From Rachel Bents, Blogger and Bicyclist

Rachel, a St. Paul resident and consultant, gave up her car four months ago. At the beginning of her journey, TLC featured her in this interview. Rachel has been blogging about her experiences at Car Free MN.

I have learned a great deal since giving up my car in April. It is interesting to look at my early blog posts and see how far I have come.  Some days are a struggle, but I’ve never thought about going back. It is a continual journey forward!  Here are some things that I have learned along the way and a few things that I still need to learn or experience:
 

  1. Riding in the rain is very possible –but be careful when going around corners at high speeds and make sure that you have the right gear.  Make sure that your bag is waterproof or the "dry clothes" you bring along will not be very dry!
  2. Panniers are a great option if you don’t want a heavy pack on your back or shoulders. I’m looking forward to getting mine!  
  3. You can successfully lock up a bike anywhere –and there are some fantastic bike racks in the area. But there is room for improved bike parking in the Twin Cities as well. 
  4. The most direct bike route is not necessarily the best bike route. 
  5. Sometimes the sidewalk does end, you will ride in the street, and it’s your right to take the full lane. 
  6. Taking the bus is a viable, lovely option when it is raining or WAY too hot outside to do anything but stand in the shade.  
  7. Accepting offers from friends to pick you up or drop you off is wonderful!  I never expected it, and it is nice to have a support system. 
  8. It is possible to bike in high heels and a skirt!  I bike in a skirt often and I have biked in high heels. Another option is to wear flats and pack your heels to change into later.
  9. Even cute bike helmets look silly, but they are IMPORTANT, so I do wear mine. 
  10. Arriving to a casual date on my bike is perfectly acceptable. 
  11. Arriving to a more "fancy" date by bus is perfectly acceptable.
  12. Having a date drop me off near my house is also perfectly acceptable! 
  13. Reminding myself that I am the one that chose to be car-free helps keep me motivated. I made this choice intentionally and can’t get cranky because I end up biking in the rain sometimes! 
  14. There are a lot of people who live without cars –and not always by choice. We need to do a better job of making our communities accessible to everyone! 
  15. Being car free is more and more do-able every day.

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