Man experiments with car-free commute to stay healthy, help environment


by Christine Wright

Posted on January 11, 2010 at 3:39 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 15 at 4:31 PM

(WHAS11)  The snow from last week’s winter storm is still on the ground and when the snow hit, it shut down roads and slowed down cars and buses.

But for one Louisville man, his commute wasn’t affected; that’s because he’s committed to a car-free commute.

Kirk Kandle said he wants others to give it a try; a sort of New Year’s resolution that’s good for your health and the environment.
Kandle, showing off his bike and getting ready for his morning commute, car-free, said, “Now that I have a chain case, this thing is all enclosed.  All the gears are in the hub, the breaks are in the hub,”

For nearly 120 days in a row, he’s navigated the 4-mile trek downtown on his bicycle through rain, snow, and sleet.

“It’s remarkable how much heat the human body generates when you’re the engine and the passenger on a bicycle.  I’ll do anything but ice.  Last year, when the ice storm came, there was no way.  A lot of times, I’ll put my bike on TARC if it’s icy and park it down in the garage at work, and by the afternoon the sun comes out and melts it off,” Kandle said.

Kandle’s cycling experiment began as a way to stay healthy and help the environment.

“Think about the air pollution itself.  It’s really worthwhile to get on your bike and save the planet, save your body,” he added.

More and more, people are beginning to realize that there is a cycling community out here and that bicycling is not just recreation and not just sport; bicycles are transportation.

Kandle said, “If you can’t ride your bike to work, it’s not an all or nothing proposition.  You can ride your bike to the grocery store, you can ride for small trips and that will take a whole lot of carbon out of the air.”

And, he said, it saves at least $9,000 a year in car-related expenses.

But the thing he’s learned most from this experiment?  “You can do a lot more than you think and those destinations that you think might be 5 miles away.  Check it out; as little as 2 hours on your bike per week reduces your heart risk 50%. That’s enough for me.  I can’t find a car that does that for me,” he said laughing.

Kandle said last week’s winter weather got him thinking about a car, but he doesn’t see an end to his car-free experiment anytime soon.

You can follow his progress online.  We’ve linked you to his blog; just click the project green tab on the home page.