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The year of living carlessly

Adam Pieniazek of Dorchester reports on a year without driving:

... So far, only one thing is certain, I do not miss driving, not even a little. If anything, cutting driving out of my life has actually improved my life! My transportation related stress decreased significantly, my health improved quite a bit, my wallet is fuller than it would have been and my general happiness has skyrocketed. I've carried items on my bicycle that I never imagined possible (a full size cooler for one, strapped across my shoulders), pedaled distances I would have once thought impossible (to Walden pond and back and then some), and carried my bike for miles at a time when it's broken down on the road. Plus, there's many small trips into and through the city that are actually faster than driving, saving me time and money. ...

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...I'm not sure this experience is all that unusual.

I haven't owned a car since 1982, when I moved from NW Indiana to New York. I never missed my '68 Buick (5 blocks/gallon highway; 3 blocks/gallon city). Not having a car does have its inconveniences, not to mention expenses (the pricey but wonderful City Feed in JP is my extended refrigerator), but on the whole I prefer public transportation and save a few bucks along the way.

It would be much, much different if I had kids or lived away from a T stop, so this isn't a pitch against car ownership and use generally. Just to say that for some, not owning and using a car is a matter-of-fact experience that seems quite normal.

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I've carried items on my bicycle that I never imagined possible (a full size cooler for one, strapped across my shoulders

Oh yeah.... sign me up. I'm sure my next date will be thrilled to see me ride up on my bicycle. Nothing says lovin' like a guy on a bike.

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Bicycling Magazine had a whole feature a couple of years ago on why cyclists make better lovers - starting with them being in better physical shape and going from there.

Nothing says Viagra like 3,000 lbs of metal compensatin' for sumptin!

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Gonna have to agree with SwirlyGrrl here. During the summer it's not unusual to have cute girls hollering at me when I'm pedaling around in my shorts and t-shirt. Even got a few numbers/dates that way...

Nothing says confidence like speeding about the city on a skinny little piece of steel with two wheels.

Plus, if you're going on a first date you can always just pedal slowly and show up smelling AND looking pristine. It's a great conversation starter too, and if you can convince your girl to bike around with you she'll be in fantastic shape too and you'll both have more energy, money, and time to spend with each other. It's a win-win.


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