You might have thought that I’d forget to check up on you as Anti Automobile April came to a close. But here we are, on the first weekend in May. How did you do? Did you track your driving last month, and maybe even drive a bit less because of it?
I did, and here are the results:
Family Road Trip Driving: 1115 miles
Local Clown Driving: 13 miles
Walking: 107 miles
Biking: 111 miles
In the measure of “miles traveled by car”, we had a gluttonous month, because the MMM family happened to be in the middle of a big Southwestern road trip on April 1st. That night, we had to drive from Moab, Utah to Zion National Park, and the next day on to Las Vegas. And eventually, it was necessary to travel all the way back home from there.
But after that, the month was more respectable. Only two car trips were taken, for a total of 13 miles. They were both Clown trips, in the sense that they were within city limits and thus within biking distance. But at least they involved the whole family traveling together, and they were areas that are a bit of a stretch for little MM to ride to, especially since time was tight on those days.
There was some fun in it for me: we had a series of weekly record-breaking snowstorms in Colorado (Although this is normally a warm time of year here, you will still occasionally get beach weather in January, or deep snow in May).
During one of these storms, I happened to need groceries, so I threw on some snow gear and hooked the bike trailer up to my burly old full-suspension mountain bike. As the garage door rolled up, I was greeted with an apocalyptic blizzard: strong winds, huge flakes everywhere, and a deep crust of snow and ice on all surfaces. It was going to be an interesting ride.
The two miles to the store were no problem: downhill, on roads mostly melted due to the fact that it had been 70F just one day earlier. But inside the grocery store, I was confronted with amazing sales on many of my favorite foods. Obeying my own food shopping algorithm, I bought an enormous quantity of heavy stuff (85 pounds of it, as I discovered upon weighing it all at home). While this normally presents no problem for the bike trailer, I wondered how I would fare in the deep snow.
On the way home, I always cut through the park and ride along the creekside bike path. But halfway through, I discovered it had not been plowed, and the snow was getting deeper as I rode. I shifted down a gear and pedaled harder. The bike trailer’s narrow tires dug into the snowdrifts and presented increasing friction.
Eventually, I was in the lowest of my bike’s 27 gears, spinning the rear tire and pedaling with every bit of energy I could muster, shooting out steam clouds of breath, and moving slower than a very leisurely walking speed. My front tire slipped out, and I had to put my feet down and stop. And there was still a mile of this bike path left to travel. Snow was melting on my cheeks, icicles were hanging from my beard, and the 85 pounds of groceries were mocking me from behind the clear plastic window of the trailer.
I thought about you, and what you would think of me if I gave up. “Does Adm Karpinsk talk about Badassity, or does he talk about Wussypants Convenience?” I asked myself.
“Am I going to go home and whine about this bike ride, or am I going to feel like I kicked some serious ass when I make it home from this?”
I waited for my breathing and my heart rate to recover. I looked around at the snow falling into the rapids of the creek, balancing on the tree branches, and floating straight down from the white abyss onto my face when I looked up. It was beautiful to be out here alone, when everyone else was safely hiding in their houses and cars. Even with ice on my cheeks, I felt warm, healthy, and even a little bit badass. I forced the bike and trailer to start moving again. The drifts were shallower as the trail progressed. I climbed the final 100 foot ascent to the neighborhood where I live. And rolled back into the luxury of my warm, dry garage, victorious.
That’s what the Anti-Automobile mentality is really about. It’s not about me whining, criticizing, or making America feel bad about its love affair with cars. It’s about all of us winning.
(For bored voyeurs, here is the full table of my transportation tracking for the month):
|4/1/2013||180||1||0||Moab, UT to Zion National Park (camped this night)|
|4/2/2013||165||3||0||A night out on Freemont Street|
|4/3/2013||0||6||0||Tour of strip (took bus)|
|4/4/2013||70||5||0||Trip to Hoover Dam, hiking around dam, meetup with Mustachians|
|4/5/2013||400||2||0||Las Vegas to Fruita, CO (camped this night)|
|4/6/2013||300||2||0||Fruita, CO to Longmont|
|4/7/2013||0||2||10||Biking with boy, Grocery trip with Mrs. MM.|
|4/8/2013||0||8||2||Biked son to school, then walked all day for construction project|
|4/9/2013||0||2||3||No school, cold weather. Biked to friend's house.|
|4/10/2013||0||5||2||some fun plumbing work today on the addition|
|4/12/2013||0||5||4||Construction play, toured new house and made offer today.|
|4/13/2013||6||2||10||Drove family and bikes to lake for running/biking lap|
|4/14/2013||0||2||6||Store errands, helped a friend with some electrical work|
|4/15/2013||0||1||5||Ultimate Blizzard Challenge trip to store|
|4/17/2013||0||2||4||Library and errands, tiny bit of work|
|4/18/2013||0||5||2||Big work day|
|4/19/2013||0||5||2||Big work day 2|
|4/20/2013||0||1||3||Visited friend across town, drank too much beer today|
|4/21/2013||0||3||6||Nice morning walk at the creek, mega weights workout, afternoon biking with boy, grocery run in evening.|
|4/26/2013||0||3||10||lots of biking, bit of work|
|4/27/2013||7||2||7||Clown Day: Movie and birthday party at a park (family was already tired from biking to the other side of town in the morning to watch Mrs. MM run a 5k race!)|
|4/28/2013||0||10||3||Many errands around town today|