Recently Xtracycle tweeted: "What does living and riding #carlite and #carfree mean to you?"
My quick reply tweet was "freedom and empowerment" but as you all know, Dear Readers, I can’t express myself fully in a mere 140 characters. I thought I would elaborate a bit and then tweet my FULL response from the Pavement's Edge.
I had lived carlite as a young single person, attending college and working menial jobs. It was normal and usual for someone in my positions at those times. As a young married person without kids I had a decent car and no need to rely on my bike so there was no incentive then to go carlite. In fact, I was happy to drive everywhere. The Cannonball collected dust for a few years.
But at the end of my undergraduate toil I began to dream about giving up the cursed car. I was tired of the autocentric lifestyle I was stuck in as a matter of geography and circumstance. I wanted out.
We planned and schemed and we eventually found ourselves in a place where we could leave the four-wheeled beasts idle for long stretches of time. And soon after we let one of the four-wheeled beasts go free.
Living car free as an individual and car lite as a family has awakened a sense of environmental awareness in me, provided some economic freedom for us, and has made my family more resilient. I've found my lost self-sufficiency. In the past few years I had stopped being the solo-adventurer of my twenties. My mind hasn't been as attuned to being self reliant and innovative. Choosing the bike over the car has helped me to sharpen those skills once again, to find new ways to do things, new ways to reach my destinations. Building the confidence to stop relying on automobiles for every minor errand has boosted my self-esteem, my energy for life and my overall mood.
For me, carlite and carfree is the freedom to choose where I spend my life energy. For me carlite and carfree is the empowerment of the strength in my own body, the experience and knowledge of my own mind and the dirty little secret of always taking the path less traveled and never having to sit in traffic.
Car free is true freedom in modern society.