Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Pedal power update - June 2008

On May 12, Dave and I put an end to the daily routine of getting in the car to go to work. It was rough starting out, but by the end of the month, there were 9 days in which we didn't use the car at all. Not bad, but we were sure we could do better, despite the summer Texas heat. So on June 1, we began marking the calendar for each car-free day. So how did we do for our second month? Drumroll, please...

Fourteen car-free days! Definitely getting better! So how do those financials work out? Gas is currently running about $3.91 here and we had been using just about 1 gallon of gas to get to/from work per day. So that's...

x   14
$54.74 in savings!

That's awesome! I can certainly think of a few things we could do with that extra money, not to mention we got great exercise just getting around town. 

Another positive note is that I'm very obviously becoming a stronger biker. I don't even look at the wind speed anymore when I leave the house, I just go. And at least in the mornings, I have great company - we've been biking to the office together (we come home separately since I only work part time). 

Next month, we're going to track usage a little differently. Dave pointed out that the number of car-free days doesn't tell us as much as if we were tracking our mileage for the month. So as of July 1, we're going to concentrate on reducing the number of miles we drive instead of focusing so much on car-free days. Totally makes sense (do you see why I love him, someone needs to keep me grounded)!

Let's hear it for Pedal Power!

P.S. July is here, but can we stand the heat? Stay tuned to find out...


Beany said...

I am so impressed! I am not sure what Bryan is like (nor can remember if you mentioned this) you see other bikers?

I am a real slowpoke on the bike but am really strong and can keep going for hours (sometimes even in the heat). What really built up my strength was yoga however. I can some sort of inner strength that came from doing all those bendy exercises.

My husband's family (in Georgia) is finally beginning to see that my husband is not not a screwball for riding his bike everywhere now that gas prices are going up.

Green Bean said...

How cool! You save money and emissions but gain so much - time together doing something you enjoy, time outside, getting in shape. It's great. I biked quite a bit last month but with my oldest's school changing and my husband too busy to take the other to school, I'm afraid I've had to turn to the car a bit more. I need to work on alternatives in those cases.

fearlesschef said...

I agree... my husband rides almost 10 miles one way to work everyday and I am so, so, so proud of him. I on the other hand, have been banned from riding for "professinal" reasons to my office. Either way, we are essentially down to one car... which is great since gas is $4.08!!!

Nadine said...

Hi! I just came over from Green Bean Dreams, nice to "meet you." Congrats on your savings. It will be interested to see the mileage.

Jennifer (of Veg*n Cooking) said...

How awesome Heather! I am truly impressed and very proud of you and your husband for doing this. And look at all the positive benefits: reducing pollution, reducing consumption of gas, getting good exercise, and saving money.

You did loads better this month! I think you guys' new 'tracking system' might give you guys a better idea of how much gas you are saving and how many fewer miles you are driving.

Kudos to you for doing this, it gets hot in Texas. I know from visiting my family in Houston and McKinney.

arduous said...

Congrats! That's awesome. Can't wait to see how July turns out for y'all.

Melissa said...

good luck this month! I think Dave's system makes sense - I can't wait to hear how it works out!

eco 'burban mom said...

Good for you! You offset my bad, bad car habits. With 4 kids, I would need some sort of bus-bike hybrid. Can you see me pedaling down the road pulling a cart with 4 kids in it! Funny! I know I rely on my mini-van WAY too much. Though, we have started walking to two stores that are close by for miscellaneous items such as hot dog buns or a missing ingredient. It's a little pricier and not always organic, but we figure the carbon off set is a better way to go. I can't wait to see what July will hold for you. I have my fingers crossed for cool breezes and cloudy skies! :o)

cristele said...

I bike to my public transportation and I noticed something interesting. When I bike back home, which is uphill, and requires much more efforts, then by the time I come home it makes me more *energized* and excited! I'm not this lazy-tired lady that comes home exhausted from a day at work! I hop in the shower and I'm ready for doing plenty of stuff at home!

Glenda said...

That's great, Heather! How bike-friendly is Bryan?

We're in San Angelo and it's not bike-friendly around here. No way would I feel comfortable biking myself or my kiddo anywhere. Even walking is a risky endeavor if you're not in an area that has sidewalks (we're not).

My hubby drive approximately 30,000 miles annually for business, but my kiddo is homeschooled, I'm mostly an at-home mom (do a little office-type work from home), and hubby offices from home when he's in town, so our personal driving is fairly minimal. We're fortunate to live only about 10 blocks from extended family, and that's who we spend much of our time with, so the personal miles driven remains low.

I hope someday soon our town, as a whole, is more bike-rider friendly.

Heather @ SGF said...

Beany - I can see how yoga would help. I try to lift weights a couple times a week (operative word being "try"). I think the lower body weights in particular are helping me become a stronger biker (at least that's what I keep telling myself to keep me doing it). Bryan - bike friendly? Not in the least. Now, I live in area that are considered twin cities (Bryan-College Station), if you get REALLY close to the University (in College Station), you'll find bike paths (for students, as you can imagine), but get more than a few blocks from campus and NADA! We see other bikes from time to time (now more than ever), but most people are still too terrified to bike around here. Of course, the best way to change that is to get more bikes out on the road - the more bikes that are out, the more drivers will expect them to be there and will act more cautiously, and the more cautiously people drive, the more people will bike...

green bean - some days/weeks/months will always be easier than others to bike vs. drive. It just comes down to doing what you can. It's so much more complicated when you have little ones. But every time you get on a bike, you are doing a positive thing and all those times will add up. Is carpooling an option?

fearlesschef - wow! 10 miles one way! Talk about dedication! That's awesome! Getting down to one car is a huge step. So many people are nervous about that one because we feel that some measure of freedom is taken away. In reality, however, think about how much freer you are not having to work to pay bills for the 2nd car - gas, upkeep, car payments, insurance, etc. I feel faint just thinking about it. Eek!

Nadine - welcome! I'm really looking forward to seeing the actual mileage too. Since our town is smaller and we're pretty good about limiting our driving as much as possible, I have high hopes. Plus it makes WAY more sense to track this way. Hope you come back and enjoy the blog!

jennifer - thanks for the encouragement. It sure does get hot here. But my hubby biked quite a bit last summer so I'm dedicated to trying it myself. Thankfully, my work has a shower in the next building so if I have to, I can rinse off before I actually get to my office. Haven't had to do this yet, but at least the option is there. A 50 minute bike ride in the heat can be pretty messy. Good thing I don't wear much makeup - there's nothing to sweat off :)

arduous - thanks! I wish we already had a month to compare it to, but I'll be patient and let the numbers speak for themselves.

melissa - I agree this way is better. I was convinced though that we'd forget to reset the trip meter on the car so we could track it as of July 1. But we remembered. Pshew!

eco 'burban mom - ooh, thanks! Keep those fingers crossed. We need all the help we can get. Good for you for walking over to the store to pick up odds and ends. I think it makes for a nice evening walk. Get out a little energy before bed, get some groceries bought, spend time with the kids or with whoever walks with you. Although, you know that bus/bike hybrid gives for a great visual! You could get a large rickshaw like they have in Asia. You'd really be a taxi mom then! :)

cristele - I feel the same way. For me, the way to work is more uphill/the harder of the rides, but I feel relaxed getting to work. I'm the same way with bussing/walking the rest of the way to work. There's just something inherently stressful about driving (at least for me), but biking/walking/busing - makes you feel alive, alert, and ready to go!

glenda - no, unfortunately we're aren't very bike friendly around here. If you're close to to the University (within a few blocks) - no problem, but any further out can be a nightmare and we're WAY further out. I'm looking forward to a new road that is planned (over the next couple years). It won't make my ride to work more bike friendly, but it will most likely make it significantly shorter. At this point, I'll take what I can get. In the meantime, I hope that if others see me bike, then maybe they'll want to bike too, and the more people who are out, the more that will try it and the safer we all will be.
Also - great way to save miles/money/CO2/etc with your hubby having a home office. That, I'm sure makes a huge difference, not to mention as much as he travels, it would be good to actually see him when he's home :)

Wendy said...

Hey! Good for you! I lived in Texas, and I remember the heat. Be sure to bring water with you :).

I wish I could convince my husband to bike to work. He keeps complaining about needing exercise and here he works less than five miles from our house, but insists on driving every day. I don't get it. It's not like he has to tow the kids in a bike trailer behind him ... like some of us ... ;).

Looking forward to seeing your July numbers ;).

Heather @ SGF said...

wendy - maybe if your hubby doesn't want to bike every day to work, you can talk him in to biking in just on Fridays or to helping you run errands on the bike or maybe you pick a restaurant close by and you both bike to a restaurant for a date (or bike your picnic lunch or dinner to a park). Perhaps once he got the feel for it, he'd love it.