For all you who have been glued to your sets, here goes the end-of-year driving tally. (I am speaking personal miles, of course; my work miles must have been 25,000 or so.) Anyhow, if you recall, at the dawn of the new year of 2008, I was at 206,167 miles, which itself was about 6,161 miles from the year before. I was pretty stoked to carry on a meaningful life while driving only that many miles, but this year was rather better. My math gives me 3,688 miles driven this past year. My insurance company gave me a discount for keeping under 4,000 miles.
I chalk it up to a short commute to begin with, but also that for a period of April/May and later since September I have been biking in more often, usually three days a week, sometimes more or less depending on after work plans and weather. I sometimes catch a ride with Kelli, or she picks me up from work now and then. Other travels have called upon the trolley a couple times, the bus a few more times, and sometimes petty things can be done while working and being out and about in town. I've taken to biking to church for some things when time isn't quite an issue. It's up a pretty demanding hill, as is another weekly gathering I take part in. But aside from alternate means of transpo, I still insist the best use of any vehicle is to plan for some efficient routing whenever possible. My weekend days are easy times to string together trips to the various retailers and services. I got an oil change in the summer and have yet to get to 3,000 miles. The sticker says it was done on June 3 at 208,215. Ha! I still have 1,300 miles or so to go! Since then, on a number of occasions, I've gone a month or more between filling the tank with gas. I kept my last four receipts and they say 209,125/Sept 22; 209,393/Oct. 26; 209,667/Dec 3, and so forth. I still have a third of the current tank since that fill, so I may complete another week or two still.
Biking to work is mostly flat but many other destinations in this town require going up hills. I plan to ride more to work and other places, mainly for the fitness benefits. I am shopping for a new bike while having already sunk a good deal of money into refitting my older one with many new components, the most recent being a whole new drive train with shifters, derailleurs, a new back wheel, and a lower ratio set of gears that might help with the hills. I like the older one better now that most of it is aftermarket, but it does remain a 21 speed and there is a lot of extra stuff on there that just makes more to think of, adjust, fix or whatever. So my current interest is in returning to simplicity and getting a single speed Specialized model. I've test ridden this bike several times in a slow courtship. I've decided that simple is fun and better all around, and returning to the first couple years of my time at Mesa College, I recalled that Specialized made what was the best bike I had to that point. But that was to be replaced by the worst car I had, and from this vantage point, about 15 years of hardly any biking. So now it can help to shed some pounds and tone the legs and stuff, but it is also a refreshing change to ride to and from work since my days are spent driving so much. The few miles and 20 minutes don't seem like much and are more justifiable now that Kelli is out of school and is bound to be home more evenings per week, ergo, there will be fewer worries about the dog getting fed and let out, or whatever.