A friend of mine, Brent, has challenged himself to not drive his car for the entire month of February and write about his experience along the way in his blog. To some this may seem like an incredible feat, and others like just a regular ol’ February. What interested me in his challenge was his enthusiasm to jump into it with both feet and learn how to deal with obstacles along the way. I asked him a few questions about it and you can read more about his daily experiences in his blog.
– I can not drive my car; or anyone’s car for that matter
– My main modes of transport will be Lynx bus, my bike, my own two feet, and carpooling as a passenger (should the need or opportunity arise)
– I must track the length of travel in time, miles, and cost.
Before the challenge, how often did you drive to get where you were going?
Pretty often. I mean, daily really. I only took my bike on trips to some local coffee shops when I knew I was just going up to read a book or do some work. The rest of my trips all included me driving my car, even if it was just me, and just around the corner.
What spurred your decision to try going car free for February?
Honestly, it just came to me as an idea one day in December. Most people would find excuses not to do it, instead I kept finding more reasons to do it. I talk a lot about sustainability, organic farming practices, recycling, etc. and yet I haven’t tried living with out a car yet. Most trips I take (with the exclusion of work) are a 10-20 min bike ride each way, which is probably only 5-10 minutes longer than if I took my car.
What are the normal trips you take throughout the week?
This month, most of my bike rides are under 5 miles, anything beyond that is usually by bus or carpool ride. About 4 times a week I take a bus to the Florida Mall.
What have been the biggest challenges so far?
Timing. Figuring out the buses was a challenge at first. You have to learn how early you want to be versus how late you’re able to be. Some trips it doesn’t matter, as long as you arrive. Others, you’re biting your nails hoping you do not hit any traffic or a lot of pickups and drop offs.
With biking, I’ve had to start eating more. I ate pretty light before this month, but I was burning through all my calories pretty quickly. I would be drained by the end of the day.
How difficult has it been to adapt to the changes?
I’d say the adapting has gone smoother than one might expect. There are days I loathe having to wake up earlier, other days I feel like my legs need to recover. Honestly though, it has changed my perspective about this city. I’ve gotten out of my little “car bubble” and interacted with the city in more than a one-off bike ride, but in a daily need to rely on the roads for biking and use of the bus. I think after this month I’ll continue to take my bike if its under 5 miles, but it’s really a gift to be able to use my car in longer distances.
Check out Brent’s whole experience here and read about the rest of the challenge in the coming weeks.
What experiences do you remember when trying out a new form of transportation for the first time? How difficult was it to adapt? What’s stopping you from doing your own car free challenge? Discuss in the comments!