Rain Doesn't Deter Car-Free Commitment
By Beth Potier, Media Relations
May 7, 2008
It’s been a week since we parked the family car in the garage and pledged
not to use it until June. Here are some observations on the experience so far:
Life is different, but not necessarily worse. We’re reconsidering our
needs and journeys and staying more local. Instead of dinner and a movie in
Portsmouth this weekend, for instance, my husband and I celebrated my birthday
at Three Chimneys in Durham and rented a movie. Instead of devoting a weekend
afternoon to a major grocery shopping expedition, we’re picking up dinner
supplies at the Durham Marketplace on the way home.
We live in the right place. The single biggest factor in making our car-free
month possible is the fact that several years ago, we moved to a neighborhood
near downtown Durham. It’s a real estate transaction rather than any
sort of save-the-planet heroics that let us consider giving up our car.
Bike trailers are awesome. The Burley trailer that usually carries our son
to and from preschool has been pressed into service for groceries, dry cleaning,
and other unwieldy items. It adds a cargo bay to a bicycle!
Wildcat Transit, too, is awesome. I biked to Portsmouth over the weekend;
there I bought something too bulky to transport back to Durham on my bike.
So I hopped on Wildcat Transit at Market Square, loading my bike onto the rack
on front and relaxing for the 20-minute trip. And around Durham, I’ve
noticed the bus drivers are extraordinarily considerate of cyclists.
Rain? Not so awesome. We were sorely tempted to drive to downtown Durham during
Sunday morning’s downpour. But we resisted hopping into what my husband
called “the motorized umbrella”. We suited up in rain gear and
Our insanity is infectious. Friends and colleagues have told us they have
been motivated to dust off their bikes and try a car-free commute. Rochelle
L’Italien of UNH Dining biked 32 miles round trip from her home in Exeter
Monday, juggling her own schedule with those of two sons who attend two different
schools. Go Rochelle! I hope others will share their stories.