I am originally from Toronto, Canada. At the age of 18 I loaded up the family Volvo and headed to Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. As reported by family I never returned, (to live, that is).
Three years of "study" provided a degree in Geography and Psychology. At the time I felt that I could say that "Not only do I know where I am going, but why I am going there." If I knew then, what I know now...
Following a "different road" became ingrained in my life journey from an early age. I recall as a child in the fifties, when our family would go on a Sunday drive, that I always wanted to return by a different route. I wanted to see what was down that "other road". For reasons I still try to understand, I continue to live by that credo.
That's me, second from the left, looking for that different road.
I was fortunate then, that my summer job through university took me to many of the far flung reaches of Canada. I worked in the bush for a mineral exploration company, Barringer Research. I travelled by float plane, helicopter, canoe, 4X4 truck, and foot. This took me from Northern Manitoba between Thompson and Lyn Lake, to Reindeer Lake in Northern Saskatchewan to Quesnel, Houston, and Osoyoos, British Columbia, Dryden, Ontario and Sackville, New Brunswick over three summers.
Leonard in the bush.
Those three years of university turned into 22 years living at the other end of Lake Ontario. Perhaps not surprisingly, I was usually employed in the transportation industry. At that time my employer of the day, UPS, asked me to transfer to Ottawa, about 175 kilometers to the northeast.
The end of the century brought an end to a personal era. I decided to leave the corporate world on December 31, 1999 for a quieter life. That spring I purchased my first bicycle as an adult. The only regret I have is that I didn't do it sooner!
I combine my love of cycling with community volunteer work. I am a Past Board President and as Vice-President of the Overbrook-Forbes Community Resource Centre until May, 2011, when I left the board after ten years of service. I served as President of my local Community Association, the Community Council of Overbrook until the fall of 2006. More info can be found at www.ofcrc.org and www.overbrook.ca respectively. Both of these endeavours enriched me immeasurably. I represented the Green Party of Ontario in the Provincial election of 2007 in the riding of Ottawa-Vanier.
Not all of my "different road" adventures have been by bicycle. In 1998 my wanderlust took me to China, where two friends hosted me as we took in the sites and sounds of Shanghai and Beijing. I toured my ancestral homeland, England, with my brother in 2000. It was a mad automotive dash from Lands End to John O'Groats, and many points in between. 2500 miles in ten days. I toured there again in 2003 and 2004 with my good friend, Mary Helen.
My 2004 adventure also included an eye opening trip to the Middle East. I was the guest of my good friend and neighbour, Majid. He introduced me to the profound beauty of his homeland, Iran. Amongst many other things, I learned not to confuse the Iranian people with its government. Read about that adventure at http://web.ncf.ca/leonardo7/iran.htm
In 2005 I acquired a new bike, an Airnimal Chameleon folder. Learn more at www.airnimal.net The more I ride it, the more I enjoy it! That same year my new set of wheels took me from Toronto to Ottawa, as well as a relaxing pedal in upstate New York.
In the spring of 2011 I purchased a Surly Long Haul Trucker, which seems to have relegated the Airnimal to special occasions. I have outfitted the new LHT to suit my needs. Some of my alterations can be viewed on my blog here http://leonardpoole.blogspot.ca/2011/12/attaching-mirrors-lot-of-other-stuff-to.html.
I ride a bike and encourage others to do so for reasons of health. On a personal level this activity is a healthy active choice for the participant. The act of cycling, however, has broader implications for the well-being of our society. Every cycling journey that reduces the consumption of a non-renewable resource is a positive step toward improving the quality of the air we breathe. I want to do whatever I can to encourage others to accept responsibility for and understand the consequences of not only their transportation but all of their lifestyle choices.
The ever increasing size of the footprint of humankind on our planet is unsustainable. We destroy far more of our home than we revitalize. Our collective blindness to this imbalance is leading to the destruction of civilization as we know it. It is my hope that I will have the pleasure of dying a natural death as a result of old age. Sadly, it is unlikely that future generations will be able to look forward to a similar fate unless there is radical change in human behaviour. I was profoundly influenced on this issue by reading "A Short History of Progress" by Ronald Wright. It is a must read. A brief description can be found at: http://www.strategicforesight.com/bookreview_shorthistory.htm
To hear Part I of the Massey Lecture given by Ronald Wright in 2004, go to this website: http://www.cbc.ca/ideas/massey/massey2004.html
I have found the following websites informative on these issues:
A Healthy, Natural World,
the Source of All Our Wealth,
is Incompatible with Global, Economic Growth
Take the Ecological Footprint Quiz
Take a Stand on Economic Growth
More recently I have been blogging on environmental and other issues that concern me. Check it out at http://leonardpoole.blogspot.com/
In an effort to "walk the talk" on this issue, in early 2006 I gave up automobile ownership. My only wonder now is why I didn't give it up sooner!
I have many ingrained habits of consumptive behaviour yet to change. I am endeavouring to be more conscious of every consumption decision I make.
I enjoy good fortune. I have been blessed, with good friends, family and health. I have been empowered by education. I seek ways to share these treasures with others.