Monday, March 12, 2012

Car-free Adventures (Bikes are Helpful)

I just subscribed to The Dirtbag Diaries podcast after hearing about its 5th anniversary, and I downloaded a handful of episodes with titles that seemed interesting. I listened to No Car, No Problem tonight. In it, Fitz Cahall (think Ira Glass, dirtbag edition) shares his epic travels from Seattle to the mountains without a car. 
As with many car-free long-distance travels, a bike is integral to success, and even with the bike and Seattle's transit system, it's still sort of grueling. Fitz touches on something important in the episode which I remember from my epic journeys from LA to Orange County by bike, bus, and rail: there was something about the adventure of figuring out how to make it work that made the extra time and sweat and dirt and stress worth it. 

Cahall hits a nerve when he mentions his sense of contradiction in logging so many driving miles while trying to get away from all the pollution-- I've been feeling that since becoming a wuss about biking home in the cold and dark from the climbing gym that's only 6 (very flat) miles from home. Now that longer, warmer days are on the way, I'll try to get back into alignment. It's hard to believe that just four or five months ago I was carrying my skimboard to work, taking a bus for an hour and a half minutes for twenty minutes of daylight on the water in Hermosa Beach, then busing another hour and a half back home in the dark. How times have changed.

I mentioned in a recent post that one of the reasons I can imagine myself holding onto a car is that it's so hard to get outdoors without one. This podcast from 2008 (which is perhaps when going car-free was at its maximum fad-iness? and when I joined in) reminds me that I haven't actually tried to go climbing without my car. To be honest, it feels inconceivable, being 95 pounds and carrying over a third of my body weight in climbing gear while biking uphill. Someday, though, someday.

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