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The Green Life: South Texas Couple Go Car-Free for a Month

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March 01, 2011

South Texas Couple Go Car-Free for a Month

Car-free Texans The bicycle revolution is well underway. Cycling is no longer the exclusive domain of tattooed bike messengers and über-fit road racers. But a completely car-free life still seems possible only in a progressive, urban place like Portland or San Francisco. A suburb in southern Texas? Not so much.

But Dave and Deby Moreno beg to differ. Starting today, the couple (pictured) from Edinburg, Texas, a small hamlet south of Corpus Christi, will go one month without driving or even riding in a car. Instead, they'll ride their bikes everywhere and blog about the experience. They hope to reach out to the incredulous who believe there are some things you just can’t do without a car. “We just want to be able to say look, we did it, there’s two of us, and if you plan accordingly, you don’t need your car,” Deby said.

If that doesn’t sound quite revolutionary, remember that we’re in Edinburg, a town the Morenos say is unaccustomed to and unprepared for cyclists. What’s more, before last summer neither Moreno had ever ridden a bike.

Last May, Dave bought a bike on a whim, and Deby soon followed. Since then, they’ve been riding more and driving less every day (“I had a pickup truck like every other Texan,” Dave said, but he sold it), and have become active in local bicycle-advocacy circles. It’s time to send a message to neighbors and local politicians, Dave said: “There are people on bikes, and it’s not gonna stop.”

For us at the Green Life, the most obvious benefits of a car-free existence are environmental, and Dave admits that he’s “not a fan of greenhouse gasses.” But the Morenos insist their project is inspired more by the health and quality-of-life benefits a bike affords than by a desire to shrink their carbon footprint. Dave, a self-described “big guy,” has lost more than 50 pounds since he started riding. And Deby said, “I can’t express how much joy you get out of riding home after work on a tense day, and you get on your bike and just take off, and you forget your worries.”

The Morenos say they want to share their discovery — that a car-free life is truly possible and practicable — with people like them, who live in un-bike-friendly cities and have little riding experience. Their blog features advice about how to design a daily routine sans car (planning is everything, says Dave) and equipment tips. The couple plans to keep the blog running after the car-free month is up, Deby said, to build a community of bicycle-skeptics-turned-believers. “I want to be able to allow people to open up their minds a little,” she said, “and just get to enjoy the ride.”

--Tim McDonnell

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