Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Minimalist Transportation Options

Transportation is one of the most difficult issues for many minimalists to reconcile themselves with. Every type transportation has its pros and cons, but I have found it hard to find a site, or even an article, that had a comprehensive list of transportation options and how they apply to different styles of minimalism. Overall, minimalism requires much in the way of preplanning, and transportation is no different. If you plan to change your methods of transportation, you have to plan for these changes. For instance, plan on having time on the train to get a blog finished - bring your laptop and enjoy your extra time! Anyway, here is part one of a list I hope you will all find helpful when making your decisions about minimalist transportation.

Mass Transit - It's cheap, helps lower your carbon emissions, and you don't have to drive. I am fortunate enough to live in the Portland-Metro area, which has an amazing public transportation model that is being implemented elsewhere around the world. Seriously, you can get almost anywhere because that's how the trains and bus routes were laid out. 
                  However, not everyone has access to such great mass transit. But, before you discount this option, could you? What if you moved within biking distance of the train? Think creatively, and you'll be amazed at what you can do with limited funds and some passion.

Biking - I hear all sorts of arguments against the bike commuter lifestyle, but I have to put most of them to rest. First of all, biking is not as dangerous as you think it is, and I don't care where you live. This is especially true if you actually know all the bike laws, maintain visibility, and are considerate of the other modes of transportation. Share the road doesn't just mean cars need to yield to bikes and pedestrians; it means we all need to share the road and be considerate of the people around us so everyone has a safe trip to wherever they are headed. 
Another argument I hear regularly is, "I have kids. How could I possibly be a bike commuter?" Honestly, it's not even an argument. It's an excuse. Having children is no excuse not be a bike commuter. I have a trailer for my daughter, and she goes everywhere with me. I bought it earlier this year, and it has been fantastic. She thinks "going bye-bye" in the trailer is tons of fun, because she gets to have the wind in her face, see all the sights, and play and eat snacks. How is a kid not going to enjoy that? 
I don't want to hear about bad weather, either. Once again, I live in Portland. The amount of rain we receive is somewhat obscene, so you learn to live with it. I recommend either full bike gear, which dries quickly, or Nike Dri-fit clothing. The stuff seriously takes 5 minutes to dry out. The only weather you shouldn't be able to handle on a bike is heavy snow, and should you really be out and about in loads of snow anyway? For those of you who live in perennial winter weather, I'll be honest, I haven't been there so I don't even know what its like. Use your judgement, be safe, and do whatever is safest and most efficient. 
 If you are at all interested in bike commuting, you have to read Tammy Strobel's Simply Car-free: How to Pedal Toward Financial Freedom and a Healthier Life. Author of the RowdyKittens blog and my fellow Portlander, Tammy totally gets it when it comes to living car-free.

Until next time, happy commuting!

The Bike to Work Guide: What You Need to Know to Save Gas, Go Green, Get Fit   Bicycle Times    The Bicycle Book: Wit, Wisdom & Wanderings

No comments:

Post a Comment