I didn't mean to become car-free in Silicon Valley. Like luck or love, it happened, literally, by accident - a glorified fender-bender at that.
Rather than repair the twisted nose of my aging Ford Focus last March, the insurance company gave me a check for $6,800. I had three choices: 1) Buy another car. 2) Save it for a leave of absence to write a book. 3) Paint my old house.
I painted the house and, boy, it looks great in blue-green. You see, the boss nixed the leave of absence and I thought a new car could wait for winter. I wanted to pass the summer biking to work and around town, acquiring an athletic tan and thunder thighs.
But then a funny thing happened. I quickly discovered something surprising - I actually enjoyed being car-free. I felt fine about distancing myself from auto addicts.
I was in college when the intoxication of car free life took hold of me. I would suddenly realize how many miles I had covered that day, just in the course of normal activities and feel amazing energy. It wasn't some revolutionary political statement or grim resolve. It just felt really great. If I biked I had a certain set of challenges to meet, but if I had driven I would have to meet the challenges of traffic and parking, fuel and upkeep. Everything has its price and provides its rewards.