Sick As a Dog, Happy As a Clam to Be Car-Free
Today was to have been one of celebration. It’s been a baker’s dozen years since my 1991 Little Red Civic got smashed on Bee Caves Road by a guy in a truck. We “t-boned” because he pulled in front of me; his fault. I survived mostly ok, but the car didn’t. The rest is as they say, history. The first decade of my biking lifestyle was not recorded. I biked for utility and in the process got some exercise, but never very much.
It wasn’t until this journey really began in 2015 that I ramped up the mileage. I was probably doing 1,000 a year, but don’t know. But then I counted about 3,000-3,500 miles using Google Maps and training rides. I have no real proof I did them, but I know I did. In 2016-17 I started using the GPS app Strava (see my profile and stats at the link) on a smart phone to record all my rides. I began this blog, and pumped up the jams to reach 10,000 miles in two years culminating in the profile in the January 15th, 2018 Austin American-Statesman. If you haven’t read it please find the story linked in my post.
Sometimes You Just Don’t Have the Legs, or Lungs, or Anything
But at this moment I’m not feeling celebratory. I’m still struggling to fight off cedar fever or possibly the flu, although I don’t have an actual fever, it’s just 99.1° F. The symptoms are many but mostly exhaustion; after catching a lift to my job search group, I slept for three hours again in the middle of the day, like the other day. I would have enjoyed even a nice little commemorative ride of 13 miles. But that’s mos def not happening. Hell, I barely made it walking 1.83 miles round trip to the pharmacy. Still, it’s a good day to be an environmentalist.
In 2016, I wrote “11 Years (not) a Slave to Cars” and in 2017, I followed up with “12 Years (NOT) a Slave to Cars”. In both posts I explain pretty well what I was thinking at the time. Today I’m not thinking much. Just that 2017 was a helluva year: back-to-back centuries (202 Miles in 2 Days) in the BP MS 150, in which I raised over $2,067 for Multiple Sclerosis; my second Mamma Jamma Ride to Beat Breast Cancer, which was 65 miles and I raised $1,518, and of course there were those other 4,447 miles. So many friggin’ miles, for me, even if 600 less than 2016, which was on purpose to get more rest. There were a couple of times I laid the bike down and off-the-bike injuries. Winning the Bike Austin Ambassador of Advocacy award for 2017 was also a highlight. None of this would have happened if I were sitting in a 2-ton metal box aka killing polluting machine.
Trees I think that I shall never see A poem lovely as a tree. A tree whose hungry mouth is prest Against the sweet earth’s flowing breast; A tree that looks at God all day, And lifts her leafy arms to pray; A tree that may in summer wear A nest of robins in her hair; Upon whose bosom snow has lain; Who intimately lives with rain. Poems are made by fools like me, But only God can make a tree. -- Mr. Joyce Kilmer, 1886-1918
So What? Just Buy a Car, Dude!
Well, being unemployed as I am, and being laid off from the non-profit world, funds for a car are not available at the moment. As I was quoted as saying in the newspaper article, “If I want to go anywhere, biking is usually the most efficient way,” he says. Besides, cars are expensive, and they pollute. “Would I like to have a car again? It sure would be useful, but I don’t want to impoverish myself.” So all the people who want me to get off the bike and have a car: Go ahead and donate one with all the money I need to keep it running legally. Besides, if I got a car, I would probably be alot less of a fathlete and just be more, you know… fatter. But if my health can’t handle it then maybe I will have to look into alternate forms of transportation. The bus is inefficient but it works if you have the time, and ride sharing might work in a pinch if I need it though it has not been necessary or even attractive. Some day we’ll have better bike lanes and self-driving cars. I’m hoping to feel better and to get back on the bike soon.
Meanwhile, what is keeping you from being car-free? Or to drive a little less?
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