It’s now been 2 years since I said goodbye to my lemon of a car and never looked back. I still have this picture in my camera roll because it’s a favorite memory now; I remember the feeling of nervous-impatient-anticipation leading up to turning in these keys and walking away (OK, I did get a ride back from the dealership, it was a ways outside of Greenville). Later that day I was riding my bike downtown with this euphoric buoyant feeling, and I realized it felt like an actual weight off my shoulders not to own, maintain and stress over a giant hunk of treacherous machinery.
It’s hard to pick a best and worst thing about not having a car. Life is a lot simpler because I don’t feel obliged to go to events on the other side of town where the traffic is abysmal. Purchasing is more intentional because I’m not tempted by regular Target runs and thrift store pop-ins, and I tend to shop locally at stores in bike/pedestrian friendly areas where I get to know the owners and only buy what I need. I’ve always been a couch potato, but now I’m in the best shape of my life and don’t go to the gym. Without the expense of car payments, insurance, maintenance, gas or property taxes, I’ve eliminated most of my stress about money (while living on a teacher’s salary) and can spend money on things I enjoy such as travel, good food, and charitable causes (and some new wheels once in awhile).
The worst thing is probably the lack of cycling infrastructure where I live. To me, this is a challenge that makes it feel like a satisfying accomplishment to get somewhere that most people wouldn’t think of going on a bike, whether I use back roads, take the bus, or just take the lane. It also feels like a vote (and sometimes a middle finger) against whoever decided cars were the only viable way to get around. Hopefully at the same time I’m inspiring someone else out there, and that’s more than I could say when I drove my car.
Not that I can’t abide driving whatsoever. I still have to occasionally borrow or rent a car or uber for practical reasons once in awhile. But once the excitement of obtaining a drivers license wore off and the realities of the economic, health and environmental tolls set in, the car lost its magical allure for me. I couldn’t manage to feel good about driving being a regular part of my day or a necessary part of my world. I’m more satisfied with my choice than ever on this anniversary, and I look forward celebrating to many more down the road.
I’m not the pickiest when it comes to saddles, but after trying the Selle Anatomica X series I’m pretty sure it will be hard to switch to anything else.
My first road bike was a steel touring bike that came with a thin, flat Selle Royal saddle. I had no problems until I started doing longer rides, and past around the 40 mile mark I started to notice my legs going numb. Not so great.
I graduated to a San Marco Concordia, which had sloped sides that didn’t cut off my circulation and was generally comfortable, so I figured that would do just fine. And it did for awhile.
And then my friend had me sit on a Selle Anatomica, and I realized everything my butt was missing. It’s pretty much like an armchair got installed onto your seatpost, but with the shape and performance of a road saddle, plus flexibility and movement that eases discomfort that usually sets in with saddles on longer mileage rides. It can be tightened as you wear it in by a bolt on the front, and it has rear attachments for the vintage style saddle bags (which I have my eye on for my birthday, hint hint family). I’ve got one on my road bike and one on my commuter, and it’s comfortable with or without a chamois. I also love that they’re made in USA out of excellent quality materials.
Cons: it weighs about 1 lb, and if they make a version that can get my new road bike under 20 lbs, I may just go for it. You also do need to make sure you put on saddle sauce/ take care to weatherproof it as needed to protect it from exposure to the elements. That said, I’ve put my commuter saddle through hell and back already and it’s doing fine so far 🙂
[Not a sponsored post. Just a very happy butt.]
Love this post from Arleigh (“the artist formerly known as Bike Shop Girl”), she hits the nail on the head when it comes to those perfectionist, “someday” thoughts:
“You don’t need the moons to be aligned to start that new habit. You don’t have to be in “good enough” shape to start that exercise class. You don’t have to buy the perfect bike to start riding. You don’t need to have your masters degree to be an authority in your space. You don’t need to worry about all of the many reasons you can’t do something. You can be more.”
It reminds me of looking at a hill from a distance, thinking good lord I’ll never make it up, but you focus on the ground right in front of you, and next thing you know you’re halfway through it.
Now I just have to keep this in mind for travel planning, because currently I’m stalled out trying to make everything happen. One pedal at a time..
I achieve this on about 1% of my rides.