Half way through Lent with no car: how is it going?
I can cut down on my use of car but I could not do my job properly in the long term without it. This is very disappointing. I love cycling and travelling on trains, but the added time taken, and the inaccessibility of some parts of rural Wiltshire just make it very very difficult. Job redesign is possible and we are certainly looking at video conferencing. However, a job which depends so much on personal contact cannot be replaced by video contact alone. Giving up the car for six weeks will in itself reduce my car usage by at least 10%, and I can certainly carry on some of the good habits practised for the rest of the year.
Physical fitness? To my surprise I am fitter. I usually do a lot of training dreaming of the next event at some point in the future, but it’s mostly high intensity stuff given shortage of time, often in the gym. The gym instructor likes to make sure they are near the defibrillator when I am on the rowing machine. Long slow rides have had a very different effect, and i am definitely fitter as a result. But this was not the aim of giving up the car.
Spiritual fitness? I am not sure what that means? Of course, in theological terms the aim is less to find out how wonderful you are yourself as to realise the distance between you and God. I’m not sure much of that has happened. But I have spent happy hours walking and cycling thinking deeply and holding excellent and creative conversations. So a plus, but not an A plus.
Spreading a message about climate change? Well, Songs of Praise came and filmed me and that goes out on Sunday, and I have had articles about giving up the car for Lent in various newspapers and radio interviews. So good publicity if nothing else.
Fairtrade and Local food? With a diet of chocolate, fresh fish, organic vegetables and joints of beef from the farm down the road who’s complaining?