Go One Better!
The trouble with arguing with myself is whilst I often win, I almost certainly lose too.
This morning’s argument was simple, bike or car.
The bike has much to recommend it; I’d arrive at work more alert and energised. I’d have saved on the cost of fuel, both in terms of cash and environmental impact. I’d have been able to smile at the folk at the bus stop without worrying about looking smug. My heart would thank me in the coming years and I’d hopefully reduce the amount of fabric I’d someday be forced to consume.
The car however offers protection from the elements (and potentially from other, less conscientious, road users) and, until recently at least, some entertainment too. I say until recently not because the car radio has malfunctioned, or been stolen, but simply because I’ve lost the will to tune in. The constant cycle of credit crunch assessment rotated with outrage over licence payers’ money squandered on a poor excuse for comedy leaves me cold.
As I get the bike from the shed I don’t feel the full satisfaction of a sound choice that I’d expected. I try my best to avoid entangling myself in yet another row with me as to whether it would be the worst sort of positive discrimination if broadcasting some sort of inspiring news story became mandatory. The exhilaration of a decent downhill coupled with the adrenalin of navigating the roundabout which follows provides some escape. As the route flattens and the rhythm settles the thoughts return.
It’s such a cliché that I’m reluctant to type it, but I want to be part of the solution not part of the problem. I want to campaign, I want to challenge, I want to improve, but I don’t want to be self-righteous or patronising. As I pedalled on an idea begins to take shape. It still needs some work but I wanted to share it, I make myself a promise – and in an effort to make sure I remember it – I give it a name.
I promised myself that from now on -even though the weather will inevitably get worse, and daylight hours less – I would every week ‘Go One Better’. As a minimum I’ll substitute one car journey for a greener alternative. I read somewhere recently that the UK’s average car journey is 6.8 miles. If I only manage to cut one such journey a week out I’ll drive around 354 miles less per year (with my car that’s a full tank of fuel and a bit, less).
Can you find a way to ‘Go One Better’ too? Car use may not be the issue for everyone, but could you get off the bus a stop early? Or on it a stop later? This doesn’t have to be just about the environment, it’s about well being too. When I first began to commute by bike the thing which I noticed most was just how much better it felt to take on the day after using my limbs a bit more.
Maybe I shouldn’t restrict myself to just transport. Where else can I ‘Go One Better’? I need to look more closely at what I eat, my wardrobe, what I choose to recycle and what I try to get more use from. Perhaps I can make more sensible choices about my energy consumption too.
I’m hoping I won’t be alone. I understand this isn’t in itself a solution to the vast global challenges we face but we do need to begin to make a deliberate choice to change. For me I hope that by starting with a promise which I can keep I’ll build a good habit. What do you think? Will you pledge to ‘Go One Better’ too?