I just got back from a weekend jaunt to Boulder, Colorado to visit a friend, who has been there for a year writing a book about running (among other things). Boulder is the running capital of the U.S. Or something like that. What is certain is that this city loves it some fitness. Bike racks, I'm convinced, come standard with every car purchased, and there were people - lots of them -- actually biking up a mountain. A steep one.
Now, there are plenty of hardbodied folks in Miami - Miami Beach, at least - but they're mostly of the gym rat/lipo variety. They work out because they want to look good in clingy clothing, not to eventually one day compete in Iron Man. Granted, I have no desire to run a marathon - last year my New Year's resolution was to be able to do one pull up by the end of the year. Let's just say lifting my suitcase into the overhead compartment is still an issue. But I admire Boulderites' commitment to an active lifestyle, and a few other things:
They recycle. Big time
Not just bins at home, but plastic/aluminum and paper containers on pretty much every block. And people actually use them. Correctly.
They conserve energy
A ridiculous number of residential homes sport solar panels on their roofs, and the city now requires all new construction to obtain a certain number of "green points," earned by installing things like solar panels, energy-efficient windows and shade trees.
They fight the big chains
Boulder's equivalent of Lincoln Road is still all mom-and-pops - indie music and book store, microbrewery, candy shop - except for the new Cheesecake Factory, which apparently residents fought really hard against and most hate like poison.
They show their college football team some love
With a really awesome stadium. UM fans cheered in squalor, knowing a balcony railing could come crashing down from above at any moment, only to see the OB demolished instead of built back up to its original glory.
They're the headquarters for Wild Oats
Which was bought out by Whole Foods, I know, but it represents the city's emphasis on healthy living. This place is vegetarian heaven. I actually overheard some dude tell someone his wife was gluten-free, as if he were telling them she had two legs. I ate a tempeh Rueben in a pub.
All that said, I'm not moving to Boulder tomorrow. It's full of yuppies and hippies. You can't buy alcohol on Sundays. The official wardrobe is running shorts and hoodies. There's bizarro crime, like crazy janitor stabbings and Jonbenet Ramsay. And, well, it gets cold. But I realize when I travel to other cities how backward Miami can be and how far this city has to go when it comes to city planning. Sure, we can brag about our sunshine and our beaches, but take those away and I'm pretty sure we'd have something resembling Detroit.
I suppose this is where I give some motivational call to action. Write the mayor, ride your bike to work, blah blah. Instead, I'll leave you with an inspirational quote from the inspirational Boulder-to-Miami in-flight movie, The Great Debaters (think Remember the Titans but with famous author quotes instead of locker room antics), starring Denzel Washington and Forrest Whitaker: "We do what we have to do in order to do what we want to do." Discuss.