Tuesday, 29 January 2008

The following is an entry I sent into CBC Radio's Ultimate Canadian Commute Contest:

While I'm not sure if my commute is the ultimate Canadian Commute, I enjoy my ride to work so much that it's my ultimate West Coast Commute.

I live and work in Maple Ridge, a suburb of Vancouver. As an elementary school teacher, I have tried over the years to show, by example, how to do things in a green and environmentally friendly way.

Several years ago, I started commuting on my bicycle. There's nothing like grinding up a hill or zooming along with the wind in your face to relieve the stress and tension that can sometimes be part of the job.

As time passed, however, I found I was taking the family car a little more often - to pick up something on the way home or to grab a latté on the way to school or just because I felt I couldn't park the bike anywhere because it might get stolen. Sometimes, I just didn't feel like getting up early on a dark, wintry morning.

And then, about a year and a half ago, I got my Vespa! With 50 CCs of raw power, 100 miles per gallon and a tiny environmental footprint, I found the perfect complement to my bike. WIth the mild West Coast's climate, I can scoot, rain or shine, grab a latté on the way to work, and pick up a couple of bags of groceries (and even a bottle of wine) on the way home. If it's a nice sunny day or if I'm feeling a bit guilty about that extra dessert, I can ride my bike.

I have had the occasional scary ride (on both the bike and the scooter) where I've had to carefully negotiate some slush or gingerly putt down an icy road. But the thrill never fades - the feeling that every metre is like a restorative for my soul.

Often I take detours - down country roads past horse stables and farms or up into Golden Ears Park to see the mountains and the trees. I sometimes do this on my bike, but it's easier to do on my Vespa and I find that I have more time to do other things after I get home.

Am I saving the environment with my commute? Maybe, I sure want to make a difference with the choices I make, but the important thing is I'm having fun... on two wheels.


Bill Sommers said...

I hope you do well with your entry. I thought that it was good.

Have fun,

Heinz & Frenchie said...

We just got our Vespa's at the end of this past October and we love running around on them. They are so much more fun than the car. We have hit the 1000 mile mark in just under 3 months. So we understand your feelings completely. Hope you win the contest, but even if you don't, we fellow Vespa riders think your entry is the best.

Dave Dixon said...

Thanks for the vote of confidence! I just liked taking the time to reflect on riding...

heinz & frenchie

I envy your riding weather so much! You've got a great blog. It sure seems your getting lots of use out of your Vespas!

Thanks for the encouragement - but just writing it is reward enough!

Conchscooter said...

I listen to CBC Radio 1 all the time on Sirius Satellite radio and i love it because it sounds like community radio as it used to be in the US, making the whole country sound like everyone knows everyone else. If you don't win I shall send them evil thoughts each time I listen.

Dave Dixon said...

You're so right in your comments about the CBC. Despite the fact that funding is continually cut back, the CBC still manages to deliver thoughtful, interesting, and down home radio.

And even if I don't win, I'll still listen to the CBC!

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