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No car is no cake walk.

July 20, 2010

Living, breathing, sweating the car-free life

That cake walk expression is pretty dumb, isn’t it? And not altogether true. Have you ever participated in a cake walk? It’s actually pretty rare that you walk away with a cake. That’s beside the point though.

The point is that being car-free can be really freaking hard.

Life without a car isn’t all bad. In fact, there are a lot of fantabulous perks to car-free-ness. But, like any life choice, it has its challenges and drawbacks. We car-free folk can’t just roll up the windows, crank up the AC, or turn up the volume to eliminate, cool, or mute the world around us.

We move through the world with a lot less armor, and the world is a friendlier conduit some days than others.

At the moment, it’s about a zillion degrees outside, which means I arrive at almost every destination with hair plastered to my forehead and sweat dripping down my shins. This morning a driver who lacks knowledge of cyclist road rights—and apparently has more horsepower than intelligence—honked long and loud at me, on my bike, as he passed dangerously close to me. And tomorrow I’ll be en route on buses for more than four hours to complete a trip that would take an hour and a half by car.

Guess I needed to gripe a bit. Hope you’ll forgive me.

While I’m at it:

  • Whoever drew up blueprints for the placement of the bike rack at my place of employment apparently has never seen a bike before—or he would know that you can’t properly lock one to a rack fewer than six inches from the parking garage wall.
  • The crosswalk light at the corner of Broadway and 10th is totally biased toward the Broadway travelers.
  • After an 8-hour shift, the hill at the very end of my bike ride home from work provokes in me suicidal thoughts.
  • The 83 bus arrives every 20 minutes like BP captures 5,000 barrels of oil from the Gulf every day.

Ah, I feel better.

Now, it’s you’re turn. Gripe away, car-free comrades!


7 Comments leave one →
  1. Melanie permalink
    July 20, 2010 1:24 pm

    Hey Amy!! I don’t really have a gripe but I thought of you this morning. It was sprinkling lightly on my drive in and there was a guy on a black, sort of old-fashioned looking bike who was holding a regular-sized umbrella with one hand and steering his bike with the other. I so wished I had my camera with me and handy because you would have loved it!! That’s determination (just like you exhibit)!! Hope you’re well! Love, Melanie

  2. avaerewyck permalink
    July 23, 2010 4:09 pm

    Hi Melanie, Thanks so much for sharing! What a beautiful image – I wish you’d had your camera too. If you ever catch any other interesting car-free sites in boulder, feel free to send them my way, and I’ll post them here. I am well, thanks, and I hope you are too. Take care.

  3. pawl permalink
    July 27, 2010 1:08 am

    I share your frustration with bike rack placement. The one at my work is more than 6 inches, however, but for the longest time we had one of those racks where you had to put your bike on the rack so the top bar of the rack was in the nook of the V where the fork & the frame meet, if you wanted to secure more than just a wheel. However, if you have fenders you cannot do this without damaging your them. So that essentially gave people 2 spots to park on a rack built for a dozen.
    Maybe I’ve gotten used to it, but biking in hot weather is very similar to biking in rainy weather. Bring an extra change of clothes because you will be sopping wet by the time you get to where you’re going and make sure you have a place to set your clothes so they can dry by the end of your visit/shift/class/whatever.
    I sure do appreciate the dusk bike rides when the sun sets and it starts to cool.

  4. avaerewyck permalink
    July 28, 2010 2:39 pm

    As a fellow fender-user, I hate those over-the-top racks too. You’re right that braving the hot weather is do-able, say, on the way to work, school, or another place you go regularly. But things like dinner dates and happy hours are another story: “Excuse me, bartender. You mind hanging my sweaty shirt back there next to the Maker’s Mark?”


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