Amblin’ Man

Photo by Wes Davis
David Allen walking

David Allen reflects on the joys of walking to work.

Jump bikes are all the rage, and Uber can get you where you want to go fast, but for one Sacramento man, walking is where it’s at. Attorney David Allen, who lives and works in East Sacramento, has been walking to and from his Folsom Boulevard law office almost daily for more than 20 years. Even as a law student at McGeorge years ago, he lived in Oak Park so that he could walk to class.

“One of the real luxuries I feel I’ve been blessed with living here in California, which is a very car-centric place, is the ability to walk to work in a fair-sized city,” says Allen. “I enjoy it immensely.”

Allen, who prefers taking circuitous routes through the neighborhood, often stopping for errands along the way, logs five to seven miles on his pedometer daily. Many days he’ll walk home and back for lunch. Besides being great exercise and a way to commune with nature (“I love being outdoors,” he says), walking is an opportunity to socialize.

“I’m a big fan of community, and my theory is that one of the things that breaks down community is commuting. When people get into their vehicles, they basically wall themselves off from the world which they move through,” says Allen. “There are folks that I probably would never have gotten to know otherwise except that I see them as they’re working in their yards or doing other things outside. Walking connects you to people.”

Walking also gives Allen unhurried time to reflect on work matters—practically an indulgence in today’s frenzied world. “I use it as an opportunity to think, to strategize, to figure out how we’re going to handle issues that arise in certain legal cases,” he explains.

As for attire, Allen sides with practicality. “Here’s what I do: I don’t wear a suit,” he explains. Instead, a typical outfit includes cotton slacks, “relatively inexpensive shoes” from DSW, Dickies cushioned work socks—“They’re extra thick on the bottom and are made for people who are on their feet all day”—and a hat (straw in the warm months, a Stetson when the temperature drops).

An evangelist for getting places on foot, Allen urges people to think carefully about whether where they work and live will allow them to fit walking into their daily routine.

“Can you find some place to live where walking will work for you? Does your neighborhood have access to basic, everyday needs, like a grocery store?” For Allen, these are life’s big questions. “You don’t have to be stuck in your car. Walking is such a wonderful, natural exercise, and you can build it into your life in so many ways.”