Walking isn't so bad

By Jeffrey Fazio
DriveTime Columnist

 

As much as I love driving, I have no objection to walking. In fact, I rather enjoy it. Now I am not one to just go out for walk, but rather I am one to walk to actually get some place when a car is not available.

Once you get passed the thought of "thatís too far to walk," youíd be surprised how far you can actually walk. The average person walks at a pace of 4 mph. At that rate, you could find yourself quite a distance from where you started in no time at all.

My girlfriend and I frequently commute together to work, but I get finished a half-hour earlier than she does. Sometimes Iíll take off on foot when the day is done and let her catch up to me in her car.

For short after-work walks, Iíll head over to VF Outlet to do a bit of shopping. VF is roughly a mile from work so that comes out to a rather quick 15-minute walk.

On days that I felt even more inspired or motivated, Iíve walked as far as the Fairground Square mall. The mall is just about four miles from the Reading Eagle, and with the hills, it takes me about an hour to get there.

The after-work walks can be particularly amusing as I can frequently make better time, going block to block, than some of the backed-up rush hour traffic in downtown. As the cars break free of the grasp of the cityís traffic lights, they eventually do fly past me, but Iím still getting better gas mileage.

With my love of cars, Iíve had my fair share of visits to mechanics to get work done. As we all know, dropping your car off can be quite an inconvenience, but it can also be an opportunity for one of these long walks.

A few years ago, I lived with my brother in Virginia Beach for a couple of months and I needed to drop my car off to get some work done. Since my brother was at work and I did not know anyone else in the area, I was stuck without a ride back from the shop so I decided to walk to the nearest shopping mall to kill some time until my brother finished work.

It turned out that the nearest mall was seven miles away, but that wasnít such a big deal as I had all day to get there. That was probably one of my longest walks Iíve done, but it was really worth it as I got to see a lot of the area.

Besides the obvious benefits of saved gas and good exercise, walking offers a wonderful opportunity to see more of the world. We tend to whiz by lots of cool stuff in our cars and we often miss out on some really nice stops along the way. Iíve found numerous small shops or eateries while Iím out walking that I know Iíve missed time after time while driving.

As I write this column, Iím realizing that a lot of walking Iíve done in the past has lead me to shopping. Itís fair to say I got that from my mother. She was truly "born to shop" and I guess that has been instilled in my genes somewhere along the way.

At any rate, I encourage you to look at the map of your life to see which paths you might be able to swap out your car for a pair of sneakers. Although America will never give up its love of the automobile, that doesnít mean that the car has to always be our answer to getting ourselves around. Using walking as a method of transportation really instills a sense of accomplishment and freedom.