the TAO of CHANGE

a boots-on-the-ground view of the change that's a-foot

by Tao Oliveto, Carrboro, NC

I have a lot of cool neighbors in Arcadia, my co-housing community. But, the pair shown here, who live next door, are some of the coolest.

Giles and Ginger live off-grid, using solar energy for electricity and a wood stove for heat. Their back yard is a masterpiece of stone and wood sculptures, wildflowers and fruit trees – not a blade of grass to be found – Giles will be the first to tell you that he hates grass. Far beyond the typical idea of water conservation, they recently teamed up with the household next door and installed an underground cistern that holds LOTS of rainwater, harvested from two rooftops. (They’ll use it for irrigation and whatever else comes up in the next drought.)

Giles is a green Architect and a national leader in co-housing and sustainable design. He works downtown and before he teamed up with Ginger on this double-seater, he used to do a solo bicycle ride to work almost every day. I even remember when he added goggles and a rain/wind shield to his gear for the wet/cold weather – in fact, he is the one who inspired me to move beyond my own fair-weather riding habits last Winter (see this post).

Ginger also works downtown – a little longer ride and a LOT earlier start – she has to be there before the city buses run. So, they put their green heads (and helmets) together and came up with this plan involving a really unique bicycle built for two! Now, Ginger and Giles load up and are off to work together at 6:30am on this cool green machine. He drops Ginger off at work and then pedals on to breakfast at the co-op before landing at his office on Main Street. Ginger hops the bus to get home in the afternoons and then you’ll see Giles pedaling back in the evenings, his briefcase riding in the spare seat.

I usually hear them near dawn, giggling outside my window as they load up. Really – Ginger says she has so much fun getting to work this way that she can’t stop giggling. This morning I rushed out to get their photo before they took off down the road. Eco-heroes. Road Warriors. Happy People.

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One Response to “”

  1. Kristine Young with Reid (8) and Emma (6) Says:

    Dear Tao,

    Thank you so much for writing this wonderful article on Ginger and Giles. I (Kristine) am Ginger’s only niece and Reid and Emma are her Great-Niece and Nephews. We loved seeing a picture of the “Green Machine” since I’ve heard so many stories about their adventures on this bike. They are an inspiration to us.

    Again, thanks!
    Kristine, Reid, and Emma Young in Madison, WI

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