Ben Trolio spent much of the summer sitting down.
The 20-year-old Ballston resident, currently a student at the University of New Hampshire, used his bicycle for transportation. As a pedaling participant in the New England Climate Summer internship program, he and friends cycled across New Hampshire.
The long ride began in late June and concluded in early August. Once it ended and Trolio returned home, he decided to maintain his pace on local pavements.
“I’ve biked to the Schenectady ‘Y,’ I’ve biked to Adirondack
Bicycles because I’ve needed some parts, right down Route 50 past the Walmart,” said Trolio, who graduated from Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School in 2009. “I’ve biked to see friends in Charlton.”
He had no problem keeping car keys out of his pocket.
“It’s not really difficult at all,” he said. “It’s your exercise, you’re saving money and you’re doing something that’s helping the community and the environment. Everything I have to go to is within a 10- to 15-minute mile radius. The maximum trip would probably be around 30 miles long, that sort of distance.”
Participation in the Climate Summer project — which included brief stays in communities and showing off ways of travel that do not depend on fossil fuels — required a two-week training period.
“I decided to do this project because I really wanted to travel to communities and learn about what other people were doing and support what their livelihoods are,” Trolio said. “We went to Nashua, Portsmouth, Keene, Concord, Hanover, Melford and then we traveled to Boston.”
During the five-person team’s visit, the cyclists watered potatoes on an organic farm and hosted community meetings to discuss the impact of fossil fuels.
Some friends found the project strange, especially when Trolio told them he was only spending $5 a day on food.
“They thought that was, like, absurd,” he said. “They didn’t think that was possible. You make your own bread — we were staying in churches and they had kitchens — we never bought meat. We had peanut butter, beans, rice. You can make it work.”
Trolio, who’s studying environmental conservation at New Hampshire, said he’s cycled between 1,200 and 1,300 miles this summer on his red and black Specialized “Secteur Sport” road bike. He’s only had to patch three flat tires.
The bigger worry is safety on the road. Trolio knows that men and women on bicycles — kids, too — always have to be looking ahead and maybe reacting quickly.
“One of the scariest things is if you’re biking past cars on the road, they open the door and ‘Whack!’ ” he said. “It’s just by accident; they aren’t looking.”
Refusing a ride
Trolio has traveled by horsepower a few times this year. But he’s turned down rides, too.
“The other day my mom [Margaret] was going to Schenectady and I could have gotten a car ride but I biked,” Trolio said. “That may not make sense because my mom was already going. But if I start doing it, maybe my mom will begin doing it . . . if I’m going out there to talk about the issues, I have to live my values.”
Some people might wonder why a guy who has biked hundreds of miles needs visits to the YMCA. “I like to do yoga,” Trolio said.
Cycling will remain his chief exercise. “Back at college, I have to help teach at this school, Exeter High School,” he said, adding he’ll cycle the 13 miles from the UNH campus in Durham to the part-time job.
He’s got almost three more months to pedal. “I’ve thought about dressing warmly,” he said. “I imagine I can go to middle or early November.”
Categories: Life and Arts