Life Without Wheels: Chronicle of a Car-Free Lifestyle
From Left to Right, Rachel S., Me, and Joe A.Photo by Bryan Koch
For those of you who couldn't make it, Blogger Beach Cleanup turned out to be a great event. We all had fun cleaning up the beach, learned a lot (I feel much more aware about issues regarding pollution and carbon emissions), and met lots of people we had met through the blogosphere. Like Alex from Westside Bikeside, Siel (organizer of the event) from Green LA Girl, Sarah from the Daily Ocean (also organizer), and the list goes on and on. I feel so connected to my community of carfree and sustainable living people, and I'm further motivated to continue my carfree existence but also look for other ways to live a sustainable lifestyle and maybe be a little more eco-friendly. (Those of you who know me know that my carfree lifestyle was not so much an environmental as economical and logical choice.) 

I started the day by biking to ballet class then home. I needed a little nap (I wish I had had a BIG nap, but c'est la vie), and after a half hour I frantically showered and got ready to hop on my bike and meet a posse of cyclists (whom I'd never met) at the Wilshire/Western Metro Station. As I turned the corner around the CVS I saw two people (Joe and Janet) sitting on the steps next to their bikes. I smiled, they smiled back, we made the introductions, and new friends were made. Joe's friend John made a 4th, and our bicycle posse set out to Santa Monica beach. 

This was our route:

We pulled out of the Wilshire/Western Station at approximately 2:15pm and arrived at the clean up location at about 3:45pm. So we did the 14.5 miles casually in about an hour and a half. Not bad at all. 

After signing in for the clean up, I met some cool new people, including Rachel (above) who had the rear wheel of her bicycle stolen that day (ARG, we hate bike thieves!). Both Rachel and Joe have expressed interest in joining me on longer bike road trips, so I'm hoping I now have some partners in crime as I work up my stamina to Le Grand Tour. 

Rachel, Joe, and I teamed up as team Third Wheel (in honor of Rachel's stolen bike wheel) to clean up the beach. We picked up lots of cigarette butts, small pieces of Styrofoam, pieces of plastic (bottle caps, wrappers, etc.), and other pieces of litter. It was amazing to me that you couldn't walk a few inches without coming across a cigarette butt. Also, the amount of Styrofoam is seriously ridiculous. Those little styro cups we use at BBQ s and such seem to just explode all over the beach. And I think we've all heard about why Styrofoam is bad for the environment. My understanding of how it works is that as it breaks down it releases carbon into the air. But if someone has a good article on the background of that, well, I'm too tired to do the research right this minute, so submit it in the comments section. Thanks. 

Some of you know that I am an ex-smoker, and as I was picking up ALL those little cigarette butts, I couldn't help but feel just a little guilty for all the times I tossed a butt out the window of my car. My plea to all my smoking friends is to never toss a butt again. I make no judgement against smokers (I used to be one, and I understand the addiction quite well), but there's no reason you can't be a non-littering smoker. 
Our trash being weighed
So Team Third Wheel ended up picking up a total of 0.5 lbs of trash. Altogether, the 112 plus participants at the cleanup picked up almost 40 lbs of trash! (And we were only shy that number by approximately 0.5lbs. Maybe Team Third Wheel could've hustled a bit more.) 

After all the collective trash was laid out to spell 350, and we heard from some various nonprofit participants (Net2LA, C.I.C.L.E., Sustainable Works, Heal the Bay, and 350.0rg) we all headed to El Pourtal in Santa Monica for Happy Hour drinks and free appetizers--thanks Pourtal!

At about 8pm, Joe, John, and I headed back to Koreatown on our bikes. (Janet had headed back via bus a bit earlier.) We proceeded at somewhat of a breakneck speed (perhaps it was because I was a slight bit tipsy) down Santa Monica Boulevard, enjoying the bike lane as along as it lasted. We stopped in at Barney's Beanery for some dinner, then home. 

It was a long, tiring, fun day. Thanks to my fellow cyclists for the good company, and to Siel and Sarah for organizing such a wonderful event. It was nice to see that all of us bloggers aren't just avatars but human activists as well. 


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