Confession #3– CarLess in ALABAMA????

So like I said, I’ve been busy.

Confession Number One: I got feng shui‘d (i.e. got organized).
Confession Number Two: I got certified as an arborist.

What’s my confession today?   What’s Number Three, you ask?

Well, as you’ve seen plastered all over Facebook, I have just launched a Kickstarter campaign for a little movie I shot called CarLess in L.A.

And WAHOOO!  It’s already raised $3010!  And that’s in a day and a half!  I’m so grateful for all the generous contributions.

So?  What’s my confession?  
Okay.   I went with zero carbon emissions in Los Angeles for 80 days (…or more — contribute to the Kickstarter campaign so the movie can get made and you can find out!)…

But I’m not car-less in Birmingham, Alabama where I currently live!  In fact.  I don’t even own a bike here.

My trusty Trek (named Trusty) is still in Los Angeles, where I keep it for visits so that I can bypass renting a car.

Trusty’s cousin (source)

But what?

Yes, I bow my head in shame as I write this.

So what kind of person dares to go with zero carbon emissions, for almost three months (plus?), in the hugest, most car-dependent city we know,  THEN dares to have someone follow her around with a camera while she does it, THEN dares to ask friends, family, and strangers for $10,000 to finish the movie, BUT DOESN’T EVEN OWN A BIKE in her own town????


I confess.

(even smaller now)  I confess.

But see.  I have my reasons.  I have a long, long list of reasons.  Well, actually, I only have three:
1.  Birmingham is not a bike-friendly city.  This means there are very few bike trails, no “share the road” signs, the streets have tiny shoulders, and drivers that are not happy to see a cyclist blocking their way.  Trust me, I’ve checked it out.   (Interestingly, it’s the windy, mountainy roads that make Birmingham so beautiful yet dangerous to ride.)

where are these signs in Alabama??

2.  I have a precious daughter who is only two-years-old, and I don’t want to take her on a bike in a non-bike-friendly city.  Nor do I want to possibly deprive her of her mother (me) by riding in a non-bike-friendly city.  In short, I’m scared.  I can ride like a maniac in L.A., but here, there’s slight anxiety!
3.  I keep it local for the most part, so do I really need a bike?

Okay, so the first two are, honestly, lame excuses.  A new friend of mine, a fellow arborist and cyclist, Stan Palla of Trees for Alabama, lives and bikes in Birmingham.  I expressed to him Reasons 1 and 2.  You know how he responded?  “Get over it.”

He’s right.

Not that I’m going to go pedaling down 280!  Nor am I going to whizz down 31.  Honestly, I’m going to be very strategic when I ride and where I ride, because I have already heard of too many awful car/bike-related accidents in Birmingham.  I learned in LA, however, that these incidents should not deter the willful rider, but I do believe that cyclists must be smart and recognize that, while cars should share the road, they are much bigger, faster, and stronger than bicycles.

So what about excuse number 3?  Ding, ding, ding!!!

Ladies and gentleman, do not fear.  I would not have let you down.

You see, when you see the movie CarLess in L.A., you will understand what I am doing!  (And you know you want to see it — go contribute now here!)

I learned so much in those 80 days.  SO MUCH.  And I so want to share with you and you and you what I learned because it’s AWESOME.  It’s eye-opening, heart-healing, and good.

Basically, a little goes a long way.  A little goes a long, long way.  And that little goes even longer if there are many doing a little.  Make sense?  Which is why I want people to see the movie.  So more people can do a little to go a long way.

So, I keep it local — meaning, I walk.  I chose the location of my home so that I can go days, if I have to, without getting into my car.

My daughter and I stroll to the grocery, stroll to local eateries, stroll to the botanical garden, stroll to the zoo, stroll to the local walking trail.  Sometimes, I get a babysitter and stroll to the local watering hole.

So, despite my lack of biking, I am still, and will always be, as car-independent as possible.

I do drive though.  My friends are spread out across town.  My little girl’s child care is too far to walk and too dangerous for biking.  And there are things I like to explore outside my little circle.  The farmer’s market, for example.  And places like Lowe’s and the art supply store.   But when I do run errands, I do my best to streamline them.   And Whole Foods.  And…. Oak Mountain (known for its amazing mountain bike trails).

I fill up my car (a Honda Accord) about once a month.  (Is that good?  I don’t even know!)

And what about public transit, you ask?

Good question.  Let me get back to you on that one.   (…and I mean it.)

Oh, and I’m looking for a good used bike, probably more mountain bike than road bike, and something kid-attachment-friendly.  I can’t wait to get out on two wheels with my little girl!  She’s gonna love it.  Because, face it, there are some places I can still ride to.  No more excuses, right?

  • Meredith C

    Hey bike woman! You need to get Ava a balance bike. They are awesome. We got one in Germany before we left and we sent one to my sister's little girl. At 3 years old she is riding it like a pro, without training wheels. We hope to get Hunter riding his this summer (he's just a little too short right now).

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