How Losing My Car Saved My Life

How Losing My Car Saved My Life

By Russ | November 6, 2011
It will surprise some readers to know that, in a not too distant past, before Path Less Pedaled, before Epicurean Cyclist, and before I was the bicycling photographer of Long Beach, I didn’t ride bikes, buses or trains. It’s almost embarrassing to admit, especially to our very astute bikey readers, but these things barely registered on my radar. I only relay these not-so-pretty details now to hopefully show others what is possible… just because you have one lifestyle now, doesn’t mean you are doomed to live it until the very end.
So yes, dear readers, I drove and drove a lot. I was younger, freshly graduated from college, subsisting on the poor man’s diet of hotdogs and a pack of cigarettes a day. I was working as a graphic designer. Most of my day was spent sitting in front a computer, pushing a mouse around. The rest of it was spent sitting in traffic. Lots of it. This was Los Angeles, the sort of place where you could fill a whole evening’s conversation with the question, “so what freeways did you take to get here?”
My life, in short, was fairly typical for a Los Angelean. I had resigned myself to commuting about 35 miles one way from Long Beach to Culver City. A childhood of sitting in the back of a car to go everywhere conditioned me to believe that there was just no other option. So, as an adult, I merely accepted my fate. This is what people do. On an average day, my commute took 45 minutes in one direction. On a hellish day, it could be upwards of an hour and a half to two hours in ONE direction. I did this for a couple of years and shudder now to think of all the time I’ve lost staring at someone’s brake lights in front of me. But at that point of my life, I didn’t know there was any other way.
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