I have been in a car, and it was awful. For some reason the first week of school, which in the Boston metro area is a total shit-storm of kids from 5-25 converging on a road system built for wagons, livestock and foot traffic, saw me confined to the family truckster for 5 straight days of commuting disaster. I’ll not enumerate the circumstances that led to this sad state of affairs, but I will tell you there’s not enough NPR and climate control on this planet earth to make me feel ok about sitting through lights for more than 6 full cycles.
And the truth is, I want it this way. I want driving around my city to be this painful. Pain motivates change. The harder it is to drive, the more sense it makes to ride, right? Well, maybe. Or maybe sense doesn’t enter into it. Perhaps we’ll give up our cars when they pry our dead asses from the heated, bucket seats they’re comfortably ensconced in.
The one positive thing that came of this week of automotive torture was a cycling fantasy that will no doubt lead to the reconfiguring of my bike-centric world view.
As I sat there in no-go traffic, idling, a steady stream of particulates and greenhouse gas spewing from my tail pipe, I thought, “What if there were no cars? What if cars were over? What would that mean for my everyday life?”
I have bikes. I have a lot of them (at least relatively speaking), so getting myself around isn’t an issue. I also have all the clothing necessary to do the aforementioned getting around in weather best suited for cocoa by the fire and/or lowland flooding. Moving me wouldn’t be a problem.
The challenges arise when I start to think about getting my kids around and laying in supplies. We live close enough to the elementary school that the average day wouldn’t be hard, but trips further afield might necessitate a harder think. Both my boys can ride their own bikes, so on a planet with no cars, I assume they would rise to the need and pedal themselves where they need to go, which would make them fitter and perhaps even more enthralled with cycling than they already are.
It would change the way we shop for food, smaller trips, more often, and it would radically alter our vacations, I think. But now we’re into the 1% problems, quibbling over luxuries. Perhaps I’m missing something, but I don’t think it would be that hard for me and mine.
This week’s Group Ride asks you to imagine the Carpocalypse and tell us just how different YOUR life would be. What would be the greatest sacrifice of living entirely by bicycle? How close are you already to living solely on your own two wheels? And how anxious are you to see this bike-topia arrive on your own car-benighted shores?