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BW Bike Issue: One Year Later

Tour de Fat Car for Bike Swap


In late summer 2011, Boise first-grade teacher Matt Monette made a last-second decision that puzzled his friends, his wife and even himself: to give up his car at the New Belgium Tour de Fat in exchange for a new bicycle that he pledged to use in its place for a full year.

"I think [my wife] thought it was nuts that we did it with a three-week-old baby," Monette said. "I got to be honest. I wasn't sure we were going to be able to do it all year long."

But three-quarters of the way through his year pledge, Monette is singing a different tune.

"It's going great," said Monette. "I was a little nervous going through the winter months. But it ended up being pretty mild."

To fulfill his pledge, Monette commuted about five miles to and from work each way, something he said was much easier than he thought it would be.

"Once I started biking, I realized you can bike anywhere," said Monette. "It just became that first choice instead of an afterthought."

Monette occasionally used the bus or car pooled because of scheduling issues with the new baby. He also didn't much relish the days that he woke up when it was dark and 19 degrees outside.

But Monette is still glad he made the switch.

"It's been a surprisingly good fit for us," Monette said. "If we could make it through one year, no reason we can't get through another.

But Monette said that doesn't mean it's for everyone.

"You have to make sure you're not setting yourself up for failure," he said.

And get some good weather gear.

But for Monette: "I'm healthier. We're spending less. We're polluting less. I have no regrets. I'm so happy I did it."