As I mention on my SHOPPING page, drive selectively and with pre-planning. For a day of errands, plan your route effectively. Know the places you must visit and work the other stops into the route along the way. Also consider making the heaviest purchase last, if possible. At all times, try to keep your vehicle as light as possible. Of course everyone needs safety precautions in the trunk like a spare tire, change kit, blankets, water, and candles. Beyond the basic emergency kit do what you can to reduce weight. Don’t carry around items that are not essential. Added weight lowers gas mileage. We pay more. The planet pays more. So let’s lighten the load and we all win.
Book suggestions to encourage reducing our carbon footprint:
How To Make Your Car Last Forever: Avoid Expensive Repairs, Improve Fuel Economy, Understand Your Warranty, Save Money! by Tom Torbjornsen – Author, car repair expert, and host of satellite radio show America’s Car Show with Tom Torbjornsen, Tom Torbjornsen has seen it all in his 40+ years in the automobile industry. In this book he explains the what, when, and why’s of automotive maintenance and repairs in easy-to-understand terms. Simple how-to projects supplement the learning with step-by-step instructions that will save you time and money. While you may not want your car to last forever, Torbjornsen’s advice will help you preserve it indefinitely while maximizing resale value down the road. Preventative maintenance is the key to the automotive fountain of youth. Let Tom Torbjornsen show you the way! [Amazon]
Strap Hanger: Saving Our Cities and Ourselves from the Automobile, by Taras Grescoe – Taras Grescoe has written books that have changed the way we look at illicit substances, in The Devil’s Picnic, and how we think about the world’s seafood, in Bottomfeeder. Now, as oil prices soar and suburbs continue to sprawl, Grescoe hits the commuter road in a global quest to understand and illuminate the challenges of the post-automobile age. Ultimately, Straphanger’s subject is the city, and it offers a global tour of alternatives to car-based living, told through encounters with bicycle commuters, subway engineers, idealistic mayors and disillusioned trolley campaigners. Along the way, Grescoe meets libertarian apologists for the automobile, urbanists who defend suburban sprawl, champions of buses, rapid transit and light rail, and planners fighting to liberate cities from the empire of the automobile. In a world of skyrocketing gas prices and political unrest in the oil-rich corners of the world, this is an essential book that addresses one of the most critical discussions of the near future. [Amazon]
Human Transit: How Clearer Thinking About Public Transit Can Help Enrich Our Communities and Our Lives, by Jarrett Walker – Public transit is a powerful tool for addressing a huge range of urban problems, including traffic congestion and economic development as well as climate change. Author Jarrett Walker believes that transit can be simple, if we focus first on the underlying geometry that all transit technologies share. In Human Transit, Walker supplies the basic tools, the critical questions, and the means to make smarter decisions about designing and implementing transit services. Human Transit explains the fundamental geometry of transit that shapes successful systems; the process for fitting technology to a particular community; and the local choices that lead to transit-friendly development. Whether you are in the field or simply a concerned citizen, here is an accessible guide to achieving successful public transit that will enrich any community. [Amazon]
“Fuel-efficient vehicles are great. Driving less is even better. Bikes are tough to beat in terms of urban transportation: They’re reliable, emissions-free, small, healthy, and cheap to operate.”
Excerpt: Mother Nature Network – 12 Cool Urban Bicycles Ready to Replace Your Car, by Chris Baskind (Mar. 20, 2010)
Fuel-efficient vehicles are great. Driving less is even better. Bikes are tough to beat in terms of urban transportation: they’re reliable, emissions-free, take up very little parking space, and cost almost nothing to operate. Depending on your commute or the length of your errand, it’s possible that a bicycle will get you where you’re going faster than an automobile. And they’re great for your health. For many people, a bicycle could replace a car (or a second vehicle). Even if putting your auto out to pasture isn’t a realistic option, having a bicycle on hand can substantially lower your monthly transportation costs and environmental footprint.
What is an urban bike, anyway? You can commute, get some fresh air, or fetch groceries on pretty much any bike that rolls. But urban bicycles are a developing class of bike which falls between skinny tired, racing-style bicycles and their burly offroad cousins, the mountain bike. They’re known by a lot of trade names: city bikes, commuters, town bicycles and hybrids. Generally speaking, urban bikes are optimized for reliable city travel.
Click here to read further and learn about their 12 best picks.
Great website on biking: Bikes.com ~ “Whether you’re cruising the bike path on Sunday morning, riding to the grocery store, or battling it out with buses on your way to work, you want to be comfortable, safe, and efficient.”
The Urban Biking Handbook: the DIY Guide to Building, Rebuilding, Tinkering with, and Repairing Your Bicycle for City Living, by Charles Haine - Ever wanted to take a bicycle vacation? Go on a bike date? Convert your beater into a fixie? Or are you just curious about the anthropology of urban cycling culture? The Urban Biking Handbook teaches you the anatomy of your bike, how to dismantle it, how to reassemble it, how to make it pretty, how to make it ugly…and most importantly, how to make it yours. Bike your way through car-jammed cities, under overpasses, and over the hills and far away to a cyclist’s paradise. Learn to repair a flat, modify your handlebars, true your wheel, and fix your bike on the fly. Learn about what to wear, what to eat, how to pack, and how not to get doored. Want to build your own bike? Get started with fully photographed tutorials and inspiration from the bike lovers profiled inside. Get your bike on with The Urban Biking Handbook! [Amazon]
Zinn & the Art of Road Bike Maintenance, by Lennard Zinn - Today’s bicycles are complicated machines that can be expensive to maintain and repair. Zinn has written this book to help both the leisure rider and expert mechanic handle almost any problem associated with road bikes. In an effort to appeal to people of varying abilities, the book separates bicycle repair procedures into three levels, depending on difficulty. Level one is reserved for novices, while levels two and three are for more mechanically savvy bike owners. Each chapter covers a certain bicycle component and includes the tools needed to repair that particular part. Zinn also includes troubleshooting guides at the conclusion of each chapter and, for those interested only in general maintenance, a chapter that covers the basics of keeping a bike road-worthy. Whether someone is experienced at repairing bicycles or is a weekend rider, this book includes everything to keep bikes rolling. [ZinnCycles.com]
Walking to our destination was once the only way to get there. Now it is a rarity. I find choosing to walk to the local grocer requires some mental effort on my part, which is rather odd considering how much I enjoy walking my dog every day! Somehow walking on sidewalks rather than grassy fields is a stretch for me. It’s a new habit I’m developing, and all new good habits require some effort. I get my canvas shopping bags ready and have to ‘talk myself into’ the walk. It’s only a few blocks but it feels momentous somehow. I am embarrassed to admit I am recovering from an addiction to my car.
I push myself through my resistance, and end up finding more enjoyment in it than I thought I would. And my heart absolutely cheers to return around the corner and see my car. Sitting there. Engine cold. And I got to enjoy some exercise, fresh air and birdsong along the way. It wasn’t so hard after all! If you’re not already doing it, give it a try. You’ll be so glad you did. I know I am. And I plan to walk to the bank tomorrow. Where are you going to walk to instead of driving?
“The sovereign invigorator of the body is exercise, and of all the exercises walking is the best.” ~Thomas Jefferson
Walking: A Complete Guide to Walking for Fitness, Health, and Weight Loss, by John Stanton – Something as simple as taking a few extra steps a day can make a huge difference towards improving our health. Moving more leads to more energy, improved sleep quality, and better heart health. And John Stanton knows how to get people moving. As the founder and president of Walking/Running Room, North America’s largest chain of special stores for walkers and runners, he has inspired people across the nation to develop healthier lifestyles one step at a time. This book is the perfect companion for your own journey to good health. With three program categories to fit every type of activity level, from non-walkers to avid walkers, there is a program in here for you. In this comprehensive guide, you’ll learn how to: Set realistic goals; Design your own training program; Find the level of walking that’s right for you ; Choose the best shoes and walking wear for your needs; Prevent and treat common injuries; and Enhance your walking with optimum nutrition. Let John Stanton show you the way to a healthier, happier lifestyle… one step at a time. [Amazon]
Earlier Posts of mine with shared content: