Self-Propelled

Chicks CornerI have a confession to make to all you North Americans reading this. I say that this is a confession to the North Americans in the audience because, in Europe, it might hardly be surprising to get to the age of 35 and to have never owned a car. Yes, believe it or not, I have legally been able to drive for around 18 years and yet I have never once contemplated buying a car and it’s not something that I can see changing anytime soon. I’m a passionate believer in being self-propelled. That is, I get as many places as possible on foot or on bike, and otherwise I use public transit or the occasional ride from a friend. Once one adapts to this mindset, it is surprisingly possible to get around, even in car-addicted North America, without a vehicle.

There are many reasons why I’ve stuck to living a self-propelled lifestyle. It’s cheaper for one–no gas costs, no car-repair bills, no insurance fees, just an occasional visit to the bike shop for a tune up on my two wheeler. It’s also hands down better for the environment and I truly believe it’s each and every one of our responsibilities to live an as environmentally conscious as possible lifestyle, so for me it’s 1,000 miles on a thimble full of oil rather than regular visits to fill up the tank at a gas station. Being self-propelled is also better for our communities. Who needs traffic-choked streets and busy roads dividing our towns when instead we can all chill out and create less impact by cycling, running, and walking in order to get from points A to B? And if this is all sounding a little righteous and socially responsible, then the selfish aspect is that cycling or run commuting is way better for your own health and well being than sitting on your backside in a car. :)

Being self-propelled definitely requires some determination, planning, and adaptation, but for me the benefits more than outweigh any of the inconveniences. Just this summer I decided to head up to Whistler, British Columbia for the day to run some different trails. Given this is some 120k each way, even for me cycling this would have been a little hard core, so instead I cycled to the bus depot, carried a slightly larger pack than I would normally for running, and then cycled home from the bus depot at the end of the day. Given that it was a warm, summer day, I could get away with needing only a light change of clothes for after my run. The only hiccup was not being able to find a bike locker and so although I’d securely locked my bike, I was concerned that my bike helmet would get stolen if I left it attached to my bike. My solution? Okay, I did get some odd looks running with a bike helmet attached to my hydration pack on the alpine trails in Whistler, but hey, a bike helmet is so light that I really didn’t notice that I was running with it!

Being self-propelled also involves being a bit better planned than if you drive a car everywhere. I’m a pretty hardy cyclist and no Vancouver, British Columbia torrential downpour has stopped me yet, but I do call it quits with the bike in the snow. I can clearly recall one snowy day in Vancouver when I was the only one who didn’t drive or take the bus to the office and I was the only one who arrived at work on time. Why? Well, I keep good tabs on the weather so knew that it may snow the next day so I’d set my alarm early in order to give myself time for the 50-minute walk to work if snow prevented me from cycling. All my coworkers simply woke up at their usual hour, saw the snow, and then took longer to drive to work than usual due to the conditions. Given we didn’t have a shower at our offices, run commuting was not an option but cycle commuting at a leisurely pace certainly was, with my office clothes neatly stowed in my panniers.

Run commuting forces you to be extremely efficient with what gear you will need. After all, any gear isn’t thrown into the trunk of a car but instead it is thrown onto your back in a lightweight running pack (with everything inside in plastic bags to counter that all-too-common Vancouver rain). I routinely run commute the seven miles or so to see my massage therapist; in my small hydration pack I can stuff a small towel, a light change of clothes, a post-run snack, and a transit ticket for my bus ride home after the massage. While there is no shower at my massage-therapist’s clinic, there is a rec center nearby where I grab a shower and have a drink (no room to carry a water bottle) before walking the final short distance to the clinic. If I want to head directly to somewhere else after my massage and it is somewhere that requires smarter clothes than what I can stuff into my running pack, then I’ll cycle instead of run as it’s easier to carry a little more volume on a bike.

I often cycle commute to get to a trailhead to go for a run. On these occasions, I tend to keep the commute distance reasonably short as I know I want to get the most out of my run rather than the cycle commute taking over as the main workout. When I do this, I usually aim not to run with all my post-run clothes on my back but instead load up one of my panniers with warm clothes for the cycle ride home. These are never my nicest or newest clothes as anything I leave in my panniers I like to think are items that I’d not be overly concerned about if someone decided to steal them, and the older the clothes are the less likely someone is to steal them anyway. I’ll leave an extra water bottle on my bike for post-run hydration and instead of bringing a post-run snack with me I’ll stop off at a store on my cycle ride home to buy something. When I was training for a mountain race and wanted to practice using trekking poles, I even managed to strap them to the frame of my bike for my commute to and from the trail.

Being such a cycle commuter, it is often when traveling to new destinations for races that I begin to miss my bike and feel that the world really is designed for cars. But once you start investigating, it is amazing that public transit does exist in a lot of North American cities. In Sacramento, California, for example, it’s just $2 on the bus (which runs frequently and reliably) from the airport into the city. When I was staying in Sacramento one year for the American River 50 Mile, I took light rail out to the running store on the edge of the city for packet pick up and another year my friend, Sean, was kind enough to give me a ride out to the start of the race. After the race, a very kind fellow runner was more than happy to have company for the drive back to the city. Sharing gas costs, buying thank-you coffees, beers, and lunches–it’s all better in my eyes than renting a car.

All too often it can be the easy option for many of us to hop in a car that will take us directly from points A to B quickly and exactly when we want. You won’t get rained on unlike if you run commute, you won’t have to wait for a bus to show up unlike if you take transit, and you won’t have to pare down how much gear you take with you unlike if you cycle. But you also won’t get the satisfaction of being self-propelled or of getting around the world as much as possible under the power of your own two feet. You’ll miss out on the rewards of keeping fit just in the course of your day-to-day living and you’ll be missing out on seeing things at a slower pace of life as you whiz past them unconsciously in a car, rather than slowly moving by on a bike or running. Whilst many North American cities are undoubtedly designed on the basis of the car being king, it can be very rewarding to try and challenge that set up for the benefit of yourself, your community, and the environment.

Call for Comments (from Meghan)

  • Do you live a car-little life? If so, what motivates you to do so? The fitness aspect? The environmental-ethic aspect? The independence aspect? Something different?
  • Do you run commute or bike commute? If so, do you have any additional suggestions for managing the logistics of carrying gear and the weather?

There are 48 comments

  1. Julien

    I run commute every day and even if I still have a car, I do not use it. What motivates is mostly:
    1. Having my training done while commuting: I live close to the trails so that I can train before and after work. Logging 10 to 15 miles a day six to seven days a week is a big plus for training for ultras
    2. Predictable aspects: no delay, no traffic, the time you arrive depends only on your ability to run
    3. Ethical aspects: you do not pollute are more energy efficient (ahem, with what I eat, we can discuss that ….)
    4. Money: I do not use much gas (and my car is a hybrid …), have low-mileage insurance, do not pay parking.

    I will never (ever) come back to a standard commute. That sounds crazy for many of my colleagues but for me, after a year, commuting by car is crazy!

  2. olgav100

    It works great in big cities with developed public transport. Having lived in Moscow, NYC and Portland, it was awesome, and frankly, even in Austin I commute by bus to work (though I do own a car, buying groceries once a week for a family of 4 is not exciting without, nor is working 3 jobs in different parts of the city). But I am also fully aware of small towns that hardly have any buses, or folks living on outskirts/country who need to get to work. Some of us don't run 7 min/mile on an easy non-sweaty day (and speaking of sweaty, run-commuting in Austin 8 months out of the year is not visible unless your job does have a shower), so 7 miles can take closer to 2 hrs than 45 min, and here goes the day…What I am trying to say is that I love the idea and personally utilize it hugely throughout my life. I also see the other side of that flip coin. Thanks for sharing!

  3. ClownRunner

    The great thing about run-commuting is that you can set up personal races against buses and cars that have to travel the city streets. Although it is true that my local bus has a better course PR, I think that he is doping.

  4. @mikeokane3009

    I've been saying for a while there's space for a new magazine that focuses on the utilitarian side of running, especially run commuting.

    Living in Calgary, I'll run to work whenever I can during the spring/summer/fall. In the winter I'll do it on days that are -15c or warmer. Use a headlamp on short winter days. When schedule doesn't permit it or it's too cold, I'm on the light rail. I haven't driven to work once in the 2 1/2 years since I moved here.

  5. Bryon of iRunFar

    While I do enjoy not having a commute, I do miss having a run commute. Previously living roughly five miles from my office in downtown Washington, DC, I relished the chance to get in an early-morning or late-evening run in while the city was a bit quieter. As it took roughly the same time as my subway commute (I never drove), it was also a great way of assuring that I'd get a run in on one side of my day. It also had a blast run commuting with friends like ClownRunner and Mike Wardian. I can't say I ever met up with folks for a Metro commute.

    While I also love living 15 miles outside of downtown Moab, it'd be great to be able to run into town on an errand or to hit yoga or for a track workout, but that's not within reason for me. I'll have to work on cycling one of these years.

    1. ClownRunner

      Well, I told you not to leave DC to start that stupid idea of a web site…but you did it anyway. I still do the same run commute…but it just ain't the same run not being able to talk trash to Dr. Powell… Move on back! Take your old job as a lawyer again! :)

  6. @tcoleman632

    Good read. I bike and walk/run commute regulary. We live in a rural area and only have one car. My wife usually drives. My commute 15 miles by bike. I'll occasionally ride with a coworker if the weather is bad or I'm just too tired. We have a resturant .25 miles from work that I'll often walk to for lunch. I'm usually offered rides by my coworkers. Most of the time I beat them there! I do wish we had other choices. There's a train that runs near by, but sadly it's not a commuter train. Thank you for the inspiration.

  7. @FoTracy

    I love this perspective. I try to work it into my life as much as possible with bike commuting, public transportation, and so on. I also have four kids, so the reality for my me and my wife is that we do need a car for all of us to be able to live regular modern lives and allow my kids to be involved in activities. We plan to keep it to one car, though, and put as few miles on it as possible. Another plus of my alternative commuting is that it allows the car to be available all weekdays for the rest of the fam' when I'm at work.

  8. JxanderW

    I dream of a car free world! I have this dream often. If anyone knows of such a place please let me know.

    I run commute, bike commute, ski commute when my children/wife schedule allows it. As a family we try to ski/walk/ride/run as many places on the weekend as possible (we are fortunate enough to live next to a large urban greenbelt).
    I do so for the act of moving more in a day – movement is the essence of life. I also do this because I absolutely HATE cars, traffic, traffic accidents, traffic lights, exhaust, loud cars, traffic noise, inattentive drivers, sitting in the car or doing anything with a car. Worst invention EVER!
    Thanks to all you who don't drive!

      1. @eLLiejG

        Having lived in Switzerland I have to say they have one of the best public transport systems in the world that therefore allow for self-propelled travel much more easily. But of course Switzerland is a much smaller country than the US or Canada so a cost-effective public transport infrastructure is much easier to develop.

        1. totops1

          Pretty much every country in Europe has a great public transport system.
          If you don't find a bus, you will find a train, or carpool or worst case you will hitchhike._In the US, you can usually find a bus but forget about the train and don't even think 1sec about hitchhiking.

          I am impressed by your carfree life even though like some people mentioned, I understand that plane trips are ridiculously bad for the environment.
          It makes me think of a quote from the book "How bad are bananas" : "A friend recently asked me how he should best dry his hands to reduce his carbon footprint..the same person that flies across the atlantic literally dozens of times a year.
          At the ridiculous high end of the scale, is getting your cycling energy by piling up your plate with asparagus that has been flown by air from the other side of the world. This is like driving a car that does just over 5 miles to the GL, you'd be better off in a Hummer."
          All that to summarize that sometimes we loose a sense of scale.
          Now, would I be ready to get rid of my car ? I am not sure…. How would I go to trailheads ? How would I bring my daughter to her classes ?

          You are car-free but you travel a ton. I am not car-free but I don't take planes to the other side of the world to travel 50 miles with my legs….. no one is perfect. Again, good job on being car free!
          I really liked your article as this topic is one of my favorites.

  9. fatdoob

    Great Article. I do think people sometimes put barriers up themselves to the idea of being without a car. I live in a pretty remote area I don’t have a car and the public transport is well iffy at best. However after some lateral thinking you can get around these problems even in places with little or no public transport. It just can take some thought and planning

  10. @heartsierra52

    I enjoy runcommuting, because I have better energy to start my day and also jogging home helps me decompress from the work day. Whether people walk, bike, or run to work, it's a good way to incorporate exercise during the work day. Everyone should give it a try. It doesn't have to be all or nothing; start with once a week, or even drive part of the distance.
    http://theruncommuter.com/ is a good resource for people that want to try runcommuting. This blog features all the different ways people had incorporated runcommuting into their lives. Some people will even drive part of the way and run the rest. For example, one woman always found the last 2 miles of her commute into the city to be the worst, so now she parks before that section and runs through a pleasant park for those 2 miles to and from work.

  11. andymxyz

    Your high horse isn't high enough — as a next step, you might consider racing less! Rather than traveling around to races, it would be much more environmentally conscious to just run 50 miles Starting from your backdoor whenever you have the urge to run that far. Also, you might want to give up those Montrails and run barefoot. Have you seen what running shoe manufacturing does to the environment? And no more Clif bars! Grow your own garden!

    1. andymxyz

      Thumbs down? I was trying to be a little lighthearted, but Ok, let's get specific. A flight from California to South Africa (for Comrades, say), releases about 5.5 tons of CO2 per passenger into the atmosphere. That's right, per passenger. It's the same amount of CO2 that results from driving a family car about 17,000 miles… or letting it idle for 80 days straight. And by the way, just by taking that flight, each passenger is personally responsible for the consumption of over 500 gallons of crude oil…

      And that's fine if that's what you want to do! But it doesn't really mesh with the statement that "it's each and every one of our responsibilities to live an as environmentally conscious as possible lifestyle." Certainly not if you're burning all that oil just to go to an exotic race.

      And yes, I realize that none of this changes the fact that, given the choice, it's better to environmentally better to run than to drive. But too many of us trail runners, because we like being outside, think we are therefore great environmentalists. By and large, we are not.

      1. @eLLiejG

        I agree that I have a long way to go to live a lifestyle that is good for the environment but I do my best whilst also 'living life'. My apologies if I came across as being on a high horse, it was not my intention and as stated in my article, the environmental benefit of being self propelled is just one of many benefits.

        I do try my best to live an environmentally conscious lifestyle – for example one of the reasons that I am vegetarian is for the environmental consequences in terms of carbon footprint from eating meat. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/27/vegetari….

        Comrades may seem like an exotic trip, and of course it is – but it is primarily a work trip for me and I choice I make, despite it's environmental impact, but I do try to make up for it in other ways.

        As for shoes, sorry – but I have worn shoes for 35yrs and I am not prepared to take the physical consequences of living life barefoot in the modern world (read injury from walking/ running on concrete bare foot). All my used shoes are taken to a donation centre to go to the homeless, or latest batch were sent to Africa to a charity in need of shoes for school kids thus getting the maximum use out of them. Or just ask any of my friends who are often gifted spare running shoes.

        Clif gels – Clif ar a very environmentally conscious company who make every decision they can to minimise the impact that their products have on the environment which is one of the reasons that I am honoured to be sponsored by them. Are they perfect? No, but they are constantly working to ensure they can improve their products on an environmental basis.

        Yes, I have a long way to go, yes I need to try harder, but at least I am trying by not owning a vehicle.

        1. andymxyz

          Ellie,

          Fair enough. Thank you for the thoughtful response, and for not getting riled up by the tone of my post, which I admit was snarky. I focused too much on one line in your article that struck me wrong. I apologize wholeheartedly for that, and I hope I didn't cause too much offense.

          In many ways, I think we are in agreement. The point I was trying to make was that as trail runners – professional or hobbyist – we often are not as good stewards of the environment as we think we are. We can all do better (myself included). And when it comes to the environment, or any other ethical issue, I don't think that "it's my job" is a very good way to defend our actions. (If my job was cutting down the rain forest, you might feel like telling me I should think about a different line of work.)

          That being said, you are doing a lot of things great, and, as you say there are many awesome benefits to run commuting. Yours was an outstanding article, and I think has stimulated some good discussion. Thanks again.

    2. butonian

      this is exactly why I stopped racing. Now I just go on long runs from my front door. If running is something we enjoy for its intrinsic benefits, why need to race then? I always used to ask myself while out on a long run "if I can come out here and run 40 miles from my front door, and I get immense satisfaction from that, why should I pay someone $100-200 to let me do the same thing somewhere else?" I get that there is a sense of adventure and all of that but it seems like peanuts to elephants when we are talking about climate change and environmental protection. As for traveling for work, unfortunately (or not!) we live in a globalized world where travel for many is simply, and unavoidably, required. However when it comes to personal decisions, if I have the ability to decide whether or not to travel across the country (or world) for a race, then I am obviously in a position of immense privilege, for most citizens of this planet do not have that option, owing to any number of factors. Therefore it seems like the responsible thing to do is to forego some trivial travel, and learn to enjoy the spaces surrounding my home instead. Afterall, if the whole world was flying around the world just to run (when there is perfectly good space all around), we'd be in much deeper trouble than we currently are in today.

  12. stevephoto2014

    I fully agree with abdymxtz on the topic. Airliners have a profound impact on the environment and the insatiable appetite and human desire to travel to far away places is fueling the problem to the tipping point. Do you really have to travel more than several hundred miles to toe the line? My running impact on the environment is practically zero, but until now I never boasted about it. My running shoes are now 3 years old…injuries, ha LOL. Duck tape keeps them going, and I simply don't over train!

    1. @eLLiejG

      I don't feel that I have boasted in this article about my running having zero impact on the environment, I only intended to state that I try to be self propelled for day to day commuting and ONE (of many) pluses of this is it is a more environmentally friendly option than owning a private vehicle. My intention in writing this article was to encourage others to think about their day to day commuting and whether they might be able to incorporate more running/ cycling/ self-propelled activity into the equation. Comrades and many of my races are my work, and unfortunately there is no race with such prestige, competition and prize money within a few hundred miles of my home. If you can run in the same pair of shoes for 3 years that is super, unfortunately I am not able to do that as I would get injured, but as mentioned in my other comment above I pass on my shoes for reuse and recycling once I can no longer run in them.

      1. 3vium

        Hi Ellie,

        Thanks for the time and effort you have taken to write this article and thanks for being an example for others to take inspiration from. Also, welcome to the polar world of discourse as it concerns energy use and environmentalism… sometimes it is best to make no outward point and just be that "weirdo" example of someone who can make a low energy use lifestyle work.

        The lifestyle that has evolved in the US has lead to an average energy use rate of 250 kWh/day per person. This is to be compared to an average of 125 kWh in Western Europe and the UK. Much of this difference is in transportation energy use, although a good chunk is also due to heating and cooling use. The US is much more spread out and we have not invested in public transport to the magnitude that Europe and the UK have so it is generally difficult (or very inconvenient) for US citizens to adopt a lower energy use lifestyle. However it can be done and often starts with where one chooses to live w/r/t their work and other daily activities. The oft-promoted US "ideal" is a suburban one, although that seems to be undergoing some transformation.

        The air travel energy use is a good point as, on average, one intercontinental flight (say Boston to Paris) uses about 12,000 kWh of energy per passenger, which amounts to 33 kWh per day for each passenger for an entire year. Given that the average energy use of a US citizen is 250 kWh/day, one intercontinental flight can increase ones energy use by 10% or more. Given your self-propelled lifestyle you offset this nicely as the average US citizen uses about 80 kWh/day for transport, so you are about 40 kWh/day ahead even with the intercontinental flight. Not to mention that you are running as an elite, and I think we could come to agreement that world society, by and large, supports the bringing together of the best athletes for competition- something will inevitably involve intercontinental travel.

        The important thing is to be calibrated as to ones own daily energy use, otherwise there is no context or relative comparison to make. It is worth the effort to do the estimation as it allows one to make energy-use-based decisions from an informed perspective.

        1. andymxyz

          "I think we could come to agreement that world society, by and large, supports the bringing together of the best athletes for competition".

          Actually, I am pretty sure that world society, by and large, couldn't care less. Now the richest 1%… sure, they probably do. But ethics isn't about what a majority of rich people like. Just because they might get a minute of entertainment out of checking whether their favorite athlete won or not, doesn't make it right.

          1. 3vium

            I will respectfully disagree…. having been in Kenya and Ethiopia I know first hand how revered each nation's champion marathoners are by "the people"- who in this case earn on average in a year what someone in the US might earn in a morning. They fully respect athletic achievement, support it, and aspire to it.

            Also, having been to the Olympics I can tell you that there are plenty of non-1%er's representing their countries and if you were to go to their modest or poor home towns you would find jubilation during the Olympics and for a long period thereafter, just as is the case here in the US.

            Finally we are speaking to elites, like Elliie- the .000001%er's…. not the "participants" but those who have the talent, desire, and drive to be national or world champions. I have no issue with a few dozen elite athletes flying to a high-level competition.

      2. stevephoto2014

        No you have not boasted and perhaps I sounded too harsh! I typically stay away from comment forums such as this, but unfortunately I somehow got pulled into this one. I personally have no issue with anyone travelling to their destinations for work and or personal reasons by plane or motor vehicle. I have gone to several pretty exotic places by plane myself. I think you could have said something like "yes I do fly (thimble full of oil?) to go to major events, but!! on the other hand I don't own a car and I have adopted the lifestyle…as mentioned in your article. If I were competitive and winning major races, I would be lining up at major running events as well. As for my running shoes……I'm not a competitive athlete, they are expensive and I am too cheap to get new ones at this time. One thing we all agree on, there is no debate over your accomplishments!

  13. npedatella

    I'm sure it depends on the route and local infrastructure (i.e., bike paths) but I find commuting by bike to be significantly more peaceful and better for my mental state compared to driving. Something about starting the day sitting in traffic and having to worry about cutting in front of you just is not as enjoyable as a nice bike ride.

    I think there is also an interesting cultural component to all of this regarding what is 'normal' behavior. Though anecdotal, it seems like whenever we have visitors at work from Europe they think nothing of forgoing a car and mostly traveling by bike.

  14. @Strongerrunner

    We live in a car-centric world, and not owning one is awesome.
    Since moving to Central America we have not owned a car, we are %100 self-propelled. Most of the locals are too. Because of this there is a lot less obesity in this part of the world.
    It definitely is a huge money saver.

  15. sarahjbard

    I also run-commute. Many people learn this trick, but if you roll your clothes (even blazers!), they'll often stay in great shape for work. I roll all my dresses, skirts, dress shirts (and yes, sometimes blazers – though I try not to do a long run before work on these days) and when I arrive at work you can't tell at all that they were jammed in my tiny little backpack!

  16. lcorriveau

    I don't run at all–too many foot, knee & hip issues prevent that, plus I have two small children. We don't own a car though, we just use car share vehicles once or twice a month on average. The rest of the time we bike, walk, or take transit. I agree that it's really just about mindset–if you live in a city with the transit, walkability, bike lanes, car shares, etc–even when you have kids. Having a cargo bike has made a huge difference to us too–I can go to Costco & get as much as I would with a car share vehicle into my Yuba Mundo's massive panniers & basket. I regularly schlep three children on the bike too–playdates, preschool dropoff, etc.

    As for why? We do it to be more eco-friendly, to save money, to get exercise, & for our kids' benefit. Kids who walk or bike commute have better way finding skills & feel much more connected to their neighbourhood than kids that just see it all speed by out the window of a car.

    Great post!

    Lisa (aka Spokesmama of http://www.spokesmama.com)

  17. emile00

    Ellie — Thanks, I really enjoyed your post. It made me think of some blog posts with a similar theme by "Mr. Money Mustache", a guy with a popular blog aimed at helping people (1) become financially independent, free to retire if they wish, and (2) live a more ecologically-friendly lifestyle. Turns out the two are closely intertwined, and that making use of bicycle transport (and downsizing from expensive and inefficient cars) is a big part of his plan. I've linked a few of his more relevant pieces below:

    Curing your clown-like car habit

    How to carry major appliances on your bike.

    Try getting your groceries with a bike trailer

    Turning your little car into a big one

  18. tkeyworth

    Thanks for the awesome post Ellie! Now if we could only get more businesses and organizations to put showers in their bathrooms. I currently bike commute in Cambodia and it is quite a sweaty endeavor.

  19. Luke_B

    When talking about bike/run/ski commuting I think it's important to not make it too black and white. Very few people are ready to go car free, but almost everyone could move towards less car dependence on the spectrum. Trying to tell people to go car free is almost always an ivory tower perspective. It doesn't help that so many advocates seem to not have noticed the existence of those shorter humans in their larval stage.

    But thanks for the reminder that there are options other than cars. The effects of 100% car dependence on city planning and layout, and subsequently on quality of life, are really profound. Just look at a satellite image of a typical North American city and estimate what percentage of the area is dedicated to either roads or parking lots.

  20. @chuckgnomis

    Ellie! Have you seen the new Fat Bikes for winter rides?! This could be the solution to your continued winter commute sans automobile. All the best, I love knowing I'm not alone ditching the car as much as possible.

  21. NondriverJan

    I haven't driven a car in 8 years mostly because I find it too terrifying. I ride my bicycle a lot as well as walk or run wherever I want to go. If there was a decent public transportation system here I would use it. I am considered very weird to anyone who talks to me and finds out I don't drive. They stand there gaping at me. A friend of mine said, "You will ride that bicycle anywhere but you won't drive a car? You know, it is much more dangerous to ride a bicycle." I suppose, but it is more relaxing for me. Its nice to hear a discussion about it as I am mostly alone out there where I live.

  22. dk

    Enjoyed reading this, cheers Ellie. I also haven’t owned a car despite being legally able to drive for the past 10 years. Mostly it was due to the fact , like in the US, owning / driving a car is really expensive (and given how many accidents happen in my home city each day, it’s something I’d rather avoid). Also, it was simply that I love to run and be outside. Absolute it does require a bit more planning, but as mentioned above, it helps you learn what you really need, gives you time to be alone with your own thoughts and simply enjoy the journey. Above all, it’s really powerful to be independent, making the journey with your own two feet.

Post Your Thoughts