Workin’ 9 to 5 (and getting there without a car)

yep i totally snapped this of someone w/o permission

“I thought of that while riding my bicycle.”
~ Albert Einstein, on the theory of relativity

As some of you know, I converted to bike commuting four years ago and have never looked back.  In fact, I even sold my car at the same time, as I just never used it enough to make it worth my while.  When I bought my house, I’d intentionally picked a neighborhood with good bus service, and soon had the bonus of a FlexCar (now known as ZipCar) parked a couple of blocks away for emergencies.  So, for me, my bicycle was another tool to be used to get from here to there.

But, y’all, I’m no cyclist.

Just because I ride my bike doesn’t mean I want to ride it all day, every day, across land and sea.  More power to those who do, and not saying that I don’t like the wind on my face or the endorphin kick after a ride, but you’ll not see me in spandex doing century rides.  But I do like traipsing around town, not worrying about parking challenges, and I can’t imagine ever having a car payment or gas bill.  Yikes.

My story & my basic setup? Here.
What do I do in the winter? Here.
Who makes it less intimidating me to learn to maintain my bike?  Here.
The nice folks who sold me my hybrid (& do semiannual tuneups)? Here.

And I’m not the only one … check out my girl Yancy and her Pedalin‘ posts over at FiveSeed, where she shares her journey commuting on two wheels in a smaller town.

Want more motivation?  Here are Five Benefits of Cycle Commuting by our friends at Treehugger.com.

But I get around in other ways.
I’m no bus snob – I love on longer commutes or blustery days that I have the option to hop a bus and get a few chapters read in whatever book I’m engrossed in.  And I can pop my bike on the front rack so I can go ride in other areas of the city – sweet!!!
* Our light rail is pretty awesome.  Unlike the bus, you can bring it on the train, and aren’t stuck out in the cold if the two bike spots on the bus rack are already occupied.  Our rail goes all the way out to the airport, across town to the west side, and to events at the Expo Center which I like.  Oh and it goes up a particularly steep hill that I hate.
* Oh yeah – and I WALK (gasp!).  Yep, if you can walk four miles on a “day hike” on the weekend, why can’t you do the same in town?  Never made sense to me how people were amazed when I would walk to work.  Takes about an hour (same time as I’d spend at the gym, or that some folks actually spend in traffic, or on their hair & makeup), and I feel SO refreshed.  Here’s one of the other benefits I have loved.
* And of course, if needed, there is a ZipCar on the corner.  You can easily see that there are a lot of options & locations, and with the addition of Car2Go’s sharing program, it should make for some healthy competition in town.  I like ZipCar for their pickup truck – great for getting large things like furniture and truckloads of mulch for the garden !

I talk about this not to say, ooh I’m so cool, but rather that there are many ways of getting to work without being forced into a car.  Everything is a choice.  I’ve not regretted mine even once.

It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle. 
~ Ernest Hemingway

4 thoughts on “Workin’ 9 to 5 (and getting there without a car)

  1. I seriously need for these colder rainy days I’m having right now to spend more time reading through your blog. I love your story of giving up your car. I wish I could say it was a bike that caused me to finally let go of mine, but it wasn’t, it was a wheel chair. I found so much more to enjoy once the car wasn’t part of my life. I now hear the birds on my rides through town, have met wonderful people and become part of the community around me, something impossible behind the wheel. Once deciding to let go of the car transportation outside my community was my next challenge. I now take a greyhound to visit my son who lives a couple of hours away, and the county bus system has upgraded to a bus with a lift for chairs so I can go into the city if I would like.

    Our county is too small to support a zip-car program, but I do see more and more bike lanes being installed and people using them, along with more walking. The increase in gas prices a few years ago made many reevaluate where they wanted to spend their money, and it turns out it wasn’t to fill a greedy car.

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    1. Yeah a lot of smaller towns can’t accommodate Zipcar-type programs, but http://www.getaround.com/ is starting to get popular which I think is perfect for smaller towns! I actually gave up my car a couple months before I began to bike commute because it was just this heap of metal and I was taking the bus and walking most places anyhow, so I made some $ on selling it and paid a bill 🙂

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      1. My car sat more than it was driven even before the wheel chair became a fixture in my life. I couldn’t see putting money into it to run every day. I grouped my errands completing them in one day, which left a couple of weeks where it wouldn’t be used. I shake my head now when I look back at how eager I was to have a car as a teen. Before that I managed quite well by walking, busing and even taking a ferry to get anywhere I wanted, and it was so much cheaper.

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