Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The thought process

My wife and I were talking about how we weren't getting enough exercise. We are both young professionals working 40 hours a week. There is a new YMCA opening downtown and we talked about checking into it.

I looked into the YMCA cost and was a bit surprised that it is $68 a month. That seems like a lot to me. We have a tight budget right now because we are trying to fix up our house and pay off student loan debt.

As I considered the YMCA expense, I began reading my favorite weekly email from Planetizen. Everyone who loves cities should subscribe to their weekly email. They sent me an article titled "The Absurdity of Stationary Bikes." It was making fun of all those people with gym memberships who drive around the parking lot four times to find the closest spot to the gym and then go in and ride on a stationary bike. I am also reminded of a picture I saw once showing an outdoor escalator going right up to the door of a gym while the view inside the windows was of people on step machines.

All that to say I asked my wife if she would be up for taking the batteries out of our cars and learning how to get by without the car for 30 days starting on January 8th - the day of our fifth anniversary. She said okay but that she would be much more agreeable to the idea if it were in April.

January and February are probably Tulsa's worst months to be biking outside. They are Tulsa's coldest months with ice storms and snow expected

That is why January 8 was so appealing to me. Is it possible for a couple to have no car during the worst months of the year in Tulsa without totally changing their lifestyle? If it is possible, what do you have to give up in order to do it? What are the challenges and obstacles to living life without the car in Tulsa? What are the benefits?

In some cities, people can truly work, live, shop, and play all within a walkable distance. For them it is no big deal to go without a car. Tulsa is not one of those cities. We have both sets of parents living in Tulsa city limits. One set lives 8.8 miles to the southwest. The other set lives 20 miles to the southeast of us. The nearest grocery store is 4.2 miles from us. My work is only 1 mile away, but my wife's work is 3.4 miles. Our church is 7.4 miles from us and we both are in charge of classes at 9:15 on Sunday morning.

Those distances are for cars. We don't want to use any arterial roads because the average lifespan seems to drop dramatically when riding on arterial streets in Tulsa. We want to use bicycle trails and neighborhood roads as much as possible.

No comments:

Post a Comment