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Tag Archive: public transportation

Turkey Day Commute

During a typical holiday, I usually take a holiday from the bike, too, and get in the car to go home to spend time with family and friends in the suburbs. Today, however, I’m thankful to have bike commuted to the Thanksgiving feast hosted by my mom.

This morning after checking the Metra schedules (our regional train system out to the Chicago suburbs), it felt great to be giving my car the holiday on this Turkey Day.

At a balmy 40 degrees, my ride to the train station took me down a sparsely populated lakefront path, where I passed by runners leaving the annual Turkey Trot running event in Lincoln Park and saw other runners who decided to run solo along the lake.

My bike and I just made it in time to board the train. Luckily, the conductor allowed us both to board; he even had to nudge a few folks out of the seats in the designated bike space. (They wouldn’t leave when I asked them… but I’m thankful they moved without too much protest). Most folks stared at me like I was an alien boarding with my space cruiser. After the initial shock, I like to think they were impressed with my commuting choice.

When I got home, my mom peered out the window, thinking “you biked all the way home???”

She was much relieved to hear that Metra helped with my commute.

She already had the table all set

Now the turkeys are in the oven

Let the feasting begin! Thanks MOM!

Happy Thanksgiving from Chicago!

Book Review: “How to Live Well Without Owning a Car”

I recently had a chance to read How to Live Well Without Owning a Car: Save Money, Breathe Easier, and Get More Mileage Out of Life by Chris Balish (Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed Press, 2006).

Car Free

This is a well-crafted, thorough and enjoyable book. In the first part of the book, Balish focuses primarily on the financial implications of car ownership (did you know that the “true cost of ownership” is about TWICE what you paid for your vehicle?) and the financial freedoms available to those who choose to forgo such ownership and embrace other transportation choices. But, he doesn’t stop there — this book is packed with practical advice on the “nuts and bolts” of living a car-free or car-lite lifestyle. Balish covers it all: environmental and health considerations of car ownership and the resultant benefits of choosing a car-free life, carpooling and ridesharing, bicycle commuting and strategies for most conceivable transportation scenarios.

The book is peppered throughout by “real world” stories and examples from Balish’s communications with other car-free citizens (including Tampa’s own Julie Bond). These tidbits provide a “face” to this lifestyle and really help sell the concept.

Overall, I highly recommend this book — while I already live a pretty car-lite lifestyle, I became totally gung-ho to finally sell off my car and to reap the resultant financial benefits. In this book, Chris Balish presents his case in such a way that makes this a very real and very attainable choice for most people. And he does it without forcing anything down one’s throat — everything he describes is presented in a practical, rational framework. Two thumbs up!

Oh, and I’d like to thank the readers who recommended this book to me in the comments section of an article I wrote a few weeks ago. Thanks! And, I’m always on the lookout for other bike-friendly book recommendations, so if you have some favorites to share, please leave your recommendations in the comment section of this review…