Non-Driving :: Part 2 of 2

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After the rains subsided my main form of transportation has been my
bike.  Bicycling has given me a great sense of freedom and control in
transportation.  It is much easier for me, with my bike, to alter plans
and take different routes or change my time schedule, etc…



Published October 25th, 2005 by C.I.C.L.E.

By April Ford :: USA

Here is Non- Driving :: Part One  if you have not yet read it.

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A
fter the rains subsided my main form of transportation has been my
bike.  Bicycling has given me a great sense of freedom and control
in transportation.  It is much easier for me, with my bike, to
alter plans and take different routes or change my time schedule, etc.
 I feel a sense of elation and well-being when I arrive at my
destination on my trusty bike. 

I am able to see close up the nature that surrounds us; heavy mist in
the early morning, baby coyotes  on the bike path in the Arroyo,
great blue herons in the LA river, while still getting to my
destination in a reasonable amount of time.  

  

There have been lots of other results, too.  Lots of physical
results came up right away.  My knees began to complain if I rode
more than 90 minutes a day. (Glucosamine works wonders!)  Body
odor  became a problem.  I tried many ways of dealing with my
smelly armpits and finally found a non-toxic  deodorant made by
Nature’s Gate that works!  I now smell like men’s cologne, but
that’s better than the previous smell.

One day, on a particularly ambitious ride, I fell – my bike slid out
from under me on some wet pavement and I came down hard on my shoulder.
 It’s still recovering. I made some changes to my bike and that’s
helping.

My stamina has increased.  I have slowly built up my strength
through longer and longer rides,  and now rides that used to wear
me out seem easy. 

Which brings up an important topic, weight loss. When I first started
non-driving I was quite heavy for me, and thus too scared to weigh
myself.  Now I wish I had, because I know I’ve lost quite a bit of
weight. All my clothes are loose on me and people keep asking me how
I’ve lost weight.  I always tell them it’s from leaving my car at
home. 

This, I will admit, is only partially true, becuase I also quit eating
sugar, and would not have lost the weight if I had continued to consume
massive amounts of chocolate.  But,  the endorphins
stimulated by biking have helped me not to need the “up” from the
sugar, so . . .biking really is the answer to all problems. 

I have also saved a lot of money, but I won’t say that people keep
asking me how I got so rich.  The class issue has come up in
another form.  I know I look a little strange when doing errands
on my bike.  I’m carrying some slightly soiled bags, I’m sweaty,
and sometimes even wear my ugly helmet into the store for added
effect. 

One day, several sales people in different stores called out loudly,
“CAN I HELP YOU?” as soon as I entered the door.  It was clear
that they were uncomfortable with my appearance in their store. I did
get helped right away, though.  I did not realize before this,
that I am concerned with my appearance. 

I don’t really care so much that salespeople think I’m crazy or
homeless, but I would like others, who may consider biking for
transportation, to not be put off thinking that they cannot look lovely
and bike, too.  This is an interesting area, one that needs more
exploration. The helmet, the outfits, and the bags in my back baskets
all need work.  And how will we make sweat

sexy?

  

For the first while that I began tentatively exploring biking around
town, I did feel a sense of loneliness. I did not see too many other
riders, and certainly didn’t know anyone else who was doing this.

Luckily, this summer was bike summer in Los Angeles and I decided to
attend as many of the bike events in my area as possible.  At
first, I was a little nervous.  Strangely,  I wasn’t used to
being around so many like-minded people!  But soon enough I
relaxed and, while on rides, just began speaking my mind with whoever
was riding next to me. 

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Meeting so many wonderful people who are also living their
environmental ideals was a great inspiration to me. Just knowing that
all those dedicated bike-for-transportationists were out there gave me
lots of courage to try longer rides.  As I rode alone I would
think about my new friends and wonder where they were on the road, at
that moment. So, I didn’t feel as lonely or strange.  And
genrally, I am feeling more hopeful.  My North East LA bike
friends make me feel that LA is not a lost cause. 

There are great things happening out there!  On one of our
Critical Mass rides one Friday evening we ended up in a huge cornfield
in the middle of the city sitting around a fire pit, talking to people
who had gathered there for an art event.  There was lots of talk
about growing food, water, the environment, community, etc.  I
thought how strange it was to end up with such a group of like-minded
people in the middle of a cornfield, in the middle of Los Angeles, at
night around a fire. So, you never know where a bike will take you.
 

I still use the buses and trains combined with walking for longer
trips, and I enjoy that experience, too. I am especially thrilled with
taking the bus to the Burbank airport.  I feel so civilized,
getting off the empty, air-conditioned bus and strolling calmly up the
walkway to the airport.  I think that if people knew how nice it
was to take the bus to the airport the bus would be crowded.  

I am now considering moving into a community-living situation, to push
the sustainable living even further along.  It seems that one
important life change inspires and allows the next one to come into
being. 

Recently, I ended a long-term relatioinship and started a new part-time
job as an organic gardener. I believe that the bicycle was the catalyst
for all these changes, it got the wheel turning.