A No-Car Day: By Bike, Trike, Scooter or on Two Feet

Susan Wells
March 31, 2016

In our technology-filled world, we use a number of electronic devices to get around. There are also many routes and modes of transportation to a particular location, but how many do we utilize? For most of us, it's usually just the car route.

For one day this spring, try trading the car for a day of fresh air, exercise and exploration.

First, get a paper map of your area. Avoid MapQuest or Google Earth. Put the GPS away. Get an old-fashioned folded-up map. Sit down with your kids and find your neighborhood and home.

Then find bike routes and parks nearby that you may not have ever known about. The best bike route may not be the most direct. Take back roads, scenic roads or side roads with bike lanes. Remember, getting there is as important as the destination.  It's all about the adventure.

Plan your route, pack up the bikes and start your journey. Discovering a new park or fun trail is what it's all about.

Don't forget to bring the essentials: helmet, pads, tire patch kit, water, bike lock and your map.

How about a trek to the grocery store? Have the kids figure out how far it is to the local grocery store from your house. Write a list of what's needed, pack the bags on the bikes and head out.

While shopping at the store, add each item to your basket with planning in mind. If you buy eggs, how will you transport them home? Ice cream? A gallon of milk? Have your children plan the purchases wisely, get through checkout, and pack the bike. Ride the groceries home and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Food tastes better when you really work for it.

Biking not for you? How about a walk? Take a local safari through your neighborhood. Note how the roads look different on foot versus out the window of a speeding car. Note what you see. Count the dogs...how many homes have pets? What is the most popular color of house? Do you see any birds? Bird nests? Are there any treasures along the sidewalk? Catalog the insects you see.

Notice what you can observe walking that you never saw from the car.

Is all the exercise making you hungry? Don't jump in the car and drive to an eatery. Bike or walk to a neighborhood restaurant. It maybe one you drive by every day, but never stop and try. Or eat at home and then go out for ice cream. The exercise will burn the calories.

For a longer excursion out of the neighborhood, take the bus or other public transportation. Grab a bus schedule and work out a route to the bookstore, movie theatre or other fun destination. Have your kids help with the route and the plan. They will also enjoy purchasing the tickets or paying the fare in change.

So put the car keys away. Turn off the computer and take a walk on the wild side. Your lungs, heart and kids will thank you for it.

From the Parents

  • Parent # 1

    Love the idea of biking to the store or walking, if it is close enough and buying ingredients to make something when everyone gets home! How about reading "THE DO-SOMETHING DAY" by Joe Lasker (about a little boy who feels noone in the family is paying attention to him, so he walks through his town, helping various storekeepers and receiving something in return from each of them) to your young child/children and then taking a walk to the store (if it is with-in walking distance) or just down the street. Take along a piece of construction paper or cardboard and a marker so that you and your child can map out the walk, placing colored stickers or stars for each landmark you pass (houses, stores, library, etc.). Your child can decorate the "map" with crayons, adding the houses, trees, people, etc. when you get home.

    over a year ago

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