Trying to be less car-dependent

When I was a kid we didn’t own a car until I was 15. We lived in a neighborhood in St. Paul and so bus service was readily accessible. As I got older though I started to dream of the day I could get my license and experience freedom. I even tried to take my driver’s test on my 16th birthday (spoiler: I didn’t pass). Once I had my license I drove everywhere. I don’t think I took a bus again for years.

A couple of years ago I waxed poetic about the freedom that cars give you. In that post I did mention the big downsides of cars as well, and recently I’ve thought more about how dependent I am on trying to get around in my own private vehicle. Partly, I think I’ve been influenced by all of the biking I’ve been doing this year, and the whole bike commuting culture. When I changed jobs this year I moved to an office that is only 9.5 miles away from home, and it meant that I had more options. The Northstar train goes through my suburb and so there’s little reason that I need to drive into the city. I can bike or train it without much difficulty.

However, I found myself driving even the 1.8 miles to the train station, which in some ways seemed silly. It’s close enough that I’ve even walked it at times. Why would I bother moving my car such a short distance when I have options that don’t use gas or pollute? Therefore, I’ve committed to trying to make a change.

I’m going to commit to getting to work by bike and public transit four days per week. One day per week I have to be in St. Paul and that commute will only happen occasionally. However, there’s very little reason why every other day when I’m in Minneapolis that I couldn’t leave the car parked. I’ve been working on doing this for the past couple weeks and have been mostly successful. I had a conference to be at a couple days last week, but otherwise I’ve tried to leave the car in the driveway.

We’ll see how well the winter goes, but even on a cold snowy day, 1.8 miles to the train station shouldn’t be too bad. Once there I have a nice bike locker where I can store my bike out of the elements, or I can bring it on the train with me in case I want to bike the whole way home, or somewhere during lunch. I’m excited to give this a try, and hope to report nothing but success over the coming weeks.

Fitness week recap – 11/4/2019

Week Starting 11/4/2019
Running:
13.7 miles
Biking:
 13.4 miles
Steps:
87,609 (42.91 miles –  29.21 walking)

Impression: Low mileage week. Was at a conference for a couple days which disrupted my routine, so I wasn’t even biking as much. Plus, my beer and bikes group did a volunteer event that we drove too, so I didn’t have that ride either. Hopefully, next week will be more of a return to normal.

Fitness week recap – 10/28/2019

Week Starting 10/28/2019
Running:
25.2 miles
Biking:
 50.5 miles
Steps:
98,266 (48.82 miles –  23.62 walking)

Impression: Got back to normal this week with a decent amount of running and biking. Had a couple nice rides this week including my Beer & Bikes ride, as well as an impromptu ride to work on Thursday when I got to the train station 11 minutes early. I also brought my bike on the train with me on Monday to take it to my allergy shot in the afternoon. I feel like I’m getting this bike commuting down pretty well. However, I had to leave the bike at the shop on Thursday because of a freezing brake line. They’re fixing that, as well as a warranty issue with the rear axel. Just means I didn’t have my Vaya over the weekend.

On the running front I got out with my wife a few times, but then on Saturday I stuck with the fast people and did a 10 mile run at Elm Creek, faster then I normally ever run there. Our moving pace was ~10:30 which is fast for me on dirt trails. It felt good to open up a bit, and that was the longest run I had done since Savage 100. I got pretty wiped by the end, but our fastest miles were also mile 8 and 10, so I guess I had good reason.

Feeling like I’m back to having a good base, but I need to find a good leg massage. I feel like my calves still could use some professional work.