My Day Without Driving: A Reader Challenge

carI did not drive at all on Monday.

If you live in New York City, London, Paris, or on Mackinac Island, and you either have access to a great subway system or cars are banned from your small island, going for 24 hours without driving is not a big deal.  But here in Chicagoland, despite a decent public transportation system, driving is a way of life.  So I decided to spend a day without getting into my car or any other car, and see how I would fare.

Granted, I started with an easy day:  Labor Day.  It’s a holiday, so my family had no work, school, or other pressing responsibilities.  Plus, the weather was beautiful, so riding a bike and walking were easy options.  Still, I resisted temptation to jump into my car at all.

I started my morning by riding my bike to Lake Michigan, which is only 15 minutes from my house.  It was a beautiful morning, the last official day of summer, and a great day for the beach.  I locked my bike and got into the water.  It was too choppy for lap swimming, so I waited for my family to arrive.  (My husband said I would ride his bike, too, but they drove.)  We spent a few hours enjoying the last official beach day of the season, and then I rode my bike home.

Later in the day, I needed to pick up groceries for the barbecue we were hosting that night, so I walked to Whole Foods and back.  It takes me about 45 minutes to walk to our downtown, which is generally a pleasant way to get exercise.  Unless you are carrying 15 lbs. of groceries.  Walking to the store was great.  Walking home was challenging, but manageable.

As our barbeque was winding down, I really wanted to take our dog to the beach.  Like most dogs, he loves playing fetch in the lake.  It was a warm night, but it was starting to get dark, and the only way to get to the beach with Winston would have been by car.  So instead of jumping behind the wheel, I resisted the temptation, enjoyed the last few minutes of my holiday with family and friends, and completed my no-drive day.

Readers, I challenge you: can you spend 24 hours without getting into your car and then tell me about it?

3 thoughts on “My Day Without Driving: A Reader Challenge”

  1. lady, I don’t even have a car. I live in bicycle heaven right here in the netherlands. Ok except when it rains but we got bicycle lanes allover the place. We have the socalled grandmamodel that u can hang ur groceries on the steering wheel. I love my bike. They got these bikes with a wooden part in front u can put ur kids in it. They r made by the . It is so easy and U know I keep my shape and work out everyday. And U see so much around u, U can just stop 2 talk 2 people U C on the street.

  2. i live in portland oregon and thankfully i have no need to even own a car. sometimes i walk or ride the bus but most of the time i just get around by bike. it’s fun, faster than the bus, and i get great exercise. it takes me about 35 minutes to get to work, and i’m only 5 minutes from grocery shopping and most other errand-type places. want a tip? get some collapsable baskets for the back of your bike! then you can bike to the store and carry your stuff home much more easily. also, there’s a contraption you can attatch to your seat post that has a short lead and connects to a doggy collar — so winston can run beside you while you ride and you can get to the lake in no time 🙂

  3. I do it all the time! We’ve been a one-car family for over a year in St Louis. I’ve been working from home for a while, and if I need something, I walk or ride my bike or take the bus. Sometimes it can be a pain, but we save a lot of money by me not having a car.

    However, I think it would be undoubtedly harder if I had kids.

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