Car(e)free month progress

So here we are almost done with October, and nary a word from me on my car-free October project. Well, before the last week is here, let say a bit aboot it.

Short story: used the car three times. I’ve gone way WAY fewer places than usual, and I like the expectation of not driving each morning.

The details: it’s not easy getting downtown from the burbs. Sure, buses run there, and most even have bike racks.

So on October 4, my first car driving day, I mapped it all out and realized that I wouldn’t make it downtown in time for my meeting. Two buses and a mile walk (or quick ride) from the bus stop meant I’d have to leave work around 4:30 to do it. And that assumes no missed connections.

Add to that the return trip: another ride/walk in the dark, and another bus transfer. This one, though, I had to make by 10:15 or I’d have to bike an extra 6 miles on a main road at night. People do it all the time, sure. But I hadn’t.

Couple all that the coincidence of mbf needing to be a few miles from me and in a similar situation (transfers, darkness), and we figured this one was ok to drive. We put the odometer on and saw that the whole round trip turned out to be over 40 miles. Very glad we didn’t try biking the whole way!

The second car-date was on the 17th: a surprise gift of concert tickets for me! The concert was even further away than the Oct 4 meeting, and what’s more, mbf had also invited a friend who needed ride and had zero bus options. We picked her up, concerted, and gladly delivered her safely after 1am. No bus runs that late out there or to our house, so again we called it good.

The third time was just lazy. This was yesterday, and I was on my bike, down the street, when a cold gust hit my face. When I factored in the threat of rain and a necessary trip during the work day (which I’ve twice before made by bike) and which would likely be during a cold downpour, I said screw it. I turned around and came home and got my car. I did, however, take my roommate to work. So carpooling happened, at least.

That use of my car was pure comfort-driven (pun intended), and it’s why I decided to finally blog about this. Last weekend I got my car fixed and so it became an option to use again. And a week later, when the weather was a teensy bit less fun, I flaked.

That’s disappointing. I thought I was more resolved than that. It brings home the whole thing, though: what I’m doing this month is totally by choice. I’m not forced to bike and walk. I have many vehicles and even willing friends to help get me places. I’ve merely chosen this.

Why?

I wanted to see how much less fuel I could use. And news flash, that came out to be a LOT less. Even using my car once a week for 40-mile trips is a zillion times better than my daily 6-mile round trip to work plus another 2 or 3 mile jaunt to get food. I’d still have made those longer trips anyway.

I stay home more, sure. But I go out by arranging carpooling, offering to be someone’s DD, or being creative. By forcing myself to choose carefully when I go out, I’ve only done things I was really interested in, really invested in. I’ve saved money there, for sure.

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