Week 5: 1 Day 52 Week No Car Challenge

Week 5:  What you call a challenge we call Tuesday” Opus the Poet

The above quote is from one of our readers. See the full quote below. The underlying message here is that for many North Texan’s, transportation doesn’t always come with a vehicular option as it does for many others.   Alternative means of transportation like the bus, train, walking or a bicycle are always the primary means for those without the use of an automobile.  In no way do we want the perception that not using a car is ground-breaking or original, but we merely want this challenge to be the caveat to publicize that our automobiles aren’t always necessary and are indeed a luxury at times.  This was an understated point of doing this challenge, and one which I appreciate this reader for pointing out so very clearly and rather humorously as well.

*Entry into the challenge has been formerly closed as of February 1st


Here are a few highlights from Week 4 quotes:

My family hasn’t entered the Challenge, because honestly it wouldn’t be fair. We have been living car-free in Garland since 1995. What you call a challenge we call Tuesday. Our biggest difficulty was an extended period when the washing machine was down and we had to haul the laundry about a half mile to the nearest laundromat with backpacks. If we can do it in Garland for more than 15 years, with the post-WWII car-centric urban design, then going car-free in Oak Cliff with the pre-war urban design would be a piece of cake. Opus the Poet

I have to admit, riding in the cold sucks but it’s worth it. I now use my car ONLY to get groceries, to Royal Lane station (when it’s been below freezing) and to visit friends on the weekends. I sure can use one of those cargo trailers to do my laundry and get groceries. David Rodriguez

Yesterday was car-free for me. I’m currently working on fixing up a beater bike for grocery trips so I don’t feel so paranoid about locking up around town. Jenny R

I actually rode my bike a tremendous amount this week, but it was surprisingly difficult to get a full day due mostly to bike malfunctions. Luckily, the good fellows over at OCBC are sorta on the way home, so I will be able to go 100% car free today with no problem. Dave Holt

I’ve been car-free on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday of this week. Each day I rode my bike to work in the awesome winter sunshine, then rode home after dark. I almost always feel safe on my bike, even when riding alone at night (yes, I have a good front and rear light). However, an incident on Tuesday night has brought safety to the forefront of my mind.

When I had almost reached home, I saw a car pulling into a driveway and about to run over a puppy. Not willing to ignore a puppy about to be crushed by a huge truck, I did a super-quick stop and yelled at the driver (nicely!) to watch out for what might soon be under her wheels. As soon as I stopped, a huge dog darted toward me and started barking about a foot away from me and my bike. The driver got out of her car, shooed the puppy away from the driveway, and called the big dog away from me. I didn’t ride off immediately (probably not the smartest idea) because I felt like the dog would follow me rather than go home. None of this was a big deal until the dog bit my ankle. Not a hard bite, and [safely?] under my Converse, but still a dog bite. At that point I rode off, deciding that I was not improving the situation by waiting for the dogs to be secured by their owner.
Being on a bicycle establishes a much different relationship with your surroundings than the one created when you are isolated within a car. If I had been in a car, the dog would not have been a threat. However, I also probably wouldn’t have seen the puppy. Should I have stopped? Or minded my own business? I hope that more experience outside of a car will help me reconcile this new relationship with my surroundings and allow me to make better decisions in the moment. callmemisspriss


13 comments

  1. Okay, went car free on Monday, it was warm enough to bike comfortably. But what was interesting was the bike commute on last Friday, when a lady rolled down her window while moving to let me know that I am a “F***ing idiot,” presumably for riding a bicycle down San Jacinto during rush hour.

    Lady, its Friday, I don’t need that kind of garbage ruining my evening!

  2. callmemisspriss · ·

    On Sunday (car-free!) I biked to my part-time retail job at NorthPark Center. I’ve been biking to work since the holidays, originally to avoid parking hassles but now just because it’s fun, and haven’t had any trouble until that night. Actually, Dallas Police officers guarding the crosswalks usually smile and wave when they see me ride by, occasionally commenting on how I have the right idea with regard to how easy it is for me to “park” my bike.

    I’ll bet it comes as no surprise that NorthPark Center doesn’t seem super bike friendly. I have yet to see any bike racks, but I haven’t been hassled (yet) for locking up to handicapped parking posts or the railings next to stairs. There is usually at least one other bike locked up at one of these spots near mine.

    On Sunday night, I departed work a little late (for a Sunday, anyway) due to inventory. Just after I passed the movie theater entrance, a NorthPark Security officer in a golf cart (seriously, a golf cart!) stopped me to ask me if I was “just passing through.” I (nicely) informed him that I was on my way home from work, he asked me if I worked at NorthPark, and I said yes. Satisfied with my answer, and looking a little surprised, he nodded and drove off.

    I don’t know about you, but when I am stopped by a security guard or police officer I usually think that I’ve done something wrong. So, to avoid any future trouble, I called the general information line for NorthPark to get more information. I informed the operator of the encounter with security the night before, then asked her if NorthPark has any policies against bicycles on the premises. She informed me that it was fine that I ride my bike to work, and that I should take it as a good sign that security is paying attention to what is going on. She informed me that they are experiencing “heightened security right now” (presumably due to the upcoming sporting event in the area?), and reinforced that I should see being stopped as a good sign that security is paying attention. This didn’t really make sense to me, but I let it go. While I had her on the line, I asked if NorthPark has any bike racks. She replied that she thought there are racks outside Neiman Marcus and outside Nordstrom by the parking garage, though she wasn’t sure.

    I’ll be looking for those bike racks later this week when the temps rise a bit. I just don’t have the gear to ride when it’s this cold!

  3. Sleepy Head · ·

    Tuesday. I used DART for all my trips. Plus the Parkland employee shuttle. I was thinking about throwing my bike on the front of the bus but it just didn’t seem like a useful idea and things probably worked out better on foot.Tomorrow, I am sure it will be DART again.

  4. I took DART on Monday, worked from home Tuesday & Wednesday, and my husband dropped me off at work this morning. I might take DART home this evening and then we’ll see what happens tomorrow!

  5. Thankfully I got my car-free day outa the way for this week this past Sunday. Nothing notable happened – though I have noticed my legs are getting stronger and I’m going a bit faster now. 🙂 I’m just such a wuss when it comes to the cold…I can deal till it reaches about 35.

  6. Sleepy Head · ·

    I haven’t been on my bike since Sunday but I went without the car Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. I was one of the huddled masses downtown wondering where the train was…and then wondering if I should get on it. My advice, everyone’s advice maybe…when there is a lot of ice, take the bus.

  7. David Rodriguez · ·

    Went car-free on monday only. Too much ice to be on my bike or DART so I mainly stayed home. I drove on Tuesday to Friday, there weren’t many options on getting to OakCliff from North Dallas.

  8. Rick Titone · ·

    I worked at home Monday to puppy-sit, then stayed home all week due to weather. I was car-free except Wednesday, when I had to bring the car back from the shop. Luckily we had stocked up on human and puppy food during the weekend. Hope to be back to at least part-time in the coming week.

  9. Well, I was holding off on posting to see if I had another car free day but nope.. only day sans car (where I actually went somewhere) was Tuesday where I decided to try my mettle on the ice to pick up some lunch. Went fine on the way there but had a monster headwind on the way back and could barely get enough traction on my rear tire to move.

  10. With the weather this past week, going car-free was pretty easy. What wasn’t easy was my commute home from work on Tuesday. I went into work pretty easy on the DART bus since Where’s My Bus? was working for the bus I wanted to catch, but getting home was another story. I stayed at work till 5 not realizing how bad the streets still were. Silly me thought the city would have things in better shape by evening. Boy was I wrong. There were four buses stuck on the hill coming up San Jacinto and so they had the street shut down. The only DART buses I saw anywhere downtown were stuck in ice. I was worried I was stuck downtown. I hopped a 51 that would get me to CityPlace and saw some 24’s headed into downtown. Finally got on one and made it home safe and sound. I telecommuted the rest of the week so I ended up with 4 car-free days – and I think that Tuesday adventure should count for double!!!

  11. callmemisspriss · ·

    Brief update: I most definitely will not drive my car on icy roads, so I’ve been car-free every day this week except Monday. I made two trips this week to the convenience store by bicycle (a one mile round trip), a first for me in ice and snow. I ride a fixed gear track bike (skinny tires, no fenders), and I rode it as is. Saturday I rode to Transit, then later to an opening at We Are 1976, and finally to the grocery store.

  12. Sleepy Head · ·

    I ended up going carless Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday courtesy of DART. My biggest complaint about DART was lack of information. It would have been a huge help if someone just had a Twitter feed of closures and delays. The upside is we learned a few new routes to get us there.

  13. I am way late in my comments. I only got car free on Monday of this week. Weather and child really tripping me up. I’m hoping to get my percentage WAY up once the weather calms down a little bit.

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