Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Reducing Car[bon] (Part 1)

Currently Robyn and I are halfway through our self-titled Great Bike 'N' Rail Adventure to Southern California.

Amtrak Pacific Surfliner
In brainstorming the trip, we had several objectives, goals, and questions. A few of them are as follows:

Could We? Is it even possible? Can two people travel 500 miles each way within California using only pedals and public transportation? This is a step beyond the family pickup at the train station or airport. Could an entire trip, door to door, be done without the use of a car, especially to suburban destinations? 

Should We? What are the practical issues facing car-free travel? Will we be able to fit a week's worth of supplies in our panniers and still look presentable for Thanksgiving dinner? Will the financial and environmental savings offset the inconvenience of unpredictable public or lengthy self-powered transit? 

Would We? Would we eagerly embrace this car-free adventure? And afterward the trip is completed, would we consider it a one-time experience? Or a new approach to long-distance transportation? 

We made it to Murrieta, although not without several challenges along the way. Once our trip is complete, I hope to follow up with several observations, pictures, reflections, and recommendations for long distance car-free travel. In the meantime, I leave you with the one question most clearly reflected on the face of those we discuss our trip with:

Are we crazy?

 The Details:
- Jumping on BART from San Francisco to Oakland Jack London Square
- Taking the Amtrak bus from Oakland to San Luis Obispo (originally this was to be a train, but it was delayed 11 hours, so we took a bus instead)
- Riding our bikes from San Luis Obispo to Robyn's extended family in Los Osos
- Riding our bikes back to San Luis Obispo
- Taking Amtrak to Los Angeles Union Station
- Taking the Metrolink to Corona
- Riding our bikes from Corona to my parents house in Murrieta (we almost made it! but we were 10 miles short before it got too dark!)
- Carpooling to the Rose Bowl to watch Stanford take on UCLA
- Taking Amtrak from Los Angeles back home to San Francisco

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