Monday, October 6, 2008

My anticar...

Kyle, thanks for adding me to the fold. James and Kyle, it's great to see your efforts in building a community of commuters. I've used a bike to get around for most of my time in C-ville, but had an inspirational moment last spring. You'd like me to share? Great!

About 3 hours into a Saturday night rickshaw shift, four stout guys hopped on while I was parked near Orbits. Where to? Cabel Ave. at the top of Grady. It wasn't a fast trip and it featured plenty of granny gear, but we made it and they had a great time in the process. My 165# motor and a 200# vehicle had moved roughly 800# of intoxicated cargo over a fair distance and gained substantial elevation. That was the moment of a changed perspective.

I live a rather pedestrian life here in town. Work is half a mile from home. The stores I use are less than 5 miles away. If my own power could move such a load, then why do we tend to move cargo with cars of mass far greater than their payload? It's not that cars are bad, but perhaps they're inefficient because we fail to use them to their potential. Maybe all that power and space isn't well used by my needs.

Perhaps by choosing to live close to work, we could use our commuting minutes to run errands by bicycle. Generally I save time by moving faster than traffic and having available parking on the far end of my trips. Recently I discovered the joy of a real rain jacket and rain pants. A rubbermaid tote on my BOB trailer keeps bulky cargo secure, clean, and dry.

So add me to the "fan of bike commuting" list. With a bit of planning, some versatile gear, and a sturmey 3 speed, it's a blast.


-j said...

Moving over half a ton of bike and person across the hilliest parts of c'ville is indeed an impressive feat. No wonder you're so fast with workouts like that!

I whole-heartedly agree with the living-close-to-work thing! Living close to work and the store saves commuting time (by any commuting method) and just makes sense.

Thanks for sharing an awesome anti-car! Who's next?

Butch said...

That is pretty awesome.

Regarding living close to work, or designing your life so that it is more 'local', I have recently been able to achieve this here is Cville. I love it! The only time I use my car is when I leave town or take my guitar somewhere. I have been somewhat keeping an eye out for a used kid trailer so that even going to parties (with guitar, and a dish, and a 6 pack) no longer requires driving. Hey, if anyone has a lead...

Keep on truckin' a bike kinda way.


jneil said...

Nashbar had a knockoff BOB style trailer for $100 at one time. I paid more than that for a twice-transcontinental BOB. Compact, light, and speedy.

USED - if you can find a Yakima kid trailer, they were the best since sliced bread, but only saw limited production. Anything BURLEY seems to be cat's meow too.

jneil said...

And for the record...

I'm happy to loan out the BOB trailer to anybody considering the investment. It handles/behaves differently than a two wheeled trailer, both good and bad. It'll fit anything that takes a skewer and I also have the Sturmey adapters. (I think Kyle mentioned having fixie adapters at one point.)

For me, it was a financial baby step between the messenger bag and a Big Dummy. For now, it'll do.

brer bridge said...

and you know drunk weight is exponential the higher you climb! I mean, have you ever tried to carry your drunk girlfriend up a flight of stairs? you'd damn think she was the 'Fridge Perry.

Noah said...

I'm not certain when my commuting epiphany happened exactly but it was around about a year after I had started bike commuting.

I live out in Free Union and so it's a little bit of a haul to & from work each day. When I first started commuting - nearly five years ago - my general mentality was to ride when the weather was nice and drive any time there was hint of crappy weather.

At some point about a year into my commuting career, my mentality changed such that I was finding any excuse I could not to drive.

I now commute by bike year round except when life (having a toddler will do that) or freezing precipitation (folks around here do not know how to drive in the snow and I worry more about them sliding into me than me slipping & sliding) gets in the way.

At some point, when finances allow, I’d love to get a more utilitarian bike – either with a trailer or with the Xtracycle set up.