Since Jordan and I have moved up here I have kind of gone through a metamorphosis of sorts. I have [mostly] stopped eating junk, though we still make a weekly restaurant date, and a monthly frozen custard date…mmmm…custard. I don’t drive unless I have to. This is partly because I want to reduce emissions, partly because I want to save $$, and partly because the drivers here are crazy. We cook more of our own food (see last post), and I ride my bike just about everywhere.
For example, in San Marcos, I rode a lot I guess, usually averaging about 20 miles a month. However, since I have been in Illinois, I have racked up 380 miles, which mainly consists of my commute to school. I am used to riding, even in the cold, and plan to continue riding through the year. In fact, I have set a goal of 2,000 miles for next year, and that is a conservative number. If I were to commute 330 days next year, it would be closer to 2,300 miles using my shortest route.
So what has this change in lifestyle done to me? Well, for starters, I need new clothes. Today, I really need a belt. I rode to campus due to a meeting I have with Bruce today at 1pm in shorts (its in the upper 50˚s F) but I forgot a belt. As a result I can’t walk anywhere without holding my pants up. When I don’t, they sag very bad, and I fear that if I went up stairs I would lose them altogether! Since being up here I have lost 21 lbs. and gotten back into cardiovascular shape. My asthma is non-existent (though I still take medication), I have more energy, and due to my exposing myself to riding in the cold, I have developed a tolerance for the cooler temps that rivals the locals. I find myself out in T-shirts in weather the locals are in full kit with scarfs, gloves, and the whole bit.
In addition, I have discovered that my bike is the quickest way around town. Jordan has recently been working at the campus branch, which is a 5 minute walk from my office door on campus. It takes me a leisurely 19-20 minutes to get home when I leave at 5ish at the end of my day. I have a wonderful time, though some drivers do test my patience (though riding the bike is peaceful enough that I calm down quickly), and arrive vitalized at my front door. Poor Jordan takes between 25-30 minutes getting home, and needs about 20 more minutes to chill out and calm herself after fighting with all of the Jack Ass Motorists (JAMs) out there. The bus system here isn’t any better. It takes usually around 30-35 minutes to get to/from campus on the bus. Now, in defense of the bus, it is free (for me, cheap for Jordan), can take you anywhere, and with proper planning is a stress free way of travel through town. Nothing brings me greater joy than to pass the buss in the mornings on its way to campus!
All in all, this change in the way we live has been subtle, though its impacts are huge. We haven’t turned total hippie (yet). Jordan shaves her armpits like the rest of us, and I take showers. We have made small changes that truthfully, any of you could do, and the benefits we have reaped is so large that we are finding ourselves more than willing to make other changes. So here is my call to action: Do something different. Try walking/biking/or taking the bus every once in awhile. I know that the reasons against this might be many in your minds, and that’s ok, but we can all do a little bit. (Sorry for the soapboxing…)