Car-free Confessions

The end of the year has me feeling more chatty than usual

I have said this before, and I still stand by such a statement. If it wasn’t for bike racing, I wouldn’t drive a car. Recently, some minor mechanicals have left me carless. While there isn’t a significant amount of money to invest in a new car battery (especially when your car isn’t expected to last for the next two years) I still took this as a sign to get back in touch with commuting around town. These past few days have been a little rough. What with the getting back into the commuter lifestyle (always having a change of clothes on hand with snacks and a lock handy.)

In getting out of my recent “downer” I tried to figure out what was the rooted cause of my inability to feel more than most. Perhaps it was my lack of motorized mobility that left me feeling powerless to continuing to exist in society. I soon realized that that wasn’t the case. I don’t need to drive at this point in my life. My work commute is under ten miles and any other social obligations I am tied to are what I consider “local.” I recently took a trip over the hill to the westside on the track bike and found it surprisingly less fearful as I had once anticipated (going downhill in a lower gear without being able to coast or squeeze a brake can be a real stressor.) That being said, I referred back to the stress management classes I took when I was still in school and began to analyze and rationalize the fear. Sure it can be scary at times, but I have been through worse. And when calculating the duration of stress in relation to an entire experience, the bark is worse than the bite.

It’s overcoming obstacles like these are what make the scary thoughts less scary. And in the grand scheme of things, things like commuting from place to place aren’t as big a deal as I had been making them out to be. The hardest part is leaving the house. From crawling out of bed, to preparing meals and clothing, its the planning that far in advance that can be a mental damper on the riding experience. However, just like working nights, once we have established a routine, things become easier the more and more we practice them.

Owning a car is without argument, a luxury that I have taken for granted time and time again. As romantic a thought such as being able to drive a car into work day after day like a “normal person” seems grand. Once I get those thoughts going, then come other branching thoughts that have the theme of being “normal” and living a more traditional life. It is then that I come to my senses and realize I’m not a normal person. While I can see myself doing this, this isn’t for me. If I’m not moving (or recovering from such movements) I turn into a sloth and thats when it all goes downhill.

Overall I am feeling a little better about myself as I am able to feel a little more. Glad my work week is coming to an end. Glad I’ll get the opportunity to get away from it all. And glad to be car-free.



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