Wrapping Up #CarlessMarch

My Final #CarlessMarch Thoughts

 

Photo of Eleanor "thinking" with text saying "Oh, Snap!"

If you’ve been following my journey during Carless March then you know it’s been a really interesting and challenging experience that will forever change the way I travel.

I could share a ton of thoughts from this month like how I kinda missed driving and that I’m developing thighs that could crush you from all the biking I’ve been doing. But I’m not going to do that. Instead, I have one takeaway that I think overshadows any other statements I can make.

A pros and cons list of reasons to use public transit instead of driving just isn’t going to cut it. 

Choosing public transit or environmentally sustainable methods of travel become something that make sense when you realize the larger implications of travel on where you live and the people who share that space and community with you. There has to be a bit of selflessness in your decision to go carless because, at the end of the day, it’s going to be a sacrifice.

It’s going to rain.

The bus is going to be late and you’re going to miss your connection.

Your sister is going to live somewhere that’s not accessible by public transit.

A stranger WILL sneeze on you.

The list goes on and on.

In most places, choosing public transit is something we have to dedicate ourselves to because we recognize its value on a larger scale than our own, little lives.

I hope you will.

Eleanor


And now for some fun (because, let’s face it, I can’t ever just be serious)

A video of a bike messenger who’s really gonna make you want to hit the streets

A way to make your commute pay off

Try this instead when you travel

A Locally Grown, Locally Owned… bus?

My ride

If you’re visual like me

Where to go if you’re super serious about it

A way to support better transportation

A killer app for anyone using transit

How you feel when you can finally climb that hill on your bike

2 thoughts on “Wrapping Up #CarlessMarch

  1. It can be a sacrifice, but there are some upsides, and I think focusing on the beneficial aspects is also a good strategy to winning people over. I’ve been somewhat car-free for a few years (technically my wife and I share a car since I got rid of mine, but I rarely use “our” car), and it never really felt like a sacrifice. It felt like a huge unburdening. No more car repairs. No more gas. No more worry about the financial strain of getting a new car when the old one inevitably gives up. And then there’s better health from using my bike and my own feet to get around more. And the freedom that comes from being a passenger on the bus/train/plane, able to read, daydream, look around, etc. without worrying about taking too much focus from the road. There are certainly downsides, like I’m almost certainly not going to make it to Chapel Hill for that show I wanted to see this weekend, because it’s a long ride back in the middle of the night. Like how any departure to a non-bikeable destination has to be timed with transit, rather than just leaving when you are ready. And if we didn’t have one car in the house, I don’t know how the dogs would get to the vet. In the years since I got rid of the car, there have definitely been situations where a car would have come in handy, where, if I had it, I would use it. But there has yet to be a situation where the lack of a car hampered me so much that I thought I should have one. To me, the sacrifice would be to get a car, because I feel like I’m so much better off without it. So, when people put aside their cars for noble reasons, that’s great, and I applaud them, but I feel like if it’s ever going to be possible to “sell” a car-free lifestyle, it may be necessary to focus on the personal benefits at least as much as the world-saving, greater good aspects.

    • Rob, thank you so much for your thoughtful response! It’s so encouraging to hear of yet another testimony to the benefits of living without a car. If you read my previous posts on my thoughts during #CarlessMarch you’ll see that I definitely experienced a lot of benefits of changing my lifestyle but that I’m also just beginning to dive into the possibilities of living a carless life and it’s still fairly daunting. The idea of affecting more than my own life has been a huge part of my choices regarding how I travel. I think both perspectives, sacrificing for noble reasons and choosing the benefits of a carless life, are crucial in motivating people to make similar changes. Hopefully with people like you, myself, and many others in the community we can make the Triangle a place that’s dedicated to these culture shifts!

      Thanks again!

      -Eleanor

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