15 January, 2014

A New Year, a New (Unintentional) Resolution

I'm not one for making New Year's resolutions. I think resolutions are typically wishful thinking that are never truly acted upon, so I save myself the disappointment I would feel after giving up and just don't make any resolutions in the first place. However, I have recently made a positive change in my everyday life that just so happens to correspond with the near year. Convenient, huh?

This new change is... I am now riding my bike everywhere instead of taking the tram. I wrote before about how great having a bike is (you can read that post here), but even having such a good relationship with my bike I was still riding the tram a lot. I would only ride my bike short distances, such as to and from the tram stop or to the local shopping center, but whenever I went into the city I would always take the tram.

Now, all that has changed. Since returning from Christmas break, I have successfully ridden my bike to and from German class everyday (it takes about 30 minutes each way) and anywhere else I have needed to go. This new-found enthusiasm for cycling came about as a result of two factors:

1) I was inspired by my friend Bianca, who told me she bikes everywhere she goes and has even invested in rain pants for riding on rainy days.

2) Tram tickets are expensive.

Honestly, number two was really the deciding factor in this decision. Because I make so little income as an au pair (basically just a living stipend to help me pay for the little expenses of daily life) and because so much of it goes towards paying for my German class, I decided to skip buying the monthly tram ticket that I've had until now and use the bike as my primary mode of transport. This way, I save the money I would otherwise be spending on the ticket, and if I really don't feel like biking on one particular day I can just buy a single or a daily ticket. If my trend of successfully biking everywhere continues, then the single and daily ticket purchases (if any) should be much cheaper than the monthly ticket would be.

Another distinct advantage of biking everywhere is it's great exercise. I'm killing two birds with one stone by combining exercise and transport, thereby saving money on both a tram ticket and a gym membership. Plus, I'll be stronger, healthier and in better shape. Perfect!

I know most places in the United States are not ideal for biking (to say the least), but I would encourage anyone who has the option to try it. There will be some days when getting on a bike and pedaling all the way to work is the last thing you ever want to do, but it will be better for your body, you'll get some sun (hopefully) and some fresh air, and it will be better for the environment. Also, you'll save a little bit of money every day on gas. With that many advantages, who knows, you might even get hooked and give up your car altogether! (Just kidding.)


  1. I really, really hate biking places. In Japan most of the students biked as a means to get around, and I absolutely refused. In my defense Kyoto is all up hill no matter what direction you are going in.

    After the baby is born and I'm allowed to exercise again, I am considering using a bike as transport. I'm not sure how that will go, with a baby, but I know there are seats for them that you can attach to the back of the bike. I'd really like to do like you, though, and save on tram fare!

    1. I would definitely encourage it. In Karlsruhe it's especially easy since there are bike paths almost everywhere and it's all flat.