Car-Free Diet Skeptics Blog

Kyle’s Blog


   

Well, it’s almost the end of our little journey. What started as a personal challenge has become so much more. Ultimately, I’m greener, thriftier, fitter, richer, happier, and more involved in my community than I’ve been since moving to this area!

I’m wicked Earth conscious now, as I’m no longer putting hundreds of pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere on a monthly basis. Driving a car to and from work always made me feel guilty. Now, that guilt is lifted like a huge weight off my shoulders. Seriously. I think I’ve added 3 inches to my vertical. Of course, that could be from constant quad workouts from the bike.

Additionally, being out of traffic has reduced my stress level IMMENSELY. When I first moved to the area, the traffic caused such bad stress that I had chest pains for the first few months. Not only are those gone, but my heart is getting regular workouts at least twice a day. I think I need to start eating a large number of tacos to counteract all this activity.

Speaking of which, the experience has made me a better planner. I used to just fly by the seat of my pants. If I wanted a taco, I’d hop in the car and go get one. Now, such immediate indulgences are unnecessary. Instead of driving somewhere to get fast food, I’ll have planned out my grocery shopping and will have something to make at home. The moral is this: if I want some sort of treat, I better be prepared to work for it.

This mode of preparedness is not only good for my body, but also for my wallet. Obviously, if I’m cooking at home, I’m saving boatloads of cash. Without insurance, gas, maintenance, parking, and the money saved with groceries, I saved between 400-500 dollars JUST THIS MONTH. This is a ridiculous amount of money to be saving, and it didn’t even occur to me until the end of this post! That’s how low on the ladder of pros this is! We don’t even need to bring up the money!

That is, unless the ladies want to talk about the money...

Anyway, I’ve decided to cap off the end of the evening with a little me-time. With my roommate gone, and the competition over, I decided that I was going to get the most recent released video game to veg out for a week. However, there are NO video game stores in all of the Rosslyn/Courthouse/Clarendon area (Thanks Congress… whom I assume sees over such matters). I was going to have to point my bike tires towards the west, and ride until I saw pocket protectors…

Day 25: New Beginnings

May 16th, 2011 by Kyle

   

Well, it was an absolutely glorious week in terms of weather. Too bad a lot of it was spent indoors at work or sick. Nevertheless, I was able to catch some quick glimpses while biking too and from the office.

That’s right Arlington. I’ve pretty much exclusively made the switch to bike-travel. My ankle still hasn’t healed completely, and the bike is definitely better for it. All but one trip to my office was made on two wheels. Additionally, I’ve become a regular at Revolution Cycles due to gross ignorance and lack of a bike pump. There’s still a lot to learn, but not nearly the maintenance knowledge I needed when I had a car.

But what an exciting week it’s been! The biggest and probably saddest news is that my roommate left for her internship today. However, this also translated into a wild and raucous weekend that took us from Dupont to Clarendon and everywhere in between. Since she also doesn’t have a car, we mostly used the Metro to get from A to B.

It's like a female version of me.

Also last week, I had some friends visiting from out of town. I figured, “why not show them how to live Car-Free?” We did just that, using Capital Bikeshare to make our way from Clarendon to the National Mall. We took in some monuments, visited some museums, and met up with the Washington Post (article comes out Thursday. Mark your calendars). It was a great way to enjoy the sun and finally get some culture.

Finally, the week also had the ribbon-cutting of our new office. For those of you who haven’t been paying attention, my office moved recently from Chantilly to Clarendon. This week, the move was made official as our Executive Chairman visited the US. Now that the building has been christened, I can finally start doing some work I’ve been putting off for weeks (just kidding boss). While none of this has anything to do with being Car-Free, I just thought it was really cool.

I hope everybody has enjoyed these posts as we enter our last week. Be sure to stay tuned, and come join us at the Rosslyn pit stop for National Bike to Work day on Friday!

Day 18: Car-less Vacationing 101

May 9th, 2011 by Kyle

   

It’s a fact of life: man was meant to discover. Landing on the America’s. Westward expansion. Every episode of “Star Trek”. Traveling to new and exotic locations is the perfect way to have a stress-free vacation. And what’s more exotic than the city of Charlotte? Shoot, I hear the place is almost overrun with Panthers.

A delicate eco-system, where tropical fauna thrive.

Normally, I’d pack up and hit the highway with my DMX CD collection and gratuitous amounts of speeding. However, that isn’t the case anymore, as I’ve been pulled over the last 5 times I biked onto the interstate. Instead, we relied a bus for transportation to/amid/from the Queen City. That doesn’t mean that we didn’t run into our fair share of problems.

I prayed I'd never have to see this again.

The trip was planned months ago, and I wasn’t going to let my car-free lifestyle change my plans. I was hungry for some ‘cue! And everyone knows that the Carolinas are a great place to get it.

And the belles of the South.

So let’s pack up and hit the pavement, car-free style!

Day 15: Foot-lose

May 5th, 2011 by Kyle

   

What an eventful week! I dropped a huge surprise on the Car-Free Community that will up my ante in the challenge (watch the video for details on that one). Also, I got my last correspondence from the DC Department of Transportation. After 6 months of reading my 2 page letter, they finally dismissed my last parking ticket! No more dealing with the District!

And good riddance suckas!

Additionally, I got to go out for a ride on the Custis Trail. I had no idea it was so scenic and picturesque. I thought all of the trees in this city had been cut down years ago! Now I know that they are just being saved for those that can appreciate them more.

Additionally, the trail links everything in the Arlington Corridor. You can start in Rosslyn and find off-ramps along the way for Courthouse, Clarendon, Ballston, etc. Eventually, it links up with the W&OD Trail if you want to go farther. It’s like an Bicycle Expressway (which I’m using for my next band name). When I finally got off, I was near an ART stop and got to secure my bike to a bus. Not only was this the first time I’d done this, it was the first time I’d seen a bike secured to a bus. A woman who I spoke with later assumed that I paid extra for it.Clearly, people need to be taking more advantage of this.

However, this week came with a major caveat. I ended up injuring an ankle during a basketball game, rendering me on crutches for a few days. Walking and biking were not options, so the bus would be my mode of transportation.

Nope. This is not some fat lady's ankle. It's mine.

I got to experience Car-Free living in a new fashion: one without a foot. There were some problems (Metro elevators aren’t always the most dependable). However, it was not as bad as I thought. The bus drivers were courteous and willing to wait until my crippled self could sit down. People were always willing to give up their seat on the metro. My biggest complaints were really the 100 foot stretches between stops. Ultimately, if a one-legged man can do this, you can too!


   

Last week, I took the two-wheel toyage out of closet storage for the maiden voyage. That’s right. The new bike transported me to work. I couldn’t tell you what to expect. Would I be run off the road in a fit of road rage? Would I forgo my fear of leather to join a biker gang? Would I embrace my inner Evel Knievel and jump the Grand Canyon? Only time would tell.

We don't dare look at each other

Sure. Tiny children are able to do it. But what adult in their right mind would wield a vehicle with only two wheels? There are no airbags, my six kids can barely fit in the children’s seat, and my nitrous tanks are useless! Clearly, this was going to be a sharp learning curve.

And what sort of supermodels can fit on these handlebars?

Well, the ride ended up being completely uneventful. There was no jumping through flaming hoops or drag races for pink slips. It ended up being calm, athletic, and actually faster than taking my car. In fact, the parking garage had a storage area for bikes! And they didn’t even charge me for parking! Afterwards, I ran some errands around town, and still got home in 10 minutes. While more tests must be run, biking may be my new favorite mode of travel.

Day 8: Work Week Errands

April 29th, 2011 by Kyle

   

Have you ever had one of those weeks where you felt like you didn’t have enough time to do anything? Ok. Now imagine that same week where you didn’t have a car. Unless you’re Lance Armstrong, I’m pretty sure this scenario is not for you.

Well Lance et. al., I’ve got to tell you that I’ve lived it. The truth is, it’s not all bad! Among the tasks seen in my video, I was also able to get groceries, play basketball (poorly) for the first time in two years, and make a couple happy hours. As added irony, I also helped push a truck down the road that had broken down. I thought I’d be done with that stuff when I went car-free.

A lot of people worry about a reduced social life following the loss of a vehicle. What you don’t realize is that you interact with people a lot more when you’re not surrounded by 2000 lbs of steel. You’d be surprised at how many conversations can strike up on the subway or sidewalk. So head out there Arlington! Shake hands with neighbors you’ve never seen! Meet some hot bitties on the subway! Go and get tanner than a Jersey Shore cast member!

Day 4: Easter Weekend in Arlington

April 25th, 2011 by Kyle

   

Well, life is slowly but surely reminding me about my lack of motor transportation. This past weekend was Easter, and while most of the area were driving around to meet loved ones and hunt for eggs, I was trudging through the rain sans umbrella. But it wasn’t all bad. I got to get some new shoes, tried out Capital Bikeshare, and kept dry (or drier) by taking the Metro.

One of the first things that you start noticing about being Car-Free is the extra time that you have to allot for travel. What may have taken you 10 minutes to travel by car may take 20 by bike, or 40 by foot! However, this isn’t always a bad thing. Biking will give you the chance to get some exercise on an otherwise lethargic day. As for walking, it’s given me a clearer view to the neighborhood in which I live. I’ve already gotten to meet a few local residents, eaten at a few unknown restaurants, and scouted a new church that otherwise would all be blurry images out a passenger-side window. Metro wait-times on the weekends could stand to be better, but I struck up a conversation with a group of people heading my direction. Turns out they lived right down the street from me!

 

19 minutes for the next Blue Line train?! C'mon WMATA! This isn't Riyadh!

 

As for the weekend itself, Friday proved to be the most challenging. Overcast and rainy are not favorable conditions for travel, no matter what the mode. Additionally, when I went to the office after lunch to get my umbrella, I found that I’d actually left it at home. This made for quite a waterlogged trip to Potomac River Runners. Once there, the staff did quite an amazing job. They were able to assess my running style, gave me several shoe options, and even did a hands-on critique of my feet. Trust me, NOBODY wants to get near these things.

 

What the Terminator sees when looking at feet.

 

Saturday, I went searching for clues instead of eggs. As mentioned before, Capital Bikeshare has opened up 4 new stations in Arlington (with a fifth coming soon). To celebrate this, Bike Arlington sponsored a scavenger hunt for those who went to all four stations. The contest is still running, and you can get some cool prizes just for participating! See The Scavenger Hunt Page for more details.

The rest of the weekend was perfect. And with more great weather on the way, I’ve written this haiku to get you all out and about:

Nice weather outside
Should get people out biking.
Unless the Caps play.

 

Day 2: Welcome to Earth… Day

April 22nd, 2011 by Kyle

   

April 22nd is a time for many celebrations. It’s Good Friday, my sister’s birthday, and the day when we celebrate the big blue marble called Earth. Everyone is reminded to recycle, reduce, and reuse. Going car-free is the best way to do them all. You can reduce your CO2 emissions, reuse water bottles while walking, and recycle by biking multiple times (get it? Re-cycle?). Normally, I celebrate by watching every episode of Captain Planet on an endless loop. However, I had errands to run, so I braved the rain with camera in hand to get some shots for my next video blog. It should be up later this weekend. In the meantime, check out Day One’s video below (pardon the rough cuts – it won’t happen again):

Until the next blog, go out there and do some Earth Day themed stuff! Here are some ideas below:

1) See how much you’re spending to own your car. Check out the Car-Free Diet Calculator. It can tell you how much you’re spending on a daily or monthly basis. I’ve done it, and my numbers are below:

With every mile I drive, I:
Spend $0.76
Release 0.9 lbs of CO2 into the atmosphere
Burn 2.1 calories

In a typical week of driving, I:
Spend $211.86
Release 238.2 lbs of CO2 into the atmosphere
Burn 594 calories

2) Some new Capital Bikeshare stations have opened in Arlington. To celebrate, BikeArlington is sponsoring a scavenger hunt. I’ll be participating in it tomorrow, so I hope to see you out there! BikeArlington Scavenger Hunt Details

3) National Walk at Lunch day is this Wednesday, April 27th. Get off your duffs and get some coworkers on the streets! Beats eating that hoagie at your desk any day. National Walk at Lunch Details

Day 1: A Whole New World

April 21st, 2011 by Kyle

   

Good morning Arlington, and welcome to the first day of the Car-Free Skeptics Challenge! I must admit, the road ahead looks daunting; mostly because that road doesn’t have a car on it. But I’ll be keeping you abreast of all the goings on of the Car-Free world! Stay tuned for periodical updates, videos, and foot-friendly events.

And if you haven’t seen the new Intro video, you can see it below:


   

Going car free for 30 days should be quite a challenge.

But I think I’m up for it.


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