Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Pedal Power Update - December 2008

The last days of 2008 have passed and what a year it was in our efforts to be greener. December was no different. Other than taking Elphie (the Prius) to California and back to visit with family over the holidays, the month was an amazing tribute to my commitment to biking. I have to say I even impressed myself.

December was a bit of a wacky month. One day I was wearing shorts, the next day it snowed. Week after week was like this, so my full wardrobe wasn't the only thing that got a workout. Despite the extreme temperatures, I was on my bike just about every day. Rain and cold didn't stop me, wimp that I normally am. Even with temps in the 30's I was committed to running all my errands on the bike - downtown to the library, meeting a friend for lunch, delivering food for the local food drive, picking up supplies from our natural food store, transporting holiday cookies to the farmers market.

As I've mentioned before, my body runs on a different temperature scale than most. I call it the Heather-ometer and well, the freezing point is just below 60 degrees. Anything less than that, and let's just say it's not a pretty sight. It's no wonder, then, why I moved to Texas. That's why it was so empowering that with a little bundling up, I realized I could handle the low temperatures. Sure, wind and rain are still issues, but I've found with enough layers, the cold no longer has me running for a heated blanket and a hot cup of tea (at least not until the errands are done). 

December definitely had it's cold moments, but I persevered; and other than a few snot-cicles here and there, I survived just fine. It just goes to show you that we can do so much more than we think we are capable of. We have but to try.

Anyone else out there pushing their limits - leaving the car in the garage, and biking/walking/using public transportation instead? Is it as hard as you thought it might be?


sharli said...

I got new pannier bags for my bike. As soon as I get the rack installed I will be back out there! I've been really wimpy about the weather lately. Give me 90 degree heat any day!

Lisa Sharp said...

That is so funny I tell my husband my freezing temp is 60! And we have been having that same weather. I keep telling people "this is why we call it climate change, not global warming."

I don't have a bike right now and don't live in an area where my husband feels safe letting me walk or ride to close by places. We have had issues with stuff being stolen, gun shots, and scary crap. It makes me sad because I could easily walk to a lot of the places I would go.

I do often join my mom for her errands so at least we are doubling up.

Heather @ SGF said...

Sharli - Cool! Dave has some and just loves them. It makes commuting very convenient. Did you get that for Christmas?

I'm with you. Give me the warm temps any day!

Lisa - I'm sorry that your area is so rough. It must be frustrating to have to drive everywhere.

Anonymous said...

After many years of being off a bike, I have started using mine in conjunction with transit. It gets me the last mile between the light rail and train stations and work. I'm in the Santa Clara Valley in the Bay area of California, so the weather is seldom a problem and it is flatter than a pancake.

People at work look at me like I have 2 heads when I tell them what I do - most of them drive their cars if they are just going across the street.

During the first gas crisis in the 70s, we lived in the Seattle area, and I biked 36 miles round trip on a Sears 10 speed. Bikes have come a long way since then, and I now have a Trek city style bike that works much better with my 60 yr old body.

It really feels good to use a bike for commuting again, although a round trip of 40 miles from home to work using the bike alone is out of the question now! The train and light rail work really well, and the time onboard can be spent much more productively than staring at the car ahead on the freeway.

Chile said...

I'm just getting back on my bike after months off of it. It's hard to ride in the summer when so many businesses open at 9 am or later; by then, it's often already 100 degrees outside! I can deal with the winter chill a little better since we don't get all that cold.

What keeps me off the bike more often than not are bad drivers. For instance, I won't bike to the CSA because I don't finish my volunteer shift there until 6 pm on a Friday. By then it's dark and people are already drinking. I watch drivers drifting into the bike lanes on my drive home and realize I would not feel safe on my bike.

Otherwise, no excuses left for not taking the bike on short trips. :)

Heather @ SGF said...

Anonymous - What a great way to use both systems (rail and bike)! I've though about biking to the bus station and then taking the bus the rest of the way. Seems like a perfect balance.

And I know just what you mean about people looking at you like you have two heads. I get those looks too, then after I get to know someone better, I'm more likely to just get head shakes as if the person is thinking to themselves... "That's crazy heather for you. Freaky hippy chick." :)

I don't mind though. Standing out means I'm more like to be seen by someone who might take it as a personal challenge to bike more themselves... Live the life, and others will find you.

Heather @ SGF said...

Chile - Ooh, yeah. I wouldn't want to bike at night either. People are nuts here too.

The heat doesn't bother me so much though. But then again I'm not trying to get anyway looking decent and I do most of my biking during the morning. The cold is ok. It's the wind that gets to me.