The Inspiration of Salo’s Solo Bike Commute

by Lucas Freeman on August 15, 2011 | Leave a Comment

in My Commute

School Food Tour route map

Sara Salo’s 6,000 plus mile ride across the U.S. on the School Food Tour is decidedly not an every day bicycle commute, that’s for certain. It was an idea born out of the best tradition of creating your own career on the fly. Some wait for their chance; others take it.

Charles Krulwich spoke about it his commencement speech to Berkeley Journalism School’s Class of 2011 this past May.

It was a great address; I had to sit down after I read it. To get its full impact you have to read the complete speech, and it was hard to find a passage to sum it all up. Substitute Salo’s passion for Krulwich’s journalism references below, and I think it conveys a little of what he was driving at, and what I think of Salo’s adventure. (emphasis is mine)

“Suppose, instead of waiting for a job offer from the New Yorker, suppose next month, you go to your living room, sit down, and just do what you love to do…. You make something. No one will pay you. No one will care, no one will notice, except of course you and the people you’re doing it with. But then you publish, you put it on line, which these days is totally doable, and then… you do it again….

I’ve also seen, in my most recent area, science journalism, I’ve seen people do just what I’ve proposed. I’ve seen people, literally, go home, write a blog about dinosaurs (in one case), neuroscience, biology. Nobody asked them. They just did. On their own. By themselves….

They are becoming not just science writers with jobs, they are becoming THE science writers, the ones people read, and look to… they’re going places. And they’re doing it on their own terms! In their own voice, they’re free to be themselves AND they’re paid for it!”

SFT Mission
Get kids to think about how
to incorporate healthy living
into daily life.

Salo’s commute will kick off in Bend on August 19 and end up in her home town Houghton, MI.

The point of her ride is to talk to school kids about healthy eating and active living. She’s taking a grass roots approach instead of trying to broadcast her message through some form of social media. She will literally be making house calls on middle and high schools all across our Country to talk about something simple: choice.

Sara Salo

Photo © Sara Salo

Namely, that kids should be cognizant of what they’re eating, where it’s coming from, and how you get around your community. Here are some of the ways she will be promoting a healthier daily life-style for American kids:

  • classroom learning: curriculum she designed to “offer students the resources necessary to become active and knowledgeable stakeholders in the national movement to improve student health.”
  • group bike rides, including community assessment and family rides
  • local farm tours
Salo was named a
Food Revolution Hero
by Jamie Oliver.

Another theme Krulwich built upon in his commencement address was that if you start doing what you love doing, friends and acquaintances will provide you resources along the way; when you need them; where you need them. Much of what Salo has been able to organize to even get to the point where she can start her ride in a week has been because of her network of friends and acquaintances who have pitched in to help.

There are those who might look on her upcoming trip enviously thinking about what might have been possible if they’d only been more motivated when they were younger and had fewer responsibilities. I know I had a tinge of that. Who knows maybe her activism inspires others to think about what they are passionate about and spurs them to pursue it.

Want to meet Salo before she departs? The School Food Tour kick-off party is this Thursday at Compass Park.



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