Mid-Life Cycling

Mid-Life Cycling

17 December 2018

On Diet Floats And Hauling Trees

I used to know...all right, I dated...well, umm I...

Well, whatever my relationship to this person (I'll leave it up to your imagination), I remember her mainly for the way she kept her shape.  Or, more precisely,  she claimed that a dietary practice (along with consensual aerobic activity) maintained her fine form. 

So, what was her culinary custom?  Well, she drank Coke floats.  With supper.  With lunch.  Sometimes with breakfast.  And almost every time in between.

Now, you might be wondering how she kept her fine form with a regimen like that--especially when you consider that she made them with Haagen-Dazs, the richest, fattiest and most calorie-laden ice cream available at that time.   Her secret, she claimed, was that she used Tab--the "diet" version of Coke before there was Diet Coke.

She said that she was "making up" for all of the calories in the ice cream plopping scoops of it into a drink that had no nutritional value--not even empty calories--whatsoever.

To be fair, I should also point out that she really didn't eat a lot of sweets.  Perhaps she could have maintained her sinuous silhouette even if she'd made her floats from regular Coke.  At least she didn't follow another practice of "dieters" at that time:  ingesting "salads" made from pieces of canned fruit encased in Jell-O, sometimes topped with Kool-Whip or Reddi-Whip.  I am not a religious person, but I think a good working definition of "sin" is taking a natural food, stripping it of its nutritional value and fresh taste, and encasing it in something that looks and tastes like half-cooled plastic in much the same way animals were stripped of whatever made them alive when they were encased in amber.

I must say that I at least had respect for that old, er, acquaintance of mine for not letting one of those abominations pass through her lips.  In comparison, her "diet" floats were at least more palatable.  And the logic behind them made more sense, even if they didn't make sense in an absolute sense. (What did I just say?)

So why am I talking about a beverage (or dessert, depending on your point of view) preference of someone I haven't seen or talked to in decades?

Well, some of you, I am sure, are more diet-conscious than I am. (Actually, most of you probably are.) But, more to the point, something I saw today reminded me of the "logic" behind her "diet" float.

Here it is:

The photo accompanied an article on Canadian Cycling's website.  Said article opens with this:

Transporting a Christmas tree isn't the most straightforward endeavour.  With a car, it often involves ropes, bungee cords and a lot of pine needles to clean up.  Then, when you start moving, the fear that it may fall off the roof.  While there's still some creativity and preparation required to transport a conifer by bike, there's no doubt it's more fun and fulfilling.

Now, I don't doubt that "creativity" and "preparation" are needed to haul a Christmas tree on your bike. I've carried pieces of furniture while riding, so I understand.  I also wouldn't disagree that it's more "fun" and "fulfilling".  Even if I win a Nobel Prize for my writing (or anything), I don't think it would give me the same satisfaction as knowing that I once moved myself and everything I owned from one apartment to another, in another part of town, by bicycle.  

People have all sorts of reasons for doing things by bike, without a car.  For some, poverty is one. But others do it by choice--whether for exercise, or to save money or do something that's socially and environmentally responsible.  Actually, I think that most people who cycle by choice to work or school, or on errands, count environmental and social consciousness as one of their most important reasons for doing so.  

That said, I can think of few things less conscious, and simply more wasteful, than chopping down a tree that will be tossed away in a few weeks.  That is, of course, the fate of most Christmas trees.  Even if, at the end of the holiday season, the tree is cut or shredded for other uses, I have to wonder whether there wasn't a way the tree could have been more beneficial to the planet.  

Hmm...I wonder whether those folks who bring home their Christmas trees on their bikes are also drinking Coke floats made with diet soda--or fat-free ice cream.

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