Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Bike Life: One Month Without A Car

Starting today -- and proceeding for the next 23 days -- I will be embarking on a little experiment: living in downtown Indianapolis without a car. As some of you know, my wife is enrolled at IU Medical School and she has just begun her third year. Third year is defined by "rotations" in which students are exposed to the many different medical fields, typically for about 4 weeks per rotation. My wife's first rotation is "family medicine" which happens to be one of the few rotations where "they" can randomly decide to ship you around the state. In her case, she's going to see what life in southern Indiana is like, stationed at Deaconess Hospital in Evansville.

The kicker here is that we share a single car. Sharing is made possible by the fact that I work on IUPUI campus so we're able to commute to campus together (or walk during nice weather). Unfortunately, with her stationed in Evansville, that one car has to go with her. That leaves just a few options for me: buy another car (NO), rent a car for a month, or try to make a go of life without a car. I'm frugal, I live less than half a mile from where I work, and I like a challenge, so I chose to buy a bike and go completely car-less.

So, for the next couple weeks I'll be using the "Bike Life" topic area to keep you appraised of how things are going. You can expect to see updates about where I've biked, how shopping at a grocery store works when you've only got a bike to bring things home, what it's like trying to ride on city streets, etc. This should be quite an adventure -- if nothing else, I should be in much better shape at the end! Wish me luck!

11 comments:

rodney said...

Good luck! I wish I was able to do that but I don't think I'm in shape enough to do a 20 mile round trip every day to work and back.

... and how do you plan on getting to Hops for Pops... ;)

bhorg said...

Yes! I personally think this is the best way to live downtown. I do own a car, but I choose to park it 99% of the time because it's so easy to get around by bicycle/foot.

If you get a basket/panniers for your bike, groceries are a breeze.

If you're looking for any tips on cycling: http://www.bikesofindy.com

Kevin said...

Awesome.

As far as groceries, even without a basket, if you have a decent backpack, you should be ok just shopping for one person. Just don't buy any more beer brewing kits.

Generik420 said...

I actually would love to have the option of biking to work.. but I have a 15 mile one way trip.. so no go for me. Outside of the grocery shopping I think it would be pretty fun.

Mike said...

Rodney - 20 miles is not a lot of miles, especially if it's 10 miles each way. If you aren't in shape enough already you could get there in about a week or two.

bhorg - thanks for the bikesofindy link... I had no idea.

CorrND said...

I'm in piss poor shape and I did a 7 mile ride yesterday no problem. I think the bigger issues with a commute that long would be whether the time to bike 10 (or 15) miles is an issue and whether you're going to be a sweaty mess when you get to work.

rodney said...

We do have showers at work so the sweaty mess isn't really an issue. The issue is more that there's a slight grade increase the entire way and there's no nice way to get there.

You guys are making me feel guilty for not biking to work. :(

Mike said...

i'd love to have showers at work.. having said that i haven't ridden to work in while because of my knee surgery. which i'm still using as an excuse.

but when i do ride to work, it's 11.5 miles each way, across downtown, with traffic, no showers at work (you get to know baby wipes and stashing clothes at work), and... i have no legs.

ok, everything but the legs part is true.

takes me about 45 minutes each way, which is usually about a 15-20 minute difference from driving.

i think i'll start again next week.

CorrND said...

Hey Rod, I'm no better! Like I mentioned, I'm only a half mile from work and I drive it more often than not. It's pathetic. or WAS....

The Urbanophile said...

Dude, your wife's gonna be gone? Party at your place!

thundermutt said...

Beer tasting at corrnd's!

Actually, I was going to suggest the Canal route to eliminate grade crossings, but haven't spent enough time north of the State Government complex to know that there are chokepoints. That's bad news, especially since the Cultural Trail is to run there.