Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Losing the Car (Occasionally)

Boulder was such a bike friendly city that it inspired me to bring a little bit of that home.  I live in your typical American small town, that started out contained but spread out over the years.  The city wasn't designed to be bike friendly, and while we have a handful of bike lanes and a recreation trail, biking on the roads scared me.

My dad is a big time commuter cyclist.  He's been riding his bike to work a few days a week for years, even when he worked 15 miles away.  A few Saturdays ago we headed down to the farmer's market together via bike.  It was SO interesting...the route you take isn't at all the route you'd take in a car, which didn't really occur to me.  Dad focused on the most bike-friendly roads with the least amount of traffic, and even though we didn't take the most direct route to the market, it was much easier than busier routes.  It's definitely a whole different way of thinking about how to get somewhere.

First I needed some more cargo room-the front basket was great but it only holds so much.  My dad had an extra bike rack hanging around, so we put that on the back of my bike, then zip-tied this white plastic bin I bought at Target for $3.50 to it:

The back basket is meant as a placeholder of some sort--if I do bike at least a little bit as much as I'd like to, I'll eventually invest in some nice panniers/baskets.  But I want to make sure this is doable for me before I spend lots of money.  The front basket was my sister's that she used when she was in college and hadn't been using for a while.

The day after our ride to the market, I rode to the library.  And this past weekend, I road to Aldi's and the library and made it home with a small load of groceries!

Eggs got wrapped up in a cooshy bag and had their own spot in the front basket.

Milk+cheese+yogurt+frozen fruit went in an insulated shopping bag with a few cold packs, other groceries were packed snugly in the back basket.

I get this weirdly liberated "I did that MYSELF!  Without a CAR!!!"  My Dad's rule of thumb with motorists on the road is to stay as far to the right as you can, and just be nice and show the drivers you're paying attention.  So far it's working out great, I haven't run into a rude motorist yet, and this town isn't know for it's support of non-drivers on the roads either!  

Riding to the grocery store was a good gauge too of how much clean-up I'll need if I ride to work...I was riding on an unseasonably cool afternoon.  It was around 80 but our typical high humidity (85%), and that humidity makes you sweaty regardless of the temp. So I think I'll bike in one set of clothes, bring nice clothes for work and change when I get there and do makeup/deodorant touch ups.  

My entry-level goal is to ride my bike somewhere once a week.  I'm starting small and I hope to build up to more, but we'll see.  The forecast is rainy all week so I don't think I'll be able to bike to work until next week.  Boo.

This is my heart's desire:

Then Oscar and Ninja could come with!  So far that's one of the biggest drawbacks, not being able to take the dogs with me...I can bike to the market but I also love to take the puppies too.

Do you have a bike?  


  1. OMG I want one of those doggie carts so bad! Actually two because our dogs are big and they would need their own. I always feel bad about wanting to ride my bike because the boys can't go. I would love to bike some, but it is so ridiculously hot that I sweat just walking to my car. Plus it takes me a good 20 minutes to get to work, so I would have to leave for work WAY early. I want to start biking more now too... but I need the doggy carts!

  2. Biking more sounds so intriguing to me, but using the roads makes me so nervous (even driving near cyclists makes me nervous). Such a nice way to warm up to it by having your dad there to help you feel confident!

    1. I was SUPER nervous too, that was the biggest thing holding me back...then I rode to the farmer's market w/my Dad and it completely changed my perspective. Biking on lower-traffic roads, utilizing bike trails and lanes whenever possible and staying over to the right makes such a huge difference. I felt 100x safer than I thought I would. Starting small has really helped me. If we lived close we could ride together!


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