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Drive Less Challenge: One participant’s week in review

Guest blogger: Mike Gospe

Participating in the Drive Less Challenge has been much more fun and eye-opening than I imagined it would be.  What compelled me to take part in the program was the sense of having a personal challenge. I live 1.5 miles from downtown, and I conduct most of our town-based errands from the car. Taking the car is easy and fast. Would there be any personal benefit from riding my bike, walking, or carpooling? Turns out there was. And once I started proving to myself that life without a car went on as usual, I started looking forward to each next ride.

Beginning on Earth Day, I made a conscious effort to try to use an alternative to the car for at least one errand per day.  Highlights of this past week included multiple trips to markets (Draegers, Whole Foods), post office, library, Pet’s Delight, Chase Bank, and Office Depot.

My most challenging ride was the day I decided to ride to Draeger’s to pick up an 11 inch fruit tart.

Read the blog post that tells the story. And, here’s the proof that I didn’t squish the fruit tart into an unrecognizable mess.

Yesterday’s ride was extra enjoyable because I combined several tasks, including time just to get exercise on the bike:

  1. Recycle a collection of ink cartridges by dropping them off at Office Depot.

  2. Run to Whole Foods for some needed ingredients for tonight’s dinner.

  3. Include a workout by riding to Palo Alto and visiting my good friend Donkey (off of the bike/pedestrian path behind Gunn High School).

Total elapsed time for today’s ride was 70 minutes, which included my workout.

I’ve also gained a deeper appreciation for what it takes to ride a bike in and around town. Los Altos needs more bike parking accommodations.  It’s okay for a single rider to chain their bike to a tree or signpost. But, if more people are to take up the challenge, we need more and safer accessible places to park our bikes.  In light of the downtown construction, the bike provided me better maneuverability to get to my destination. But, as always, bike safety must always be top of mind.  Bike riders can take nothing for granted, especially for keeping safe alongside cars on streets and in parking lots.

Overall, it was a great week.  These and other destinations await me, as I will continue the Drive Less Challenge next week.

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