15 miles down, 18 to go
It’s official: I am car-free. A lovely fellow named Tony came around 11 a.m. with the tow truck, took off my license plates, attached my title to his clipboard and drove away, leaving me with a piece of paper from Vehicles for Charity confirming my donation and thanking me for it.
You’re welcome! Thank YOU Vehicles for Charity. Sure, I gave you a decent and fully-functional automobile, but you gave me freedom from it. No more $4/gal. gas, no more oil changes, no more maintenance surprises. Sure, no more A/C, stereo and 4WD, but lots more adventure!
I was thinking to myself this morning that I have been driving for exactly half of my life, and a lot. When I got that license, I was on the road. I’ve driven myself to every move and done more trips cross-country than you can shake a stick at. My cars have always been the people-movers. I had a Volvo once, my favorite car of all time (her name was Bertha), that could fit 13 people in it at one time and did, often.
So it’s day three, and I’ve already biked through downtown three times. What I’ve realized today is that biking through Denver is waaaay easier than biking NYC and Philly, my old bike commuting haunts. I’m laughing at myself for complaining about 20th Street yesterday – that sidewalk IS the bike path and totally wide and accommodating. When I biked to work in NYC, I had to go through some gnarly traffic before I got to the Hudson River greenway and sometimes taxis would challenge me to a game of chicken, but I loved that ride. Philly was a fine town to bike in, as long as you circumvented the cobblestones and stayed the hell out of the way, and I loved that ride too. It’s funny that in my own hometown I have such apprehension about biking and that I’m meticulously plotting my routes each day. I feel all that stress, already day 3, ebbing away.
There really is something wonderful about biking. I see (and hear) funny little street scenes play themselves out. I shop for dream houses. There is a lot of waving and smiles between me and other cyclists. And it’s great exercise.
I’m on my way to game one of kickball tonight. I signed up for this league before I knew I’d be going car-free, so I have my work cut out for me. It’s 18 miles to get to the fields from here, which Google estimates will take me 1h45m. Away I go …