Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Car-Free Spring Break or Eating My First Bug of the Year

Friends went to Seattle, California, Arizona, and Greece for Spring Break. Since we are a two school district family (husband and kids have one spring break, I have another), differing calendars means staying home. I not only stayed home, but also narrowed my geographical reach by not using, or even getting into, a motorized vehicle for the week. I traveled only where my muscles took me.

I bicycled to Spanish class at the community college across town (14 miles round trip), pedaled downtown on errands (6 miles), took kids to appointments on the tandem bike (4 miles), and walked to the grocery store. It was glorious.

I’m a proud contributor to the just-released statistic that Washington state residents have cut back to 1966 car use rates, the equivalent of each driver parking their car for 5 weeks a year. Even so, going car-free rather than just car-light gets me further out of the motorized metal box. The exercise is good for my body, the slowing down and planning ahead required is good for all of me, and the pollution skipped is good for the environment.

Bicycling also moves you through the world in a way that connects you to it. You hear the birds chatting with one another, the wind moving the trees, catch the roofer singing along to his radio. You smell the flowering trees, someone's bar-b-que dinner, the prelude to rain. And with no windshield up front to keep the world out of your eyes and your teeth, you get bugs. So I ate my first bug of the year. I’m thinking there will be more bugs in my stomach's future, since I plan on a lot more bicycling.


Springboard said...

Thank you for sharing this. This is information more people need to hear! I too made my first attempt to pedal to the store (5 miles) with my 40 lb child and what felt like 100 lbs of groceries! I need more experience with that one...

wildelg said...

I also ate my first bug of the season while biking for fun and exercise at 6 AM last week. Morning biking in the summer in Bellingham is the best. No traffic, cool air, quiet. Very zen. Looking forward to a lot more of it, but maybe at 6:30 AM instead. Boy was I tired by 8 PM that night!