I'm Bob, 59, Dayton, Ohio resident. White collar job. I am "carlite" and have been using my bike increasingly for both work commuting and all errand running which does not require hauling car-sized items and is within about a three-mile radius . I do most of our grocery shopping and other store runs by bike. I commute 11 miles each way one to three days a week, when I don't need a car for a distant out-of-office meeting.
I am trying to increase the number of days per week that I can be carfree by questioning the need for meetings and clustering the needed ones on the same days. I've found many meetings can be handled by phone or email, and I have begun walking and biking to almost all commitments within three miles of my downtown office.
I ride a 1986 converted Raleigh mountain bike (fenders, lights, grocery-bag sized open saddle bags, etc.)
Best parts: built in exercise, lost weight, feel better, scenery with deer, herons and other birds, no depressing news on the car radio on the way to work, etc. Worst part: changing clothes at work, a few non-attentive drivers, time commitment (15 minute drive = hour ride). I am lucky in that 8 of my 11 miles is on a multi-purpose, separated trail, lightly used on week days, so my commute is fairly free of traffic.
I don't try to recruit (yet) but tell people who I know how much I enjoy it. My wife has done it a couple times (she works ten miles away in the opposite direction) but changing clothes is not an option for her.
Advice: put a rack and bags on your bike and start with errands if you're not ready for a work commute. Try to replace anything under 3 miles with your bike for starters. Those are the most environmentally damaging trips and the ones hardest on your car. Don't spend a bunch of money on a new super light-weight ride unless you are also going to race or tour. Old mountain and hybrid bikes are gathering dust in garages all over. Leave early, ride slower than you could - look around. Get ready the night before or you will forget something. Build it into your life by replacing time spent eating out, watching the tube, etc. You'll love it.
June 8, 2010 9:43 AM
Thank you Bob for participating in the Carfree/ lite American profile project. This is great info, love the advice! Thank you for sharing. Carfree American