I’m CARe FREE
1. Introduce yo’self! Who you are, what you do, and why you do it.
I’m Kirk Kandle, a longtime newspaper writer who changed careers nearly 10 years ago. I jumped into writing about health and well-being. I guess the wellness message rubbed off on me. Imagine that! The things I’ve discovered just make me feel exceptionally good – about myself, about our potential, and about our future. I enjoy passing it on.
2. What are you doing locally that helps to preserve the earth’s natural awesome? What are small ways that anyone can help?
I started My Car-Free Experiment on 9/9/09. I discovered that most of what robs us – and our planet -- of our natural awesome is easy to fix without high tech solutions, government programs, special funding, or anyone’s permission.
I wondered. What if a main solution to our health and environmental challenges were as simple as leaving your car keys at home whenever possible? What if the cure is simply to use human power to get around, while fueling our human engines with real food? I’ve found it works for me.
I can’t resist advocating as often as I can for active transportation, but not for the reasons you may think. I love cars. I just love a good, long walk more. I’ve been using local transit since 1978. It’s great for rainy days; I can take my folding bike on the bus. And riding my bicycle to work -- especially in a light rain – re-connects me with my inner child like nothing else.
It’s all about making choices that work for you. I choose to live where I’m close enough to just about everything I need so I can get there under my own power, or by transit. My office, coffee shops, markets, hardware, restaurants, pubs, barbers, entertainment venues, and more are all nearby. What kind of life can you have when you’re not in a place within reach of what you need without relying on a car to get you there?
As a result of this thinking, I save as much as $11,000 a year in car expenses, while keeping more than 14 tons of carbon out of the air we breathe. When I need a car, I have TARC and Uber on my Trip Planner iPhone app and friends who know I’m always good for a gas fill-up in return for a ride.
3. What other projects are you involved in?
I’m on the board of my co-owners association at George Rogers Clark Condominiums, a 1905 elementary school turned into 35 unique homes with indoor bicycle parking and very limited off-street car parking. I’m exploring every way possible to make this historic landmark more sustainable. We have an expanded recycling program. We’re shifting to low-energy LED lighting. Most recently, I started looking into passive solar and geothermal possibilities and the potential for Energy Star certification.
I write a blog, pedalaround.blogspot.com, about my car-free experience. Progress on a book about my 2010 solo bicycle journey 4,600 miles across the U.S. is on a slower roll than I’d like. I do “Lunch and Learn” sessions that show and tell employee groups how active transportation can fatten their wallets, skinny their waistlines, keep the air clean and make communities stronger. I’m a “spokes-person” for human powered transportation. When I meet others who are using a bicycle to get around I give them a bracelet made from a single bike spoke.
Grace. Peace. Bicycle Grease.
Remember, every lane is a bike lane. Share the road.
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Enjoy the ride home.