31 October 2011

Car Day

This post is in homage to Dave Warnock who has just achieved the milestone of cycling everyday for one year, and whose regular comparisons of his travel experiences cycling and driving are always a good read.

I had a meeting in Swansea last week, for which I had to take the car (issues of meeting clashes and giving lifts to colleagues). On my return, I was able to park in the office car park in the centre of town. I then had to pick up No.1 son from his nursery – barely half a mile away and approximately 7 minutes by bike, whatever the traffic – at the end of the day. I was careful and left a bit of extra time – leaving about 25 minutes for a journey you can walk in about 10. However, I was totally flummoxed by the sheer volume of traffic and so at 10 minutes to six (six is the dreaded cut-off time – otherwise you get fined), I had to ring my partner and beg her to jump on her bike and dash to the nursery as I didn’t think I was going to make it. In the end, she beat me by about 1 minute and I arrived at about 30 seconds to six. She travelled easily twice the distance I had to. I normally arrive to collect my son cheerful, and full of fresh air. This time I arrived completely stressed, panicking and frustrated.

I had time (unfortunately) whilst sitting in a solid jam of cars to reflect on the advertising method of promoting cars as tools of freedom, choice and practicality. Those advertising gurus must be geniuses to have conned so many into believing it. Can you imagine my frustration at being 500yds away from my boy, but with no way to get there and no alternative but to sit it out? If I have to take my car again, I’ll chuck the Brompton in the boot and use that at the end of the day – the car can stay in the car park.

I’m beginning to resent the gas-guzzling, money draining, time wasting appendage outside. But will we have the guts to get rid of it? To be honest, I doubt it. Until transport thinking catches up with the unarticulated desires of (I believe) many people, and starts considering genuine alternatives, once again that is a choice our addiction to the motor car has denied me rather than enabled - the choice to do without.

1 comment:

  1. Nice work, in fact a bit too interesting - I have to get on with my work and I've been reading this instead. Please make these more boring in future. Nick