Tip #8: Bike More

This tip is similar to an earlier tip about planning your travel, but in this case, I suggest changing your travel entirely!

I have a 1997Jeep Cherokee; blue, with a 2 inch lift kit, a massive steel bumper and my NATIVE license plate sticker on the back window. It has a horrible turning radius and the engine roars so anyone can hear me coming from a mile away. The axel is a little off center, so in order to drive straight the wheel is always turned at about a 15 degree angle, and something under the hood leaks a bit, so it smells like antifreeze when the air conditioning is on.

Despite- or perhaps because of- these flaws, I love this car. Iwould keep it forever if I could.

 

But it is a gas guzzler. My beautiful jeep gets about 13 mph on a good day. It is a oil chugging machine. If cars could drink gas, mine would be a heavy weight, upper divison.

Recently, my car decided to stall after every stop light, so I had to retire it temporarily, because I don’t have the time or the money to fix it.

Now, I ride my bike. Everywhere.

 

I won’t lie, this has not been easy. At first, waking up at 5 am to ride my bike 2.5 miles in the dark for a 12 hour day at the J-school was not my idea of fun. And then riding back another 2.5 miles after a long day…well, it’s usually worse than the morning ride.

 

But now that I’ve been doing it for 3 weeks, using my bike has improved a lot of things about my daily routine, in some unexpected ways:

1. I actually have to wake up on time, because the only thing worse than riding to class at 7 am is riding to class late at 7:10.

2. I don’t pay for parking, ever.

3. I actually get to class faster, because I don’t have to sit in traffic or find a spot to park, or walk from my car to class. I can usually ride straight up to my classroom.

4. Of course, I’ve already lost weight.

5. I appreciate travel quite a bit more: I actually have to plan my day and the things I will need, because I’d rather only bike 5 miles instead of 10 because I forgot something at my house.

6. I haven’t bought gas in 3 weeks, so I’ve saved at least $100 (I wasn’t kidding about the gas thing)

7. I’ve reduced my carbon footprint.

 

Hopefully by this point, we all know that fossil fuel emissions contribute to CO2 in the atmosphere, which is a greenhouse gas and causes a changing climate. Riding a bike instead of using a car is one of the most sustainable ways to get around town. I also recently read that college is the time when people create habits that they will follow for the rest of their lives.

 

So, start riding your bike one day a week! Just like anything, it’s tough at first, but after 3 weeks, trust me, it’s worth it.

 

 

 

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