What happens when you give up your car? Well Hutton Marshall decided to take New Belgium’s Tour de Fat Car-for_Bike Trader challenge, where one brave role model trades in his or her car keys and pledges to live car free for one year. Upon giving his car to New Belgium to have them auction it off, he was given a stipend ($2,200) to buy a bicycle and accessories and asked to report on his life changing experience. (Proceeds of the donated car go to the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition and the San Diego Mountain Bike Association) Every city on the Tour de Fat circuit picks one recipient, from a video submission addressing why they want to go car-free and commit to biking full-time. Do you want to apply? Information is on the New Belgium website about this year’s Tour de Fat San Diego, and it's September 26th, 2015.
“The program was a good fit for me. I don’t live far from my work and I spent my time on the weekends within biking distance of my home,” says Hutton, editor of San Diego Uptown News. “People treat me like I’m making some enormous sacrifice, but really, I still consider myself pretty lucky.” He does realize that he made a choice and “a lot of people in low-income communities would happily trade places with me. They bike to work out of economic necessity, and they certainly didn’t get a high-end touring bike for doing so.” Hutton reflects, “ So really, I did it because I could, and because in the end, I’m lucky to have the freedom and ability to do so.”
As you could imagine, riding a bicycle has some health benefits, “I’m definitely in better shape than I was sixth months ago, that’s for sure. Having Texas Street waiting for me at the end of each workday ensures I never skip a workout,” remarks Hutton. Riding a bicycle through a neighborhood also gives you a different perspective on transportation and city planning. “It’s also been pretty eye-opening too,” notes Hutton. “You see which neighborhoods are designed for residents and pedestrians, and you see which are designed as corridors for people to drive through as quickly as possible.” A cyclist must improvise; sometime the safest path is not a straight line. “I’ve had to get creative figuring out how I get from A to B throughout the week, but mostly it’s been good.”
Two wheel Connector
“One day as I was just about to get home, I rode past a purse on the ground that other cars had driven past without noticing. Found a wallet in it, did a Google search and found out the owner is another journalist living in San Diego. She might do a story for Uptown News in the future. It’s just funny how getting out of a car makes you more social almost by necessity.”
What advice would you give our next Car-for-Bike Trader?
Hutton advises “Go to a few different bike shops before you choose your ride, but try to find one that’s close to home. Also, I’ve found car2go to be more cost-effective in supplementing my bike than public transportation, at least in the Uptown, Downtown and Mission Valley areas.”
This year’s San Diego New Belgium Tour de Fat is September 26th, 2015, and you can find out more information about the Car-for-Bike Trader program here.