On Commercial Drive I recently came across this big gentle dog, waiting very patiently for its owner to finish refreshing him/herself in JJ Bean Coffee Shop.
This sight made me think about a conversation I had with my good friend, Lucy. Lucy told me:
“I’d really like to travel by bike, cos of course I know it’s better in every way – but it’s just not possible. I live in Burnaby, and I have to get the kids to school on the North Shore, and I’ve got school in Vancouver, and then of course my wife works in Richmond. I couldn’t imagine doing all that on a bike.”
I did not argue. After all, don’t I make the same justifications to myself?
“It’s impossible to shop for a family of six on a bike.”
“It’s impossible to get to the ferry terminal by bike – not if you want to stay alive, anyway.”
“There’s no safe bike parking downtown/in the suburbs/anywhere on the planet.”
“It’s not safe to bike in sub-zero temperatures.”
… and so on and so on. And so I keep failing to achieve my ambition of becoming completely car-free. I thought about the intrepid owner of this dog. He/she could have said:
“I can’t ride a bike because my huge dog comes everywhere with me, and it’s impossible to put him on my cross bar!”
“It’s impossible to carry shopping and a huge dog on a bike!”
“There’s no safe bike parking on Commercial Drive.”
He/she could have made any of those perfectly reasonable arguments, and gone out and bought a giant SUV to accommodate dog and groceries while he/she was in the coffee shop. Instead, this enterprising cyclist appears to have hand crafted an ingenious trailer that accommodates both shopping and dog. Plus, he/she has effectively solved the problem of safe bike parking, as I doubt anyone would want to mess with a dog that big! So now there he/she is, going shopping in winter (with the temperature around zero), dog in tow, stopping for a well-deserved coffee and snack … all on a bike!
I found this very inspiring. I know it’s a bit late for New Year’s resolutions, but what the heck. I came up with a new resolution: I am going to spend the year seeking out creative, enterprising ways to overcome the many obstacles that currently prevent me from becoming car-free. And I will brag about them right here, on my blog! In this way, I plan to make some serious progress this year towards my goal of becoming car-free.
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