Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Bike Girl Completes Her Car Free Challenge

Photo by Piax LOLed by Knittens

Today was day 30 of Bike Girl’s 30 day car-free pledge. The state of her car attests to that. The pledge was inspired by a challenge from Green L-A girl. On the whole, Bike Girl found that it was extremely easy to not drive for a month.

This is not to say there were no bumps along the way. Notable bumps included Bike Girl’s resistance to getting on a bicycle before 8 a-m for a meeting. This showed Bike Girl that she needs to carefully consider her schedule and priorities. Another time, Bike Girl did a 30 mile training ride one Saturday, and then climbed over the Sepulveda Pass to get to Sherman Oaks for a meeting. On the way she got lost and ended up riding an extra 10 miles, making the whole trip over 50 miles.

But since Bike Girl has gradually been reducing her car trips, the majority of the month was spent as usual. Here are some of the things Bike Girl did to make being car free pretty easy:

1. Get Panniers for your bike - They’re like saddle-bags that go over your rear rack. Bike Girl’s hold a grocery bag each.

2. Mix transit – Bike Girl frequently takes her bike on the bus and Metro train to extend her reach and take a break from riding all over town. For people who frequently utilize the Metro or busses, a folding bike may be a good investment, though Bike Girl has been able to get around with a regular bike.

3. Plan Ahead – Bike Girl doesn’t like to have to carry a bunch of stuff around, even in her stylish Panniers. So she puts together clothes and food for the whole week of work and carts them in on Monday. She brings the dirty clothes and empty Tupperware home on Fridays.

4. Get lights – traveling at night can be intimidating. But thanks to a gift from Bike Girl’s significant other, she has extremely bright lights that allow her to travel safely at night.

Not everyone seems to have enjoyed Bike Girl’s car-free month. Apparently a neighborhood LOLcat has noticed how dusty her car has become. He has written “Wash Me PLZ” on the trunk and the windshield.

As a reward for completing her goal, Bike Girl has decided to thoroughly clean her car and purchase a car cover. She anticipates the car will be covered most of the time. Bike Girl is also planning to take the car for a tune up and ask the mechanic how better to prepare the car for long periods of sitting without being used.

Bike Girl would like to challenge her readers who currently use their cars to go car-lighter. This can start with not using the car one day a week.


Anonymous said...
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Ben Von Handorf said...


What light(s) are you using? With the coming winter and the shorter days, I'm looking to invest in something brighter and better for my own commuting.

I've enjoyed your adventures in car-free-ness. Do you intend to continue it?

RideTHISbike.com said...


Congrats on keeping your 30 day car free pledge. That's serious.

I got a couple of 'atta boyz' for making a folding bike my primary transportation during InterBike but a few days is nothing compared to a month in L.A. by bicycle.

By the way, the L.A. Metro has received a Caltrans Grant to increase ridership among cyclists. The money will fund the Metro Folding Bike Implementation Plan (a program to help more cyclists fit on Metro by getting them to take a folding bike in place of a standard bicycle). This is exciting news for Metro riders.

Keep up the great work with your blog (love the logo graphic) and 'holla if you want 'mo folding bike info.


Will Campbell... said...

Congrats Bike Girl!

green LA girl said...

Congrats on the challenge! What I'm wondering is -- Does the fact that you can clearly survive 1/12 of the year car-free tempt you to consider extending the challenge to the other 11/12 of the year, thereby freeing you of all car-related maintenance, cleaning, parking, and fuel costs for 12/12 of the year? :)

Unrelatedly: Why the hyphen between the L and the A? Curious --

Homegrown Evolution said...

Right on bike girl! Now you can burn that car!

Bike Girl said...

ben - Bike Girl uses a Night Rider MiNewt x2

larry - good to know! thanks for your support

Erik - thanks for your support

Siel - thanks for the challenge, whether it was a challenge or not