Showing posts with label bike. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bike. Show all posts

October 4, 2021

What Happened to the Geese at Gainesville Duckpond?

One of our favorite stops on our daily Gainesville bike ride is to visit the Duckpond neighborhood to view the ducks and swans, and sit for a few minutes at the peaceful water. Duckpond is a historical neighborhood of Gainesville with the majority of homes built in the late 1800s to the early 1900s.

Many Duckpond homes have been preserved and carry plaques certifying their age: the neighborhood stands as a living history of the early settlers to the area. There are cottage, colonial, Victorian, Mediterranean, and farmhouse-styled homes lining the whimsical winding street. And if you’re into rock music - this is the childhood neighborhood of famed rocker Tom Petty.

A small river meanders through the middle of the street that splits the neighborhood. Towards the south end of the river there is a large pond with an island in the middle that for years has housed a pair of geese: a white older one and a younger black goose. The white goose always reminded me of the one from the children’s fairy tale stories of old mother Goose.

In 2019 the Gainesville neighborhood also added a pair of swimming black swans with beautiful ruffled black feathers on their back. These four large birds have been beautiful to watch on every bike ride we take. They are often very friendly and will squawk back to you as if they are saying hello. I can imagine that the people who live in Duckpond neighborhood are also very fond of their birds - they are such majestic animals!

Twin cypress trees grow over 100 feet tall from the island, which also provides a great habitat for critters. A number of fish and amphibians and reptiles live around the island. You can see the frogs where they have laid their eggs around the rim of the concrete island. Gainesville as a whole has quite a bit of biodiversity in flora and fauna, and this neighborhood has worked to protect this serene slice of land.

The river flows above ground for about half a mile through this beautiful neighborhood section of Gainesville. It’s a great place to sit and study, or to have a few minutes of quiet meditation. While enjoying the natural space, there is not a lot of sound from traffic or city noises. There’s also a couple of benches by the pond.


As you can see from the photos, Gainesville Duckpond is such a peaceful oasis right in the heart of the city. It’s easy to see why the homes hold such high real estate and social value in this area.

Unfortunately on our most recent bike ride, we noticed that all of the birds were missing from the pond.

A cleaning was conducted on the pond six months or more ago where they completely drained the water, cleaned out most of the brush and trash that had accumulated in the pond, and placed the birds in a temporary home. Since these birds had been at Duckpond for years I never imagined that they would not bring them back yet.

Where have the geese and swans from Duckpond neighborhood gone to? No one seems to have an answer online. Do you know where the geese and swans are now living? Leave us a comment to help us figure out this Gainesville mystery.


June 7, 2021

And Now For Something Different: Model Diversity in the Peloton TV Commercial 'At Home Motivation'

**Update to Article - only five days after this was published, the commercial was removed from Youtube, that's why the video is missing below... perhaps they listened?**


Have you seen the 2021 Peloton bike commercial advertisements on TV yet? In the era of body image diversity, this commercial is a total marketing FAIL. Read on to hear why this commercial irks me everytime the upbeat tune from Beyoncé starts to play.

In case you haven't seen it yet, here's the newest Peloton bike commercial (released Spring 2021) which features the song 'At Home Motivation' by Beyonce. On an interesting side note, superstar singer and entrepreneur Beyonce has partnered with Peloton to create a series of custom workouts lead by the famed singer... Here's the commercial:


What strikes you most while watching? What do you notice about the people chosen to represent at-home exercise participants? Watching it at home many times now, I've noted a few things, both positive and negative, regarding the diversity with the models Peloton has chosen to represent regular people participating in home exercise using Peloton’s bike equipment.

Let's start with the positive attempts at model diversity - - there does appear to be many different ethnicities and ages displayed in the commercial for the at home exercisers. The Peloton trainers represented are also somewhat diverse in ethnicity and age. That's where the diversity attempts end.

Now for the negative - -

What bugs me the most is that every model representing at home exercise participants appears to be in really great physical shape. As I watch, I’m thinking “why do these people need to work out, they’re already fit?” Maybe Peloton is only for people who are already fit? And the only girl working out at home is in great shape, far from the average US women’s size (which I think is a size 16). The commercial really leaves me feeling out on the Peloton fitness trend.

Even the older gentlemen doing sit-ups at the end appears to have a little tummy, but upon second look, you’ll notice that he is quite fit and might have the bulk due maybe to a layered shirt.

My point isn’t to pick apart the models used (because these are real people too) - but to ask that companies consider body shape as a diversity item on their checklists. The lack of diverse body shapes is kinda depressing to watch. Every time I hear Beyoncé’s catchy tune start, I sigh and wonder why the marketers could be missing such a relevant issue in today’s world. Discussions about diversity, specifically body image, are everywhere.

And while we’re on the diversity checklist: I didn’t sees any models (both trainers and at home fitness participants) that had differing abilities, such as sight loss, limb loss, or mental illness. How about including some diversity here, which could recruit customers that are veterans, elderly, or somehow “different” than the norm Peloton is currently portraying in their commercial.

What about income diversity? Perhaps criticizing for income diversity is a reach, since Peloton equipment is at a high price point - and requires a monthly subscription that's more than most cellphone planes or a gym membership at a Youfit or Planet Fitness.

I digress, back to body shape -

For an example of a company that does a commercial right for inclusive fitness, check out the brand new commercial for Echelon Fit, sponsored by the Saved by the Bell character, Mario Lopez. The commercial uses very diverse models, looking like real people with many different body sizes and types. Here’s the most recent (2021) Echelon Fit commercial:


Peloton, please consider choosing models that represent a more diverse audience in your next commercial attempt.

Beyoncé, how could you put your name on something that leaves out so many types of people? I am both surprised and disappointed that you would so irresponsible with your sponsorship.


January 12, 2012

Represent: Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee for Tampa Bay Regional Metropolitan Planning Organization

Downtown yesterday, I was asked if I would represent Eastern Hillsborough County's interests on the Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) for the Tampa Bay Regional Metropolitan Planning Organization. Katharine and I were there to represent the college and our need for adequate bike lanes to our campuses as a way to reduce our carbon footprint.

 The committee's website is here.

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