Inspiration

Walking has always been connected with literary sources. As I explored pedestrianism, I found there are related issues of interest such as health and fitness and the current popularity in bicycling. Cycling in our communities is evolving in a parallel way to pedestrian causes as an alternative form of efficient exercise. And, on a personal level, I'm a dedicated cyclist when I'm not doing other things. So, here are a variety of my favorite readings that have inspired me:

Literary

Urban Adventure

Walking Exercise & Technique

Health & Exercise

Cycling for Change


The Lost Art of Walking - Geoff Nicholson

Lost Art of Walking An interesting look at the history, science, philosophy, art, and literature of walking. With a keen and wizened eye for dissecting the world around us, Nicholson draws us into a kaleidoscopic world built on something natural yet ephemeral to all of us. Walking, to Nicholson, is both the puzzle and the answer. 

He's our guide in an Alice-In-Wonderland-type stroll through human nature, history, cultures and personal lives that leaves us breathlessly climbing the last steep hill with his Mother on her own last journey. He succeeds at drawing out the curiosity and want of self-knowledge in all of us. More to the point, walking is a wonder in and of itself and something worth pondering.

My full Amazon review on the book.

Walking – Henry David Thoreau

Thoreau's essay Walking Ask any serious walker, “Which writer has inspired you the most?" and Mr. T. is on top. His famously quoted "In wildness is the preservation of the world," became the clarion call of the early environmental movement. There's still wilderness in local streams, trees, parks and meadowlands as long as we appreciate nature in them.

Thoreau lectured on walking in the 1850s, and later sent a manuscript of his talk to the Atlantic Monthly, which published it a month after he died. Admirers consider Walking to be one of Thoreau's best brief statements of his philosophy. Also, seek out his essay, “A Winter’s Walk” for more on the experience of walking in nature.

Route 3 - What I saw on the road through New Jersey - Ian Fraizer (New Yorker)

Route 3 Article

A fascinating article by New Yorker writer Ian Frazier, about living in New Jersey and traveling along a highway (Route 3) that has clearly evolved beyond a challenge to drive and into a formidable, curious obstacle to walk. Frazier makes the harrowing trip from Montclair to Weehawkin commenting on the milestones and trivia that makes this required reading for anyone that has ever contemplated a long walk to New York City.

A Literary Visitor Strolls in From the Airport - Charles McGrath (New York Times)

NY Times Article on Will Self's Journey from JFK to Manhattan When eclectic London-based writer Will Self arrived in New York in 2006 he walked from Kennedy Airport to Manhattan, a perilous journey traversing expressways with no curbs and various neighborhoods for about 20 miles. As a student of psycho-geography, he believes a car-ride imposes a “windscreen-based virtuality” on travel, cutting us off from physically experiencing our own topography. Self claimed people don’t know where they are anymore, “In the post-industrial age, this is the only form of real exploration left. Anyone can go and see the Ituri pygmy, but how many people have walked all the way from the airport to the city?” This is a short article about his observations with accompanying photos and map of his journey.

The 90-Day Fitness Walking Program – Mark Fenton and Seth Bauer

90 day fitness walking A quick practical guide that’s easy to read and put into practice. Want the basics about walking as an exercise, without being bogged down in details this is the book for you. Even if you don’t exercise now, you’ll find some solice in simple daily steps too develop a healthy habit of walking. Co-written by the most widely know walker and author on the subject, Mark Fenton.

Prevention's Complete Book of Walking - Maggie Spilner

Prevention's Complete Book fo Walking This is a comprehensive, encyclopedic source of information about walking as an ideal exercise. About 10 years ago walking was enjoying one of its periodic times in the spotlight as an ideal exercise to maintain a healthy lifestyle and lose weight. As the book title suggests, the book covers a lot of ground from weight loss workout plans, to finding perfect-fitting shoes,Yoga poses, treadmills and training for walking events and competitions. There's a 6-week Dynamic Walking program to get faster results from your walking routine.

American Idle – Mary Collins

American Idle

A comprehensive look at the social, cultural, moral and physical consequences of living an idle, sedentary lifestyle. The author had a severe bike accident, which drastically impaired her lifestyle. As a former athelete, she began to appreciate the importance of exercise and how we have created a society that avoids physical movement or enshrines it at professional levels. It is a world of overactive minds and underused bodies. Dramatic social changes have happened in a relatively short period of human history that have caused many public health problems today. The author suggests ways of adjusting our lifestyles to match the natural physical requirements of our bodies that have developed over thousands of years of human evolution.

Ultimate Fitness: The Quest for Truth about Exercise and Health - Gina Kolata

Ultimate Fitness The author walks us through some history of fitness, and covers a number of common issues about exercise. How much exercise is enough to be healthy? Can people change their body tone/shape through exercise? What is a heart rate zone? What is runner's high? It turns out that there have been several periods of our own history where healthy exercise was promoted, only to fall behind in our social conscience. As a science reporter for the New York Times since 1987, Gina Kolata has broad knowledge of the what works and what it means to be fit.

Pedaling Revolution - How Cyclists are Changing American Cities - Jeff Mapes

Pedaling Revolution A grassroots movement for bicycles is occurring today on city streets. The author explores the growing urban bike culture that is changing the look and feel of cities across the U.S. He discusses all the pro-cycling improvements in streets of New York City as well as what its like to ride in a Critical Mass event in San Francisco. Mapes is a seasoned journalist and long-time bike commuter,. He covers bicycle advocacy, environmental issues, safety, and health. Congressman James Oberstar (D-MN) is spotlighted as a new activist politician, who has helped unleash a new flood of federal money for bikeways. Bicycling has become a new political and cultural trend that has helped take back streets from motorists. This is a lively spirited book on how cycling, like pedestrianism, is becoming at catalyst for better health and communities.

Bicycle Diaries - David Byrne

Bicycle Diaries David Byrne of "Talking Heads" band fame happens to be a long-time cyclist. Little did we know that he also takes his bike with him to most places he travels. The Bicycle Diaries are his notes on what if feels like to ride in places like Istambul, Berlin, and London. Did you know that its rare to see a cyclist in Buenos Aires? What is surprising, and makes the book more interesting, is that it covers more cultural oddities and travel insight reflecting his artistic, but American tastes. A good casual read for the inner-pedestrian and wishful-traveler in all of us.

Recent Events

The Big Walk 2017

May 20, 2017 - Rain at the crack of dawn did nothing to stop 40+ FreeWalkers' at this 8th annual premier long distance event. Fortunately, the weather cooperated, mostly, and we had 11 finish the maximum 50-miles.

The walk from Metropark station to Penn Station NYC is a diverse challenge with many obstacles which draw the best of our long distance walkers.

Website Update here

Survey resultsTake Survey. 

Photos here

Between Walk 2017

April 15, 2017 - With a good temps but overcast skies 23. FreeWalkers walked the 12 miles from New Brunswick to Metropark station. This year's events included a new free bagel stop at Ruthie's in Highland Park and a great personal tour of the newly renovated Thomas Edison Center in Menlo Park.

Jack Shi's Excellent Adventure

Website Update here

Survey resultsTake Survey

Photos here

Great Canal Walk 2017

April 8, 2017 - It was a beautiful day for a walk with a taste of spring. FourWalkers walked the 40 miles from Trenton and 29 walkers favored the shorter, yet challenging 28 miles from Princeton to New Brunswick.

Website Update here

Survey results. Take Survey

Photos here

Spring Ahead 2017

March 19, 2017 - Eight FreeWalkers walked the 12-miles from Trenton to Princeton on a day when winter would not let go. Snow covered trail and cold temps slowed down the trek but sun and good spirits were plentiful. 

See photos here

Roosevelt Island/Astoria 2017

March 4, 2017 - About 40 braved the mid-teens and walked across town to the tram. We explored the island and the FDR 4 Freedoms Monument and park. Eventually crossing the bridge to Queens for some middle-eastern sights, smells and tastes. Ending it all at the famous Czech Beer Hall. 

See photos here

See survey results here

Kennedy 50-Mile Walk 2017

February 4, 2017 - An event for history buffs and hardcore walkers. Our 4th walk along the C&O Canal in Maryland and West Virginia - just like Bobby Kennedy did in 1963. Chilly weather did not dampen the can-do spirit of 50 fellow walkers at our grand annual event.

Learn more>>
See photos here
See survey results here

TRAINing Walk 2017

January 28, 2017 - It's mid-winter and 75 hearty walkers show up at the Morristown train station. This year we went West to East and ended in a cozy bar called Coda. Special kudos to Madison Honda for their hospitatlity.

See photos here
See the survey results here.

Midnight March on Princeton


January 7, 2017 - The Midnight March was our first all-night walking event and first event for the new year. Six brave FreeWalkers played wannabe soldiers and stayed with the troops into battle.at daybreak.
Read the entire story here
See photos here

See the video!

Holiday Lights in Dyker Heights


December 16, 2016 - About a dozen FreeWalkers braved extreme cold and outmaneuvered rabid fans of the famous Brooklyn neighborhood. Thanks to Nakis Pericleous for leading us to the holiday kingdom.
See photos here

South Orange - Maplewood Walk & Year-end Party


December 4, 2016 - There were 35 FreeWalkers walking the grand and historic neighborhoods of South Orange and Maplewood followed by our year-end party and awards. Thanks to Risa Olinsky and David Ascher for a great day for a walk, celebration party and a start of the holiday season..
See photos here

Gobble-Gobble for MEND


November 25, 2016 - A crowd of about 40 walked off some turkey and at the same time helped the unfortunate in our communities by supporting MEND of Essex County - a food-bank charity that we support. Gobble-Gobble Walkers were asked to bring food and/or donate to help the hungry.
See photos here

Stroll & Roll - Union County


November 6, 2016 - Familes and FreeWalkers enjoyed a great fall day in Echo Lake Park, Mountainside, NJ as we got about 200 participants strolling and rolling. Kids had as much fun as adults enjoying the games, mild temps and colorful leaves on our first-ever family walking event. Thank you sponsors and Risa Olinsky and Yohana Osorio for organizing!
See photos here

Philadelphia Marathon Walk

October 30, 2016 - Charles Upkike led about 20 FreeWalkers along the route of the Philadelphia Marathon, know for its scenery - especially this time of year.

Legend of Sleepy Hollow Walk

October 30, 2016 - Rick Mohovich led about a dozen FreeWalkers around the Tarrytown area in a walk that passed through the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery of Wahington Irving fame.

Tour of Brooklyn - Coney Island


October 29, 2016 - 25 FreeWalkers walked from the New City waterfront to Coney Island on our annual tour of a different section of Brooklyn each year. Always popular and interesting, we enjoyed great weather and scenery as we walked the greenway trail, including under the Verrazano Bridge. Thanks leader Nancy Jonap!
See photos here

Autumn on the Delaware Series


October 20-23, 2016 - Four consecutive days, 120 miles. Walking from York PA to Frenchtown. FreeWalkers walked in support of Jim Gregoire, a FreeWalker and man on a mission to walk the entire US East Coast. Charles Updike, FreeWalkers PA Regional director organized this series of walk to keep him company and provide a great reason to visit the Delaware River area.
See photos here

Sailung Nepal Trek


October 3-16, 2016 - Two weeks trekking te foothills of the Himalayas. Sydney Frymire of Trek of Your Life (TOYL), a FreeWalker and experienced hiker and traveler organizes trips to Nepal which include a bit of volunteerism and plenty of incredible sights.
See photos here

Lenape 34


October 10, 2016 - On Columbus Day each year we brave the wilds of Essex County and travel through five reservations, 8 parks a dozen or so towns as we walk from Millburn to Cedar Grove, Montclair and Newark as we follow the Lenape Trail for 34 miles in our most diverse walk.
See photos here

Endless Summer Walk


September 24, 2016 - Once again we tried our best to hold on to summer and made a 30-mile trek along the bayshore and oceanside from Matawan to Sandy Hook to Asbury Park. Great conditions again this year for a beautiful walk and one of our most popular.
See photos here

Tour of Boston

September 17, 2016 - Fran Price, our FreeWalker leader in Boston, put together a great tour of the highlights of Boston. We walked from South Boston to Copley Square, mostly following the water and the historic trail.
See photos here

Providence - Boston Expedition

Providence to Boston July 23 to July 29 - Loredana, Ken and Nancy have finished thier 110 mile week-long expedition on the ECGA.

Read Loredana's story on why she walks the expedition each year.

See Loredana's 7-day Photo Journal

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