Car Free Living
My reasons when I began car free living was that I wanted to cut down on my carbon foot print. I had changed jobs and living location and for about a year had driven aprox 400 miles a week for my work. I wanted to change that. I wanted to live and work in a smaller community. I wanted to walk to my job again as I had in Burbank. I wanted to live in walking distance of my coffeeshop, So why not also work and play in distance as well? I wanted to become less dependent on oil with such economic and environmental talks of the subject happening constantly.
My goals when going car free was really to cut down on my carbon foot print and still meet all of my “above” living life standards. I beeive n gain, not sacrifice. I travel and do a lot and did not want to sacrifice or bind myself to only the small community in which I lived because of it, even without a good source of public transport, trains or easy access from the island to airports. Not being dependent on a car and oil/gas was a big one. Not being dependent on lawfully forced insurance, registration AND inspection was also a part of my reasons and goals.
The benefits of car free living have been the fact that I really have met my community a lot more. Life and pace are slower, there is more time to stroll and stop and chat with people along the way and really get to know your community. Even to pop quickly into shops for a glance for treasures or a new book or stop for an unexpected latte and chat with a friend. When walking is the life style you either walk super fast and are go go go to your destination in good time or the complete opposite and you really slow down to enjoy, take in the view, community, the unexpected meet up with a friend and more.
The unplanned for benefit of living car free has really been the expense of a car saved. No insurance, No registration, no inspections every year and no maintenance, oil changes and nooooo gas! Not to mention the cost of the vehicle itself. I also don’t hassle with down town parking issues or finding parking spaces. Which on Galveston island can be a fun deal when living down town during a lot of events that have visitors packing up the roads and spaces. I also feel that I avoid a lot of chances of potential accidents. Also, car thefts from what I hear, or hit and runs and other damage to deal with. Exercise even when you don’t have the time, and low impact at that. More fresh air. Eating more fresh fruits and vegetables because of going to the store more often, less waste of it sitting in the fridge from bulk shopping as well.
The bad and ugly.
Sometimes the weather does not cooperate with you and the timing you need to get some place. A good tail wind on the seawall is the most amazing thing but a head wind is the worst, other than the fact that the direction of the wind here can change quickly and at times you end up with a head wind when traveling both ways of your trip. Don’t ask. I swear I hear the laughter every time. Groceries mean more frequent trips to the store which are all about 3 miles either direction of me…and this means higher prices of island shopping as well, shopping in smaller portions and often weather, time with jobs and just being too tired can really get in the way. Bike theft. My poor yellow bike will always be missed, the 3 bikes I’ve had stolen will all be missed. Here on the island rust is an issue, having to store a bike indoors (due to rust and theft) and the year I had to carry my bike up and down five flights of stairs every day. Crazy vehicle drivers who seriously will swerve toward a cyclist and run them over. When really they should realize one less car driver is one more parking spot for them in these parts. Dangerous rides. Having to ride at night sometimes (I was completely safe) here on the island we all know the dreaded trolley tracks, it was’t until I was completely confidant that I was far too mastered a cyclist that I finally caught tire, flipped over, crushed my sternum and caused bleeding in my stomach, an ambulance ride, a bent frame but heck yeah I got a date out of the accident with a nice gentleman who came to my rescue. Hitting a bump you misjudged poorly and sending your basket of groceries all across the road. That only happens the day you choose to buy eggs. Every. Time. But at least we don’t have snow on the Gulf of Mexico to deal with. I do often wonder how I would handle bike riding if I did though I have read great blogs of those who do it. I think it’s like wine…a required taste.
Heels and dressing nice and bikes, though this one actually isn’t that terrible to get by with. Hot sweaty Texas days can be. Stormy rainy Texas days which are never like simple light showers but like all holy hell breaking down on you. Like the sky got hangry. Super cold fuck people who say it doesn’t get cold, it gets wet cold here Texas Days. My fingers and face have frozen much.
Living on the 5th floor of a building and a non-working elevator. Carrying my bike up and down each trip. The island salt air and the rust it causes to your bike. When your down town bike shop closes down for those quick air ups and flat fixes.
So there is the bad and the ugly….and it’s not all pretty. But still, almost six years later and I still choose it.