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The Crux

August 31st, 2012 | Author: Sam
Category: Bike Commuting, Getting Started

Tomorrow, Jay Leighter will begin his year of car-free commuting. Although he hasn’t commuted to work by car much in the last year, this year he will attempt to do completely without. He’s also chronicling his efforts on his blog, The Crux. There, you’ll find his written posts and podcasts that he’s recording throughout the year. I’m looking forward to reading about his experiences, and I thought it would be cool to share that with those interested in Omaha Bikes.

Here is his first post, “The Plan.”

The Plan

Posted on
Starting on September 1, 2012, when I travel from my home to my place of employment and back, I will do so without the use of a car. Instead, I will travel primarily by bicycle (a Specialized Crux Elite) and, when necessary, by bus on the Omaha Metro Area Transit System.  This may also occur in some combination in that MAT has in recent years installed bike racks on every bus. I will do so for a minimum of one year until September 1, 2013, my 40th birthday. In addition, I am committing to weekly posts on The Crux about this experience and a summary of the experience after the shock of my 40th birthday wears off.

This blog has three purposes: 1) to track my progress toward this goal, 2) to chronicle the daily obstacles of bicycle commuting and 3) to, hopefully, shed light on the problems associated with urban planning and individual commitment that keep us in our cars. Along the way, I hope to post podcast interviews with roughly a dozen Omahans about life in our city including, but not limited to, the daily commute.

If you live in a city with systems (cultural and mechanical) that afford opportunities for car-free commuting, the impetus for the blog may not appeal to you. If you have a profession that requires a work vehicle, have managed to work out the difficult business of carpooling (more on that later), live in a rural area or work at home, this blog may not appeal to you. Instead, this blog is primarily for those who live in Omaha, or cities like Omaha, where the practice of car-free commuting is available, if somewhat difficult.

Over the past year, I have started commuting by bicycle on an almost permanent basis but, for reasons to be examined in this blog, have driven one of our cars to and from work an estimated 15 times. The point being made here is not necessarily about the ills of cars. Gasoline-powered engines are feats of engineering that impress me and if one is, say, a 390 V8 installed in a powder blue 1973 Ford F-150, I might even express feelings of love for it.

We own two cars and I enjoy having both of them. During this challenge, I WILL drive these cars. The challenge to be monitored on The Crux is the effort to avoid driving a car to work. I’m trying to understand the threshold of acceptability and ease that will allow for a vast reduction in vehicle use for routine trips in my life and, perhaps, the daily lives of others. I want to understand, specifically, the practice of the commute from home to work when a car is not needed but often chosen.

Inspiration for The Crux comes from many places including conversations with family, friends and colleagues who have looked quizzically upon me when I rode in sub-freezing temperatures and 100+ degree heat indexes, who raised eyebrows when I purchased cycling knickers, or who have wondered why I keep a stack of pants and supply of shirts and sport coats in my office (more on wardrobes later). With some training at my disposal, I have an eye and an ear for expressed and implicit normative delimitations and these moments have given me a reason to look and listen more carefully.

Let the looking and listening begin…

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