Just over two years ago, I made a pretty bold move and sold my car. I knew that cycling was an environmentally friendly way to move around the earth, it’d help keep me healthy and make time for doing more of the things I love. At that point in my life, I did NOT want to work two jobs just so that I could afford to continue paying for a vehicle. Work, grocery stores, libraries, shops, breweries and everything else I could possibly need were all less than 2 miles from my apartment. TWO MILES! It takes less than 15 minutes to bike that far (and that’s a generous estimation). By the time you factor in finding your keys, getting in the car, driving, AND finding a parking spot- biking takes as much time, if not less, than driving. I did the calculations tonight and I figured that I’ve saved $15,550 dollars over the last 26 months of not driving. That figure only accounts for a car payment, insurance and moderate amounts of gasoline. Maintenance and parking aren’t included. While I do spend some money to ride the bus and rent cars while traveling, the number is so small in comparison, it’s not really even worth calculating.
Since moving to a larger city (Seattle vs Boulder and Fort Collins), things can be a little more spread out so I do ride the bus quite often. I ride my bike to the gym/yoga, to meet friends in close neighborhoods, to pick up groceries, run errands and for long distance training rides. I’d say all of these places are within 1-4 miles from me. I don’t have to commute to my job because I work where I live. BONUS! However, some of the places I need to go in the city would take me down very busy non-bikeable streets and up seriously treacherous hills. A few destinations take 40 minutes to drive to and an hour and a half to bike to. I choose to ride the bus for many of these situations- knowing I am still making a decision that is in line with my values.
I’ve learned a lot about biking in the last 2 years. I can finally, albeit slowly, change a tire and do some minor adjustments on my bike. And while you can ride in most anything, I’ve learned a lot about how to dress while riding. Riding in all weather requires a little more planning to make the ride comfortable but it is totally doable. In Seattle, the worst weather I have had to deal with (so far) is drizzly-type rain. My typical fall/winter ensemble is long shirt/short dress, leggings, bamboo-wool socks, weatherproof boots, jacket, gloves and a scarf. If rain is forecasted, I’ll pack my rain shell. Soon, I’ll be upgrading to wool leggings. I’ve fallen in love with cruelty-free, American-made Ibex. I use their products for my long cycling adventures and will be investing in their leggings and more of their underwear shortly.
portrait photos by Eric Benjamin
Here’s to many more years of pedaling away my carbon footprint.