Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Bicycling Craze in PA - Related to Organic Gardening??

Organic Gardening magazine and the Rodale Institute have long been part of my repertoire of hobbies/reading since I started gardening somewhere back in the early 90's -- long before I had any interest in bicycles. Then a Cannondale Scalpel came into my life somewhere around 2001 and the organic gardening took a back seat for a couple years. Last year, the gardening came around again and I'm balancing the two pretty much equally now. I always knew Rodale owned Bicycling Magazine and many, many other fitness mags (Runner's world, Mens Health, Womens Health, Prevention, etc), but I never knew the real impact the Rodales had on the fitness world until recently, AND the fact it started as organic gardening and moved into healthy living and fitness. I'm reading Our Roots Grow Deep, the Story of Rodale. It's a fascinating story of the 3 generations of Rodales and the empire they've built -- including the huge health and fitness division to include the above mags and oodles and oodles of health and fitness books. South Beach Diet? Rodale. Biggest Loser cookbooks and other books? Rodale. Pilates books, yoga books, all kinds of diet books? Most are the brainchild of Rodale. When Grandpa organic guru J.I. Rodale passed away in 1971 after bringing the organic movement into mainstream, his son, Bob Rodale took over and focused on growing the health and fitness divisions. From the book, "Bicycling has an appeal that went far beyond competition and recreation. For Bob Rodale, the bicycle was something like the perfect machine. Energy-efficient, environmentally friendly, and healthy, the bicycle offered people the ability to take greater control of their own lives. And increasingly, he used the company's resources to promote both traditional and new uses for the bicycle.
He was an active guy himself -- an Olympic skeet shooter. When he went to the 1968 Olympics, he was fascinated by the track bikes; thus, in 1975 Rodale donated the land and money to build the Velodrome and purchased Bicycling magazine. The rest is history - Rodale has been diligently promoting health and fitness since through their many magazines and books. I've never been to the Velodrome, but its on my list of things to do someday. Of course I'll then want a track bike. Ha! I truly believe we have the Rodales to thank for many decades of making the public aware of the importance of health, fitness, and an organic lifestyle. Very inspiring.

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