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Cupid didn’t have a car.

February 11, 2010

Say it without a car.

OK, he had that specially-calibrated archery set, but you get the point.

You don’t need a car to wow your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day. In fact, she or he might be even more wow-ed if you finagle a romantic evening that’s nearly carbon-neutral and doesn’t involve a half-hour hunt for a parking spot on this busy lovers’ holiday.

Depending on your current transportation habits, a car-free date may be a cinch for you. In the instance that it is not, here are a few ideas I’ve pulled together for you:

Take a walk
Sound obvious? It is, but we still don’t do enough of it to make our legs worth their weight. I’m currently in Italy, where the evening passeggiata is a sacred daily ritual, and I’ve come to realize how relatively infrequently we Americans use our feet for something other than pushing a gas pedal. Here, Italians use walks to work up an appetite for dinner, to digest their meal, or simply as an excuse to be seen out on the town. Arm-in-arm or hand-in-hand, down a sidewalk or down a boardwalk, under the sun or under the stars—do some strolling this V-Day.

Go on a carriage ride
If you live in a city and you’ve got some cash to spare, you can create a romantic, old-timey ambience by taking your beloved on a ride in a horse-pulled carriage. Since the carriages usually go around downtown areas, you should be able to get there by bus or subway. Bring along a carafe of hot tea and some shortbread, and you’ll have rounded out the Dickensian theme enough to impress any date.

Bike to your destination
Going out on a bicycle may seem like a pain, but in my experience, the most difficult part is finding an outfit appropriate for both pedaling and dining. For women, a skirt and heels can be difficult but certainly not impossible, depending on what type of bike you have. Men need to be sure to roll up their right pant-leg to avoid getting chain grease on their fancy pants. Aside from that, be sure you have helmets, locks, and lights, and you should be set. Just in case, here’s a bit more info on night cycling from the League of American Bicyclists.

Catch a car-free flick
It might be difficult to find one in the theaters, but movies at home are cozier anyway. Here are some suggestions: Contested Streets—New York City flirts with car independence; Breaking Away—Teenage Hoosier has love affair with cycling; Into the Wild—Minimalist 20-something ditches more than just his car for his passions.

Best of luck, one and all, in your love pursuits this Valentine’s Day. If you try one of the ideas above, come on back here and leave a comment to let us know how it went.


4 Comments leave one →
  1. lizzie permalink
    February 13, 2010 10:15 am

    wow, well biking on a v-day date sounds awesome. no cute outfit, chain grease, helmet hair. sign me up! ps, i recognize that wood shop heart. (i wonder if M.S. subscribes to this blog??)

  2. avaerewyck permalink
    February 14, 2010 11:58 am

    No, you CAN have a cute outfit. You just have to be extra-creative – and chain grease, by the way, is totally sexy.

  3. March 7, 2010 9:29 am

    I saw that one of your recommendations was to have people ride in a horse-drawn carriage. Knowing that you’re the compassionate person you are, I wanted to comment that I wouldn’t recommend that as a “car free” alternative. One could argue that as much energy is used in doing so as using a car, AND in most instances there are no humane care standards for the Horses themselves. Did you know in New York City during the summer (when the carriage rides are most popular) temperatures have to exceed 90 degrees for the horses to be put away to rest? Most work 10-12 hours a day, seven days a week. They are rarely taken out of rotation for rest, and just worked literally to the bone. So with all of this in mind, I wanted to stress that people use their OWN feet and take a nice walk in the park, rather than relying on the tired feet of a horse drawing a carriage. Just my two cents. Any thoughts?

  4. avaerewyck permalink
    March 20, 2010 10:37 am

    Thanks so much, Shawn, for making this point. It’s certainly an important matter to consider. Do you know of any really good web sites on humane care standards that you can refer us to for more info on horse carriage rides and other animal issues?

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