Active transport = frugal exercise

Jul 22 2015 0 Comments Tags: frugal, sustainable, transport

Do you pay to commute to work?  Either on public transport or by driving a private vehicle?  Do you also pay to exercise at a gym?  What if I told you there was a frugal way to get to work AND get some exercise, either free or at a reduced cost compared to your current commute?


eight acres: using active transport


Active transport is a term used to describe getting around by walking or cycling (or skateboarding, roller skating, running, skipping etc).  I have been walking to work and back in Brisbane since I moved in December to a unit a bit closer to the city (I drive down there first thing Monday morning, then back to the farm on Friday afternoon, long story back here).  My main motivation is pure stinginess.  The bus was costing $35/week, and my new unit is only a 45 minute walk to work, which is actually quicker than the bus as I can take short-cuts through parkland.  I was also finding that I got home too late and didn't feel like getting any exercise in the evening.  Best to get that over and done first thing in the morning and on the way back from work!

I have always been a walker.  I walked to school from when I was 5-years old until I finished high-school.  I used to walk to music lessons, sports practice, friend's houses.  I got my drivers license at 17, but never had a car to drive, my family only had one car, so I usually had to find another way to get where I wanted to go.  I got a bicycle after high school and I cycled to uni, to jobs, to friend's houses.  I didn't get a car until I moved out to the Lockyer Valley with Pete when I was 25.  Since then we've lived in rural areas and active transport has not been an option on narrow country roads.   So I am enjoying the opportunity to get around without driving (its not so much the driving I dislike, the parking is the worst part!).

My one gripe with active transport in Brisbane is that many of the cycle paths don't actually join up to take you anywhere useful.  Unfortunately city planners seem to view cycling (and even walking) as a recreation activity, in which you may cycle around a path and back to the start, or just up and down the river, instead of actually going from one place to another.  I remember when some of the rules changed recently so that motorists had to give cyclists more space on the road and people were calling up talkback radio saying that cyclists should go to purpose-built facilities to cycle and stay off the roads!  As if people are on the roads at peak hour because they are just out for a fun ride!  Most people I see in the morning are on their way to work, cycling, walking or running (and one on a motorized skateboard, Pete said I can't get one).

Of course when I'm full-time on the farm, I get plenty of exercise.  I had to do a health check at work once and I put "farm work" down as my daily exercise.  I explained that I often have to carry heavy things long distances.  I was told that I needed to try to get more "organized exercise" into my day!  And while I'm not full-time on the farm, I don't want to lose my farm fitness by sitting on the bus!

I understand that active transport is not a possibility for everyone and there are lots of reasons why it may not work, but I challenge you to think about it.  Can you get off the bus a stop earlier?  Can you walk to the station instead of driving?  Can you cycle to work one day a week?  Think of the cost saving, and possibly a time-saving if you don't go to the gym when you get home.

Do you use active transport?  Or farm fitness routines?  Why or why not?




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