A life upgrade
When I gave up my car last year, it was a sacrifice in support of the environment. In the 10 months hence, the switch to biking has instead proved to be more convenient and more pragmatic than driving.
When I owned a car and needed to get across town, I would often compare my driving and biking options. “If I drive, I can get there in 45 minutes… if I ride my bike and take the bus, it’ll take 90 minutes.” The conclusion was often, “I can’t afford to ride my bike.”
Since ditching the car entirely however, I’ve adjusted to the new lifestyle in ways that reverse the conclusion. I now have a “bus work” category for my task-list, which includes note-taking, rough planning, music memorization, and listening to review exercises. Now the calculation goes, “If I drive, I’ll be sitting for 45 minutes. If I ride my bike, I get 30 minutes of exercise and 60 minutes of bus work.” The new conclusion: “I can’t afford to drive.”
Ditching one’s car involves a fair amount of work, and I’m still devising solutions to certain challenges, like the desire to purchase multiple watermelons, the occasional need for lumber, and my solo taiko work. Trailers are in the works.
But while the adjustment has required commitment and work, switching to biking and public transit here in Los Angeles has been one of the greatest decisions I’ve made. I’m healthier. I save thousands of dollars per year. I have more time for my work and study. And I’ve achieved my original goal of reducing my impact on the environment.