|Photo by Kristi Moen.|
Last year at this time, I decided, rather spontaneously, that I would set a goal of using my car only 600 miles each month in 2010. While it seems like a lot to some who ride most of the time, it’s well below the national average. I thought I had a shot at achieving my goal. I live near the new Link light rail line so that I can easily get downtown. I commute to work on my bike roughly half the time. My community in Burien is fairly small so that I can walk, jog or ride to most places.
But – and you knew this was coming – I didn’t make it. My total mileage was 10,269, 255 miles above my monthly goal. It seems that other interests can get in the way of riding. For example, if I want to snowboard or hike, I must drive to the mountains. And I participate in a swimming workshop 20 miles from my house. Plus, sometimes I simply need my car for work or for appointments.
Still, taking a conscious look at how I get around put my routine under a microscope. So I learned. I learned that the true achievement from setting a goal was in the understanding I gained about my driving and riding attitudes. The actual miles I drove or rode were not that important. I also learned that I can comfortably ride my bike in street clothes, something I’ve avoided. I learned that a little rain doesn’t ruin the groceries I carry home on my bike nor does a little cold weather cause me any harm. And I learned that helmets don’t have to mean bad hair, a popular reason cited by women for not using a bicycle for transportation.
There’s more, some frivolous, some not, but I’ll stop there. In 2011, I will continue using my bike for transportation and encourage anyone in our urban area to find ways of putting walking, cycling and public transportation together for better health and a cleaner environment. It’s not hard, just a different way of looking at mobility.