1. Energy Express – The Wacky Wheel of Fortune: Cycling Thrives While Facebook Dives

There are certainly signs of intelligent life in the universe, but I’m a little surprised to see them right here in sunny Los Angeles, where cosmetic surgery centers are pictured on the city flag and a flashy car has always been revered as the best way to get around.

Guess what? The bicyclists are coming. The world is shifting, and LA is clearly getting a leg up on the future. In the last 18 months, the city’s built about 40 miles of new bikeways. Even better, the city fathers and mothers have pledged to build 40 miles more each year for the next five years. It’s all part of a planned rollout that tops off at 1,350 miles of new bikeways, all connecting parts of Los Angeles with parts of your anatomy that can get very sore if your seat’s not properly adjusted.

LaLa Land — where many years ago I bought my first crystal and its book of instructions — has always been an energy center for hope and dreams. That might explain why I see the bike surge as such a positive sign. More bicycling means more physical activity, more exposure to the outdoors, more breathing what’s left of our fresh air. It’s a good thing.

Want another sign? Bike sharing — now in more than 200 cities around the world — has hit New York City. This summer — I’m so excited about this! — you’ll be able to pay a modest fee to hop on a bike at 420 stations around the city and pedal yourself to another bike rack, all the while burning calories, enjoying the scenery and helping save the planet.

Another happy development, we can hope. But I wonder: What will actually happen in LA and New York when cars and bikes have to share sacred lane space? Will we all play well together? Are the bike lanes wide enough? Will cyclists be required to wear helmets, use hand signals, observe the rules of the road?

Just the other day, I was home, running errands on my trusty two-wheeler, ran a stop sign in my neighborhood and didn’t think twice about it. This will not go over well on the corner of 72nd and Columbus.

bicycle

Details to follow. Not to mention some injuries and crashes. But at least we’re making progress. Bikes are cleaner energy than cars. Bikes help you maintain a healthy weight. Bikes cost almost nothing a year to run.

So why are the Chinese so excited about giving them up?

Meanwhile, I have one more piece of healthy lifestyle news to share.

We all have our stock market fantasies, and my latest one has to do with why Facebook’s IPO flopped so publicly. The stock dipped sharply out of the box, the lawsuits are flying, the know-it-alls were wrong.

Here’s what I think they missed. Adults in America are suffering from Technology Overload, and Facebook is paying the price. Some people — people who ride bikes and eat their leafy greens — are increasingly aware of the dark side of too many devices, too many apps, too many demands on our dwindling attention.

Wellness is more likely when we have less stress in our lives. And Facebook is not a relaxing sport. All that checking, scrolling, reading, responding takes time, and Time Sickness — not having enough of it to do the things we want to do — is a leading cause of misery in this country.

So back to my theory about why Facebook was seen as a huge flop in the first few days after the IPO. I attribute it, in part, to Facebook backlash. I won’t even get into the privacy issues, which aren’t issues to Facebook because they own your past and you don’t. But in private, many adults who are still capable of having thoughts are having second thoughts about all that time they spend on Facebook.

I’m not saying it’ll go the way of the metric system. It’s too late for that. Social networking is here to stay. It’s way more popular than Congress. I know that. But how much is too much to pay? It’s a question for Wall Street, and it’s also a question for you, as you make choices about how you will spend your day … part of it, I hope, on your bike.

 

 

Marilynn Preston — fitness expert, personal trainer and speaker on healthy lifestyle issues — is the creator of Energy Express, the longest-running syndicated fitness column in the country. She has a website, http://marilynnpreston.com and welcomes reader questions, which can be sent to MyEnergyExpress@aol.com.{jcomments on}

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