World Carfree Day

World Carfree Day is observed every September 22. This is the first year I’ve heard about it, so I thought I would give it a try. Plus, it could give me a chance to bump up my sorely lacking number of utility rides this year.

My family was surprised, and a little annoyed, when I answered requests for rides with “not on Saturday, it’s World Carfree Day”. My daughter had the best response with “Really?”, in an amazingly sarcastic tone.

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to leave the Saturn in the driveway and bike on my errands. I hooked a couple of panniers onto the trusty Trek 820 and set out for the grocery store.

(Actually, the 820 is not entirely trustworthy. Mainly because of my lack of maintenance, it is having progressively worse transmission issues with weird pops and tings, and the the occasional gear slippage on hills (when I’m standing and don’t need to be caught on a strong down stroke when the chain slips). Plus, it has developed a wobble in the front tire this week. I promise to take it in to the shop tomorrow.)

With my shopping list in hand, I headed north to the store to pickup food for lunch this weekend and dinner tonight. (I made an interesting spicy Italian chicken dish.) The trip was pretty uneventful, and I even found that the Payless store in West Lafayette has a bike rack. Who knew?

Payless Has a Bike Rack
Bike Rack at Payless – West Lafayette

With each item I considered throwing in the cart, I had additional criteria to weigh. Along with price and healthiness, I had to decide if it would fit in my grocery bag pannier and traditional model. The bottle of wine went back on the shelf after a call home to confirm a backup, and the gallon of milk was totally out of the question if I was to squeeze in the loaf of Italian bread. It turned out that everything had a space, but there wasn’t much room for anything else.

I’ll bet that if I had to ride to the store each day for supper, I would be pretty trim in a few months.

Trip 1 was a success!

Miles Ridden: 11.2

Purdue Fire Station
Purdue Fire Trucks Ready for Action

For the next run after lunch, I needed to go to the drugstore to pickup photo prints that I had ordered online early. This store is just a block from the grocery store, but my timing didn’t work out. Plus, what’s wrong with an additional ride?

To be a little adventurous, I decided to try the multi-modal route. Many of the busses here have bike racks on the front, but I’ve never used one. I biked into campus and found a bus stop that was served by the required route, and waited. Over the six minute wait, at least 20 other riders showed up for the same bus.

There was already one bike on the rack, and I took the 2nd spot. There were only a few seats left on what I expected to be an empty Saturday run. It was handy letting the bus do the work up the hill, although the route was pretty circuitous. I pulled the cord a few blocks from the store and hopped off.

I shopped and came home without incident.

Miles Ridden: 9.0 (plus a few more on the bus)

In the interest of full disclosure, I should add that I’ll be picking up my son from a party at 10:00 tonight, as my wife has refused to go out that late. Maybe after dark it doesn’t count? 🙂

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