Go on a Break, with your Car

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Have you ever had that awkward conversation with your girlfriend or boyfriend about going on a break because, let’s face it, you just need some time apart? Well it’s about time you had that conversation…with your car. Don’t worry, we’re here to make that transition as easy as pie for you (your car will get over it).

To start, you can take comfort in knowing that you’re not alone because this weekend thousands of people will be parting ways with their four-wheeled friend for one, two or three days as part of Car Free Day(s). But of course it’s not always easy to say goodbye, so if you need to go Car-Lite, that’s ok too. And to give you support in your decision to go on a break with your car, if you pledge that you will be Car Free (or Lite), you’ll be entered in to win prizes (who knew going on a break could be so rewarding?).

Ok, so you’ve made the pledge, now what?

Step one, hide your car keys (or have someone else hide them). One of the reasons why we rely on our car is because it’s easy and convenient. If you have to spend 20+ minutes looking for your keys, it’s no longer the more convenient option (and oftentimes it really isn’t, we just think it is). Alternatively you could camouflage your car so you won’t be able to find it the next time you park.

Step two, visit one of these websites to find out what bike, walk, transit, carpool, vanpool or telework options you have near you (did you even know there were that many options anywhere??): BikeArlington, WalkArlington, Car-Free Diet, Arlington Transportation Partners, Arlington Transit (ART), goDCgo. They have maps and routes and information out the wazoo, so wherever you are or wherever you’re going, you can figure how to get there and what mode works for you!

Step three, step away from the vehicle…and put that pledge into action! Hitch a ride from a friend to dinner or the movies. Bike to the grocery store. Walk to a friend’s house. And there’s nothing wrong with combining different modes of transportation if biking or walking is too far, or if the metro or bus doesn’t stop near your destination. So you might also want to consider biking to the metro or putting your bike on the bus and biking from the nearest bus stop. Whatever floats your boat!

Step four, share your story! If you post how you went car free this weekend on the BikeArlington, WalkArlington, Car-Free Diet, ATP, and ART Facebook pages, your name will be entered in a drawing to win a Capital Bikeshare branded pannier or a GiveLoveCycle bag! And if you want to increase your changes to win other awesome prizes, share your story with our friends over at goDCgo (their prizes include a $100 gift card to Capitol Hill Bikes or an annual membership to ZipCar).

Step five, do it again and again and again. You’ll learn quickly that it’s a lot easier than you think.

Zanna is the Events & Outreach Coordinator for BikeArlington. She is planning on breaking up with her car completely, because she’s in love with something else…her bike.  For now, it’s an on and off relationship.  She can’t wait to be Car-Free!

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