Today’s post comes from Heather Moore-Farley of Oakland, California.
It was three years ago that we went car-free. Our car broke down on the way back from a family reunion, and we decided to try a month without a car before buying a new one. That one month experiment turned into two months, then “Let’s wait until end of the year sales,” and then it just kept going.
We live in Oakland. Most of our errands and activities are within walking, biking, or busing distance. There are just a couple of destinations that are a little far, and one of them is church, which is seven and a half miles away. We go to church in the stake center next to the Oakland temple in the Oakland Hills. Initially we did not have a bike that could take our whole family up that 700-foot climb, so we used a carshare and paid for a car by the hour, which got expensive—though still cheaper than buying a car. A year after going car-free and after having our third child, we finally decked our big bike out with an electric assist and starting biking to church. It takes us 45 to 50 minutes to get to church, and 35 to get home (downhill).
About two years ago, we requested bike racks, since neither the church building nor the temple had racks installed. Our only choice was to lock the bikes up to the columns outside the entrance and hope that temple security was ok with that. The Berkeley ward just north of us puts their bikes in the cultural hall, but they don’t share the building with other wards and stakes.
After our request for bike racks, a sheet went around in Relief Society and Priesthood meeting to gauge interest in bike racks. I suppose they wanted to know if more people besdies just us were interested in racks. We were told we’d eventually get the racks installed, but that it would take a while. Requests for the temple grounds don’t happen quickly.
We kept biking to church and locking up to the columns. Every so often we’d check in with the Stake Physical Facilities Representative and he’d let us know the racks were coming, but he didn’t know when.
This May, two years after our initial request, the bike racks showed up one day without any fanfare. They were just there. It’s nice to have a place to park our bikes, and I’m glad they chose to install the staple kind that are easy to get up close to. We aren’t sure how long our car-free experiment will continue, but in the meantime, we have bike racks and we’re hoping more people start biking to church, too.