The Smugness Calculation


It’s been way too long since I last wrote in the ol’ blog. I’d make a Jim Anchower reference, but that’s the stunt I pulled last time I took too long to write. Nobody looks at a bike blog to read about the blogger’s experience with blogging right? The whole blogging thing is inherently navel-gazy, but I try to keep it at a minimum. Let’s just call it a little hiatus. I even stopped reading bike blogs for a week, just to sort of get it out of my system.

I’ll bore you with some navel gazing for just a moment. Check this out:

For a while now, my post, “Craigslist: Not Just for NSA Hookups Anymore” has received the most attention from search engine results. There always seems to be someone searching for something similar to “free nsa like craigslist.” Perhaps with the recent removal (or “censorship”) of “adult services” from craigslist, my search engine hits will go up even more! I think my new goal for this blog should be to make it the premiere cycling/car-free lifestyle blog for people searching for anonymous sex. If I learned anything from my MBA studies, it’s “find a niche” (I didn’t get an MBA, I got an MFA where I learned how to use “scare quotes”). Note that I didn’t say I will provide any sort of NSA hooking up service, I just want to have the bike blog that people end up at when they search for that sort of thing. I guess it’s safe to say that I have that bike blog. Yay for me.

Since I don’t have a regular “mail bag” feature here at CarFree in PVD (see – more scare quotes!), I’m going to start treating my search engine term results as if they were questions from an adoring public. In answer to your question “do you need a car to live in providence” the answer is “No” or… well, kind of maybe. It depends…By way of an answer to your non-question, let me tell you about the latest feature on CarFreePVD: SmugCalc!

To celebrate my 1 year “car-free-niversary” I started what I’m calling the “smugness calculator.” This is where I log all of the miles that I travel by various conveyances. Then I know exactly how smug I can be.

This is a screencap of version 1.0. I'm now on to smugness calculator 2.0 which is stored in "the cloud" so I can be smug no matter where I roam.

In addition to my utilization of “cloud computing storage” … “2.0” or “whatever” (ack help! too many scare quotes!), I’ve added a column for walking, and I eliminated the division between biking for transport and biking for fun. Instead, I have a column for each of my three bikes. It’s always fun to ride and I often work in some sort of errand during my weekend riding. Another feature of SmugCalc_2.0 is a running total of miles for the different categories and an overall total of miles on a bike vs. miles in a car.

As far as my current level of smugness goes, since August 21, when I started the project I’m at 493 miles cycling, and 530 miles in a car. However, there have also been 19 miles walked and 97 miles using public transit. Sure, 5 of those transit miles were when I got on the wrong bus, but still… By the way, I’m not including every yard that I walk as I pace around my kitchen trying to think of something to cook, I’m only calculating when I walk from one destination to another.

So, I’ve been in a car for more miles then I’ve been on a bike. How can I  call myself “car-free?” As mentioned before, I don’t hate cars, and I don’t think that driving a car is inherently evil.  I just don’t think that everyone needs to own a car (or two, or three). Just like not everyone needs to own a roto-tiller, or a beach-front condo, or a moving truck, or a banquet hall. These are things you rent when you need them. For me, a car is the same way. Zipcar is available in my neighborhood, and if I need a car for a multi-day trip, I can walk to a car rental location a few blocks from my office. Which reminds me: after using Zipcar, I really hate renting a car from a regular car rental company. I hate the insurance hustle. I hate the gas hustle. I hate the fact that they don’t have a car when I made a reservation and they then have to drive me to another town in order to get in a car. And I hate the fact that they think they can smooth over their incompetence by “upgrading” me to a larger vehicle. To me, that’s not an upgrade, it just means I have to pay more for gas. And I hate how big cars drive! Alright, enough with the rant. Moving on.

I’m glad I created the SmugCalc, it’s allowed me to see exactly how much I’m riding, and how much I’m driving. Although my car miles are currently above my bike miles, I was pleased to see that I logged 0 car miles in all of September vs. 358 bike miles! I’m practically glowing with smugness!

Okay, that’s enough with the navel gazing. This post is seriously deficient when it comes to pictures. I’ve been on the lookout for strange handlebars and cockpits in order to compete in BikeSnobNYC’s “cockie” photo contest, but alas, the cyclists of Providence are a fairly tame lot. However, I was very happy to find this particular ride on a recent visit to the Wickenden Street area:

I can’t remember if it was a Raleigh, Hercules, Columbia or something else – I’m sure someone else can recognize it from its headtube badge. What made me so happy was to see it rocking the EasySeat! It’s good to see that someone else cares about their taint as much as I care about mine.


One response to “The Smugness Calculation

  1. I was wondering what you were up to. Don’t leave us hi and dry anymore. I wouldn’t do very well on the SmugCalc right now, chasing too many college soccer games all over N.E.racking up car miles and a bigger carbon footprint.

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