Speaking to What Can be Done

We had a lovely ride this morning; temps were comfortable in the mid-50s, the sky was deep blue, the air was calm and crisp. It was one of those days where we didn’t really have anywhere to go, but we were looking for an excuse to ride, so we headed up to the coffee shop to sip some joe and bask in the oddly-temperate weather.

And why do we share our little anecdotes with you, and why would you care?

See, we’re just an average, middle class couple — a soccer mom and an office worker. We’re not athletically remarkable, we’re not particularly adventurous, and some might even say we live a sheltered life. Yet, we’re able to live car-lite in suburban America with three teenagers and a 60-mile round-trip commute. The point being that if we can do it, just about anybody can do it. The highest hurdle is believing you can do it. So by sharing our stories here, and making ourselves seen in the community, we hope to speak to what can be done, and show people that they can do it too.

13 Responses to “Speaking to What Can be Done”

  • oknups says:

    Makes sense to me.
    Since I do care about the environment, and the politics of an oil based economy, and know that changes can be made, and will have to be made, better it start on a grassroot level on a volunteer basis. Gives some of us a head start, and a heads up to what is inevitable.
    Oil will run out. Growth as we understand it is not sustainable.
    Not too many people want to read what is written on the wall, but then they never have. Unrestrained consumption of our planet’s resources is not a long term solution.

  • Dottie says:

    Absolutely. Thank you for sharing your stories and making the world a more beautiful place in the process.

  • Adrienne says:

    Isn’t that the story of everything? We ‘can’t’ do it until we do? If we live our lives based in what we can do for ourselves with our own bodies, things like bicycles become a non-issue.

  • beth h says:

    My commute, at 10 miles RT, isn’t as long as yours but it is just as daily, or perhaps a bit more. I have lived car-free (my partner owns a car but I never drive it) for nearly twenty years. What’s interesting is that people’s reasons for making significant changes may not be fueled at all by altruism. I sold my car because I couldn’t afford to insure and repair it anymore. It was that simple. All these years later, I have probably saved close to 5 grand a year by not owning a car.

    What’s even more notable is this: once I sold the car and no longer had to earn as much money to support it, that meant that I no longer had to work as many hours per week. Money immediately became TIME to me; and as a result I no longer work 40 to 45 hours a week, EVER, because without that car I just don’t need to.

    So yeah, the planet and all that is nice to worry about, but in the end not owning car works for ME. Self-interest is an important — and under-utilized — motivator for change.

  • Dave Kee says:

    Nice picture. Don’t see the ice and piled up snow. Doesn’t look like it’s 7degrees F out. Oh, but if I look out MY window…

  • Alan says:

    Yeah, there’s weather, and there are physical limitations, and so forth, but then there are the hundreds if not thousands of able-bodied people that drove by us in their automobiles on that beautiful blue-sky day, many of whom probably have bikes in their garage, but never even considered taking a bike instead of a car because they were “going somewhere”, and God-forbid, bikes are toys, not transportation around here. Our hope is that seeing us out smiling, having a nice time, but with bags and baskets and regular clothes instead of full lycra kit and a racer personae, triggered something in at least one person’s mind that day.

  • Alan says:


    “Self-interest is an important — and under-utilized — motivator for change.”

    Yup, there’s nothing like self-interest to get things rolling – last year’s $4 gas, and the resulting bicycle “surge”, demonstrated that perfectly.

    There is a problem though – as soon as the motivator goes away (in this case, expensive gas), the old habits can creep right back in. This can be seen in the bike industry’s current roller coaster ride, in which the ups-and-downs appear to be directly tied to rising and falling oil prices.

  • Ows says:

    It’s a funny thing – I feel as if we’re on one of Malcolm Gladwell’s oft-referenced “Tipping Points” here… two years (I suspect), and there’ll be a revolution in transport.
    I’m seeing it here in Wales – there’s a definite move towards the bike. The capital’s streets are festooned with cyclists, where once there were few, if any.
    Hi-Viz gear is the order of the day, and kids, adults and pensioners are to be seen whizzing around seven days a week.

    What’s more, the bike parking facilities seem to be on the increase – we have four universities in the city, and the local authority are beginning to see the need for a greater melding of transport hubs.
    The unfortunate (in some ways) thing about the UK is that we’re a damned old country, so there’s no real foresight when it comes to joined-up transport planning! The streets are narrow, and “blocks” are rarely seen. Roads are rarely straight, and the car is king…

    .. but that said, I feel we’re now on the cusp of HAVING to do something – the oil won’t last for ever, and other technologies look some way off.

    It’s bike time, baby!

  • Alan says:


    I hope you’re right! :-)

  • meligrosa says:

    well said. and nice picture!
    I enjoy all your posts :)

  • RJ says:

    CHEERS to that!!

  • jeremyb says:

    Was that picture taken on the American River Bike trail heading to Folsom lake?

  • Alan says:


    The photo was taken on one of our short connecting trails in Roseville.

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