In the end of August my minivan got hit. Thankfully no one was injured, but my van was totaled. Kirk bought me the van in 2010, and she was paid off. Sigh.
In the waning days of summer, while I waited to see what would happen with my van, I just started walking everywhere. It was the first time in 20 some years where I had no vehicle. Well, I could have driven Kirk’s rig (and I do at times), but rather I suddenly had no car of just mine. And oddly, I didn’t find myself missing it. In the end, our insurance totaled the van, and for awhile I looked at cars to replace it. But every time I had to deal with a salesperson, and I sat in a driver’s seat, a nagging question came up to me:
Why was I looking at cars? Did I really need my own personal vehicle that only I drove? That I only drove around 15 miles a week, yet paid insurance on? For someone who walked a lot, could I go farther? In most trips I take, I can walk. Often it is faster, no strapping in the kids to seats, no unloading. Just walking. We live in the middle of town, and for everything besides the post office, it is easily walked to. Yes, I can walk to the post office. Laziness comes into play though, as it is the farthest away. So I drive once a week to get there. But I don’t need my own personal vehicle to get there. That is about the opposite of green, and is a luxury that reeks.
Realities of trying be be greener?
#1: You can cram a lot into a bike trailer. Even with a kid. Just this week I brought home a stack of mason jars with a kid on one side. I have hauled potting soil this year as well. It’s also my grocery hauler.
#2: It sucks when it’s raining. And more so when it is also howling wind. I am learning to embrace it. Don’t think I’ll “love” it though ever.
#3: You really have to plan your trips. For example, in winter it is dark by 4 pm. I don’t want to be crossing the highways that go through town that late, so I run my errands when my kids are in school. My youngest only goes 4 days a week, in the afternoon. He often goes with me though, for morning trips to local shops, I try to keep his trips with me under 3 miles round trip, unless I bring along the trailer to push him in.
#4: When it’s frozen outside, you suddenly find those “pressing” errands are not so important. I have stayed home a lot more, without a toasty warm car to sit in.
#5: This is something that is very hard to do if you have an actual full-time job, or need to pick up kids at school. I have the luxury of school buses. And of being self-employed.
But it led to another thing. I am pressed for time if I want to do longer trips, such as the library. It’s 4-5 miles round trip there. If I walk I am also limited in what I can carry. So I did something crazy. I dusted off a hulk of metal in the garage. It allows me to get to the library in minutes, and I can haul books.
Ahhhhhh…..was it 8 years ago in spring, when this photo was taken? Why yes, it was. Oh the hopes I had! Hahaha………..rode that bike a few times, and stuck it in the garage after it hurt my butt.
Back in the day, the year before I would get pregnant with my middle child, Kirk had gifted me the yearly REI Dividend, and it paid for it. It was a K2 T-Nine Breeze bike. It was a pretty bike, and easy to ride, but my visions of biking didn’t come true. I was a hiker, not a biker then. Ironically, at the time we were driving a diesel Benz, that ran on bio-diesel. I still miss that car. We couldn’t fit car seats in it after the boys were born. A friend of ours bought it from us, and restored it into a princess.
So this Fall I pulled out the bike and cleaned it up. And figured out what I would need to ride – and how to get my butt to accept it. Being able to bike across town, on a trail, and not on roads is a huge part of it.
I added a better bike seat, a back rack with a storage bag that has panniers built it, and an ample basket in the front (which is so very girly, yet works so well).
It hasn’t been easy, and I still prefer walking. I don’t think I will ever prefer biking over walking. Even in college, when I rode my bike most places, I still preferred walking (the days before I found the love of driving). Although I have been researching more utilitarian bikes, such as 4 wheel ones, designed to haul loads. We shall see how that goes. I have plans, dreams, and hopes of running the business without a car. We shall see what Spring brings!