Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Going Car-less: The Adventure Begins

Three years ago, I refused to ride a bike.  At all. It drove my husband nuts, because he is quite the avid cyclist. He wanted me to ride along with him, at least for recreation. But I refused. Two summers ago, I finally relented, and went for a few bike rides. Last summer, I finally started riding my bike every so often to a local coffee shop to study, and joined my husband and son here and there for a ride to the park. Finally, eight days ago I became a baptized-by-fire bike commuter. I am quite sure that the sudden nature of my commuting change will provide ample source material for humor, mockery, commiseration, and perhaps even education for veteran cyclists, novice cyclists, and just about anyone willing to watch someone make a fool of herself.  So I figured, hey...why not blog about it?

For anyone reading this who doesn't know me...I am entering a PhD program at Virginia Tech this fall, and my family and I just made the move to Blacksburg, VA to get settled. When we made the decision to move down here, we realized that we would be heading into an unknown employment situation for my husband; therefore, finances were (and continue to remain) a big mystery. Cutting out every expense we could made a lot of sense...so when we made the move, we left our car - and its associated $7,000+/yr expenses - in Ohio.

So, we are now car-less. Or, as my husband calls it: "car-free." I'm not quite sure about adopting that label quite yet, as it indicates that I find freedom in not owning a car. To a certain extent that is true; however, I'm still a bit...reluctant. In addition to being overweight, I have health issues that are aggravated by heat and stress. I hate being sweaty. I don't trust drivers. I'm generally not "outdoorsy" in any way (my definition of "roughing it" is a 2 star hotel). But, at the same time, I am excited about the fact that Blacksburg has great bike trails, and I have a bike with electric-assist. I have a husband who is knowledgeable about biking, and I also have a pretty fantastic public transportation system to fall back on if I really, really don't want to bike today. It's an interesting combo of positive and negative here. Should be fun, right?

So, this blog will be about all of the ups and downs of learning to be a bike commuter. I promise to share every last humiliating detail. For some of you, it will be pure entertainment, as my lack of experience, vanity, and innate wussy nature will clash in hysterical ways. For others, I hope it might actually offer some hope for learning to be a bicycle commuter. Because honestly, it is a very good thing! It's great for the environment, for your health, and for general peace of mind. And so if you have that inkling...if you think, "Gosh, I'd like to try this, but I'm just so... (fill-in-the-blank)," then comfort yourself by reading about my mistakes and triumphs (emphasis on the former), and trust that if I can do this...you certainly can, too.

That's it for now...let the adventure begin!

(oh - the picture is of my husband and son on the bike trail outside of our apartment. Beautiful, isn't it?)

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