Sick, Tired and Car-Less.

On Tuesday, I was feeling sick. On Friday, I had to ride my bike or borrow a car to get to a meeting two towns away and across this bridge.
I admit, I  have had a few moments of wishing for a car. Feeling sick at the beginning of the week, I did not want to walk anywhere, let alone walk everywhere! And I certainly did not want to ride my bike on Friday to a meeting in a city fifteen miles away.


If I ask to borrow a car this soon after selling, it will be a sign of weakness; with glares that suggest “I knew you were crazy, who can live without a car?”
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This beautiful bicycle was built for me by my husband-to-be about ten years ago at a custom shop in New Paltz, NY. When not pulling my kid behind me or making a quick trip to the grocery, this is my longer distance commuting bike.

Happily I recovered from my cold sufficiently enough to ride my “butterfly bike” to my Friday morning meeting in Newburgh. This required a train ride to Beacon before heading off to cross the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge. I felt fully badass ! When I arrived, my colleague was stunned, in that exuberant way that I love for people to be simultaneously in awe and dumbstruck. “You rode your bike here?!” she asked incredulously. As we talked, it hit her, “you made this choice intentionally.”  She, like so many people, first assume the decision was made in desperation or because the car is in the shop. Yes. I sold my car and rode my bike. It was 100% intentional.

“You have grit,” she remarked. I beamed. I guess so, but really, the commute was lovely and only took 35 minutes and I got my workout in for the day. It feels like a sham to accept her adulation.

Life is definitely a little harder without a car. Not having a car imposes limitations on the choices we make for social and professional engagements.  This is the point, of course. You can’t take a job many miles away from your home if you have no car or public transportation.

Having no car forces us to live with geographic limitations. We must work locally, play locally, and buy locally.

We are learning that we have to be creative to work within these new parameters. We have to prioritize what is important if we are going to use a car just once every two months. Time wasted on impulse shopping disappears. One ‘car day’ for a trip to the big box store twelve miles away every few months requires planning.

What would I have done if I had still been feeling sickly on Friday? I probably would have cancelled or Skyped with my colleague. I am pretty sure, I would not have asked to borrow a car. It was just too soon. I have my pride.


Author: zerocarmom

I am a 50-year-old mom with two kids (ages 7 and 24), a husband who works in our attic, a sneezy old cat, and a full-time job as the co-founder of a Brooklyn-based business. My family lives a mostly idyllic life in a small village in the Hudson Valley, sixty miles north of New York City.

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