For my week on the blog, I want to introduce you to a few of my low carbon loves: the things in my life that make it easier for me to be green.
Perdita demanded to be introduced first. I've not known Perdita long, but we hit it off right from the start, and we have a lot of fun together.
She's flighty and skittish and next to her I feel a little slow and lumbering, She's light on her feet and loves to dance. To be honest, I find it hard to keep on top of her. She's beautiful, with a style all her own: always glamorously kitted out in hand- me-down panniers and a hand-made basket.
Perdita was a gift last year from my other half's mum. Being in Transition had taught me that I needed to use my car less, and I had a poor neglected bicycle mouldering away in the garage. I tentatively started riding- after 15 years out of the saddle- searching desperately for off-road routes. After a few wobbles and a couple of hair-raising near-misses I found my feet and was soon cycling the 14 miles to work and back 2 or 3 times a week. I recorded how far I cycled and found that I reduced my car mileage by around a quarter last year.
Inevitably this poor old bike of mine gave up the ghost and as I was looking into repairing it, I was very kindly given Perdita.The more I cycled, the more confident I became and the more I enjoyed it. I hadn't realised how pleasant it would be. I love the sense of speed and movement, the beautiful shushing hum of the wheels. I feel so proud and free to be getting somewhere under my own steam. And speaking of free: I don't have to buy her petrol or pay to park her when we get there.
I've had so many magical wildlife moments cycling: slowing to watch a kestrel hunt; passing a whitethroat singing in a bramble bush; and several times on hot summer nights stopping to watch foxes just a few feet away. I had no idea cycling would be this joyful, but Perdita has introduced me to so many new pleasures, and I'm truly grateful to her.
Our relationship is a little unconventional (I have to chain her up quite often). She knows I use other means of transport, but I do feel quite bad about it. I know I don't take her out as often as I should, especially in the winter.
I worry that I'm something of a fair-weather friend to Perdita: I'm determined to show my commitment to her a little more fully this year.