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My year without a car

Last year, after three months in a book group focused on sustainability, I made a New Year’s resolution: to retire my car and bike everywhere. It was a good time to begin new habits. Having started a new job in a different part of town, three miles from home, I didn’t have a parking space. No car-bound routine had yet evolved.

But I am an unlikely cyclist. I am not a jock. I don’t read magazines like Bike Monkey or blogs like Bicycle Fixation. I don’t have a cyclocomputer, or mudguards, or toe clips. I don’t tear down the asphalt in spandex, shaved calf muscles shiny with sweat, spewing pebbles in the eyes of the slowpokes who choke on my dust.

To tell the truth, I don’t even know what kind of bike I have. It’s gray. It’s sturdy.  There’s always something off about it: a sagging tire, a balding brake, the seat sinking over time until pedaling becomes exhausting. Because I am forever putting off taking the class in basic bicycle repair, I don’t know how to fix anything. I can pump air into the tires, but not much else.

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