Going Car-less

My Bike
My Wheels

I Gave Up My Car

…sort of. Early this year when my son Tristan got his Driver’s License I gave him my car to use for school. In many ways this was a great relief for me, no longer needing to drive him to his magnet school every morning; not needing to pick him up from theater practice 5 nights a week.

Of course I’ve had to make a lot of adjustments.

  • I already took the bus to my downtown job, but now I have to catch the closest bus, not the swanky MetroRapid bus that I would pick up at the Park & Ride.
  • On Tuesday mornings I have to leave the house 30 minutes earlier so that I can walk the 1.5 miles to my appointment with my personal trainer.
  • I have to plan grocery shopping more carefully since I either have to wait for Tristan to get home (which is after 7 pm) or I have to ride my bike to the store.
  • I can’t just head out to run errands. Everything needs to be done at night or on the weekends
  • I have to be careful about scheduling appointments, such as vet visits, etc. during the week so that I can make sure Tristan has alternate transportation arrangements if I need the car that day.
  • I have to allocate more travel-time to get from place to place.

So How Is This Working Out For Me?

Well, while the weather was still cold I really enjoyed walking. We were blessed with a very mild winter and a beautiful spring and I was able to take advantage of that. I found that by walking I noticed many little things that I would have missed. It felt good and I felt more connected to my surroundings. I didn’t break out my bike unless I needed to head to the grocery store.

Now, however, the temperature has turned downright unpleasant. We’re hitting the 90’s and “Hot & Steamy” is the forecast. Walking is going to be out-of-the-question quite soon, so I guess I’ll be biking more.

Should We Buy A Third Car?

Not having a third car has proved to be a bit of a problem now that my daughter Genevieve is home from college for the summer. Tristan needs “my car” for his summer camp job Sunday through Friday. This means that Genevieve can’t go back to the job she had last summer because we don’t have a car for her to use (last summer she used mine). She’s been restricted to applying for jobs that she can walk to, which I thought would be great, but so far she hasn’t gotten a job offer.

I am really hoping to avoid buying another car for a number of reasons:

  • I don’t want to take on a car payment for the next 4-5 years, especially since I’m working fewer hours.
  • I’d like reduce our carbon footprint, not increase it.
  • I don’t know what kind of car I would want. I really liked my minivan. It’s been a great car, but Mazda doesn’t make it anymore and in the near future we really won’t need the room a minivan provides. The car I might want to buy for me is not necessarily the same car that I want my kids driving. I’m thinking a small sub-compact manual transmission for me, but a safe, tank-like, already-been-banged-up vehicle for the kids.

 

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