car, driving, walking, cycling, DriveWrite Automotive, motoring blog, car blog

Shun The Car

As you go about your daily grind have you ever wondered how you set about getting highly lucrative employment in the fields of research and investigative study? The jobs must, like the truth, be out there because there seems to be many well-funded organisations at home and abroad that each have a ‘Department of Researching & Stating The Bleeding Obvious’.

It was recently reported, again, that some scientific people have concluded that car commuters should get off their well-padded Alcantara-wrapped bums, shun the car and walk or cycle to work and thus be lighter and, as a consequence, more healthy. Well, who’d have thought it eh?

It is of course a very good idea. Summer’s coming and it is getting closer to that time when you find that the reports of a stranded pink elephant seal wearing Speedos has been spotted on some far-flung beach turns out to be you. It is definitely a good idea, no matter how much you love your car, to take exercise. It’s okay to drive your motor to and from exercise events near or far but it is less acceptable to your bodily well-being if you spend all your time in the thing just to go up the road to work or the junk food factory.

Living out in the sticks is one thing but I’d hazard a guess that a majority of us live within reasonable walking or cycling distance of some shops and it just makes sense to shun the car with the added bonus of saving money on fuel.

I feel an agenda coming on though. Trawling through back issues of the internet I found that, in one way or another, this ‘get off your backside, out of the car and exercise’ advice is something of a hardy annual that mostly crops up around Springtime. As with many things concerning the national health the message is always prevention not cure. This is a good thing. Walking and cycling to work and play will help you lose weight, save money and ease the burden on our poor, overstretched NHS. Let the shunning commence!

But wait: Constantly being nannied by over-paid and over-zealous officials either side of their expensive lunch is really irritating. Being told that which is obvious by the scientific and medical fraternity is equally so. Who are these over-privileged folk, who get paid far more than most of us ever will, to come out with stuff which is just a matter of common sense? In short, I could have told you that for nothing.

Herein lies the agenda. It isn’t the car that is at fault but it is the car that takes the blame. This happens all the time and in many ways. The car is just a transport tool, like a bus or a train, only more fun. Public transport is very expensive, often inconvenient and subject to the vagaries of weather and strikes and the like. This Easter for example there will be 450 simultaneous sets of work on the national railways. That’s why it is hard to prise us out of our vehicles.

The real problem though is us. We have been harangued and cajoled about this stuff for so long now that it has just become an annoying white noise. The trouble is, our national state of health is our own fault. All the helpful facts are there but we’re just not listening. With all the media hype and flickering inducements to try and buy a manufactured way of life perhaps it’s time to get our priorities in order before living becomes just a lardy, suburban, autonomously driven hell.

Biking and walking are about seeing the world from a different perspective and it gives you a brief escape from grey government and boring business; from the shop floor and the high rise. Out in the fresh air and without internal combustion support you can pit yourself against yourself and win; forgetting, for a while, the hassles of modern life. Exercise is good and at the end of it the sound you’ll hear is your own elemental heart applauding.

Just don’t blame the car. It’s great to own and enjoy one. Going for a drive is one of life’s pleasures after all but then, so is walking – even if it is only to the office in a bowler hat. Geoff Maxted