Sunday, July 26, 2009

The walking habit

I live about 16 miles from work. Due to the preschool/child care arrangement we had for about the past year or so I was dropping off my daughter at school very near our house, and then dropping off my son somewhere around the midpoint of my commute to work. With the school being so close to home (about 0.4 mile one-way on foot, though almost exactly within a 1/4 mile radius from home for any planning nerds out there) and in an effort to be less car-dependent and reduce my carbon footprint, I committed myself to walking the kids to the school to do the drop-off in the morning. And by walking the kids, I mean pushing them in a stroller. There were a few rare days where the kids actually made the walk themselves, but mostly they were along for the ride as I walked them to school.

From when I started in mid-July 2008 until the end of the year I only used the car twice to make the trip to the school. Pretty good, I thought. I definitely got into the walking habit. That's not to say it was a huge accomplishment in the larger scheme of things. I'm sure there are people who take their kids to school car-free everyday and don't make any big deal about it. And then, after the holiday break, the walking in 2009 didn't go so well. By February 4 I had already doubled the number of non-walking days from that last half of 2008. Eventually I stopped keeping track of how many days I used the car, and instead was counting how many days I walked. As an alternative to walking I also had started to bike myself and the kids to the school with the use of a borrowed bicycle trailer. Unfortunately that had to end since the hitch set up was putting undue stress on my rear axle due to its design. The lesson learned is that some habits can be easily broken. Perhaps more truly, the lesson is that bad habits can quickly return.

Next post, I look back at the initial bike commute test ride and two more commutes that really got this idea rolling for me to try this on a more regular basis. As it currently stands, I've neither started bike commuting nor blog posting with any regularity. I hope to change that.

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