Better for: You, The environment, The community, Your bank balance!

 

All of the above WILL benefit if you choose to leave your car at home,

especially for local and relatively short journeys. We all know that

walking and cycling is good for us. More and more evidence is

published every week to let us know of the health benefits.

 

The bus service here in The Deepings is really quite good Ė before you decry it, when did you last try it? Many people have become so used to using their cars they donít even consider the bus. Taking the bus into Peterborough for example is almost as quick as driving, actually quicker if there is a big queue to park.The cost is probably less than you would spend on parking and fuel.You get to relax, enjoy the view and maybe sit next to and chat with a friend or neighbour your busy life doesnít normally permit you the time to talk to.

 

Did you also know how bad short journeys are for your car! Until a car engine has reached full operating temperature and that can take as much as 3 or 4 miles it runs much less efficiently and far more wear and tear occurs. Stop, start journeys in traffic put a hugely disproportionate
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† †††††rate of wear on brakes, clutches and tyres.

 

†††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††††††So, why do many of us ignore all this and still use the car?

 

††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††††††Here are some of the usual excuses!

I donít have the time. I am often guilty of using this excuse but frequently find that when I do walk or take my bicycle to the bank or the shops it often works out to be quicker. It sometimes takes 2 or 3 minutes to find a space and park and that is usually some way from the intended destination so you end up walking the last part of the journey anyway.

As mentioned above going into Peterborough is surprisingly quick by bus and although the service may not be as frequent as we might like it is usually very punctual so all thatís required is a little planning. If more of us use the bus then there is more chance of additional services being added.

Even if it does take you an extra couple of minutes, ask yourself honestly what will you do with that time? Watch even more TV, read more outrageous stories in the paper? Might the time not be better spent on a pleasant walk, ride or relaxing scenic trip on the bus?

 

I have too much to carry. This may sometimes be very true. I have been guilty of this too. We do like to have fresh produce so tend to go food shopping 3 or 4 times a week. However, it is quite easy to plan it so that you get all the heavy and bulky items in one trip by car and so for the other 2 or 3 trips we can walk or cycle.

 

Itís raining, itís freezing! OK, that may be very true this year but most of us have coats and umbrellas. Even if you take the car, unless you can park right outside the door of your destination you will probably need a coat or a brolly for that last leg of your journey so why not make full use of them. Besides, walking in the rain or on a bracing (fresh) cold day can be a very pleasant experience Ė give it a try before you consign me to the loony bin!

 

Tips & Tricks. I am sure most of us have good intentions but often think Iíll take the car this time and walk/cycle next time - The Manana Syndrome (Iíll do it tomorrow). Here are a few ideas that may help you:

1)       If you have a bike, make sure you keep it where it can easily be got out, not behind the barbeque, lawnmower and lots of other stuff at the back of the shed.

2)       Donít keep the car keys near the door, this is also good security advice,

modern cars are very difficult to steal without the keys (immobilisers, etc)
and many are now stolen by thieves grabbing the keys. Maybe keep them
in a draw with the bus timetable, or on a hook with a note stuck next to it saying ďDo you really need to use the car?Ē

3)       Plan your journeys. This can also make for a more relaxing lifestyle.

4)       Make a pledge right now to give at least one journey a try by alternative means.You donít know how good it might be unless you try.