Trying To Be Car-Free For a Week

Earlier this year, I considered not driving at all for the month of September.  I ended up not doing that.  Now, I’ve decided to not drive for a week.  One week seems possible.

I haven’t driven since Friday, and I won’t drive again until at least after work this coming Friday.  There is supposed to be very little precipitation this week, so the weather is cooperating.

I do have a full work week this week, so I’m not “cheating”.  In fact, the first three days of this week are the last three days at my current employer, and Thursday and Friday will be my first two days at my new employer.

That should make for some interesting bike commuting.

17 thoughts on “Trying To Be Car-Free For a Week”

  1. I also am looking forward to another car-free week. It will be a bit cool Tuesday morning, but with proper layering, I should be fine. Wind is the larger worry, as it can become a safety issue. I may even try a day on the 3-speed, just to be different.

  2. Yep, Tuesday and Wednesday morning look like I’ll need an extra layer.

    I finally got my wool socks, and my feet were noticeably warmer. However, I may need a second pair of socks for tomorrow.

    On my ride this morning the only time wind was a safety issue was on the bridge. It was a nasty cross-wind at that time. Luckily, taking the lane means I have more space to work with. It was a headwind most of the rest of the ride.

  3. I “take the lane” on the bridge without fail. There is simply no other way to cross that dude safely. As you note, it also gives one a bit more room to deal with gusty winds and the expansion joints.

    They aren’t cheap, but consider stopping at a bike shop and getting shoe covers. I use a pair made for mountain bikers, as they allow me to get better traction at stops. These add a layer of warmth without adding bulk inside your shoes–that added bulk will impede circulation and make your feet colder.

  4. What kind of shoe covers do you use? Do they work with clipless pedals? I have almost fallen a couple of times when the cleat would slide on wet pavement when I was coming to a stop.

  5. The ones I have are from Trek, but there are several out there. Again, the ones made for mountain bikers have more sole exposed, and are perfectly suitable with clipless (either recessed, commonly called mountain bike or SPD-compatible, or surface mounted “Road shoe” systems) shoes. Side-trac is one name that comes to mind, but again there are several shoe covers out there.

    What pedals are you using?

  6. Good choice. They will accept the covers I mentioned just fine, and the covers will not interfere with pedal usage.

    Heck, even a pair of heavy wool (or acrylic) socks pulled over your shoes, with a cut-out for the cleat would help.

  7. If you haven’t already seen this–there is an open house at the Bicycling for Louisville office this Friday afternoon. They will be open from 3:00 to 7:00 PM. I plan to be there from about 5:00 until it’s time for me to go home.

  8. Tom,

    I stopped by Bike Couriers Bike Shop on the way home. They didn’t have shoe covers big enough for my shoes, but I did buy a balaclava. It made the ride home a little warmer. I’m probably just going to wear two pair of socks tomorrow, and keep looking for the shoe covers.

    I’d like to stop by the open house. Friday will be my second day at the new job, but I should be out of there by 5:00 or so.

  9. I have two silk balaclavas (thin, easy to layer), one of which makes things nice down to about 35F, just by reducing the wind effect. For Tuesday morning, I wore one designed to fit under helmets–thinner layer from about chin level up, double layer fleece neck. My head was a bit sweaty when I got to work. Torso layers were, from base out: Mock t-neck with zipper of wicking fabric (Duofold, just thicker than a t-shirt), wind jacket from Kucharik (with cool recumbent motif), Illuminite wind shell. While not toasty warm, I was sweaty when I got off the bike.

  10. I rode in today also. The thin balaclava (and a thicker beanie on top, under the helmet) kept my head plenty warm. My balaclava is polyester, but it seemed to work, and was easy enough to breathe through. I had to pull it down when stopped or my glasses would fog up.

    My feet were quite cold by the time I got to work. This was my coldest commute yet. I was wearing two pair of wool socks today, but I really need to find some shoe covers.

  11. I have a pair of motorcycle goggles with clear lenses at home. I wish I had gotten them out this morning, as they don’t fog as easily as my usual safety glasses I wear for riding. I got mine some dozen years or more ago, at a place that used to be on Taylor Boulevard. They are the only Oakley brand thing I’ve bought since my pair of Factory Pilot glasses in 1988 or so. Ski goggles might work, if you can find some that are clear.

    One key to keeping the feet warm is to keep the legs very warm. Another layer of warmth on the legs is good for five degrees Fahrenheit on the feet.

  12. I found on my motorcycle that insoles help keep your feet warmer.

    Goggles can be found at Finks in New Albany. I was by there a couple weeks ago; they are carrying many more fleece options. Looks like more people are riding longer into the cold weather these days.

    Rain X will help with fogging.

  13. I found a small container of a product called Cat Crap that supposedly helps minimize fogging. It does clean my glasses rather well when used as directed, and I don’t mind having that container (roughly the size of a two-dollar stack of quarters) in one of my bicycle bags, compared to a bottle of Rain-X (which I REALLY like for my car, BTW). If memory serves, I found Cat Crap at Campmor. Quest Outdoors or another local vendor could probably get it for you if you want.

  14. Mark,

    The main problem with my feet is that the shoes are not windproof at all. That’s helpful in the summer, but a nuisance in the winter. I had on two pair have heavy wool socks, and my toes were quite cold by the time I got to work. I’m either going to have to find shoe covers, or switch back to platform pedals, and wear boots.


    Cat Crap? You gotta love the name. I think I saw it mentioned on BikeForums. I wear glasses, and I’m not crazy about the idea of using RainX so close to my eyes, I’ll have to look into Cat Crap.

    I tried safety goggles once, with poor results. I have to look into motorcycle or ski goggles.

  15. David, if your shoes are large enough, you can use a plastic grocery bag (while you can still get them) as the final layer before putting on your shoes. Downside of this is that any moisture coming out of your feet will stay in your socks, and eventually make your feet colder, unless your base layer wicks moisture out to the wool very well.

    It takes some experimentation to find what works best for you. I’ve not used the plastic bags, but I’ve heard about it for a while. It can be a decent back-up plan.

Comments are closed.