Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Bike Girl Goes Car Free Day 9

Bike Girl is nothing if she's not determined. Yet, she seems to have hit a snag going from Car-Lite to completely Car-Free.

Our Protagonist has a tumultuous relationship with Mornings. While Bike Girl enjoys being up in the mornings puttering about her apartment, drinking a warm caffeinated beverage and reading a book. She sometimes cannot force herself out of her cozy nest and onto a bicycle to run errands.

Curiously, Bike Girl often rousts herself before a reasonable hour to don cycling-specific clothing and join other similarly-clad riders for fast-ish rides on the weekend. But when the errand involves a non-recreational obligation, the idea of mounting a bike becomes less attractive.

While she hates to admit it, Bike Girl did call in "sick" to a certain appointment she had early in the morning this week because she could not bear the thought of riding to it. For a few minutes, she debated a secret car trip. Since Bike Girl blogs anonymously, no one would know! However, that idea was soon shot down by Bike Girl's Conscience.

Bike Girl marveled at how a different way of getting around changed her priorities in only a week.

Our Protagonist is interested to hear if any other car-free folks have noticed they make fewer trips, or have otherwise changed their habits because of their mode of transportation.


Bekka Teerlink said...

I'm not car free, but I'm working on it too! I am aiming to make this the first week I bicycle all 5 days to work. (I have a tumultuous relationship with Mondays.) I've been working up to biking 5 days over a few months. I'm down to about 20 miles a week by car, and that's usually to haul large items. I find that as the novelty wears off and it becomes mundane, it starts to get easier. Though I live at the top of a steep hill and that hasn't gotten easier to overcome.

Kathryn said...

I'm car-free, and yes! It does change your priorities. One of the most un-nerving things about car culture is how driving changes the way we think and live -- in (I think) not-so-good ways.

Being able to jump in a car at a moment's notice promotes shopping (most of my "errands" used to involve buying something). When we get out of our cars and use our own power to carry ourselves and the stuff we buy, we begin to think twice about getting that chotsky or load of groceries.

And we begin to think twice about the appointments we create for ourselves. Am I willing to pedal up the hill to make an appearance at this event? If the answer is no, maybe the event shouldn't be my top priority. This one has been tough for me, but I've been able to simplify my time and be sure to spend it on things I really care about, rather than letting others schedule my day for me.

It's tough at first, but over time, being car-free helps to sharpen your focus on where you're willing to put your time and pedal-power. I've also learned a lot about the assumptions that our car-culture makes about time and mobility. It's a big shift, but I think, a worthwhile one!

Gary said...

I'm effectively car free though I am still in the process of actually getting rid of the car. It does change habits in the manner kathryn mentions. Ultimately I think it can be a good thing because it does make you take deeper consideration into where you go and why. With a car it is so easy to just go to target and buy some thing you may not really need. With a bike you think, do I really want to go there, and is what I'm buying worth carrying home? If it's really important to you, you will do it, but if it isn't, then you will opt out.

Anonymous said...

car-free does not mean bike-only. Hopping on a bus, carpooling with someone, walking, all of those are integral to a car-free life in Los Angeles.

Bike Girl said...

Agreed. Bike Girl often uses the Bus, the Metro, and even * gasp * walks. There are a wide range of alternative transit options available.

Anonymous said...

i havent had a car in LA for over a year now!