Green Your Summer: Walk/Bike More

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be running a  short series on how you can save some money and live a bit greener this summer by taking some very simple steps.  I enjoy the warmth of the spring and summer time, and all of the delicious foods that it brings along with it.  The berries, summer squash, warm weather, longer days, more nighttime activities in the community (at least for me) and generally a great time for relaxation and fun.  Because there’s more time during the day, I figured I’d throw out a few tips to green up your summers.  This is the third entry in the series.

Like I mentioned earlier, I really enjoy walking and biking.  Not sure where this came from, but it probably started sometime when I was little and went out riding my bike with all of my friends.  Headed over to the park, to play football or do whatever.  Life was easy then.  Unfortunately, this slowed when I got to middle school – I couldn’t ride my bike to school anymore (It was too far, and crossing too many busy streets, my parents said).  I still was able to ride my bike on the weekend, but not much more than that.  High school was more of the same, as it was near my middle school, but it didnt matter then: I was going to have a car for part of it.

Soon after I got a vehicle, I felt like every american: Freedom of the congested road, frustration with maintenance issues, and increased expenses.  I just took it as a sign of growing up: something that I’m supposed to do/have when I get older.  I got to university and despite all my bellyaching, my dad said I didn’t need a car in college.  I continued to whine, but time bore out his statement: I didn’t – I got along just fine with out it.  I enjoyed not having a car so much, actually, that I really wanted to continue this phase of my existance.

Lower Expenses, Better Health

Expenses were low for me (basically rent, food and tuition) so I didn’t mind not having a car – I walked, skateboarded or rode the bus where I needed to go.  I was able to live without a car for 4 years, and when the time came to start looking for a job, I knew sort of what I wanted to do, but I knew a lot about where I wanted to live: somewhere near my office, so that I wouldn’t need to spend a lot of time in the car.  Well, after a bit of searching, I decided that I should go to grad school instead – a decision that I still haven’t made up my mind about, but that’s another story.  Either way, I was able to live without a car during grad school as well, although it required a bit more work because of the layout of the town and the needs that I had.  I still walked to work and enjoyed it, but when I needed to make a large purchase, I had to have some help getting there and back – which wasn’t hard to find.  I knew that I didn’t want to do much driving, so this time, I looked for jobs that would help me out with that.

Unfortunately, I had difficulty finding a job that would let me do that, and real life was knocking on my door and invading my mailbox.  I needed to pay credit card bills, my student loan grace period was expiring, and I still had to eat!  At that point, anything was better than nothing, so I found a job 50 miles from my house.  Then I found another one.  Less than 6 months after looking for a job that I could walk or bike to, I had 2 that I had to drive to, and an unreliable vehicle.

So, now that I’ve gotten a new job where I’m able to walk, you can bet that I’ll definately be enjoying that fact when summer rolls around and I’m taking a 10 minute stroll over to my office.  I’ve been able to free up at least 400 per month in gas expenses (and who knows where the price will stabilize again) and enjoy my commute to work much more than I previously was.  I’m saving gas money, saving time, and emitting less in terms of emissions from the vehicle.  There’s also no parking costs, and I don’t have  very high likelihood of getting a ticket if I’m not driving.  While I can walk any time, the warm air of the summer sure makes it a lot more fun – you should take advantage of it too.

More importantly, I can live the lifestyle that I was able to enjoy from 2003-2009.  Welcome back, walking – help me stay healthy and save me some money!

Do you ever walk/bike to work?  Do you live too far away, or do you just not like to walk/bike?  How do you feel about people who do get to bike everywhere?

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13 thoughts on “Green Your Summer: Walk/Bike More”

  1. I would love to start walking to work since I live within a mile of work. Unfortunately, there is major highway construction between my house and work. When they get the construction done and hopefully they will make it somewhat pedestrian friendly, I will walk to work. (My city is notorious for making things extremely difficult for walkers and bikers.) I also have a motorcycle that I can get back and forth to work during the warm months. Thanks for the timely article to get me thinking about my driving habits.

    • Norman
      Thanks for dropping by, it’s nice to see you leave some comments. That sucks that you;ve got to deal with construction now, but on the up side as you mentioned, it wont go on forever. That motorcycle will probably come in handy during the summer if gas prices keep going up!

  2. mercedes,
    that stinks that you cant bike to work, but biking for pleasure is just as fun. Usually I try and bike to my errands and walk to work, but sometimes I end up having to drive. There are some trail systems here, but they aren’t very connected, so I usually just ride on the shoulder of a county road when I’m biking just for pleasure/exercise.

  3. I live in a city that is not very pedestrian/bike friendly, and it’s so spread out it really is difficult to do. But when gas prices got up to $4 per gallon a few years ago, my friend’s dad, in his 50’s, started rollerblading to work everyday. He was even featured on the local news for it. It can be done, if you’re willing.

    I had a car in college, but that city was so walkable I didn’t even use it very much. I loved walking from my dorm to downtown. I miss being able to do that.

    • lindy
      That stinks that your city is not bike friendly – you’ll have to call or write your cities planning/development department. That’s funny about the rollerblading – it would be a great way to get around.

  4. I wish I could ride my bike to work. I used to work for a bicycle distributor and a number of executives rode to work. Our management meetings revolved around rides. Unfortunately, Los Angeles is not bike friendly. I know first hand because of a accident thanks to someone opening their door and I went over the door.

  5. Great advice Jeff! Now that it’s getting warmer out, I’m starting to walk more and bike more. Not only will this help you save money but also increase your health. What an terrific investment!

  6. I bike to work as much as I can – it’s almost warm enough now to bring my bike out of retirement! I find it helps to wake me up to bike to work, and it relaxes me and helps work off the stresses of the day to bike home. And on top of that, it’s cheaper and more environmentally friendly – win/win/win!

  7. I walk to the public transport. 😀
    I’ve been driving half the time, but now that the gas price is going higher, I’ll try to cut down the driving as much as I can.

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