Bike, Walk, Skateboard or Unicycle

Travel with zero emissions and improve your health - walk, bike, scooter, skateboard or rollerblade.  Leave your car behind for short trips and enjoy the fresh air, smell the flowers and energize your day!

Medium
Households: 12 completed, 7 committed
830
Points ?
$250
Annual Savings
$0 - $0
Upfront Cost
These are estimates
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Energy and water savings

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0
kWh Electricity
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0
Therms Natural Gas
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31
Gallons Gas
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0
Gallons Water
  • Improve your health and enjoy the outdoors!
  • Save on fuel and maintenance costs for your car
  • Reduce carbon emissions and air pollution

Purchase Air Travel Offsets

We are partnering with Carbon Lighthouse to provide high quality offsets for Air Travel. These offsets remove emissions directly from utilities in the U.S. and support more renewable energy.

For more information, go to Carbon Lighthouse"

Purchase offsets for air miles

Price: $3/1,000 miles

Total price: $

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Overview

The Action
We will ditch our care and walk, bike, skateboard, scooter or rollerblade for some short trips.
Is this action for me?
If you drive in a car now, this action is for you!
When and Who?
This action can be done anytime by anyone.
How long will it take?
Quick - biking can often be as fast as driving for short trips, longer if you walk or skateboard.
What is the cost?
No cost, unless you are purchasing a bike, rollerblades or other gear.

Benefits

  • Improve your health and enjoy the outdoors!

  • Save on fuel and maintenance costs for your car

  • Reduce carbon emissions and air pollution

The Basics

Leaving your car behind and choosing an active transportation mode will not only cut your carbon emissions, it will also improve your health! If you make even half of your trips shorter than 3 miles by walking or biking you will find significant savings in fuel costs and increase your energy and well being.

Checklist

Ditch the car for short trips
Wear comfortable clothes, sunscreen and safety gear
Learn about safe biking and the local bike routes
Keep your bike or other gear in good condition
Get a good lock

Ditch the car and enjoy the outdoors for short trips

In the U.S., research has shown that nearly 30% of trips or errands are a mile or shorter, with 40% at two miles or shorter and 50% at three miles or shorter.  It’s easy to hop in the car, but the secret to good health that most of the rest of the world knows is that walking and biking are great options for short trips.  This really does help you stay healthy as well as save money.  Next time you need to grab something from the store, consider walking, biking, riding a scooter, skateboarding or rollerblading.

The Surgeon General recommends 30-45 minutes of moderate exercise (like walking or biking) on most if not all days of the week.  Walking or biking for an errand that is one or two miles or shorter meets this goal.  Not to mention, it is so much nicer to be on a bike or walking and enjoying the fresh air rather than stuck in traffic.  For short local trips it can actually take the same time or even be faster on a bike because you avoid traffic!  Be sure to check with your doctor before making any significant additions to your active routine.  

This action is not just for the adults!  If you have children, encourage them to bike, walk, skateboard or rollerblade to school, to visit friends and to their sports events or other activities.  This is fun and healthy for them and sets a good standard for physical activity that may help keep them healthy and fit for the rest of their lives.  Most schools have a walk and/or bike to school program with safety tips and activities.

Gear up for outdoor comfort

Wearing comfortable shoes and clothes will make your walking/biking adventures much more enjoyable. If you don’t have comfortable and supportive walking/sport shoes invest in some to save your feet and to make it easier to stay active during the day.  A hat and sunscreen will help keep you safe from the sun’s rays and gloves and a scarf will keep you warm in the winter.  If you will be braving the rain or snow, a good waterproof shell and pants will help keep you dry!

Hop on two wheels

With many cities expanding bike lanes, it is becoming safer all the time to ride your bike.  Biking is actually really easy and enjoyable.  Instead of being stuck in traffic, you can breathe deep, enjoy the fresh air and the scenery.  There are many different bike makes and models and it is easy to find one that is comfortable and will fit your style.  You can usually also find many good used options, making biking even more affordable.  Many cities are now starting bike share programs where you don’t even have to own a bike!  Just start a bike share subscription and you can pick up a bike and drop if off when you’re done.

If you haven’t ridden at all or not recently, stop by your local bike store and rent a bike for the weekend.  Explore your local bike routes and get used to being on two wheels.  You may find quickly that you are hooked and planning your next ride.  To get started with biking for local trips, first learn about the local bike routes and amenities like bike lockers and bike racks in your area.   In the resources section below you will find links to your local area bike maps and other local biking resources.

If you live close to work, talk to your employer about facilities for employees like lockers, bike racks and showers.  Biking to the train or subway station is a perfect way to start your daily commute.  Look into facilities at the train or subway station for storing your bike, or take it on the train and store it at work.  Get set up with a basket or rack at the back of your bike so it is easy to run local errands.  You can actually fit up to 2 grocery bags of food on a bike rack with saddlebags quite comfortably!  If you have kids, consider a bike trailer to tow them behind, a bicycle seat for small children that fits on your bike or a bicycle built for two for larger children (or significant others!)

Be safe

If you are new to biking or even if you are experienced, it is important to be aware of the basic practices for biking safely.  Wearing a helmet, having lights for night trips and wearing reflective clothing are all important parts of safe riding.  It is also important to follow all road signs and rules and ride defensively.  Check out the local bike map and plan your route ahead of time to avoid heavy traffic streets without bike lanes.  

Check out these bike safety videos for both adults and kids.  Most of these rules also apply to skateboarding and other alternative transport modes and even walking.  Make sure to follow basic safety rules for whatever transportation you choose.  For skateboarding there are also some additional rules regarding where you can skateboard.  Be sure to check your  local information on where skateboarding is prohibited.

Maintain your gear

Make sure to keep your bike/skateboard/rollerblades tuned up and in good shape.  Keep your bike tires pumped up and check your brakes and gears regularly.  Make sure your helmet is in good working order and fitted properly.  Get a small repair kit to bring with you in case of emergencies.  Being prepared can save you from being inconvenienced by a flat tire, broken wheel or even protect you from injury in a crash.  Check out this video on basic bike maintenance.

Get a good lock

Invest in a good lock and make sure to lock your bike properly. The initial investment for a good lock can be expensive but will save you money in the long-run if it protects your bike. U-locks are generally tough enough to stand up to lock cutters commonly used by bike thieves. Make sure to lock both your bike frame and a tire if possible. Buying an extra chain to lock both tires is also a good option for keeping your bike safe.

Support your cities bike/walk plan

Many cities are just beginning to develop their local infrastructure for biking, walking and alternative transport modes.  Take a minute and write your local decision makers or attend a local transportation planning meeting and voice your support for more biking and walking infrastructure.  Bike lanes keep bikers safe from vehicles and allow traffic to flow more smoothly. The more accommodating the city is to active transport, the more people will begin to use it.  This will help your city reduce vehicles miles traveled and meet goals for overall climate emissions reductions.

 

Success Stories

I have been on the Menlo Green Challenge since it began in 2016, and have completed many of the actions on the website. 

One of the quickest and easiest ways to reduce Carbon footprints is to change eating habits. I cut red meat out of my diet since the carbon footprint for beef is 28 times its own weight and lamb has a footprint 35 times its weight. 

I also take alternative forms of transportation.  I’m a long-time bike rider and use a bike on most trips under 5 miles. Using bikes for short trips has enabled our family to share one car and save lots of money. Some folks say biking isn’t for everyone though; for two-car families, I highly recommend having one of the vehicles be electric!

I've installed solar panels on my home, which cut my electricity bill down to $10/month. That is the lowest bill a customer can receive from PG&E to support the electric grid. I work with a non-profit called SunWork, and they were able to help me install solar, with a 30% discount because our household was already energy efficient. If you’re efficient and your energy bill is less than $100 per month, you could also use Sun Work and their local volunteers to help install low cost solar.

I also installed a heat pump water heater in my house, replacing the gas one. After tax credits, the heater was $500. It is an electric heater, so together with solar panels, it’s great to use renewable energy instead of fossil fuels to heat our water.

I enjoy finding creative, innovative ideas that help my household become efficient and sustainable. I developed a system that delivers waste heat from solar panels back into my home, recycling the excess heat and making it purposeful. This solar heater is still a prototype; I’m still figuring out the best way to prevent leaks in the system.

Taking shorter showers is a great way to save water; you can save energy too, with lower water temperatures, starting by turning your water heater setting down. My shower has a covering that traps steam in, preventing drafts that makes you cold. The cover has the added bonus of allowing you to shower comfortably at cooler temperatures.  

Whether you’re handy at home or not, everyone can take actions to reduce their carbon footprint. Getting started is easy with this Green Challenge site.