Sunday, March 9, 2008

Car free and happy in Silicon Valley

I didn't mean to become car-free in Silicon Valley. Like luck or love, it happened, literally, by accident - a glorified fender-bender at that.

Rather than repair the twisted nose of my aging Ford Focus last March, the insurance company gave me a check for $6,800. I had three choices: 1) Buy another car. 2) Save it for a leave of absence to write a book. 3) Paint my old house.

I painted the house and, boy, it looks great in blue-green. You see, the boss nixed the leave of absence and I thought a new car could wait for winter. I wanted to pass the summer biking to work and around town, acquiring an athletic tan and thunder thighs.

But then a funny thing happened. I quickly discovered something surprising - I actually enjoyed being car-free. I felt fine about distancing myself from auto addicts.
Read more in the San Jose Mercury News. Companion articles: How many vehicles per household in Silicon Valley, and Mr Roadshow's I love to drive.


  1. As a Focus owner and a webmaster of the most popular Ford Focus Maintenance website, I am offended.

    Or, not really. About being offended, that is. My Focus doesn't see many miles these days either.

  2. I was in college when the intoxication of car free life took hold of me. I would suddenly realize how many miles I had covered that day, just in the course of normal activities and feel amazing energy. It wasn't some revolutionary political statement or grim resolve. It just felt really great. If I biked I had a certain set of challenges to meet, but if I had driven I would have to meet the challenges of traffic and parking, fuel and upkeep. Everything has its price and provides its rewards.

  3. I'm more "car light" than car free, but I have a similar story. My car died a few years back and I never got around to replacing it. Like Citizen Rider, I just bike because I like it.