Monday, January 28, 2008

One Bike, Two Legs and No Car

This post comes from Rob Phillips who recently decided to forgo replacing his vehicle, and test just how friendly SLC really is to those without four wheels.

This Christmas I had the special privilege of giving away my car. Not exactly as a gift, but a variety of circumstances has led me to be car free in SLC.

I have some advantages that make a car free life more carefree. My work commute is a punishing 9 second early morning stumble from the bedroom to the office at the other end of our tiny little hallway. I work from home three days and carpool with two other guys from the neighborhood once a week. No problems there. It seems like recreating will be the greatest challenge.

On day three of car-lessness, I decided to go backcountry skiing. It was a bright sunny day and the Wasatch had just received the best belated Christmas present I can think of: snow… and lots of it. So I strapped my skis to my backpack and hopped on my bike and started riding up toward the closest ski-able terrain near Mount Olympus. It took just over an hour to ride up to the trail head. After clamping into my boots I was ready to put on my skis when I realized I'd forgotten my poles. Now, if I had driven up there I would have thrown my gear back in the car, raced home, grabbed my poles and been back in less than 30 minutes. Without the car, I found myself coasting back down to my house feeling just a little dejected. I cracked open some milk and cookies and watched football for the rest of the afternoon instead.

There have been some great highlights since then, however. There’s a bus stop within six easy walking minutes from my house. One transfer later and I’m on the ski bus (free with my ski pass) to Snowbird. I can read a book, take a nap, stare out the window or shrug off the strange looks I get from the non-skiers on the local bus. And honestly, it's a really pleasant way to access the slopes. Taking the bus is only just a little slower, and I find myself much more relaxed at the end of the day. So, leave the frustration of battling up the canyons and the road rage to the bus driver.

I ride my bike to the grocery store and am granted a wooden nickel by loading up my panniers instead of using plastic bags. It’s amazing how darn close the grocery store actually is. I ride to the climbing gym and the 15 minute cruise becomes a perfect warm up. My room mates make fun of my fancy rigging of my x-country skis to the sides of my bike rack. Which by the way, is a much better way to go than having them act as sails on the backpack. I even have a new front and rear light for evening jaunts to dinner with friends.

So far everything about not owning a car has been great! I’ll keep you posted for when I need a ride to Indian Creek.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

spent many years car/carefree. Try running the skis along the top tube, secured with bungees- i have done it that way. ALso carried a xmas tree, vacuum cleaner, and typewriter (what's a typewriter?) by bike. NOt at the same time, though. THat's a juggling act.

2/04/2008 12:54 PM


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