a boots-on-the-ground view of the change that's a-foot

A Bikers Perspective

by Greg Gillette, Asheville, NC

Is it possible to live with only your feet, a bike, and some public transportation, in a small city? Yes, it is quite possible, as I have been engaged in a car-free life for almost 3 months. Why? I wanted to be the change I want to see in the world. I had debated this idea for several years and I realized that I had already been getting by without driving, except when the weather was cold and rainy. The only way I was going to experience the real car-free life was to sell my car. One morning I woke up and posted my Subaru on Craig’s List. By the next day, I was car-free and it felt damn good.

I bought a practical and cool commuter bike with fenders, lights, and waterproof panniers. I continue to bike downtown to go dancing; I bike to work, to friends’ houses, and to the local co-op for groceries. It helps that I work part-time out of my house and part-time in town. When it’s wet, I just put on my rain gear and go. To me, it is a feeling of true freedom knowing that I am living simpler, moving my body towards better health everyday – and helping the Earth. I figure I can rent a car when necessary and I’m looking forward to car-share options becoming available, as they are in some larger cities. No Impact Man talks car-share here.

Yes, there is some sacrifice involved and I have no idea if I will live the rest of my life without 4 wheels of some kind, but for the present, it feels wonderful to be car-free. It feels right. It is allowing me to get a bigger perceptive on life by moving a bit slower, as though I am not so entangled in the huge wheel of modern society. Although not everyone can live without a car, everyone can put a little more effort into driving those cars less and taking advantage of the occasions when they can walk, bike, carpool and use public transportation.

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