Low-car diet: not counting carbs

I've been showing up, breathless and sweaty, at appointments. "I'm on a low-car diet!" I'll tell my meet-ee. He or she will look at me strangely for a minute (I'm obviously not overweight -- the metabolism, it is good to me).

"Not low-carb!" I'll explain. "I'm reducing the use of my car."

In a crunchy city like Portland, this seems ho-hum. Since I started my car diet informally a few weeks ago, I've found lots of people who, like me, are running fast in the other direction of gas prices. Some of my friends are taking the bus a lot, others I pass on the Springwater Trail commuting to and from work. 

checking out my bridgeThe thing is, I'd be crazy to count carbs with my low-car diet. I'm hungry all the time. When before, if I needed to pick up my photos from my fave downtown lab, I'd just hop in the car and zoom over, dreaming about drivethrough on the way home -- now I have a hard four-miler up and down hills and over the bridge.

The best thing about choosing my bicycle over the car, so far, is that I never have to look for parking -- even in this bike-friendly city, there's always room at the rack for me. The worst thing, so far, is that I haven't yet found a Burgerville with a bike-up window.

I wonder if anyone's done the math on human fuel vs. fossil fuels. Is it more expensive to power a human or 1000 pounds of steel, rubber and cushy leather seats for an eight-mile ride? Because I'll tell you, those energy bars just aren't cutting it when I'm biking 5-20 miles a day.

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