One Less Car

I wrote this story last week and decided to publish it elsewhere. I’ve since revised, reported, and expanded the story, which will run on the Sierra Nevada Ally soon. However, I like this bare-bones version as well, so here it is.

Ready for winter commutes.

I started a new job back in April and just passed my six-month mark. The entire time I have been committed to commuting to work on my bike. There are many reasons for this.

For health. To save money. To reduce my carbon emissions. To avoid paying to park. The list could go on.

The two reasons that stand out the most to me are the mental clarity and joy riding a bike brings me. Having my kids join me on the bike as I take them to daycare and school.

This has long been a mantra of mine. It comes from a song by a local foot-stomping band and written by an auto mechanic. But to me, it is some of the best advice.

I often dream of bike-centered infrastructure and a city council and transportation committee that designs and plans around cycling instead of cars. Usually, when I’m on my bike, I ponder how things could be better for a cyclist weaving in and out of carbon-emitting vehicles.

Riding a bike brings me mental clarity akin to meditating. Perhaps this is why my meditation game is severely lacking. On days I do not ride a bike, I am not as relaxed.

I purchased an e-cargo bike back soon after I began my new job. A decision that was drafted over years of bike commuting and dreaming of carrying all I could need on my bike.

With just about 1,300 miles on the steel steed, I have to say, I am madly in love with this bike. Even a frustrating tire recall could not sever the connection.

It has become part of the routine and replaced the purchase of a second vehicle. My two girls love the bike. They both eagerly pick the bike over a car when given a choice. They sing, dance, play, giggle, and laugh while on the back.

Sometimes cry when a stuffed doggie bounces up and out of tiny hands and flies off the bike.

Zoomies are not quick virtual meetings but a quick pull on the throttle and zip around a corner. Bumpies rattle our helmet-draped heads. A lexicon is evolving on our morning rides.

What matters most to me is my kids growing up with a bike as a reliable and realistic form of transportation.

I had no idea what that word meant until I began researching year-round school bus bike commuting. In short, it is a covered wagon not unlike the kinds we think of when we picture pioneers or emigrants coming west.

It will make winter commuting a joy for my kids by protecting them from the elements. An attachment for my bike, this enclosure will block wind, rain, and snow (if we ever get any) on our chilly morning commutes.

It is large and increases the visibility of my already highly visible orange steed. Making the ride safer and showing off the fact that cycling is a realistic and viable car alternative.

Years ago, I acquired a sticker, I don’t know from where or who, but I refrained from sticking it to anything. It moved from house to house and box to box, never really having a true home.

Recently, I came across the sticker as I was organizing my home office. I instantly knew where it needed to go. I gleefully went out back to my bike and affixed the black and white sticker to the rear part of the frame.

In capital letters the sticker reads,

“One Less Car.”

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Richard Bednarski

With a background in Anthropology and Photography, I hold a Master’s Degree in Journalism. My goal is to illustrate the #ClimateCrisis through storytelling.