As my bicycle commuting to/from work has increased over the past decade, my corresponding use of the car has dropped noticeably. But, to bike commute during the day and then drive around running errands during the evening or on weekends seems both contradictory and self-defeating. As a result, my latest personal goal is to go 100% “cold-turkey carless” an average of one day per week throughout the 2015 calendar year.
That’s 52 carless days spent only riding my bicycle, walking, taking transit, shopping online, or just plain staying at home instead of being another automotive junkie. That includes not using my wife’s car, riding with her/friends, using a car at work, rental cars, zip cars, go carts, or taking a taxi. No cars, no how, no way on those 52 days. Fifty-two days out of 365 is only 14.25% of the year. How hard can that be…?
Several friends do not own an automobile, some for several decades. So, I ought to be able to give mine up an average of once a week, right? Well, bad habits can be tough to break. So, going cold-turkey seems like the best option for transforming a bad habit into a positive and healthy one for myself, the community, and the planet.
I am proud to say that 14 weeks into 2015 and I have gone completely carless on 17 days. This includes yesterday, when I could have easily driven the car after work to pick up cat food at the veterinarian. Instead, I bicycled to the vet from the office and carried the cat food home while riding my folding bicycle. It made for a slower and more cumbersome commute, but it was certainly better for my health than hopping in the car for a quick fix of speedy travel and automotive muscle.
It’s nice to know that one-quarter of the way through the year, I have built a small cushion to fall back on, if necessary. My hope/plan is to exceed 52 times by as much as possible. Then, in 2016, it might be that much easier to ditch the car fix an average of two days per week. As they say with any new and challenging endeavor, baby steps…