Travel Categories easiest to hardest
1 - Easiest - My daily commute. I work .5 miles from my house and I live in a very walkable town. Every time I drive to work I feel absurd. One of the biggest challenges is when I need to get somewhere quickly after work or when I'm running late to work, especially in the winter. I have a terrible habit of driving because it cuts my travel time down from 13 minutes to 3 minutes... and when it's -20 degrees with windchill I feel sort of justified. Biking would solve the timing problem if my bike were ready to go, but it's not a great option in the winter months. Still, for the most part, I can and do build time into my morning and evening to get to and from just about everywhere in town.
2 - A little harder - Shopping. I don't like carrying heavy bags on my back, I've done it too much and it hurts. If I'm just picking up a few things I can totally walk to and from multiple grocery stores, but for a big shop I need some wheels. My bike has a rack with saddlebags, I just need to get off my butt and actually use it. It's even all down hill from the co-op to my apartment..Winter is my only excuse. I'm excited for warmer weather next week so I can pump up my bike tires and make good on my leaving my car parked at home all the time.
3 - challenging - Social and recreational - This isn't always that complicated, since a lot of my friends also live in town, so walking down to get a drink at Two Bros or walking up to the college isn't a big deal. But I do take dance lessons in Burlington one night a week and between my work schedule and the time of night I go up there, there isn't a public transportation option. However, I do carpool, since I've managed to convince several friends to go with me. Doesn't feel quite like carpooling because none of them would be going if I didn't go... but it's better than me driving up alone? Right? :-p
4 - Nigh impossible - personal or family business - there aren't safe walkways or bikeways on my route to the doctor's office, and my parents live 3 hours away in areas disconnected from public transportation, so I try to make those trips in the car infrequent and worthwhile. Maybe someday there will be a train from Middlebury down to Greenfield, MA. But for now, it's Petunia and I on the open road. all that being said, I make those trips only a few times a year, so they don't add up as much if I lived clsoer to my family.
Ultimately, I've basically got the cat in the bag (what a weird phrase!) when it comes to my daily commute, and just need to follow through on my intentions when I made the decision to pay more per month in order to live walking distance from my office. I am lucky I was able to make that choice. Getting my bike tuned up and the tires pumped up will help me improve my car use for shopping, too. It's gonna be a good spring for hybird transportation.