Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Yes, you heard me right. You can pick up your jaw and take some smelling salts....as did my family and friends when they heard the news.
Let me explain, and I think if you were in my shoes, you would perhaps do the same.
As I said, at the end of November, I was hit from behind as I was bicycling to work. I fortunately "only" sustained a broken right arm (I'm righthanded). This is a relatively minor injury, considering that a lot of bicyclists who get hit from behind either end up: (a) in a coma; or (b) dead. (I did an internet search to discover this information).
I've spent the past month or so, literally, laying low. I started physical therapy a week before Christmas and will continue it for the next couple of months, so that I can get the range of motion back in my arm, and then slowly strengthen it. I am on strict orders from my physical therapist to NOT pick up anything that is heavier than a LOAF of bread. I didn't know this meant I couldn't use my "good" arm to do any pushing/lifting. Which is what I did on Christmas Eve - helping a friend put a slightly heavy box into the back of her SUV. I didn't feel any worse for wear until the middle of the night, when I awoke with severe back SPASMS, that took my breath away! :( Turns out that I had over-extended a certain muscle group below my shoulder blade. :( Christmas was spent in pain, and the day after that, I had a therapy appointment. I told the therapist what had happened, and she worked on my back. The next day I felt 99% better. Whew. So, a painful lesson was learned.
Since I can't return to biking until probably the Spring, I am not able to use my bike to get groceries, like I am used to. So, this leaves me with two choices: (a) buy one or two LIGHT grocery items at a time to carry home (think about how long that will take getting home weekly groceries...); and (b) asking family and friends to bring me to the store to shop.
I don't mind asking friends and family for a favor once in a while, but not every week. I'm a very independent person, so this was burdening me and I felt bad for having to ask for weekly help. Not only that, but anytime I wanted to go somewhere with friends, I would have to either get to them via the Metro and have them pick me up, or have them meet me at my house. With my bike, I could ride from the Metro to meet them, but now that was out.
Lastly, the winter weather was approaching quickly, which meant, if I was to use Metro, I would be out in the elements even more...not a fun prospect when I have a broken arm that was healing, and would be encountering ice and snow, etc., not to mention brutal biting winds. With biking, you can stay pretty warm. Without the "fire" from biking, your body has to fend for itself, which is more difficult.
As you can see, biking is pretty important in my life and integral to my everyday life. Without my bike, I feel a bit limited, in the ways I have mentioned.
So in taking all this into consideration, and giving much thought to the ramifications, I decided to, at this time in my life, get a car. If ever I was going to have a car again, now is a good time. That's not to say I won't ever be car-free again. I'm actually CAR-LITE. In getting to work each day, I take a short bus ride that brings me to the subway, which I take downtown. I'm using the car on the weekends, just like I did prior to giving up my car in 2007.
And when I can get back to bicycling again, it's not like I won't continue to use Megabus or Amtrak in conjunction with my bike to get places. I enjoyed those experiences and it's definitely less expensive than using a car. I also will still have my lifetime Zipcar membership, which will enable me to get a pick-up truck if I need one for getting bigger household items, etc.
So, this will be my final posting. I appreciate you reading and I hope that maybe some of my experiences will inspire you to be either car-lite or car-free. There are many advantages to both. I learned a lot and am thankful for the experiences I had along the way.