Having been inspired by the lurking I've been doing in this Car-Free Forum this year, I decided to stick my toe in the water, this past weekend.
Friday I took my son to the hospital by bike, probably only a mile or two away (don't worry - non Emergent - he's fine). The cars were polite, but there were still too many of them. Next time maybe we'll have to remember to go to a different hospital, which is along the greenway trail, and not much further away.
Saturday, I took the other son to the Costco, I went the long way around to utilize the greenway trail, and had to ride for a block on grass, and it probably doubled the length of my trip (~3 mi. ea. way?); but it was worth it to feel safe, and to see the looks on people's faces when I had the Grande size of diapers and crated fruits loaded up and bungeed onto the xtracycle. I forgot to bring in my rear blinkie and so it was stolen - lesson learned, could have been worse.
Sunday, I took both boys out to the Whole Foods for groceries (Maybe 40 lb of groceries this time). We took the long way around again and easily doubled the trip length that it would have taken in the car (~8 mi. ea. way). I just made it up the big hill on the way back in 1st gear, it's been a year since I had a challenge like that.
Am I blogging, or do I have something productive to say... uh, I'm not sure? Personally, I'd like to move in car-free way, but I'm going to have to find a bike commute friendly job, or find a way to make the 21 mile (one way) commute I have safer, before I can give up the cars we have. I guess I wanted to talk about my experiences, incase it would get others to think how they might solve whatever's keeping them from doing more utility cycling, or get suggestions from others who have overcome their own issues. In the past, I just told myself that there was no direct and safe route. Now I'm finding that doubling my distance to double my safety is a valid solution; hey, I can use the exercise.