Vancouver's Leader in Transition toward Strong, Resilient, Complete Communities
What made me feel good and liberated ... a bicycle
So here's a decision, a choice I made on a recent trip to Napa, California. Would I have to rent a car to travel around this quite small attractive city or was there another option?
I'd been to Napa before so knew the lie of the land so to speak, in the town it's pretty flat yet it's surrounded by hills. I was only staying a few days and knew roughly where I would be travelling so this helped in my decision on whether renting a car was really necessary. The easiest way to get from San Francisco international airport is using a coach service direct to downtown Napa. You'll know why I chose this option if you've ever seen the peak hour traffic !! 10 full lanes. So no need for a car yet.
The locations of where I was staying in Napa were some miles apart and although there is a transit (public transport) bus, it's not that convenient for getting around town. So I worked out that where I was staying night 1 to the next overnight location was within a moderate walking distance. Practical shoes on, pull-along case behind, sun shining, sorted! No car needed yet.
I had worked out to some extent in advance that the places I was to visit in Napa were located North, South, West and East, humm so that might be a challenge if I didn't want to spend all day walking, pounding the streets.
So I'd taken a little risk. I'd asked for help. Putting my request out to a few people I knew in Napa for the loan of a bicycle and I got 2 offers. That was great news. Yet a small practical voice spoke up ...
Would I be able to carry my pull-along case on the bike, would I need a helmet, would I need lights. You could call this my 'what if' voice.
I chose to take one small pull-along case which had shoulder straps just in case I had to carry on my person. I packed:
2 bungie straps and a small roll of paracord for any additional strapping requirements
2 small lights (1 red, 1 white) which have elasticated lanyards and easy to attach to almost anything and a florescent body strap as used by runners to be seen easier - I was planning on being out at night
pair of lightweight gloves and hat - as contrary to popular belief, California is not warm all the time, they get frosts and it's a bit nippy early morning
My loaned bike had panniers and a rear rack so I was easily able to strap on my case and even enjoy some retail therapy at a local bookstore (http://www.copperfields.net/) and shoe store. Well you know I am a woman with shoe requirements!
I felt exhilarated with being able to cycle around. The freedom it allowed me, feeling the wind through my hair, the blush on my cheeks from the morning chill, smelling spring flowers not chemical car upholstery.
It never occurred to me until afterwards that my decision to use a bicycle in preference to a car was from a standpoint of it:
What would you have chosen?