The Myth of the Open Road

I bike pretty much everywhere in the city these days. But I also have a driver’s license and 16 years of driving experience. And occasionally I still drive. Like the other day I ended up driving across town to run an errand. Now, if you live anywhere near a city, you know that the driving experience is not exactly as advertised:

Myth of the Open Road

It’s a little bit more like this:

Myth of the Open Road

Which is not a good advertisement for cars. But this is exactly what I found myself driving in.

After my errand, I decided I wanted to stay out. I was hungry and there are great restaurants downtown. And some shops too. (I know, because I discovered them all by bike.) But in a car, I realized that I couldn’t casually go to any of them. I was trapped…

Myth of the Open Road

…and had to pass them by. It was like I was carrying the weight of the car rather than it carrying me. And I was tired. So I went straight home instead. Cars are useful, but driving in a city is kind of like trying to thread a needle while wearing a boxing glove.

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62 Comments on "The Myth of the Open Road"


bazza the wombat
October 12, 2012

very true nothing worse than being stuck in a box that is designed to go over 100 but cant move forward in a traffic jam

bob
October 19, 2012

Cyclists can’t move forward in a traffic jam.

http://www.bikexprt.com/streetsmarts/index.htm

Mike
October 23, 2012

Bob – you’ve not heard of shared paths?

rolling ahead at a very slow speed if all cars are backed up and stopped, while watching for opening doors is fine to do.
Bob normally sits in the automobile traffic and breathes in all those idling fumes? Enjoy the wait! I’ll slowly move up–never to pass the first car waiting, often to turn right.

David
October 12, 2012

It’s all about the choices we make.

Car Free and loving it.

Steph VW
October 12, 2012

The freedom of biking is similar to the freedom of taking the bus. We lived car free for a year (it was wonderful – we now commute by car and bicycle). I was pregnant at the time and my friend (who doesn’t live in the same city as me) called and told me that she thought I should get my car running again. I told her that if my car was running I would have to shovel snow from my driveway, clean off my car and drive on icey roads. With the bus, I had a chauffeur who picked me up wherever I wanted, drove me safely over roads in all conditions, and I never had to worry about parking – also, I could read or knit on the bus. I was freeeeeee! I still hate taking my car down town and will take the bus or the ferry whenever possible. YAY bicycles! Yay busses!

Charlie
October 12, 2012

Studies back up what you just did. They show that bicyclists visit local businesses more often and spend more money in total than motorists. Probably because they can just stop by whenever they want since parking is never a problem!

Ethan Fleming
October 12, 2012

There is more to it than that. There is also the factor that it costs less to keep a bike usable than it does for a car so cyclist might have more to spend than a driver. This can vary depending on different income levels though

Geoff
October 12, 2012

Funny you mentioned you were tired after your driving expedition. You do less physical activity when driving but get more exhausted. I bet the same trip by bike you would be feeling alive and full of energy (the cupcake and coffee would have helped that too).

 
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