Saturday, May 17, 2008

I got a bicycle. (Part I)

By Dustin Williams
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In an effort to save money, get a little exercise, and do our planet a favor, I bought a bicycle awhile back.  I ride it every day to and from school and work.  I have to say it’s one of the best $70 investments I’ve ever made.  I’m not only buying less gas, and working out a lazy college student’s body that otherwise wouldn’t, but also doing a little something for my mental health.  I had forgotten how fun it is to ride a bicycle.  The 20-minute ride to and from my place of work allows me to get fresh air and sun, two things I ordinarily don’t, and it makes me feel better.  Imagine that.

Now, I realize that living in a college town and in a state that has mild weather more often than not makes it quite easy to use a bicycle.  Someone who lives in Wauwatosa and commutes to downtown Milwaukee, for example, might find it more difficult if not impossible to do.

When I finish school at the end of the summer and (hopefully) take a job, I’m going to try to find a place to live that’s close enough to where I work so that I can bicycle.  In fact, this will be a top priority for me when it comes to deciding where to live.

And this, I think, is key: Making it easier on ourselves to find alternative forms of transportation.  Public transportation in the U.S. is a joke, but understandably so.  Our cities are so spread out that it’s not always possible to transport people in an efficient and timely manner.  I don’t anticipate this ever changing.  I don’t hold my breath at the thought of governments being able to design, fund, and install better public transportation.  So, I think the onus falls on us, especially those of my generation, to choose more practical places to live, and to be more willing to sacrifice time, and in some cases comfort, in order to bicycle or walk around town.

Sure, I still use my car to go to the grocery store, or to make trips up to Oklahoma City, and that’s fine.  People are never going to stop using cars, and nor should they.  But every little bit helps, right?

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