Why I Gave Up My Car for a Year With My Bike (Hey Thanks New Belgium Brewing)

By November 4, 2016Car Trader

(Photo credit: The fantastic Ryan of socalsessions.com)

It wasn’t what I thought was going to happen that Tuesday. I thought it was just a normal day of getting awesome media coverage for the San Diego Bike Coalition and my favorite local bike shop, Hub + Spoke Cycleworks. We met the news station at 5:30 a.m. to talk about Tour de Fat – New Belgium Brewing’s wacky biking-riding, beer-drinking, music-playing carnival that rolls through San Diego every September – and after the camera crew left, I got inspired.

I suppose my own PR worked on me, because I spent the day recruiting friends to help me put together a video about why I should be New Belgium’s 2016 San Diego Car Traitor, Bike Trader. I have pretty great friends.

A few weeks went by and finally, Tour de Fat arrived on Sunday, September 28. New Belgium announced me as their winner, and I got up on stage to accept the honor in a tutu and neon pink legwarmers with a few beers under my belt. (Hey – it is a New Belgium Brewing festival to raise money for bike charities. You’re welcome, Bike Coalition.)

Of course, I celebrated with the Bike Coalition Richard Simmons and Hub + Spoke. I couldn’t have done it without them.


After the festival it hit me what I had done.

No car.

For one year.

Just a bicycle.

For one year.

Two wheels vs. four wheels.

For. One. Year.


My old bike – now affectionately dubbed my “bar bike” – had been with me through a lot. Finally, after three and a half years, it was time for an upgrade. But the farewell would not have been fitting without a memorial social media post.


As for the upgrade? Well, Hub + Spoke captured the sentiment pretty darn well – also with an Instagram post. (Sometimes, we really embrace being millennials.)

car traitor bike trader

The first time I saw this magical little creature went something like this:

It’s difficult to describe the feeling I get when I see my new bicycle, but I’ll try to explain.

  1. I’ve never had a new bike. Ever. They’ve always been used. Always been great – but always been used.
  2. I can say with gusto that she’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever laid eyes on. Is it possible to love an inanimate object more than most human beings?
  3. I also can’t take any credit for her. My humble yet incredibly talented bike mechanic and friend, Kate, built this dream machine from scratch. The day after Tour de Fat, as we recounted the mistakes we made that brought us to our horrible hangovers, she combed through books and picked every part, piecing my bike together together as we chugged iced coffee. I’ll never forget the moment when I asked her if I needed to know what she was doing with my stipend from New Belgium.  She asked me if I trusted her.”Of course I do,” I responded honestly.
    “Then no,” she replied.
    And I never questioned it again.
  4. Now, the “itty bitty space horse” makes me melt inside. She’s 100 percent custom built for me, by a dear friend who has watched me ride an old bike with the wrong size wheels for years. It feels very special and I couldn’t have asked for anything more.
  5. Yes, I have been sleeping with it in my room because I’m afraid to let it out of my sight.

So why did I do it? 

I did it because everything in my life says I can.

And so it only seemed fitting that – as a person who lives in a #sunnyand75 part of the country, with a life that already embraces bicycles – I make the leap.

Which begs the question – how big of a leap is it, really?

I have high hopes for my year on a bicycle. The highest of which involves the independence I hope to spark within myself and the confidence that I really can conquer anything I put my mind to with commitment, creativity, courage and the willingness to change my habits.

Besides, Grist says that a decade from now, no one will own their own car.

So even if nothing else works out, at least I look pretty trendy.

(Current riding jams: The Vaccines – Family Friend)