Kwolz's Adventures in Saving the World

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Burn Food Not Oil

Posted by kevinwolz on June 10, 2010

One of the broader things on my To Do List is to use my bike over my car as much as possible this summer. To be quite honest, I’ve completely failed at this so far. There are three main reasons for this:

First, the farm at which I work most often is about 30 miles away…not very conducive to a daily bike commute.

Second, just about everywhere else I go is located en route to that farm…I am super efficient at creating strategic routes that maximize productivity while minimizing miles. I run all my errands either on the way up or on the way back.

Third, I try to cram SO MUCH into each day that I barely have time to get it all done with short auto commutes, let alone with longer bike commutes.

I’ve had mixed feelings about these facts and my rationale, so I finally decided to suck it up and break the ice on alternative transportation. On my way back home yesterday, rather than driving the entire trip, I stopped and parked my car at a friends place. I knew I would be heading back that same way this morning, and this location was on the way anyway. Then, I pulled my bike out of the back seat (planned ahead), and biked the last 11 miles home. This, again, I did for three reasons:

1. To burn less gas! Duh!

2. To get in my bike workout for the day…I probably would have biked about 10 miles once I got home anyway, so why not make it productive as opposed to just riding in circles?!

3. To test out the Pimp My Bike improvements…I had just come from one of the local farmer’s markets with two bags full of produce. I placed one in each crate, and it worked surprisingly well!

For my first ever bike commute experience, I think it went pretty darn well, despite several difficult factors: the noticeable extra 20 pounds of produce/baskets, the consistent headwind and extra drag created by the baskets, and the hills of Wisconsin! (no mercy for this flatlander). I made the commute in about 47 minutes, with no incidents to speak of. Then, I got to gorge on all he fresh produce when I was done!

This morning, I obviously awoke to no car. What to do? How about get in my long run for the week AS my commute! That’s right: functional training. The commute back took about 80 minutes without really pushing the pace…I was going for success on the first trip, not speed. Between the two trips, I saved about 22 miles worth of gas by doing what I would have done anyway…just in a more directed manner. I learned a lot of logistical things on these commutes, so hopefully my summer will see more similar trips in the future.

Believe me, I hate burning all the gas that I do, but it really seems to be the best situation at the moment. It may just be a bunch of self-rationalization, but the way I’m looking at it is that the knowledge I gain by driving up to the farm or wherever – and the future positive actions that will directly follow (I promise) – will result in a net positive for the environment/climate. I have no numbers to back this up, as I can’t predict the future, but I will do my best to rectify my commute’s carbon footprint as I venture to Save the World.


4 Responses to “Burn Food Not Oil”

  1. studmuffin said

    way to go Kevin.

  2. Victoria Johnson said

    Hi,Kevin: Congratulations on working hard to meet your goal — save gas/save money/save the environment but then as a reward you enjoyed the fruits (or veggies)of your
    long bike ride. Love & God bless, Aunt Vickie

  3. Victoria Johnson said

    If your garden produces enough, andI’m certain it will, you mightwant to open a roadside stand -in your free(?) everyone LOVES home-grown veggies!!

  4. Joan said

    Sounds great Kevin, Don’t feel guilty by using your car. All the good you are doing plus all you are learning about sustainability far
    outweighs the gas you are using to get you to and fro.


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