Tuesday, September 21, 2010

No Car For Young Man

Left: My Specialized Rockhopper that got me through college. She was stolen in August.
Right: My Bianchi Campione Fixie that I now ride everywhere I go.

The car-free life came to me by accident. I was practically an international student since my home is further than Canada and it's hard to bring much of anything to college when you're from that far away. I brought a bike, guitar, trumpet, books, and clothes. Everything else has been accumulated since I moved to Colorado (which isn't that much really). I couldn't afford to buy a car since every year of college I survived off of summer job money and the money my parents were able to give to me.

Inconvenient Truth
Over the years in college I kept on saying, I'll probably buy a car next year because it's really inconvenient to not have a car. It really was inconvenient. I couldn't get to school and back just fine since I never lived further than 2.5 miles from campus, but I felt so limited in doing anything else. This included going to church, picking up groceries, going out with friends, skiing, going out to eat, you get the idea.

Independence=Hatred of Dependence
I was always very fortunate to have friends who would loan me their cars whenever I needed them. As you can imagine, it was kind of annoying borrowing cars though. I felt bad about free-loading off of them and the thing I hated the most was that I could not be independent. Independence is the reason I am so glad I have a bike. I really hate being so dependent on other people. It makes me feel irresponsible, cheap, and poor. So the way that I avoided this feeling was to try my hardest to always ride my bike places, unless it was completely convenient for somebody else to give me a ride. I would ride my bike at 2 in the morning coming home from friends' houses, ride when it was pouring rain, or blowing wind at 30 mph in the opposite direction. Thankfully I could draft with Z-dub often when I had to practically ride through a wind tunnel called South Golden Road to get to school.

Where'd all this money come from?
After a while, I started to realize that I kept putting off buying a car. When I became a grad student I finally realized that I didn't really want a car and that I'd just wait till I got a real job before I started seriously looking for a car. My method of saving money has always been just to not spend money that much and after a while I'll look in my account and see a bunch of money in there that I accidentally saved up. Not having a car is great for this method of saving money. As a grad student, I made more than enough money for my living situation, so you can imagine that the money in my account quickly piled up. I mean I spent $287.50 on rent, like $25 on utilities, and however much on food. Grad students get paid really well if you're single, in my opinion, especially when you include tuition.

Why's my heart beating so slow?
In addition to the large amount of money I was saving, riding a bike kept me in decent shape. I rode everywhere, so I was always exercising at least a little bit. Recently, since I moved to Denver, I've started riding more miles per day, sometimes having to ride to or from Golden (like 14 miles). And I tested my resting heart rate last night and it was at 48bpm! This is the best RHR I've had in a very long time and the only exercise I ever do is ride my bike places and volleyball every other week (which is not very intense exercise). So I'm really happy that biking everywhere is contributing to my health.

Those are the 2 main reasons I am very happy that I live without a car. Some side reasons I like it are that bikes and buses have very low pollution, bikes are easy to repair, bikes are a ton of fun (especially fixies), buses are great for reading and meeting really weird people, and I'm forced to do a lot of planning ahead of time and manage my time well. Yes it is inconvenient sometimes, but I haven't been overwhelmed by the inconveniences yet, so I am enjoying the life.

Song of the Day: Leave by Glenn Hansard and Marketa Irglova


  1. I havent even read the post yet. But the Specialized picture, is that from La llorona? Oh memories.

  2. Yep that bike picture was taken at La Llorona. Note the 2 bikes in the background and the fact that if the camera turned a bit to the left, it would find 3 more bikes in the living room.