From vehicles to bikes not a difficult transition
Philip Meade (left) and Linda Grimm (right) of Placentias Rosedale Manor joined by their dog Bonny Bean in the childs carrier, are using their bicycles to power them around town since their vehicle broke down, and they are loving it.
For Philip Meade and Linda Grimm in Placentia, operators of Rosedale Manor, going greener was a result of necessity, but both residents agree it is changing their outlook on how to best do what needs doing.
Their vehicle, a Mazda V-6 broke down in early summer. The pair thought about getting it repaired again, but then made a decision that is having a snowball effect in their lives. They decided to forgo the cost of repairing the vehicle, and hop on their not-often-used bicycles instead.
Mr. Meade said they were typical North Americans, used to jumping in their vehicle for trips to the grocery, gas station, corner store, everywhere around town.
He said their bicycles were there, and although they fully intended to use them, it rarely happened, especially when it came to doing chores.
"The bikes were parked in the shed and the odd time we would say, 'we should be taking our bikes,' and we never did. And I'd say, 'listen, we got to start using backpacks and getting on the bike and going to Sobey's and getting our groceries, even if we have to make a couple of trips,' but we never did it," explained Mr. Meade. "We'd always jump in the van, jump in the van, jump in the van and go, run across over to Super 1 Stop, run over to North Atlantic or over to Sobey's or over to the liquor store or over to Home Hardware. It was always jump in the van, and you'd do that three or four times a day sometimes."
Now though, the pair uses their bikes to get them everywhere around Placentia. It is their main mode of transportation around town, and they are really seeing the benefits, not only to their own physical health, but to the environment, and to their own ways of thinking.
"We do see this as a permanent thing," Mr. Meade said. "First my legs were aching at the end of the day and now I don't even notice it. I am definitely feeling fitter. At first when I pedaled over to Sobey's and back and realized I forgot something, I pedaled back over and was fighting the wind because you are always fighting the wind, pushing and pedaling against the wind, and oh my God, that night, my legs…, but now, I don't notice it. We go back and forth over across the bridge to Jerseyside, stuff like that. Nope, I don't notice it now at all."
Mr. Meade said if they need to make a trip to St. John's, they borrow a vehicle.
Bicycling for their supplies means they have to rethink how they do things, and since buying a little trailer for the back of his bike and a second hand baby carrier for their dog, Bonny Bean, who gets strapped in and seems to enjoy the rides, the trips are a pleasure for them all, he said.
"It forces you to condense things so that's like the trips to St. John's now. We've reorganized ourselves supply-wise and now go twice a month."
Ms. Grimm said they live in Vancouver and Victoria in the winter months and can see how bicycling would be much harder here in the winter. They don't have a vehicle in British Columbia either, and say they get around using public transit, or by renting a vehicle if they need to make a trip where transit won't take them.
Mr. Meade figures he's saving about $300 per month since they've given up using their motorized vehicle. And they are seeing other ways to go green as well. He said they always composted and saved money on fertilizer by composting, but now he's purchased an old-fashioned lawnmower that is non-motorized and is saving dollars on the costs of paying someone to come mow his grass.
"We paid $150 for the little push mower and I used to pay someone $10 so I wrote down $150 and each time then that I would do the grass I would minus $10 and so right now I am down to about $70 and another seven times and the mower is free and after that it doesn't cost me anything to cut the grass. And there is no tuning and no gas and now I don't mind pushing the mower around. It's all a plus, plus, plus, plus. It really is," he said. "It is having a snowball effect on our lives. We are seeing where we can make changes in our lives and it is working."
He said there is nothing special about them, and he knows what it is like to get into a slump and rely on motorized power for getting around. But he said the benefits are incredible and the time getting around is not much more, especially in Placentia, a flat town with almost everything within walking distance.
He thinks it would be a great thing if this idea caught on, and he is hoping to encourage more people to jump on their bikes and think a little differently about how they power themselves around the community.
"If everybody parked their vehicles and rode their bicycles around town and made it a green town, you'd get noticed. We'd get noticed by tourism and by the world. It all starts somewhere. That's our little part and hopefully we can snowball that into more people in Placentia."