Does this helmet cover my shame?

This is a Flashback post. I never posted it last year. This happened in September 2016. Things are different now.
It never should have happened. I drove a car to take my son to soccer practice. I feel like a guilty teenager who “accidentally” cheated on his girlfriend, “Uh, I don’t know, we were just hanging out and then, it just happened; our clothes were off and we were kissing.”
no bike-shame day
I honestly don’t know what came over me.  It was a beautiful day. I started my morning with mental preparation for another joyful, ‘life is a journey’ ride. I took three ibuprofen so I wouldn’t use my cramps as an excuse not to ride. I made sure to eat lunch so I would not be hungry.  But, I guess I was more ambivalent than my self-talk could persuade. All it took was one tiny nudge from my tired boy to tip me to the dark side. When it was time to hop on the bike he asked, in his sweetest and for once non-whiny voice, “can we just take the red car ?” [our neighbors gave us the key to their red Prius for a month in 2016]

To my credit, I did push back at first. I said, “you can just ride without pedaling for most of the trip, except on the hills when I need your help.” I must have heard myself say that out loud and realized that it sounded insane.  “Okay,” I reversed, “we can take the car.” I grabbed the key and we walked up to the ball field where the car was parked. We climbed in and my heart sank. This was the pre-regret stage.
Of course we arrived twenty minutes early because we had built in extra time for biking. I parked the red Prius in the far corner so we could make a quick getaway. Maybe no one would notice that we had not ridden our bikes.  I may have been sweat free, but I was filled with guilt and a distinct lack of cardiovascular exhaustion.

Unlike a doping bike racer, I confessed immediately to the first friend to arrive. “We cheated!” I announced, then quickly looked away.
I confessed to two more people who seemed to not even know what the hell I was talking about. A lovely acquaintance from my town approached me to tell me what an inspiration we were riding our bikes everywhere, “blah, praise, blah, praise.” Awwgh. It was awful. What had I done?

“I was feeling a little under the weather,” I half-lied to someone who I am sure she gave not a single shit that I (gasp) drove a car to soccer practice.
If you regularly drive a car, you can probably muster a fair amount of sympathy for me; you might even be supporting me. Heck, you might even be rooting for me to fail, because the Zero Car Family project makes you feel bad every time you drive the 1/2 mile to take your own kid to school. We are only human, even Zero Car Mom, and humans are not designed to walk and bike everywhere, you might be thinking.
But, the thing is: we made a commitment to this lifestyle and that includes getting to weekly soccer practice; cramps or not.

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.

2 thoughts on “Does this helmet cover my shame?”

  1. So….then why did you accept the keys to the Prius AT ALL? doesn’t that compromise your situation here totally? if you are on a diet, and have sworn off high calorie foods….you accept a giant chocolate cake from your neighbors and put it on the counter, so it tempts you 24/7?


    1. Hi again Lola. Yes, you are completely right, having those keys was way too tempting. Not long after this, we returned the keys. The story of my blog is to share both the successes and failures. It takes some serious mental gymnastics to adjust to such a big change in your life. Plus, this blog would be pretty boring if I had nailed the zero car thing on day one. Three years later, we have a much better handle on this lifestyle, and I still love it. We have proactively designed our life to work very well within our small radius of offerings.


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