The Downtowner - Bonus Episode: Cleveland Winter is No Match for This Walker

Cleveland, you know this scene well. Would you drive a short distance to work under these conditions, or walk? (Shutterstock).
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I sometimes think my New York City self wouldn't recognize my Cleveland self. 

I've gained weight, for one thing.  You've heard of the freshman fifteen?  I've fallen victim to the Midwest ten. 

I'm paying attention to the NFL. 

I'm also far more likely to hop into my car to get somewhere, even over distances that I used to routinely walk when I was living in New York.   

My New York City self would give John Randolph a high five for his reaction to my recent blog post for our episode on Cleveland's aggressive car culture.

Here's what I had said:

I currently ride a bike to work. I own the streets at 4:00 a.m. I use the UH Bike share program. It's easy and convenient. There's a docking station near my apartment building and one right across the street from the ideastream studios in Playhouse Square. But there's no way I'm going to commute by bike when winter comes. I'll take my car, even though the studios are just one mile away [emphasis added].

That statement so surprised Randolph that he picked up the phone and called me.

"I can't believe, Amy, that it would be that difficult or that unsafe for you to walk a mile just because of winter weather," he said in his voice mail message.

Randolph knows about taking walks in the winter.  The 72-year-old retired systems analyst in Columbia Station told me he walks six miles a day, every day. 

He starts out early, around 4:30 in the morning, to avoid traffic.  He's undeterred by winter.  He doesn't use an overnight snowfall as an excuse to stay home.  He said he grabs a snow shovel and carves out a track down his 700-foot driveway to the road, where he walks in the packed snow left by passing vehicles and snow plows.  

I used to be the same way.  Before moving back to Ohio in 2015, we lived in Brooklyn in an apartment that was a fifteen-minute eight-block walk to the nearest subway station.  I wouldn't think of asking my husband to drive me to the station when it was miserable out.  I'd get my New York on (along with gloves, boots and umbrella) and do battle with the elements to get to where I needed to go.  

Thanks to John Randolph, this winter, I'll be getting my Cleveland on and leaving the car at home.  

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