Monday, July 16, 2012

Bike as a vehicle

Today I started talking you a young mother who was visiting the Exploration Center with her kids. While they were busy checking out the Giant Garbage pile we got talking about running and cycling. She was saying how she wishes more cities were like Davis and would love to see people choose bikes over cars. I totally agree with her and we began talking about how unique our culture is with it's car obsession.

I know almost every other country has a larger percentage of people using bicycles as transportation than the US. It appears that about 5 times as many bikes are produced world wide than cars. An average of 40 million bikes are sold in the US and Europe each year, yet many Americans don't consider them as a way to commute or run errands. Last month was bike month and our local region logged 1.75 million miles in a single month. The largest percentage was recreation miles at just over 1 million, commute miles were in 2nd place with 500K and errands just 60K. Of course there are some people out there that are totally commited to cycling and don't even own a car, but most of us think of our bike first as fun and many don't consider it for function.

I have to admit, on short trips it's easy to hop on my bike and do my errands. When it's hot, raining or I have more than 1 stop it is just much easier to hop in the car. Last year my son finally got his license, he also started a job and going to college in the next town. We decided to see how it goes with me not having a car, and really it hasn't been too bad. I do miss the freedom of knowing I can get into my car and go anywhere. I'm hit an miss about doing my errands via bike. I have a good setup with locks and a trailer and very few places that I go on a regular basis are more than 5 miles from my house. Since May was bike month, I decided to do all my errands via bike, it was fairly easy. If we lived in a utopian world where I can leave my purchases from one store in my trailer while shopping at a 2nd store it would have been perfect. Instead I had to bring my farmers market haul into the grocery store to finish the shopping list. I have also had to make single stop trips which take much longer to acquire all the things I needed. I did find out that I could put all the components I needed from Home Depot to make my chicken feeder in my front basket and I can fit nearly 50 veggie plants in my trailer with out a problem.

I will continue to consider my bike as my primary form of transporation and eventually find solutions for the reasons why I don't choose my bike first. I do have a cute little skirt I wear over my cycling shorts. It's funny how I have no problem pulling into one of our favorite cycling eateries all sweaty and wearing spandex but I'm to embarassed to walk through Whole Foods in a kit.

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