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It’s car-free week on Blooming Rock! What does this mean? Besides two car-free-oriented blog posts (check out Eddie Jensen’s guest post if you missed it), Paul and I have committed to going from car-lite to car-free for the week. I’ll be reporting my findings, observations and lessons learned next week on Monday. Stay tuned!

Recently my friend Nicole Underwood won this awesome New Belgium Fat Tire bike:

All she had to do was trade her car in and create a two minute video of her story, both of which she did beautifully. Here’s her winning video entry:

And here’s my interview with Nicole about her wonderous journey out of her car and onto a brand new swank Fat Tire bike:

Blooming Rock: Why did you decide that you didn’t want to drive anymore?

Nicole Underwood: I had contemplated being “greener” last year, but was afraid to take the first step. Then, in May of this year, gas began creeping upwards to $3.50 a gallon. With my pocketbook stretched to the max, I was motivated to park my car and to try to venture out on foot. After that, I didn’t turn back.

Blooming Rock: What’s it like not to have a car in Phoenix?

Nicole Underwood: Not having a car is great! While the weather does indeed get hot in the valley, most of the year it’s incredible – and you can enjoy it by biking. Plus, the Valley Metro is making great strides to provide Phoenix with dependable modes of public transportation, so it’s easy to explore the city. The more people ride the bus or the rail, the more funding goes into alternative options to get around.

Blooming Rock: What’s the biggest inconvenience of not having a car?

Nicole Underwood: Admittedly, I have struggled balancing my new routine with owning my puppy. Having pets (or likewise, raising a family) is a huge commitment. So, I’ve used this challenge as a way to strategically plan my day, scheduling meetings ahead of time, and being more efficient and organized at work, so I am able to take care of what’s most important. I am actually now in the process of moving closer to work so that I am closer to home and having puppy play dates!

Blooming Rock: What’s the biggest joy of not having a car?

Nicole Underwood: NEWFOUND FREEDOM. It is an extraordinary release to relax on the light rail and not focus on the daily commute. I despise traffic and road rage– it takes such an emotional toll! How much better is it to chill on the Metro Rail or cruise on a bike, enjoying this amazing city around you? You meet amazing people and feel connected to the community. Stepping out of the car opens up the world that’s here for us to experience. I look forward to getting around town now.

Blooming Rock: Tell us why you decided to get rid of your car and try to win the Fat Tire bicycle.

Nicole Underwood: After having my car parked for six months, some downtown Phoenix friends brought the contest to my attention, saying how I would be a perfect candidate. I love creative challenges and Fat Tire Beer. I was already thinking of donating my car, so I thought…why not?

Blooming Rock: Do you recommend going carless in Phoenix and why?

Nicole Underwood: Absolutely. It’s not as hard of a switch as some might think. If you have two working legs, you have the ability to get to where you need to go without depending on a car. How incredibly empowering is that? Granted, I understand not everyone lives close to the light rail, but I do believe people can make big steps in reducing their time behind the wheel. Sharing the road by carpooling, riding the bus, or of course, cruising on a bike, are all great options, even if it’s a few days a week. Benefits? More money in your pocket, great exercise, reduced pollution, and my favorite, discovering new places on foot that you might have zipped past in your car. Parking your car slows down your life: it’s the perfect happiness remedy.

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  1. […] people who have chosen the create a car-free lifestyle in our full-of-cars city, Eddie Jensen and Nicole Underwood. Their stories, along with those of others who have chosen this path, inspired Paul and I to go […]

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