We Love Bikes! (Kara’s 2 Years Car-Free!)

See that?  Yeah, that’s our artisan-designed-and-constructed bike rack. Practical Art artisan Andrew Seiferth crafted it entirely from reclaimed metal, love, and rad sauce. (Well, the metal is reclaimed….not sure about the love and rad sauce: those might just be pure, direct from the source materials…but I’m sure they’re still ec0-friendly.)

Isn’t functional art great?!? Not only did we add some visual interest to the front of the shop, but it enables and encourages bicyclists to frequent our little section of Central Ave!  We had perfect timing, too.  This gleaming beauty went in just about 6 months before the city opted to create a bike lane between Missouri & the Valley Metro Light Rail Station at Central & Camelback.  So though we DO have nearly 80 parking spots on-site (most in the back lot), we are thoroughly accessible to all modes of transport (sans helicopter landing pad).

Why chat about this today?  Well!  I, Kara, am celebrating 2-Years Car-Free in the valley!  There were many factors that coalesced those 24-months ago to bring me to my current gasoline-independent lifestyle, but mainly, I had resigned from my secondary job to concentrate fully on Practical Art’s well-being and had new economic circumstances to negotiate. Giving up a car, especially in Phoenix, seemed a bit daunting, but with the introduction of the light rail and a couple of trips to cities with HUMMING public transportation systems (San Fran & NYC), I began a process of familiarizing myself with what it would take to do so. And in early Novemeber 2010, I sold off Addie, my 2004 Silver Chevy Cavalier in lieu of THE GOOSE.

The thought recurred to me today that she’s a ‘muscle bike’ (which, she is), because the friendly fella at Slippery Pig Bike Shop was telling me about CARGO BIKES (which I immediately banked into the covet category) and during our conversation I referred to my biceps as my bike’s ‘cargo holds’. Yeah… I said that. I even made the ‘Welcome to the Gun Show’ gesture. ::coughs::  Hey, at least my Mom’s proud of me.

Anyway– we think biking about is the best way to really enjoy our city; it helps with the sprawl factor which often complicates getting about by foot, it’s great for your health and Phoenix’s environmental health, it’s darn-near FREE, it’s socially-conscious given our continuing struggles overseas, and truly, the city opens up in a different way under bike tread. By getting out of that car, you get out of that closed-off, booth-y, cubicle-like auto-bubble.

When’s the last time you let go of those handlebars, spread your arms out, and felt the cool, night air pass your face as you breathed in deeply?  Do it.  Thank me later. In fact, feel free to come by our Pie Social event tonight from 7p-9p, have some pie, and then head out with a few of us who’re celebrating my 2-year anniversary by pub-crawling/cycling down Central Ave! We plan on stopping by George & Dragon and Angel’s Trumpet Ale House, at a minimum! We’d love to have you join us!

And there’s a whole community of folks out there that’re always up for a ride! Check out some of these great collectives: Pedal Craft Phoenix, Rusty Spoke, TBAG, AZFixed, and Critical Mass. (Feel free to post more in the comments section!)

— Lastly, here’s a great place to take your bike this weekend: The Grand Avenue Festival 2012! HAPPY CYCLING! —

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