Get on your bike

The joys of cycling (and more about chickens)

“People are broad-minded. They’ll accept the fact that a person can be an alcoholic, a dope fiend, a wife beater and even a newspaperman, but if a man doesn’t drive, there’s something wrong with him.”
—Art Buchwald

I ride a bicycle
In May, my car was totaled. While I sat at a red light, a man who was talking on his cell phone and not watching the road plowed into me. I have not replaced it.

Some folks seem to equate car-lessness with being a social loser. But an increasing number of people are enamored with the benefits of cycling—better health, less money spent, a slower pace of life (out in the fresh air) and, of course, a much smaller carbon footprint.

I love riding my bike for all of those reasons, not the least being the health benefits.

“Cycling offers one of the best cardiovascular workouts you can find,” offers Dr. Erich Rosenberger (at In order to really benefit from exercise, he adds, “you need to maintain your heart rate at an elevated level for at least 20 minutes. … [On] a bike, this is a very easy goal. Three- and four-hour rides at a low intensity level are quite simple, even for a beginner cyclist.”

I have become so enamored of traveling by bike that I recently invested in a trailer so that my 9-year-old, special-needs daughter can ride with me on trips to the grocery store or through Bidwell Park. I am waiting for it to arrive from a company in Canada called Wike ( that makes the Burley-like trailers for bigger kids. Wike even has an Extra Large Special Needs Trailer that can carry persons up to 5 feet 10 inches tall and 150 pounds. Special add-ons such as head stabilizers and side bolsters are also available.

Locally, for most child-toting needs, smaller trailers—Burleys (pictured) and CoPilots—are available at bike retailer Sports Ltd. (698 Mangrove Ave., 894-1110), for one.

Chicken coops, Part 5
Hjalmar Hake (aka electronic musician OILPANIC) raises chickens on his rural south Chico property. Three weeks ago, Hake welcomed a passel of chicks to his brood of Bantams when two of his five hens hatched nine eggs.

Hake (pictured) keeps the babies and their mothers in an 8-by-4-by-4-foot portable, bottomless coop equipped with a sleeping loft/nesting box. He moves the coop to follow the availability of weeds to eat. The coop—built partly from recycled materials (such as the wire fencing used for the roof)—has two wheelbarrow-like handles on each end, enabling two people to move it easily.

The chicks and the two moms stay in the coop, but Hake’s three other hens and his rooster spend the days free-roaming outdoors hunting for bugs and such. At night, he brings them inside to be safe from raccoons; the two hens and their young walk up the ramp to the loft where they snuggle at night after Hake closes the loft’s little door behind them.

As a chicken owner, “you can easily go away for the weekend,” Hake advised. “Fill up the water and the food. Water is really the biggest concern. You can even get an automatic waterer.”