Towards a different way of living…

My resolutions for 2019? Seriously?

It passed by in the blink of an eye: the most beautiful time of the year for making ourselves some empty promises. Many folk – friend or foe – even claimed to “be very serious about it this year, but for real!”

… So I’m also inclined to that opinion. But seriously! Like for real!

My motivation came from these beautiful videos, made for my G-PaTRA lighthouse project on Quality Neighbourhoods

I proudly introduce you my crème de la crème participants from the project Quality Neighbourhoods: 30 days without your own car in exchange for testing out sustainable alternatives

While I myself – and not so long ago – hopped into my car. Every. Single. Time: to the supermarket, to my leisure activities, to any type of social institute for whatever reason, to be honest.

If I have to come up with an excuse, I would blame it on the too rural location of my house, next to a road without bicycle lane and where cars speed past at a mere 70 km per hour.

When I just moved in though, I’d hop on the bike to bravely conquer the 6 km trip (one way! Uphill!) with grocery bags… until the second flat tire  and the nearest bike repair shop being a village away, put an end to that. The unimaginable thing happened: I got too dependent on my car and was not proud about it. At. All.

Untill I recently moved to “the city”

By moving out of the country side, my resolution started taking shape this last December, resulting in this blind confidence that it will all work out. I really wanted to get rid of that uncomfortable feeling of car-dependency.

It even grew out to the urge to reduce my own impact on climate and planet through all the little things happening on daily basis. Because I realized: there are so many things that I could approach differently.

Example given

  • Get to know the wastefree shops better: tooth paste tablets, solid deo or showering gel in bulk? Even invest in more washable cotton pads, since these mysteriously tend to disappear in the washing machine. #WashAlreadyOnTheRightTrack
  • Eat less meat: also has a bigger impact on environment then I suspected. After the #30daysWithoutACar challenge, maybe go for the #40DaysWithoutMeat… Ah right, wasn’t working on my waist line also on the to do list?
  • And of course, leave my car more aside… even with the first frost dropping down over the country.


Getting started

I won’t elaborate on the 2 first resolutions: you can find enough preachers that lead the way better than I ever could.

I do wish to share my plan of action for leaving the car aside.

Firstly look at your own living situation. What are your most frequently made trips? What’s positive or negative about it?

  • Not taking the car to go shopping, goes more easily than expected. To fluently move around town, the bike (or even by foot) happens to be the swiftest solution.
  • On the contrary, not taking the car to get into another city, tends to prove more difficult. The 8 kilometer trip to my doctor, family-in-law or to the gym are just too far to cross in the cold and darkness. Guess I’m already looking forward to spring (and my beautiful biking legs? Hurah!). In the meanwile, I’ll just have to share my trips with
  • Last Christmas I got thé best present ever: this beautiful bicycle basket… an addiction by riding too much with the shared Blue-bikes . Once you get used to a bicycle basket, a simple carrier rack just doesn’t seem to do it anymore. What do you mean, the new litter box for the cat won’t fit on my bike?

How could or would you easily approach your situation? Which mobility alternatives are already available in your neighbourhood? (Friends or neighbours might be able to support you in your quest.)

  • Though it’s not yet considered an oldtimer, I fear my car has reached the end of its life. Time to discover my options for carsharing: Cambio? Stepp.inn? Cozycar? I do have plenty of choice in Flanders.
  • Choose the train more often then the car, because taking the train is always a little adventure on its own. My family happens to live a one hour drive away, by car as well as by train. The car would cost me 0.34 euro per kilometer – without the parking taken into account– which is just as expensive as an weekend ticket for the train. The only disadvantage? I’m depending on a time schedule. Then again, I’m not stressing behind the wheel and enjoy an exciting book during some well-deserved me-time. Does sound great to me!
  • I also secretely dream of having my own cargo bike. It’s a serious investment however. To be certain I will make extensive use of it, it might be useful to test it out first. Who knows, I might not even need one myself and would prefer to keep sharing the bike with the neighbours.

“Pratice what you preach.”

Apparently good resolutions tend to work better when proclaiming them with loud noise to a large group of people. So you know what? Thank you! For reading this blog and helping me make these resolutions come true. Let’s say… an update by June 2019?

PS While writing this blog, I found the courage to screw on my new basket and hop on the bike off to the store. If only I had room for a crate of glass bottles…

Anyhow, Don’t forget to show some love and support and follow my instagram account Elke.Vandenbroucke


Getting started with sustainable mobility in your neighbourhood? Download the toolkit and its attachments and let me know how you’re doing via mail