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Healthy Living Healthy Living

An Earth Day Challenge- Have you ever tried not using a car for a period of time?

Posted by on Apr. 23, 2012 at 10:16 AM
  • 11 Replies

An Earth Day Challenge That Also Makes My Butt Smaller? Yes, Please!

Last week, in honor of Earth Day (and because I want to lose 10-15 pounds), I decided to challenge myself to a few days without my car. Living right outside of Boston, Massachusetts in a very large city that is also very bike friendly, I knew how I could do it. There are bike lanes everywhere, signs and a bike store on every other corner, it seems.

When my husband and I were first married, I was an avid cyclist who rode my bike almost everywhere. I commuted to work by bike in snow, ice, high winds and every kind of weather condition a person can imagine. But once my kids came along all that stopped.

Simply put: It seemed impossible.

Of course, it isn't. One of my good friends is almost completely car-free with her two children and my daughter's two best school friends both commute to school on their parents' bikes.

But for me, despite the unbelievably annoying burdens of car ownership in the city (constant taxes, parking woes, parking tickets and fees), I was a driving kind of gal.

Still, a few years ago, I was lucky enough to receive a Chariot CX2 from the company and loved using it with my kids. We hemmed and hawed quite a bit over the safest way to travel with our kids, but through all our research the trailer kept coming up the winner. Since most bike accidents are related to the rider being doored or losing a tire or flipping in a ditch, kids would be less safe on the back of a bike. In the trailer they are protected by the cage and also low to the ground. Even if the bike falls (and it has), they are safe.

Of course, now that my children are 5 and 3.5 years old, pulling them is a whole other thing. One hundred pounds of baby is not easy. But that's another story.

 Day one of my experiment was an easy day. My husband had done all the pre-school runs (and he was not doing this experiment with me), so my only rides were to a doctor's appointment and out for drinks with friends.

Riding at night after so long in a car was weird and somewhat scary. But once I got over that, I realized I saved myself $15 for parking and had pretty much door to door service instead of wasting a half hour looking for a spot only to end up in the $15 lot anyway. Winning!

The next day was the first day of drop off and the first day I officially decided I can't be hauling the trailer in and out of my house every day. It needs to be stored outside. So I moved it to the trunk of my car and that is where it has been all week. Still not ideal, but better than fighting to get it out my door.

The kids were thrilled to go via bike. My butt was less thrilled. But it went well. Now we are on week two and I can officially say that biking has made my life a lot easier.

With gas prices as high as they are right now, the savings is actually noticeable. But it is more than that, too. I am getting an additional workout, burning calories instead of gas. It took me three days of experimenting with gears to get all the way up the super steep hill dragging 100 pounds of baby+trailer. When I finally did it, my daughter screamed: "you did it, mommy!" It was a proud moment I never would have had in a car. Of course, there were other moments, too. Going up another steep hill, I was standing up to pedal on my third big ride of the day (this one home from meeting friends at a park about five miles from our house. In the trailer, my kids were chanting: "Mommy has a big butt! Mommy has a big butt! Mommy has a big butt!!"

Thanks guys!

There were drawbacks, too. Cars do not notice bikes and even in a city as bike-friendly as mine, I got a lot of weird looks and attitude. But you know what? I was doing something healthy and they were guzzling gas, so who gets to be sanctimonious about this? I think I win that one.

I was lucky to have great weather for my challenge, but all in all, I finally got up the courage to do something I have been wanting to do for years. My guess is I will be biking more than driving for at least the foreseeable future. My wallet, my butt and the planet will all be grateful.

Have you ever tried not using a car for a period of time?


by on Apr. 23, 2012 at 10:16 AM
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Replies (1-10):
michiganmom116
by Platinum Member on Apr. 23, 2012 at 10:36 AM

for myself, yes.  However, we live 30 miles from DH's workplace, so he has to have a car to get to work.

alyciajoseph
by Alycia on Apr. 23, 2012 at 10:59 AM
When I was in high school my parents took away my car (I was a wild child, living away from home and it was the only thing they owned) I had to walk to school, work, community service, and anywhere else I wanted to go. I love how in shape I got and I felt amazing. I lost a lot of weight (I probably wasn't very healthy, but I was tone) I don't drive a lot now, I perfer to walk to places.. or not go anywhere
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tnvplus2
by on Apr. 23, 2012 at 12:59 PM
When I was younger yes, but that's because it broke down.
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RobynS
by Mama2CamKat on Apr. 23, 2012 at 2:53 PM

I didn't have a car in college, so yes... I went 4 years walking and biking almost every where I went! :)

But now... well, I don't think DS would ever get to school on time, nor me to work, without the car. :/

rkoloms
by on Apr. 24, 2012 at 3:28 PM

We are a one car family, and my spouse needs the car for work. I take public transit or walk

mandee1503
by Silver Member on Apr. 24, 2012 at 3:42 PM
Sometimes dh takes my car to work so we dont go anywhere. But where we live the nearest store and everything is over 2 miles away. While I dont mind myself I have no way of taking my 2 kids.
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sassymomntx1961
by Yvonne on Apr. 25, 2012 at 10:36 PM

We live about 7-10 mi from the town where we do all our shopping.If I dont need to go into town other then dd's therapy which that town is about 15-18 mi away I stay home.There are days my small truck will only move wed and sun for Church and once a week for her therapy.We've had a few wks where we had extra days for testing and other errands where we had to use my truck.I try and run all errands that I can when I do go to town.Like this wk I went to a meeting for our special needs kids and that was a 65-70 run that day.Mone and until tues at 530 pm the car did move.Tues I drove 15 mi to the other side of town for dd's therapy w/ the 2 young ladies doing thier undergraduate work.Car sat till we went to Church tonight and will sit till dd's softball game tomorrow night at 630 pm.Hopefully I can stay at a friends house since dd has therapy fri morning and a Dr apt w/ pedi neurology dept.Like I waa saying this week is a busy week but I do try and think about what needs to be done when I do get out and run errands.

GOD first ppl next things last you cant go wrong and w/ GOD and JESUS around you,you will be a a triple strand rope

celestegood
by Ruby Member on Apr. 30, 2012 at 9:46 AM

 I have been in that situation.

Quoting RobynS:

I didn't have a car in college, so yes... I went 4 years walking and biking almost every where I went! :)

But now... well, I don't think DS would ever get to school on time, nor me to work, without the car. :/

 

celestegood
by Ruby Member on Apr. 30, 2012 at 10:12 AM

 I have been in this situation!

Quoting michiganmom116:

for myself, yes.  However, we live 30 miles from DH's workplace, so he has to have a car to get to work.

 

celestegood
by Ruby Member on Apr. 30, 2012 at 10:14 AM

 I love your response.

Quoting alyciajoseph:

When I was in high school my parents took away my car (I was a wild child, living away from home and it was the only thing they owned) I had to walk to school, work, community service, and anywhere else I wanted to go. I love how in shape I got and I felt amazing. I lost a lot of weight (I probably wasn't very healthy, but I was tone) I don't drive a lot now, I perfer to walk to places.. or not go anywhere

 

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