Car Less in Calgary: Day 6, Christmas Tree Shopping

Posted by: Shelton Kwan onDecember 8th, 2012

In a car centric city like Calgary, I’ve decided to challenge myself, and raise some money for the Food Bank by ditching my car for a week, and try to get on with my hectic schedule by using only public transportation. That means no cars, no carpooling, no free rides with friends, no Car2Go, no taxi. 1 full week without a car cold turkey, for the biggest car guy on Beyond. Join me as I detail my daily progress going Car Less in Calgary in this one week daily special feature.

Day 6

I only had 2 commutes planned for today. I was going to go Christmas tree shopping at the Crowfoot YMCA, and hit up Northland Mall to do some Christmas shopping, birthday party shopping, and have some lunch. That has to fit in-between some morning work around the house, as well as some work from home at 4pm. I ran a little bit late with my house work, and couldn’t get out of the house until 11:30am.


Shopping for a Christmas tree without a car is quite the challenge. There is no way I can stuff a tree onto the bus, so the only choice was to walk 20 mins to the YMCA parking lot. I brought along a bike trailer to help me haul the tree back home. It was cold today, -18C when I left the house, but walking the 22 mins kept me pretty warm (unlike Day 4′s -10C freeze standing around). Once we got there, Suzie of course chose the biggest tree there (a massive 10 footer).

I somehow managed to stuff the base of the tree into the bike trailer with enough clearance to access the handles in a contorted position and started my walk back. Let me tell you, hauling this thing is not easy. It was all uphill, and passing motorists stared as this idiot pulled a massive tree along John Laurie. The cold wasn’t an issue, but I had to take a few breaks here and there from the heavy cardio that I wasn’t accustomed to. The icy sidewalks (again, plowed sidewalks) made things challenging, especially trying to have enough grip to pull myself and our new Christmas tree up a hill. 28 mins and 35 seconds later, I’m home and cursing away. Not fun. I’m never doing that again without a car.


By the time I got things organized, it was 1:30pm already. I needed to be home at 4pm for some scheduled work, and checking the bus schedules, it estimated 1 hour to get to the mall. With my terrible luck on Thursday, there was no way I could make it back on time, and just like that, I cancelled shopping plans. Instead, I decided to head on over to McDonalds in Crowfoot to have some lunch.

The trek there is pretty easy, hop on the 299, walk 5 mins, done. Total time to get there, 15 mins and 30 seconds. On the way back, I checked the bus times, and had 10 mins to spare (well Teleride said 15), so I stopped by 7-11 and did some junk food shopping. Tonight, I’m going to stay home, watch a movie or 2, and just do nothing. Total time to get back home, 19 mins even.


The good news is, the Christmas tree looks great. Bad news, I’m supposed to head down to a party at my friend’s place downtown, but I would have to cheat on the way home, because busses stop running late at night. If you’re reading this, sorry I couldn’t make it Kev. I have a big commute ahead of me tomorrow, going to my nephew’s birthday party at Stir Crazy near Sunridge Mall. One more day…

Day 1: 318mins (transit) vs 65mins (car). 4.9x longer by transit.
Day 2: 183mins (transit) vs 95mins (car). 1.9x longer by transit.
Day 3: 120mins (transit) vs 65mins (car). 1.8x longer by transit.
Day 4: 320mins (transit) vs 84mins (car). 3.8x longer by transit.
Day 5: 84mins (transit) vs 50mins (car). 1.7x longer by transit.
Day 6: 34mins (transit) vs 10mins (car). 3.4x longer by transit.



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