A synergy between farming, biking

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Riders getting ready to explore North Philly on a Common Ground Marketplace Ride, 2015.

Two of my favorite things in the world are bicycles and fresh produce. I know this does not make me unique by any stretch of the imagination -- it mostly makes me someone who can never manage to pass by a new issue of Grid without picking it up -- but nevertheless, it’s true.

Lately, more and more, I’m seeing the ways in which food and transportation are connected. There are so many parallels between the work I do to promote equitable access to bicycles and the efforts that many folks are undertaking to make sure we all can access healthy, fresh food.

If you’re interested in either -- or both -- of these efforts, there are some great opportunities coming up to get involved. Below are two options for you to learn about local food initiatives on two wheels. One is geared more toward beginner riders, and the other is appropriate for more confident urban cyclists.

Common Ground Marketplace Rides (every Sunday until Thanksgiving, Broad and Mt. Vernon, 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., 45-minute rides) More info/signup here.

This is the beginner-friendly one. No bike? No problem.

My colleague Azephra Hamilton, Better Bike Share community liaison at the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, worked together with the Food Trust and youth from Cadence Youth Cycling to organize free bike rides (on Indego bikes) leaving from the Food Trust’s Common Ground Marketplace every Sunday at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

The rides visit different urban farm initiatives every week, such as Cloud 9 Rooftop Farm, Sunday Breakfast Farm, and the Life Do Grow farm by Philadelphia Urban Creators. And the Common Ground Marketplace itself is more than just a farmer’s market -- it offers line dancing, live music, and cooking demos as well as seasonal produce, meat, cheese, and baked goods.

Urban Farm Bike Ride presented by Lindy Communities (Saturday, Sept. 19, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.)  More info here.

You’ve probably heard of Weavers Way Coop, a food co-op based in Mount Airy. But you might not have heard of Weavers Way Community Programs (WWCP), the non-profit arm of the co-op dedicated to educating Philly's youth about farming, healthy eating and community values.

Each year, Weavers Way Community Programs hosts an Urban Farm Bike Ride to raise money for its great programs for underserved youth and families, and this year, the 10th annual, is not one to miss.

The ride will start and end at Philadelphia Brewing Company, and your ticket gets you an option of two different routes that visit numerous local urban farms, where you’ll get to meet the farmers and learn about each initiative from the folks who are making them happen. You also get a t-shirt, snacks along the way (I’m betting some will be really fresh!), and beer and pizza at the end.

Check out this video of last year’s ride for a sense of the event and then get your tickets.

I think it’s no coincidence that we’re seeing a synergy between urban farming and biking here in Philly. What we eat and how we get around are everyday decisions we all make. Individual decisions around food and transportation affect our bodies, our families, our communities, and the world around us in pretty profound ways. Some of us have access to different sets of choices than others, and lots of us are working together with communities to try to level that playing field.

But you don’t have to be a serious bike rider or a serious foodie to get involved. You just have to show up and pedal.