How do you stay fit while being a parent of a toddler? Great question. I'm not doing such a good job. Before Jake was born 13 months ago, I biked regularly during the week and surfed on weekends. That gave me a full body workout and great cardio. I really enjoyed it too.

However, I gave up my trusty 1986 Volvo surfwagon just before Jake was born, which brought my surfing to a near complete halt. There's no practical public transportation option to the beach, not to mention that my 9' 3" longboard won't fit on a bus or train anyway. Surfing is by far the biggest sacrifice I've made in my quest for a shareable lifestyle.

Overall, I'm happier without the car, but the loss of surfing is weighing on me. The connection I make to nature through surfing is the most rewarding I've found yet. It uplifts my mind, body, and soul. It's a superb workout while being thrilling and humbling too. The ocean is a stern teacher, yet I feel a rare meditative calm when I come out of the water. The world just feels right. I've heard of people who surf as a form of therapy. And I've surfed with some who call surfing their church. Surfers are nothing if not devoted. I'd like to find a way to get back into the water. Any ideas?

That leaves biking. Biking is much easier to pull off as a parent. I've been going on short recreational jaunts. Plus, I take my bike on Caltrain wherever I head up to the city to work at Hub SoMa, the social enterprise coworking space in San Francisco. This gives me a series of short bike trips to and fro the train. Still, I haven't been doing as much recreational biking as I'd like because it takes away from family time. That's about to change.

Andrea and I just bought a used bike trailer for Jake from a nice couple in the San Carlos hills. We still need to find a used bike for Andrea, but we should be ready for Spring biking as a family soon. That is if Jake takes to his new "bike chariot". He started crying the first time we put him in it!

I'm finding that part of the solution to staying fit as a "shareable" parent is to combine exercise with family time and integrate exercise into everyday chores. On that last point, we plan on making family trips to the grocery store. We can use the trailer to haul some groceries with Jake. The rest can go on whatever cargo rigs we get together for the bikes. Stay tuned for that.

Neal Gorenflo


Neal Gorenflo | |

Neal Gorenflo is the co-founder and board president of Shareable, an award-winning nonprofit news, action network, and consultancy for the sharing transformation. An epiphany in 2004 inspired Neal to

Things I share: Time with friends and family, stories, laughs, books, tools, ideas, nature, resources, passions, my network.