When my truck needed major repairs in the spring of 2021, I found myself relying on my bicycle to get around. This included, grocery shopping, bank, post office...pretty much everything! The repairs took nearly two months to complete and during this period my passion for cycling was reignited. I say "reignited" because cycling has always been a part of my life, including my bike ride across America in 2017.
July of 2021, I made the decision to sell my truck and go car-free.
I work remotely, so the commute to the office has not been an issue. I haven't had the occassion to use public transportation, but have used ride share a time or two and asked my neighbor to take me to Zamzows to get the large bags of dog food for my Golden Retriever, Ace. Aside from these rare circumstances, my bike has been my sole form of transportation.
My bike of choice is the REI CTY 1.1 (pictured below). I use the Ortlieb panniers for carrying gear. These are the same ones I used on my ride across America. It has been a great bike for the Boise terrain, Including the Boise Greenbelt.
The Boise greenbelt is such a Treasure to the Boise community! You can ride alongside the Boise River from Eagle to Lucky Peak with hardly ever having to go on a city street. It's a beautiful and peaceful way to commute or for a relaxing, leisurely ride.
As mentinoned, the greenbelt is a fantastic way to get around the greater Boise area. Once you leave the greenbelt, it can be much more challenging depending where you are in the city. Downtown Boise has been doing more to accomodate cyclists, however other areas offer fewer bike lanes for safe cycling. State Street has been especially challenging with the lack of bike lanes and heavy traffic. Hill Road is a popular cycling street with defined bike lanes that takes cyclists from Eagle to Downtown Boise.
As more people begin to commute by bike, there needs to be more bike parking at restaurants, stores, banks and other retail establishments.
Conclusion: I live close to grocery stores, some restaurants and other shopping. I live alone (with my Golden Retriever) so transportation for kids, large grocery runs etc. haven't been an issue.
Motorists have been very kind for the most part. Follow the rules of the road and most motorists will respect you.
With local gas prices averaging $4.63 per gallon at the time of this post, decent weather, and improving bike lanes, cycling has proven to be a viable form of transportation in Boise, Idaho.
For more information, listen to my Podcast "Living a Car-Free Life"
Cold weather bike riding
Grocery bike ride in 12 degree weather
Over the past few days, Boise has gotten around 7 inches of snow and fell to -3 a couple days ago. Plows have cleared most of the major roadways but sidewalks, shoulders and parking lots are still tricky to navigate.
This morning, I headed out to my local grocery store with my ortlieb panniers to carry my purchases home. Being only 12 degrees and the wind chill (not actual wind but the 20 MPH I was riding) really put a bite on my hands and toes. Note to self: Invest in better gloves and socks.
It’s interesting when I owned a car and the weather was this cold, I wouldn’t have even thought about riding my bike. Too many easy excuses not to. But, when you get rid of your car, you also get rid of the excuses and you get on that bike and ride, regardless of the weather conditions. A few turns of the crank and I’m really exhilarated and eager for the ride ahead of me!
Winter has just begun and I’m sure there will be many challenging days ahead but I’m looking forward to every one of them!
Car Free Lifestyle
Cycling has been part of my life since I was a child. Like many, when the time came to get my drivers license, my form of transportation changed from my bike to my car. Still, I continued to ride, though not as many miles! Then in 2017 I had the opportunity and honor to ride my bike (basic as it was) across the country in memory of my brother. Totally life changing! My child like passion for cycling was renewed as was my faith in the human race!
Today, I’m “retired”, last week I sold my truck, and I’m now car-free and using my bike for 100% of my transportation .
Cycling has a way of bringing out the best in us and in others! People that I met on my cross country ride, strangers curious about why I was riding across the country, offering to let me stay in their home, buying me meals, engaging conversations with them and their children.
My ride across the country was “solo” but I never felt alone. Today, I’m cycling in my community every day, and am meeting incredible people I would never meet sitting in traffic in my “former truck”.
Riding a bike, regardless how far or what the ultimate destination is an adventure!
If you are a cyclist or are interested in learning how to reduce your dependency on your automobile, be sure to subscribe to my newsletter. I'll be sharing my car-free lifestyle including stories about; my bike, gear, weather, photos, videos, people I meet and more! All blog posts related to living car free will be under the Car Free category!