Archive for March, 2008

More Walkers

My sister, Erin, sent an exciting story about two women from Boulder, CO, who walked the city’s more than one thousand streets. Erin was living in Boulder during the time that I was walking all of the streets of Berkeley, and we had a couple of conversations about how it would have been fun if we did a joint project where she walked the streets of Boulder and we compared and contrasted what we saw and learned in both towns. Sometimes people who have not spent much time in either town like to say that Boulder and Berkeley are very similar, but Erin and I agree that there are quite a few differences between the two places. In any case, two women (ages 63 and 67) walked all of Boulder’s 295 miles of streets over the past year. My favorite part of the article was their pact that they would not cut corners and that they would walk to the end of cul-de-sacs.

As I have mentioned here before, I got rid of my car several years ago. Joe has a car, though it is mostly used for out-of-town journeys — he is also on foot and bike often. During the time we have lived in Berkeley and I have written this blog, we have slowly encountered others who live car-free or car-“lite” lifestyles. Nothing, however, tops the story of Angus Powelson. Joe has been taking the car to Oceanworks here in Berkeley for regular service checkups. He originally went to Oceanworks on recommendations from friends and glowing consumer reviews, but we were pleasantly surprised that Oceanworks also promotes fuel-efficient vehicles and driving less, is solar-powered and is a green business, and even sells folding bikes.

In conversation with Oceanworks owner Angus on his last visit, Joe learned that he has been car-free for a number of years! This may be one of the most unique car-free situations ever. In subsequent emails with Angus, I learned that he has a folding bike, fixed-gear bike, road bike, tandem, skateboards, push scooter, running shoes … but no car. I like to hope that Angus has influenced a few customers to drive a little less and consider other options for getting around. I don’t want to sound like I am advertising here, but I certainly recommend checking out Oceanworks if you live in Berkeley even if you don’t own a car. As I mentioned, they have folding bicycles for sale, and may even start carrying Dutch cargo bikes!

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Update

If you are coming to this blog for the first time – welcome! At the end of 2007 I completed my goal of walking every street and path in Berkeley. Although I am still doing lots of walking around Berkeley and other places, I will not be doing much blogging here now that the project has been completed. I have been working on other walking and car-free related projects, but not anything yet that lends itself to blogging. If I do start a new blog or other web-related documentation, I will definitely post it here and will contact regular readers. In the meantime, please feel free to search and browse the archives of this blog.

Berkeley readers, be sure to check out Walking the Fault, Andy Datlen’s blog about “walks on, around, and across the Hayward Earthquake Fault where it runs along the base of the hills through Berkeley.” You may remember that I mentioned Andy previously; he has also walked all of the paths and streets in Berkeley! Another interesting walking blog is Beating the Bounds (thanks to reader Bernard for pointing me to this site), about a UC Davis grad student’s attempt to walk along the Capitol Corridor rail line. As you will see from the blog, the project was stopped by Union Pacific, but she may be walking the roads paralling the tracks. And reader Sabrina pointed out this interesting upcoming dérive, or wandering, in the East Bay starting on March 21 and continuing through the night (for related information, see my post on psychogeography and Theory of the Dérive on Berkeley writer and theorist Ken Knabb’s website.

Finally, the Hidden Gems of Berkeley ride will be happening this year on Saturday, May 10. This year this will be a bike ride and a walk! The ride will visit hidden gems in Westbrae and West Berkeley, and the walk will focus on locations in Westbrae. More details should be available next month here and here.

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