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Living Car-FreeLiving Car-Free

Karina Gough and her bicycle, loaded with yoga mat and her pre-schooler, would be a normal sight in the Netherlands – rain, shine – or even snow! Here in Masterton, it’s a little outside the norm.

But Karina’s never been one to conform and her DOC Martin boots, jet black hair, nose stud and the popular meditative yoga classes she teaches are testament to her strong sense of self.

I admire her strength of character as I admire her car-free existence.

For most of us, the depths of winter send us scrambling back into the warmth of our cars. Karina is an exception braving the elements to and from yoga classes and Kindergarten.

“I try and dodge the rain where I can but otherwise just stick on my wet weather gear and get on with it. It's not enough to put me off! “

Some might think a life without a car is a life of deprivation but Karina is the one reaping the benefits of living a largely car-free existence.

“I like to bike as it's an easy way to get around and keep fit at the same time. It also saves a lot of money! An added bonus is that I feel like I notice little changes more as I have more time to appreciate my surroundings.  I always get to admire the painted Chorus phone boxes and notice people's gardens and house renovations.  The best bonus, as cheesy as it sounds, is to be able to smile at people walking on the street and say hello to fellow cyclists.”

Karina’s three years old, Luna also benefits from their bike life.

“When I cycle around with Luna we often talk about our environment.  It's a great learning opportunity for her.  We talk about all the things we see whether that's colours of cars, people, animals etc.  When I first started cycling with her on the back I also used to sing to her 'The Wheels on the Bike go round and round' and "Ride, ride, ride your bike, gently down the street.”

Whilst the rest of us are feeling stressed while rushing from a to b trying to squeeze more time out of an all ready full 24 hours, Karina’s bike lifestyle allows her reap the benefits of a slower pace and view her community through a different lens.

Like the yoga Karina teaches, perhaps bicycling too, can enrich the soul and mind.


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