June 10, 2009

Today marks the opening of Roanoke’s Carless Brit Bike Museum, a museum showcasing “the oddities and wonders of Roanoke’s bike culture.”

River asked me to speak to the question of why I am doing this:

The WHAT:  A 6 month+ life-change entailing  being car-free locally.  That is, getting around town for work, errands, fun, and socializing without using my car.  In fact, I am selling the vehicle to secure the deal.  I’ll use my bike or walk, use the bus or carpool.    The only really unusual thing is that I have 2 little girls who will go on this ride with me.  But people everywhere do this, I am just joining the effort.

The WHY:  I am an ordinary woman who loves to ride her bike, and I want to show folks that ordinary people can make this alternative work.  I have 2 extraordinary girls, and I see this as an opportunity to teach them how to love life, live simply, and leave a lighter footprint.  A community is made up of your involvement in it, and this is teaching them how to step up and get involved.

The HOW:  I just purchased an Xtracycle Free Radical and Family Van kit, and had it hooked up to a modestly priced commuter style bike.  This comes equiped with load carrying frame and very awesome bags to carry stuff in.  I can do this because we made a conscious decision when we moved back to Roanoke to live where we could be active locally.  OSW seemed to us like the best neighborhood for this.  We have all we need locally:  great grocery choices, an active farmer’s market, terrific museums, parks, zoo, trails, pools and schools.  It’s all at our fingertips and at bike-able or walk-able distances.  I’m a teacher, and my work is the longest bike commute of the family, at 16 miles round trip.  I did it off and on throughout this past school year, with child and without, and am prepared to continue this bike commute in the new school year, taking the bus or carpooling in inclement weather.  My challenge for the summer is to renew, train, and be very good at  planning fun local activities and keeping my kids energized and loving the bike experience.  It requires that I  be conscious of the energy it takes to get places and being really well planned.  I anticipate our spending to go way down (as well as the scales!), and our savings (and the earth’s) to go up.

EXCEPTIONS:  We are still going on vacations (taking bikes with us, of course) and driving to far away places to see family and friends.  We are still keeping one vehicle for out-of-town excursions.  However, we are making deliberate choices to pay off then sell the least efficient vehicle, to use the remaining vehicle less, to rely on alternative modes of transportation and face the challenges that go with those choices.  JOIN ME!

READHow to Live Well Without Owning a Car by Chris Balish.  This is a terrific jumpstart into realizing that you CAN do this.

CHECK OUT THESE WEB SITESwww.commutebybike.comwww.technoearthmama.com, www.sheldonbrown.comwww.precisiontandems.com, http://bikeskirt.blogspot.com/

2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Trent on June 25, 2009 at 12:50 am

    Love the blog & the intention. Best wishes for sucess & safety!
    I hope to be following your path soon!


    • Posted by roanokecarfreewithkids on June 29, 2009 at 8:06 am

      Great to hear! Let me know about your journey, and I’ll spread the word. Good luck!


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