Taking the Pledge

Regular readers of this blog know that I like a mad challenge now and again – mostly around the bike, like the Errandonneering and Coffeeneuring challenges from Chasing Mailboxes. But today being the first of April, I thought I’d try something a bit more out of my comfort zone, and a lot harder: #30daysofdriving.

The thing is, although I can (technically) drive a car, I do it so rarely I’m becoming pretty rusty, as my mother keeps reminding me. And driving is important. Having the right to get behind the wheel (and not be stigmatised as a ‘woman driver’) was a key liberation for women in the 20th century, and I owe it to my forebears not to end up having to be driven everywhere I can’t go by bike by my husband. It’s also an important part of the economy, especially up here in Scotland. With oil prices plummeting, it’s practically a patriotic duty to support the North Sea oil industry by buying petrol, rather than cycling, which is largely fuelled by bananas, which have to be imported. It will also help make sure the Scottish Government’s planned investment in dual carriageways between every town and city doesn’t go to waste (the car campaigners always argue ‘if you build it, they will come’ – so we’d better prove them right if we want to see more investment in infrastructure like major motorways).

It’s going to be hard. As a cyclist, I’ve got far too used to the convenience and simplicity of the bike. No need to fill up with petrol, just hop on and go, and fill up on cake afterwards instead. Free parking right outside the door of everywhere I go (in fairness, it’s the same for cars in Bigtown, although you might have to drive around the block several times to find that perfect spot especially if, like me, you find parking a car a challenge). Never ever ever stuck in traffic. And no fear that a moment’s inattention could end in a tragic accident, especially given how badly I drive…

But I think it’s worth taking up the challenge all the same. After all, practice makes perfect, and after a month of it I’ll probably no longer feel like I’m trapped in a tin box in a queue of traffic, envious of the bikes whizzing along past me on the river path. I’ll have learned to love my nice weather-proof little bubble and even if I’m stuck in traffic I’ll know I’m doing the right thing in the long run. I might even learn how to parallel park. And looking out of the window at the rain, it looks as if the Weather Gods are totally on my side

Will you join me in the challenge? Sign up today!

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10 Responses to Taking the Pledge

  1. Charles says:

    Think of all those bike chains rusting solid, gears getting stiff…oh that is what happens normally is it not?

  2. disgruntled says:

    Whether you ride them or not, in this weather

  3. charles says:

    Well it was better than the pasta trees on Nationwide back in the early 1970s…you might have to google that one.

  4. disgruntled says:

    Charles – that pasta tree one has pretty much gone down in history.
    Wisob – thanks! Sadly, I already failed my challenge today. Maybe next year

  5. Andy in Germany says:

    Thank you for your sacrifice on our behalf.

    Should you find it hard to keep ypur pledge, support is available:
    https://workbike.wordpress.com/2009/07/03/kicking-the-cycling-habit/

  6. disgruntled says:

    I think it may be too late – I was already hooked years ago https://cityexile.wordpress.com/2010/07/20/my-name-is-disgruntled/

  7. Reading this a day late, I totally fell for it! Not the economic arguments, but the keeping in practice bit. My grandmother was very keen that women should learn to drive (and paid for lessons for her granddaughters). One particular incident she used to tell us about was when a friend of hers injured his hand and had to drive himself to hospital because his wife couldn’t drive. She herself learnt to drive before the days of driving tests. Another good reason for learning to drive was not having to be a passenger in a car she was driving.

  8. Rebecca Olds says:

    As for the real 30 Day Pledge… are you in? I am still undecided. I did get out briefly yesterday but last year was an abysmal failure. Sometimes I need a day OFF the bike, ya know?

  9. disgruntled says:

    @Rachel – there is a kernel of truth in that part.
    @Rebecca – probably not. I don’t really need any encouragement to ride a bike, and yeah, sometimes you need a day off.

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