My gypsy days or over, at least for now. I live in the big city of Portland and it’s no fun living on the streets here, so I’m sharing a house with two friends and rent must be paid. Hence the humble birth of HILLS (Happiness is Loving Living Simply.)
Hills website and educational events will celebrate lifestyles in which enable people to have an intimate relationship with all they own, use, and live with. We don’t have to move to the country to live such a life. One example of such a lifestyle would be to grow most of your own food in your backyard using only hand tools. Another example would be friends or families who share an urban house. They have a versatile pedal powered machine which can perform many household tasks. They take turns pedaling to blend smoothies, grind grain into flour, run a washing machine and generate power for electronic devices and led lights. One more example is my own lifestyle this past year. I lived on a bicycle and camped in vacant lots. Most of my meals came out of my bicycle powered blender.
In other words, we’re not talking about token gestures but radical changes that provide real alternatives for an alienated culture and a response equal to the gravity of the present environmental catastrophe. The challenge is to live a life full of the joy of relationships with the satisfaction of knowing that you are living your life in such a way as to not exploit other living beings.
Hills is a dealer for Rockthebike.com. This means I sell almost everything on their website. To date I have one Rockthebike product available in Portland for rental: the Fender Blender Pro. Rock the bike is in the forefront of the creative use of pedal power. They manufacture several types of bicycle powered blenders and one bike, the fenderblender pro specifically made to power a blender. Rockthebike also puts to use efficient bicycle powered generators to amplify sound system for music and all kinds of public events. With their new one man one speaker system, one person can carry on a bicycle, a sound system, set it up in a park and play music or talk to a small crowd. Larger festivals are enlivened by using rockthebike’s pedal powered sound systems and light displays. Entire bands ride through countries carrying their equipment by cargo bikes and powering music on the greens of the towns they pass through with the help of enthusiastic volunteers. Enjoy their website and YouTube channel. If you wish to purchase a product on the RocktheBike website please contact HILLs (that’s me). That way your purchase supports both RocktheBike and HILLS. (Contact information is below.)
Making a business from peoples wish to live simpler may seem contradictory. My plan is to continue to live what officially considered to be a “poverty level lifestyle” while channeling extra resources to help other to live simple happy, healthy sustainable lives.
Why pedal power? Using the lower body to perform useful action engages the entire body in rhythmic activity. Thus fully engaged we can relax and feel our connection to Life. We enjoy this open feeling while using the bicycle for transportation. Pedal power machines allow us to replace the abstraction of power from the grid with the satisfaction of bodily connection to life that we get from bicycling. Using the powerful muscles of the lower torso is more efficient than hand work so pedal power is a happy compromise between hand labor and abstract power.
The use of power from a large central source makes us dependent on an abstract institution or corporation. There are also large losses connected to the transmission of power over long distances. It is probable that the time will soon come we no longer have the resources to power up anything and everything that could possibly make someone a profit or satisfy an indulgence. Even now we no longer have the luxury of the indiscriminate use of resources because even though they may still be available the waste thus generated is profoundly interfering with the natural earth systems.
Pedal power cannot energize today’s typical house but a very modestly powered home could make do with pedal power. Perhaps the future of pedal power is a world of less disparate differences in energy use. The under developed world can use pedal power to live a more comfortable existence and the overdeveloped world will become less sedentary and better able to adopt to the environment.