This spring and summer I’m on a bike riding odyssey. I’m going to ride 1,000 miles instead of driving. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve still got to drive. However I will ride when I can and certainly during ‘spare the air’ days. We had two ‘spare the air days’ in April during a heat wave, and I did a 15 mile loop from my house to a client’s house and then to my office. I may have been arrived a little bit stinky, but that’s what deodorant is for, right?
I know I’m setting a good example for my young daughters. They are constantly trying to stay out of the car. This past winter they wanted to ride bikes to the store when it was 30 degrees outside. I would have done it too, but have you ever tried to carry groceries bags while riding a bike? That’s how groceries end up on the sidewalk.
Riding a bike instead of driving is a lifestyle choice. Two of my brothers commute to work on their bikes almost daily. I’d do it more often if I literally didn’t need a car for my job. I sell real estate, and some clients in beautiful homes would prefer Realtors who drove cars like they own, instead of bikes like their kids own. Picture me in a competitive situation with another Realtor. A potential client is interviewing two of us. As a Realtor pulls away in his Lexus wearing his suit and tie, I pull up on my bike, in shorts and a sweat soaked t-shirt. How often do you think I’d get that piece of business? Driving my 2004 Toyota Camry is liability enough in those situations.
The funny thing is that over the years I’ve sold several houses from the seat of my bike. Often I’ve met buyers at homes on my bike after we’ve established a relationship. I’ve gone to several houses, after beating out competition, and prepared homes for the market after arriving on my bike. Two Sundays ago I had an open house a couple of miles from my house. I had left my signs at the home from the broker’s open and I arrived on my bike. Using my bike, dressed in nice clothes, I put the signs out using my bike to get to the intersections, balancing the signs in my hands like bags of groceries. That’s something you don’t often see on a Sunday afternoon — Realtors putting out open house signs on their bike!
People ask me why I’m riding the 1,000 miles, for what cause? I’m doing it because. Because I care about my daughters and the example I’m setting for them. Because I want to show them driving is not the only option, and we can make a difference by making the right choices. Because it’s good for my health and good for the earth. Riding is free too! If you get a chance, hop your bike instead of starting your car the next time you’ve got to go somewhere. You’ve got nothing to lose, except maybe your spare tire.
Image credit: Peter Hostermann, SXC
Andy Falk is a father of two incredible daughters ages born in 2001 & 2003, Skylee
and Sabrina. Andy is very active in the lives of his daughters, from coaching soccer to supporting them during swimming season to just plain doing homework or hanging out. Andy also surfs regularly, bicycle commutes and is a successful Realtor in Marin County, CA. Andy earned his MBA from San Francisco State University with an Internet Marketing concentration, and holds a BA from the University of California at San Diego where he studied and surfed in the 80’s.