Saturday, December 6, 2008

Car is King in CA

This past Thanksgiving week, I was out in southern California, to enjoy some warmth, blue skies and sunshine. :) Melinda and I stayed with her friend Nancy, who lives in Laguna Niguel. Thanksgiving was to be spent at their in-laws house in Apple Valley - about 100 miles northwest, a couple of hours drive.

Except on Thanksgiving Day....when EVERYONE in CA gets in their car to drive somewhere for the turkey meal. It took us FOUR HOURS! Ugh. You should have seen the massive traffic jams! I was thinking it would have been much more enjoyable to bike that 100 miles than sit in this traffic. If it hadn't been 100 miles, I would have tried it. :) Fortunately, the ride home was the normal 2 hours, thank God!

I had suggested to various friends while we were visiting, that they could give biking a try in their area. They would save a lot of money (even though gas prices have come down to about $1.89 a gallon), get exercise, and get to know their own neighborhood. You'd be surprised how many businesses are located within an easy biking distance. And you'd have FUN along the way. They could bike to run errands, to stores and restaurants they needed to get to, instead of always hopping in the car. Yes, it takes longer, but you get the exercise and fresh air, that you don't have TIME for otherwise! But everyone's kind of "married" to their car, and they don't think of anything else as an alternative.

I had brought my folding bike, the Bike Friday, with me, to get in some rides. Nancy and Melinda had a conference to attend in San Diego the following week. San Diego is located about 70-80 miles south of Laguna Niguel. I had brought along the Adventure Cycling Association's maps of the coast, and decided I would bike down to San Diego to meet them at the hotel. Nancy couldn't believe I would actually WANT to bike all that way - why bother, when you could get there in a car in just an hour and a half?

Well, there are MANY reasons to bike somewhere - whether it's near or far. Number one, as mentioned above, it's much more enjoyable. You're not just stuck in a car seat, looking at cars all around you. Instead, you feel the breeze, soak in the sun, meet the people along the way, stop and take pictures of funny signs or scenic spots. You work up an appetite and food always tastes better! You EXPERIENCE your surroundings instead of passing by and through them. It's like the difference between watching a movie, vs. actually being IN the movie. :)

I had a GREAT ride down the coast. Yes, it took all day, but you're so INTO your surroundings, time flies. You certainly don't feel that way in a CAR!!


EM said...

Way to go! I enjoy biking to work for the reasons you listed, exercise, interaction with your immediate surroundings and exploration of your neighborhood. I've discovered so many new and interesting areas near where I live by just taking an alleyway I've never been down before! I hope more people realize the benefits of cycling!

Dan said...

Biking on vacation is the best. I took a nice ride while in Tennessee last summer.