On May 29th Elly Blue visited my town of Lafayette, Indiana on her Dinner and Bicycles tour.  She & her crew rolled into town & cooked up & served a gourmet vegan dinner.  Local craft brews were on tap, and we talked about bicycle advocacy with a very eclectic group of like-minded people.  Then we watched a documentary about how the Critical Mass movement got started in Portland, OR.

Blue’s recent essay in Bicycling magazine about the physical and mental health costs of a car-oriented lifestyle really resonates with me.  Last night I was driving home from the Indianapolis airport at 11:30 p.m., feeling tired, stiff, and achy, and I recounted for my traveling companion how a week spent largely in the car last August left me with an aching back, warning signs of sciatica, and a bad attitude.  When I got home from my trip, I swore off using the car for seven days.  Granted, I probably wouldn’t have used the car very much in those seven days anyway, but I do own a car and I usually use it to haul my groceries.  That week I rode my bike for food and every other errand I needed to run.  Both my body and my mind needed to stay out of the box, the metal box with wheels.  And guess what:  it worked!  A week later I was all better.  Back didn’t hurt, mind felt bright.

Cost of gas aside, I see commuting to work as a soul-sucking activity.  When the weather turns cold I often walk to work instead of cycle.  I LOVE my 40-minute walk!  Clears the head!  Gets the blood pumping!  I get to see neat things like snowmen and other snow creatures built by college students all over campus!  But I cannot wrap my head around what toll a 40-minute drive each way would take on me.  The day I saw all the snow creatures, I had left my office feeling pretty tired & stressed out, but when I saw the first snowman & realized I see more as I continued my walk, I was immediately rejuvenated!  I got out my phone-camera and started hunting for them! And I wouldn’t have seen anything like that had I driven home.

I know a lot of people simply aren’t afforded the luxury of living close to their jobs, and I’m sorry for that!  I wish you all could experience the joy I feel when I walk or cycle to work.  If you ever have the opportunity to engineer things so you can walk or bike to work, I feel strongly that you would never regret doing so.


1 thought on “Car-sickness

  1. G.E.

    Agreed. We used to have a 2.5-3 hour commute to work (each way) and it was hell on earth, as far as I’m concerned. I would do anything in my power to never have to do that again… and being able to walk or cycle to work just makes things even better. :O)


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