Sunday, October 10, 2010

Trying to break the car habit

 I have wanted to break my dependency on cars for years. Rising gas prices and terrible oil slicks fouling the planet were reasons. But also the laziness of driving. I am ashamed to say that I would often make trips of less than one kilometre by car. Ok, when it is pouring or the weather is generally inclement then this may be understandable but it is not really something I want to see myself doing on a sunny summer day. So things had to change.

Part of the problem for me was my choice of bikes. I have had numerous racing bikes and then gravitated to the mountain bike, somehow thinking the mountain bike would be more suitable to city biking. I guess I envisioned myself hopping over curbs and down stairways.  Not really. What I mostly ended up doing was getting a sore back and a crick in my neck. Making matters worse, I would ride alongside my partner Marie, she riding tall on her classic upright bike, me appearing like some forlorn sidekick looking up at her. The inevitable sore back would lead to the obvious question: when are you going to get a real bike?
Now let me say that I have nothing against the spandexed, helmeted, team jersey wearing road bike crowd.  As a dedicated marathon runner, I too put on the coolmax and spandex from time to time. But for simple commuting and recreational cycling I think this trend is coming to an end.  You may have noticed the increasing number of people riding classic uprights or modern takes on the theme.  Some of them have new bikes and others have clearly dragged their old 70’s and 80’s bikes out of some storage room.  Many of them are squeeking down the bike paths on cycles that have not seen a tune-up in a long time.  But they are out there, in “regular” clothes getting around town without sore backs and cricks in their necks.  It was my turn.
It was not easy finding just the right bike in Ottawa. I searched and searched, expanded my search to Toronto, and then Canada, but nothing grabbed my fancy until I saw MY BIKE. The answer was the Swedish Skeppshult.  That is me astride my beautiful green Natur model.  What a wonderful bike it is!  Now I can look Marie in the eye as we cycle together.

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