Thursday, April 12, 2007

Newbie bike commuting journalist

Image of dog with bicycle
From The Kansan (University of Kansas), 04.12.07:

Baby Steps
How five days without a car helped Jayplay writer Courtney Hagen realize we can all make small changes in our day-to-day lives to help the environment.

For five days, I walked or rode a bike everywhere I needed to go, from class to the gym to the store, to discover the impact that a few days without cars would have on myself and my environment. It wasn’t easy, but in the end I learned how to leave a better imprint on my world.

I discover that walking is incredibly time consuming. If I wanted to go to Massachusetts Street, it would probably take me the whole day to get there and back on foot. I start to feel like I'll be trapped at home for the next four days because everything is too far away by bike or on foot. I feel like giving up, but I've barely started. I call Paul Dorn, former executive director of the California Bicycle Coalition and an advocate of bicycle commuting, for inspiration on alternative modes of transportation. Dorn operates a Web site ( with tips for bicycle commuters. He hasn't owned a car in over a decade and has been commuting by bicycle to work and elsewhere in San Francisco for about 12 years.

"You get sort of an enthusiasm for life when you're in more of a connection with it, when you hear the birds sing and feel the sun shining, as opposed to when you're in your car driving," Dorn says. "You're more connected to your community than someone that's simply driving through it." (Read more.)
This is an interesting, candid, and frequently self-deprecatingly humorous article by Kansan writer Hagen, inspired by the approach of Earth Day. She faces many of the challenges any habitual driver confronts when shifting modes, and discovers a few of the joys of petroleum-free travel.

The article also contains links to lots of helpful energy-saving resources. And yes, this blog post might be perceived as self-promoting. I'm glad to be able to help any newbie discover the joys of bike commuting. Life is simply better without the windshield.

Image: Web capture. Found using search terms Lawrence, Kansas, and bicycling.
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips

1 comment:

Jamie said...

Articles like this make me very nervous about these people promoting bike commuting. From what I've gathered from my little bit of time in the world of journalism, a writer needs to capture his audience in the first paragraph or they're leaving.

And in this case, you have a writer telling us just how bad they are at anything to do with the environment. It takes till the nineteenth paragraph till she says something positive about her experience - by which time most readers will have split to read something else. And they don't get to the section where she talks about her good experiences with the bike.

I realize this is a feature, and may have different rules about it than a new story, but I have a hard time believing that articles such as this promote our cause.