Thursday, November 03, 2005

My Car-Free Challenge: Update

by Tom Bozzo

The Madison Environmental Group's Car-Free Challenge (which ran Sept. 22-Oct. 5) sought to get people to cut out at least one car (round) trip per week. I admit to not having signed up, though among those who did, congrats are due to blog pal Sara of Working For The Weekend who cut out 200 miles of car trips, and to commenter Gary Dikkers went completely car-free. I finally tuned up my bike just before the challenge after a lengthy period of neglect and resolved to try to meet the challenge's goals anyway.

I just logged my tenth bike commute to work this very fine — which is to say, unusually mild — morning, so I've managed to cut out two work weeks of car commuting in the last seven. In fact, since I'd almost surely have driven from work to the gym on cycling days, the ten bike commutes amount to more like thirty avoided one-way car trips. With a modicum of additional gear, notably lights to deal with the early Standard Time darkness, I figure I can get a few more rides in before frozen precipitation makes me think better of it. Financially, this does not exactly break me even on the tune-up, as the legs of the home-work-gym-home triangle are only about three miles each, but I feel like I'm in the best shape of my parenting life. My 2006 goal is three work-months of bike commuting in aggregate.

P.S., to the Heritage Foundation people who contributed $40 million in ped/bike path funding for Wisconsin to the Porkbusters project — to put it in perspective, that sum wouldn't buy two miles' worth of new interstate highway — go pick on a bridge to nowhere.
I didn't sign up for the challenge either, but I have biked 67 out of the last 91 work days, according to my bike computer, and saved about 350 miles of car trips.

It's good exercise, it helps conserve oil, and best of all, it makes all the liberal/greenie weenies who drive SUVs look a bit foolish.
Awww....shucks. Someone noticed.
Good for you, too, Bryan!

Though I should note that my greenest neighbor (who was also a registered Challenge participant) is very nearly car-free all the time.

Sara: Given your descriptions of your cycling activities, I wasn't surprised to see you on the list.
Okay, I can show off. I'm almost entirely car-free. It helps not having a parking spot on campus.

I also have a slight cold, for the first time in like about ten years. Tell me it's not the result of the wind that was slapping me around a few days back as I gritted my teeth and persevered.
Nina, as a believer in the germ theory of disease (and also the possessor of a mild cold, which didn't stop me from biking this AM), I'd suggest you locate and/or blame sniffly students/colleagues/etc(?).
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