night, took me to a feast of barbeque ribs, cheese biscuits and local beer with his Marine buddies. Not exactly Blue Zone food, but there was a pan of green beans for color and we passed around a salad, sort of like swilling the vermouth bottle over a martini. Patrick asked if I was Steve’s dad, so everyone called me dad all night. Ryan, who served with Steve in Iraq, is a founder of the Decentralized Dance Party movement. DDP orchestrates massive public dance parties; 63 cities around the world so far. Tonight we did something smaller but equally thrilling: banana pedaling through Fort Worth’s downtown.
Three active duty marines, two retired jarheads, two girlfriends, and me slipped on banana suits, drove downtown, and rode our bikes through the city streets on a busy Saturday night. Dance tunes blared from the suitcase turned boom box strapped to Ryan’s bike. Fort Worthian’s high fived and fist pumped us as we slipped along the sidewalks, circled the convention center plaza, and sped down the ramps of Tarrant County College. We ran into a group of skateboarders in an empty parking garage, rode up to the top and careened down seven floors of concrete ramp. I was last in line when an elegant woman outside of Circle Theater asked if I was their chaperone.
Truth is, I did tire first. Despite the exhilaration of the night breeze and downtown lights, by midnight I was keen to hit the sack. The sound system broke down a half hour later. Ryan was bummed but I was ready to call it quits. We got to bed just before two. If the tunes kept flowing, who knows how long we would have cycled downtown Cowtown?