Ever since my car was torched at the end of September, I've been car-free in San Francisco. I've decided to stay that way for the immediate future. I'm saving a ton of money on gas, auto repairs, parking meters, stickers and tickets, canceled car insurance, and a canceled monthly gym membership. I get plenty of exercise now.
When cycling in traffic it's important to wear light-reflective clothing. So last week I biked to the fabric store on the way to my studio, and picked up some sew-on reflective tape. With a little top stitching, I transformed a rather boring looking, gray knit jacket into fashionable bike wear.
When I first moved to SF, I built a bike from scavenged bike parts at the Bike Kitchen, a volunteer run, bicycle co-op. Little did I know how much I would come to love and depend on "Frankie" - short for Frankenstein. He's not the most attractive ride but I'm proud that he's my own creation. Of course I couldn't have done it without help from the Bike Kitchen's volunteer mechanics.
So here's my routine. I can bike to my part-time day job in 12 minutes, or walk it in 30. Getting to my Treasure Island studio is more difficult, since it's half way across the Bay Bridge. It's takes 30-40 minutes by bike and bus, or 60+ minutes by bus alone. It's mostly a flat ride, and although there is a lot of traffic, there are designated bike lanes.
There are limits. I have to plan ahead and designate more time for transportation. However, if the weather is bad, I have a load of something to haul, or I'm just too lazy, I'm lucky to have a boyfriend kind enough to chauffeur me around.
Overall being car-free has been carefree. Life is a little slower and I'm a little happier. I would never have tried to live without a car if I wasn't forced into it. Sometimes the bad things that happen in life really do have a silver, or in this case, a reflective lining.
Do you have any silver lining stories to share?