- Biking is fun! When the elements all come together, and you’re riding down the road, wind in your face, a nice bike lane, a good cadence; it’s a fun way to move in the world. (I’ve been enjoying riding home from work in the dark this last week…but that’s a story for another time).
- Lots of exercise! I’m not sure that I’ve lost any weight since I started commuting, which was one of the goals. But at least I am getting exercise. Getting up the hills on my commute it getting easier.
- Gaining confidence about my own riding ability and my place on the road. This has been especially true as the weather has gotten colder and on the days that I rode in light snow. Each of those times Imade it without any incidents!
- Being more thoughtful and deliberate about what I’m doing and where I’m going. This one is sort of the flip side of the first two worries. I can see that practicing a bit more deliberation could be beneficial. I think that not having easy access to a car might encourage me to think more about what my priorities are for how I want to spend my time—do I really want to spend half an hour biking to Target to buy shampoo and also look at various other consumer products? Perhaps not.
- Slowing down. Seeing and experiencing the town at a slower pace. This last week, I attended a conference on central campus, so I rode into town on a different route than usual. As I was riding I noticed shops and other buildings that I hadn’t ever seen before, even though I’d driven down that road countless times. On my regular route, I appreciate being able to say good morning to the walkers and joggers that share the bike trail with me. Some are regulars, like myself, and others I only see once or twice but it’s nice to have a bit of interaction with folks.
- Saving money. As you can see the excitement is sometimes just the flip of the worry. I know we will save on car insurance, car maintenance and gas. I wonder what other ways we might also save money.
- Teaching Jackson that there are alternatives to mainstream culture and values.
- That it feels like a new adventure, a way to test myself, to experience something new. As a couple, Brad and I have been somewhat adventurous, in a sort of outdoorsy way. We like to travel and recreate. And we’ve continued to do that since Jackson was born. I think we highly value new experiences, and new challenges. Car-free seems like a way to create a new adventure that becomes part of our daily lives.
And I know that’s not where we are at. We are making choices, choices that flow from other choices we’ve made. We’ve already decided to try to live on one income, so this is part of trying to live within our means. We want to make paying down our school and credit card debt a priority, rather than increasing our debt with car loans. We bought our small cottage because we wanted to keep our home as uncomplicated as possible (that’s not exactly what has happened so far), and because its location allowed for the possibility using bikes for our primary transportation. But also, honestly, at this point, we can’t afford to fix our car unless we win the lottery, so right now, its not that much of a choice.
But we are doing it. I’m realizing that it’s a bit of process, like most things, not something that happens cleanly or all at once.