Replacing the Car
The stats are in for May: I logged 129.5 miles on my bike that would have otherwise been spent in the car. That was over the course of 20 days; the remaining 11 days of the month were spent in Texas (seven days) or on day or weekend trips to bikeless locales because we don’t have a bike rack on the car. But to put this in perspective, that’s the equivalent of riding my bike from my childhood home just south of Philadelphia, all the way to Washington DC. Whoa.
It’s been an interesting experiment. Sure, riding the 11 miles to the supermarket to go grocery shopping isn’t exactly the same as riding 20 miles for speed, but it gets the job done, gives me a workout in the process, and forces me to ride home with an additional 25-30 pounds of grocery weight that I didn’t have on the outbound trip. Trust me when I tell you, that’s a huge difference.
I also get the added cardio workout of adrenaline-pumping panic when drivers prove their insanity and ineptitude all at once.
I’ve learned that I would much rather ride the 11 miles to the supermarket across the highway than ride the six mile roundtrip to the Trader Joe’s across town. The former is 90% bike paths and wide bike lanes. The latter is a death-defying feat of car-dodging on roads with 45 MPH speed limits. As I explained this preference to someone, he replied, “Of course! That TJ’s area is a death trap even when you’re in a car. Stay away!” Good point, perhaps.
As for the Assistant, he managed to log 47.7 miles on his bike, mostly to and from school and the sports park. He’s very proud of himself for averaging more than two miles per day of riding. “I could do more, but you know, I’m pretty busy.”
Drawbacks to the new system?
- When you spend an hour every other day riding 11 miles and doing small batch grocery shopping, it doesn’t leave a lot of time in the day for other workouts
- Watermelon is no longer a viable impulse buy
- Milk is limited to half gallons at most
- Once I fill the cart with the two panniers, my helmet and my backpack for extra storage, there’s not a lot of room for actual groceries, which probably works out for the best
Granted, this is nothing like my former neighbor who would head out on his road bike every day and log 30+ miles, but it combines a lot of important things: fitness, errands, time to think about projects, and setting a good example for the Assistant. All in all, I’d say it’s a good system. Except for the watermelon.
I’ve had more than a few people tell me that I’m crazy for doing this. I still haven’t decided if I am or not. Thoughts?