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Car-Free Possibility: Go By Bike

Living in Portland, I made the decision when I bought my first home to ensure that it had to be in a location where, if I didn't have a car - or access to one - that I could still get around. The bus stop was nearby, and the neighborhood was accessible to walk to the grocery store or a local cafe. Two years into living there, I finally took the next step and started bike commuting, which led to me ultimately selling my car and becoming car-free for many years. In fact, it wasn't until my husband and I got a Very Large Dog that we considered adding a car back into our lives, which was only because the car-sharing service in our area banned dogs not in kennels (not possible for this size of beast...). I rode everywhere, 365 days a year (yep, even in snow in my mountain bike, something that was a bit of an accidental discovery due to a freak daytime snowstorm in 2009), and it was not only the best substitute for a gym membership, it was hugely freeing. I could 'park' more easily, get around traffic, enjoy the fresh air, and because I was going slower, noticed more of my surroundings...with a bigger area accessible to explore. The de-stressing of going by bike was life changing. And as importantly, I wasn't contributing to any pollution.

When we moved out the country, my husband - who'd converted to bike commuting when he immigrated to the US to marry me back in 2014 - took bike commuting to the next level. While I worked from home through my consulting business, he was 9 miles from his butcher job at the local co-op. Did that stop him? Nope. He made the commute, for the first six months or so hardcore cycling, and then investing in an e-bike conversion kit to upgrade his existing cheap hybrid commuter bike into one that was better suited for the unbelievable winds he faced on the Oregon Coast that made a normally decent ride into a crazy challenge, particularly in winter with the neverending rain of Astoria (double what Portland and Seattle get, btw). While there were many fair-weather or weekend cyclists, few could believe his commute from the farm into town...but he loved it, and it was his quiet time to not only exercise, but meditate and enjoy the incredible views, from farmland to the Mighty Columbia.

And while we have downsized back to the city, we haven't left our bikes behind. The hills of Seattle make it more challenging, but my honey is still bike commuting (this time taking advantage of the e-bike conversion kit to help with the crazy steep hills around these parts) and we have installed a tilting bike rack on our hybrid Ford C-Max (yep, even wee hatchbacks can have hitch mounts installed for smaller towing, like bikes & stuff) so we can take our two wheels wherever we go!


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