Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Car free at last !

For some time now I have been wanting to be car free again - why you ask ?. Well to tell the truth there are so many reasons why people decide not to have cars or to give up their car and only rely on walking , public transport or cycling. In reality cycling is by far the best option as you can choose when and were you want to go and do not have to rely on a local bus schedule which in winter where I live is very unreliable to say the least. If you have the appropriate bicycle you can indeed ride all year even in winter if you also have good waterproof clothing . On my daily 8km commute  into the center of Niigata city I often pass a line of 40 plus cars stuck in a traffic jam , most likely they are saying look at that silly bugger riding in the snow when its  - 2 deg . But as I am cycling I am warm and I will get to my destination before them taking some side streets and when I do arrive at work I do not have to pay for parking plus I am keeping fit at the same time. In my personal view a real cyclist is someone who uses their bicycle daily , no matter what time of the year in snow , rain or shine. So last Sunday I sold my small Suzuki Every van to a workmate and am now car free again. If you really want to save money get rid of your car and cycle everyday - it is possible so why not give it a go !


Matteo said...

I really do want to do this here in suburbia Pennsylvania. However, it is challenging. First, I'm not sure my wife could take this 'extreme' step. We live (on purpose) one mile from her job, and she does ride her bike and/or walk most of the time. But she is averse to doing these things in rain/snow. Also, we wonder what if there was an emergency with the children in which we might have to rush them to the hospital? The closest hospital is about 10 miles away. I think about the substantial savings of having no car payment, no insurance payment, no gas payment, etc... That really adds up! I long for the day....

Don Speden said...

Hi Matteo

Yes going totally car less is a challenge and I can easily understand your point about rushing to the hospital if something were to happen. I live with my daughter in law and her husband who both have cars. My wife does not drive and has recently finished work which was very close and she could walk to work in about 15min. I personally do not care about the weather although winter is a bit of a pain with snow and ice for 4 months. I hope more people will try to give up there car in the future.

Pandabonium said...

Congratulations on your freedom from cars, Don. I like the saying, regarding the expense of cars, "Do you drive to work, or do you work to drive?"

Matteo, do what you can. Good luck in your efforts.

I stopped driving a car when I moved to Japan (from the USA) eight years ago. But for me it was easier as I no longer work a job that I need to go anywhere to do. My wife does have such a job and does drive, but I do all my errands by bicycle, sometimes 5 km to a hardware store, or 12 km into town for groceries. I have a Carry Freedom trailer and use it to get heavy items like gardening supplies and cans of kerosene (used here for heating).

Your concern about emergencies is a valid one, but one which can be dealt with through agreements with friends or extended family members in your area. And medical emergencies - I had a very serious one myself last April - are what ambulances are for. And Taxis are handy on those occasions that you need them.

All the money I would spend to own a car goes for savings and vacations. It is a huge amount.

Going totally car less is not easy. I have tried - and failed - to sell the idea to my wife. Eventually, nature will have the final say - oil is depleting rapidly and gasoline won't be available forever for the average person. We all need to do what we can to begin the transition to sustainable transportation now.

Sorry for the length of this comment.

Don Speden said...

Hi Pandabonium

No worries re the length of your comment and glad you guys feel the same way about cars as I do, even though back in NZ I used to own a car in my mid 20s I went car less for about 5 years or so which was quite easy and recently I decided that before the end of 2012 I would sell my small Kei van as it was no longer needed. I will most likely buy a one wheel trailer like the BOB Yak as it can even be used with rear hubs such as Sturmey Archer which appeals to me as I will build up a new bike later this year.

Have a Great New Year guys
Happy Cycling