adam greenfield goes a year without riding in a car 2009 in san francisco
Photo: Lea Suzuki / The San Francisco Chronicle

Adam Greenfield went all of 2009 without using a car. While he already commuted by bike to work, he thought it would be an interesting experiment to eschew cars for an entire year. He wrote about it in his blog, The Gubbins Experiment.

It seems a bit easy for a single guy living in a big city to make this kind of commitment, however, he did come along a few obstacles along the way and learned some valuable lessons. Lesson number one: When you stick your neck out, you’re almost always guaranteed to attract people who will criticize you–a lesson clearly shown in the comments section of the San Francisco Chronicle article about Adam’s experiment. The other lessons? After the break…

Something we could all ponder on for a moment as we enter the new year:

2. Setting an example is more about consciousness-raising than changing people

3. To limit yourself can be a form of freedom

4. Small is beautiful

5. It is good to do something scary


  1. I think it’s a fairly great accomplishment, but would have been more of a challenge in other cities.
    Needless to say, the great majority of people commenting on the article ran Jan 02 in The San Francisco Chronicle paint him as an English newbie to SF doing something people have been doing in that city for years and years.

  2. The sheer volume of anger from all those commenters is staggering and saddening. I honestly can’t see how you can criticize the guy – I don’t think he had some naive, over-arching mission to save the world. I think he just wanted to do it. And he did. He clearly acknowledges that it doesn’t work for everyone.

    Are people that terribly threatened by things that fall outside their small range of ‘normal’ behaviour?

What do you think?