Before I start my car-less adventure (or as a friend read: careless adventure), I decided to practice. With a final destination less than three miles from my home and a beautiful sunny sky, testing out the newly prepped bike was a great idea.
I was meeting friends for one of those fun Dayton weekend festivals, so I didn’t have to be dressed up, but I was going for a certain level above shorts & t-shirt. So, fun strappy heels (with a solid back so they don’t fall off), crops and a blouse was selected. This was the perfect outfit for the destination as well as a short spring-time ride through a lovely local park.
However, that short spring-time ride through that lovely park (aptly named HILLS and Dales) was a much larger challenge that I expected. Dear Lord, this must be why cycling is a sport! The chain popped off due to my crazy gear-shifting in attempts to get up the first hill. A couple times (I’m ashamed to admit), I got off the bike and walked to the top of a hill. And of course, when I got where I was going, the sturdy bike lock that has been in the garage for over a year proved so sturdy that it was rusted shut. This was not the auspicious start to enjoying urban life on a bike.
What did I learn during this practice trip? Since I’m just days away from my week sans car (June 1 seemed so far away when I pitched this idea in February), I’m noting some important details. I’ll have to bring a bag along with me to hold some better shoes and perhaps a change of clothes. And I better check my route before I hop on that bike to make sure I’m avoiding the major hills (notice the lil’ caret like shapes, yup – HILLS). And I’ll be buying a new bike lock.
Why do I share this embarrassment? Not because I want to dissuade anyone from embarking on a similar adventure, but rather because it demonstrates that even with excitement and research, nothing prepares you like experience. I’m done doing my homework about how this is going to work; I’m just going to dive in and find out. I’m going to have more ridiculous failures like this, but at least they’ll only happen once. And if they happen to me, maybe they don’t have to happen to you.
Stay tuned for more successes and tragedies as I tackle the challenge of Driving Less and Living More. Next time you hear from me, I will officially be sans car. And (please), if you have any recommendations on things that work for you or pitfalls I should avoid, share your insights in the comments. Resources that will make this easier are always welcome!