[xfloat=right]http://www.cleanmpg.com/photos/data/500/bike_ride_03.jpg[/xfloat]Brian Morris - CleanMPG - July 17,2008 A friend of mine sent me a recent writing of his that I think is worth sharing. This is his story. -- Ed. I've been thinking a bit about how I live and how others around me live. While I do not want to preach (note, too, that I do not believe that my way is the best way for everyone) I want to share some of my random thoughts I have had over the last few months. As most of you know when we moved we found out we had so much stuff that we had to rent a second U-Haul truck and could not bring both of our cars with us so we only brought the Subaru. After about a month here I had started to ride my bicycle a lot more often and was using it for some errands since my wife was/is using the car to take our daughter to and from daycare as well as for getting to and from work. The time on my bicycle has given me a lot of time to reflect on an aspect of my lifestyle--mostly in regards to transportation. The other day, one of my thoughts was about our cars. About one month after my wife and I were married we bought a car (our short-lived Audi) so at that time we owned 2 cars, 1 motorcycle and 1 truck. In the time since then we have sold the truck, motorcycle, and gifted the Jetta back to my Father-in-law. We now only have 1 car. I thought it was interesting that we have gone from having 4 main-stream vehicles to 1. This weekend also gave me an opportunity that felt amazing and it is mostly what I wanted to share. My wife got sick this weekend (not the good part) and we had some shopping that needed to be done. I could have gotten in the car, but I figured that there was nothing that was super pressing so I hooked up the kid trailer to my bicycle, got our daughter situated and took off. We made our way to the local fruit stand and bought some fruits and vegetables for the week. I figure that with all of the things we bought it was a total of about 10 pounds or slightly more. We then left the fruit stand for the grocery store. We have several stores within a couple miles of our house, but I figured we would go to the one closest to our home. At any rate, the fruit stand was a wonderful downhill ride and the grocery store meant going back up a hill. The hill is about 1.5 miles long at an average 6% grade. Near the bottom of the hill a man rode right past us and started up the hill, a little more than half way up, we passed this same guy! As I pulled into the grocery store I noticed that the bike racks that used to be on the sidewalk in front of the store were gone! I looked around and noticed that they now have a parking stall in the parking lot with 2 bike racks in it so we parked and did our shopping. It was nice to see that some of the produce in the store actually cost more than the produce at the local fruit stand--especially when things are usually the other way around. We finished our shopping and pedaled the 1.7 miles to home--we added about 20 pounds of groceries to the 10 pounds of produce we had purchased. With the little girl weighing 26 pounds and 30 pounds in groceries/produce and the weight of the trailer I was towing 65-70 pounds! When we arrived home I was so excited from the ride. Sure I only saved $2.00 or so in gasoline as the entire trip was just under 9 miles, but I felt amazing. Something about getting my groceries and fruit in a different manner, getting outside on a beautiful day, having our daughter in tow, and so many other things. It was such a great feeling! It's been almost 10 years since I lived in Ogden but there was a guy I worked with who sold his truck and then only had his bicycles. He lived in Clinton and would ride into our store in Ogden which worked out to be about 14 miles each way; he did this in the rain, snow, heat, night, morning, etc. One day he and I were talking and I said something about how I couldn't get rid of my car and he said, "Sure you can, you just have to change your lifestyle." It was the simple way that he said this that hit me the hardest. It was so simple from his perspective because he had gone through the change himself, but from my outside perspective it seemed difficult. Since moving I have mostly made the change and I love it. I have thought a lot over the last 12 or so years since this former co-worker told me about changing my lifestyle and this simple thought has had a fairly dramatic impact on my life overall. Whenever I think that something cannot be done I often wonder if I could change my lifestyle to make it happen. Often I am afraid to make a change (whatever that change may be), but once the change is made I feel great about it. It just takes some time.