Apparently I have invented a concept: search Google for car free Mondays and, so far, there are no results. Until now!
I woke up this morning with a 9:00 a.m. meeting on my calendar, about a mile away from my house. Usually, I am ashamed to say, attending meetings like this would entail waiting until five minutes before the scheduled time, hopping in my car, and hot tailing it 5 blocks west.
This morning, though, with visions of greenhouse gas emissions dancing in my head, I decided to extract the oft-unused bicycle from the mud room and leave the car at home.
After my meeting, I had a pleasant ride home, with a stop at Timothy’s for some work and an iced mocha cappucino.
Again, usually this would entail about a 4 minute car ride each way, but “Car Free Mondays” now planted firmly in my head, I decided to get the bike out again.
This being a much longer trip than my aging body is used to — and one that entails several minor league hills (some might say “rises”) — I quickly arranged with Steven to make an impromptu visit to the slicedome. This would afford me both the opportunity to tour their empire, but also would provide a convenient excuse to rest my weary body and refuel on water.
The ride out was much easier than I imagined it to be. The “tough bits” — the rise from Shoppers Drug Mart to UPEI, and the hill after the dip on the way up to Staples — weren’t that hard at all. Even the route back up North River Road, although pockmarked with various construction debris, wasn’t all that hard.
Here’s what I learned and gained in today’s experiment:
- I burned about 259 calories; says here that’s about 0.44 Big Macs worth.
- I saved about 1/5 of a gallon of gasoline, saving me about 50 cents.
- I saved the planet from about 1.5 kilograms of greenhouse gases.
- I kept one car out of both early morning and late afternoon Charlottetown traffic, making the ride easier for everyone who didn’t leave the car at home.
- I realized just how much smog there really is in Charlottetown; I challenge anyone to stand at the corner of Allen Street and University Ave. and breath in deeply at 4:00 p.m. on a weekday and not be shocked at the result.
- I discovered that Charlottetown is not a “bike friendly city” in terms of its infrastructure None of the roads I took had a bike lane. The area where bikes are expected to ride, between the sidewalk and traffic, is often full of holes, rocks, and culvert construction.
- That said, I learned that Charlottetown drivers, at least in my experience today, are quite bike tolerant. I was turning left in their turn lanes, make them wait for me, forcing them to slow down, and I never heard a honk of the horn or an unkind word spoken or yelled.
- I saw one other person on a bicycle during my entire journey — a woman riding up around UPEI.
I think I’m going to try and stick to a regime of Car Free Mondays for the summer, and see how it goes.
Care to join me?