Hiking and biking on the academic talk circuit

Academics travel a lot to give talks, share our work, attend conferences, discuss our ideas. It’s part of what we do.

(Conference travel is written about in the campus humour novel, Small World, by British author David Lodge, though it’s set several decades ago. The Guardian book club discusses it here. Norms of behavior while traveling an academic have changed since then.)

I’ve written before about exercising on the road. (See, for example, Finding my inner Arnold in Peterborough.) Mostly though these have been individual solutions. But lately a new thing has been happening. In part, thanks to the blog, I think, and our growing community.

I love that my reputation for physical activity now precedes me. The first inkling something was changing was last fall when I was invited to keynote a conference, with short notice. Perhaps the result of the gendered conference campaign, I don’t know. I couldn’t do it but the organizer tried to make it more attractive with the offer of a bike ride. I wouldn’t even have to miss my long weekend ride. And I needn’t bring my own bike on the plane. I could borrow his wife’s road bike. Tempting. (Though I did wonder what his wife might think of the offer. What bike would she ride?) A beautiful part of the world where I’d never ridden before. But still, I couldn’t do it. Bike ride possibilities didn’t make the conflicts in my schedule go away.

Last week I was in San Diego for the Pacific Division meeting of the American Philosophical Association and the conference bike ride idea finally worked out thanks to guest contributor Sharon Crasnow. See Guest Post-Cycling after 60.  Sharon generously arranged me for to borrow her daughter’s road bike. I packed cycling clothes and my helmet. Off we went! We had a lovely bike ride around Fiesta Island.

Great spot for riding and racing. You can do loops, which I love. Ocean view and no snow! Just perfect. Also, flat!

Last month I was in the Los Angeles area giving a talk and I was happy to be taken on a hike on the beach the day of my talk. Later that weekend I got to go hiking in the hills and canyons of LA. I hadn’t thought of LA as a great hiking city. But I was wrong.

Sharing physical activity, hiking and biking, with fellow philosophers is terrific. We can talk while moving. I get to see a new part of the world. And I don’t feel like I need to sneak off on my own to exercise.

I’m organizing bike rides for friends attending the Canadian Philosophical Association conference in May also for philosophers coming to the Canadian Society for Women in Philosophy conference in Waterloo in August.

I love my job!

4 thoughts on “Hiking and biking on the academic talk circuit

  1. That’s fantastic! What a wonderful addition/alternative to the conference bonding that usually happens over drinks.

  2. I travel for work (although not my work in academia just yet) and I workout for work on those trips. Until now I have always struggled with the decision of whether or not to put in my workout while on those trips and how to attempt it. This coming weekend I will be in Memphis to present a yoga workshop. I set a goal this last weekend to run every Saturday and Sunday and to accomplish 1000 miles of walking and running in 2014. This means that I have to log 25+ miles each week from now until next year. Saturday will be my first run on the road and I’m kind of excited to see what Memphis is like from the view of my running shoes.

  3. My main professional conference (NASIG) has had a “fun run” 5k on the Saturday morning of the conference (which runs Wed afternoon through Sun noon). Usually by then, I’m far too exhausted to consider getting up at 5:00am to go jog/walking with fellow attendees. But, I did it the year we were in St. Louis and running through the arch park. That was cool. But not enough to get me to do it again. I’ll stick with the hotel gym at a more reasonable 6:30am.

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