Posts Tagged ‘ car ’

Worth Repeating: Going Carless

Now, before someone calls me a hypocrite, this post is not about my personal journey of going carless…because I haven’t started that journey yet.

This post is, however, about how any attempt, not matter how big or small, and for any amount of time one goes carless, is a great idea.

Here’s why, in pro/con format:

Pros!

Green is good. Biking makes your carbon footprint smaller. Cars put out approximately 20.4 lbs of CO2 emissions per gallon, SUV’s is up around 28 lbs. If you biked the equivalent of 1 gallon of gas per day (lets say 20 miles), you would lower your carbon footprint by almost 7500 pounds every year! (source)

For your health: Air pollution makes it harder for you to breathe, can send you to the hospital if you suffer from asthma, and possibly worse if you have respiratory problems. Not to mention that where I live, known as the Wasatch Front, is constantly ranked as one of the worst areas in the nation for certain types of air pollution.

Aside from lessening the pollution you’re putting out by not driving, biking is good for your respiratory system, your heart, and your overall fitness level.

It makes you more efficient! Think about it. If you’re going out to run errands on a bike, you’re probably going to plan your trip before you walk out the door so as to save time & energy. That spills over into how you treat the errands you need to run with a car, saving gas and lowering CO2 emissions.

Cons: ummm…sometimes it rains? and ummm, Utah drivers can often be quite scary…?

Sure, there are probably cons, but I personally think that the supposed down sides to biking or even walking to work/errands/whatever aren’t really that bad.

So, if you’ve got a bike, and if things are finally starting to warm up for you wherever you may live, then try it out, or keep it up if you’ve already tried to implement some carless practices in your day to day schedules.

Going carless: definitely worth repeating.

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Worth Repeating: DIY

DIY: Do It Yourself

In the last month or so I’ve had the opportunity for two big DIY projects, the first a rather big undertaking, considering I have never done more than change a tire, oil, and fill my car with gas. Yes, I worked on my own car, and not just something small either. It was a two-day project with my father-in-law to change out the water pump and timing belt in my ’95 Honda Civic. Now, for some proof:

Now, as you can see I used instructions, but I kind of knew we were in over our heads a little. My father-in-law has some pretty credible experience, but not on my car.

Here’s the really great part: I was quoted $2500 from Honda to fix everything they diagnosed as “wrong” with my car. Considering my car is worth $2000 if its in immaculate condition (which *cough* it isn’t), I wasn’t ready to swallow they’re “professional opinion”. I started researching what real world cost was to fix things like my “broken radiator” (it was fine), “new muffler” (also fine), timing belt, water pump, rear trailing arm bushings, and rear brake pads.

Here’s a breakdown of what I ended up fixing my car for:

Timing belt: $25.00

Water pump: $33.00

Rear brake pads: $20.00

Replacing a cracked section of exhaust pipe: $50.00 (local guy rather than some overpriced place)

Total cost: about $130 compared to $2500, ummm, n o t   t h a t   b a d!

Here’s a perfect example of how DIY provides an opportunity to learn a new skill, some bonding time between two people, and a significant savings by doing the labor yourself.

Here’s another:

I went home to Sacramento for a week to help out my mom who’s been fighting cancer for about 3 1/2 years now. She has non-smokers lung cancer, and is one of the most faithful and wonderful people I know. It’s quite amazing how she has handled such a diagnosis.

The second day I was there she underwent about 6 hours of chemotherapy. She has made friends with almost the whole hospital staff, and has the best spirit about her, given what she is going through:

The next day I was expecting her to be completely bed-ridden, nauseated, and tired. I woke up to find she had already eaten breakfast, having walked to the table and everything. So, what am I here to do? Obviously I can help by cooking and cleani- wait, who are all these people constantly stopping by the house to clean and bring us food?

So, I did what any loving son would do. I decided to build a ramp!

We have a small step in front of the house, along with a few inch lip where the door frame is. After wheeling my mom in and out a few times, I realized it was probably a bit of a burden for my younger brother Kevin and my Dad to have to do that every time they leave the house. The pictures can be seen here, if you’re so inclined:

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2319584&id=17819247

It was incredibly rewarding to hear my mom and others say how much it meant to them, and since then how much it has helped.

So there you have it. I’m a huge fan of DIY projects. If you are looking for something you can do on a limited budget, try here.

DIY Projects: Worth Repeating

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