July 21, 2019

Will Our Next Car Be A Bike?

Will this be our next vehicle?


In 2005 Linda and I started our concentrated effort to drive less. Along the way it has radically changed our lives.

In response to calls by scientists for high consumption nations to reduce their carbon footprints, we decided to take action on our changing climate, high energy consumption, and waste. 

We began to ask ourselves hard questions, the central one being, "do we really NEED to be driving as much as we do, considering the considerable impacts of doing so?" 

The answer that kept coming up was, "No."

When we started our project our lifestyle was not conducive to meeting our restricted driving goals. So we changed our lifestyle. Our lives began to develop toward a more simple, more local life less driven by perpetually trying to find greener grass somewhere else.

In 2005 we began to voluntarily restrict the number of kilometres we drove by limiting our travel to a 50 km radius from home. Over the years that radius shrunk, and our driving became more and more local, and more and more rare. 

Over 9 years of living on the west coast we managed to eliminate all non-essential driving altogether. Perhaps because we lived on a beautiful beach on the Pacific Ocean, we found we did not miss driving to far away places at all.



View from our west coast home. Who would want to drive away from this?
We learned to love staying close to home here.


Now, 5 years after driving across the continent and moving our simple lives to the east coast, we are driving less than ever. Last year we logged about 500 km in total. 

Because of that, we feel like we are finally ready to go car-free, something we have dreamt about for most of our lives together. Have I mentioned before that I hate the personal motor vehicle? Yes, I have. Many times. 

I want to be free from the chains of vehicle ownership. I do not want to be bothered by registration, inspections, unethical mechanics and costly repairs, driver's licensing, and insurance. 

I don't want to have to buy and burn fossil fuels and oil and other noxious fluids. 

I want to kick the auto habit once and for all.

Strangely enough, today our van broke down (again), but did so in the best possible way. I had just got home from buying groceries, and was pulling into the driveway. As I rolled to a stop, the gear shift linkage failed, and now the van will not shift into drive. Or neutral, or park. 

Now our van will not move, and will require being towed to a shop for repair, something we are loathe to do. 

So Linda and I did the logical thing - we went on line and looked for a bike. And we found one (see above). Such a bicycle (technically a tricycle) is expensive, but we have spent more than the purchase price of the bike in vehicle repairs in the last year alone. 

In the long run, buying the trike instead of repairing our van or buying a new vehicle, would save us a bundle. 

And does it not look like it would be some kind of fun? I want to see Linda on this thing, with a huge smile and bugs in her teeth.

Will this be the year we kill the myth of the vehicle as an unfettered and benign "freedom machine"? We are already enjoying a very local lifestyle, and with my present bike, plus a trike for the two of us, we can do a lot in the right situation.

Going vehicle-free is still frightening, but the thought of it is also exhilarating. 

I am looking forward to many bike adventures, as well as getting legs of steel and a stellar cardiovascular system. All with a low-carbon mode of transportation, and a feeling of doing the right thing for the Earth.

You can't get that with a car.






7 comments:

  1. Anonymous7/21/2019

    That trike looks awesome. 61% of people in Copenhagen cycle to work - all year round! As long as your region isn't too hilly and your gears are good it should be brilliant. And yes, the costs of conveniences like cars add up and suck away our life hours as we work to pay for them.
    I saw a video recently about a Melbourne couple who rent their car out to other people as they use it so little. Would-be users pay online and when they have done so they receive a code which opens a little box on the couple's driveway containing the key! I thought this was a genius idea and wondered about doing this with my car as it has very low kilometres on it and we don't need it every day. When I am able to stop working outside of my home we will 'need' it very rarely indeed.

    Madeleine

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A car share would be excellent for us, and there are car share options available in Nova Scotia. Thank you for mentioning this. We will be looking further into a car share situation.

      I have transferred Linda into the front seat of a car, although we haven't tried this for many years, and it is not certain that we can still pull it off. It is something we will be trying again as we continue to look at transportation alternatives.

      I love the idea of car sharing (not Ubering).

      Delete
  2. There is an organization that builds these for veterans homes. It is a private family. They just donated one to the veterans home here. Do you want me to check into the name of the people. Perhaps you could get this cheaper and more modified? Kim

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We would love to hear more about the people you refer to. The bike above is built in the UK, and would be expensive to ship to Canada. It might be less expensive from a N. American builder. Thank you.

      Delete
  3. Anonymous7/21/2019

    That is so cool! I look forward to hearing more about it as you research it and perhaps purchase. - Mary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would love to be able to take Linda for a bike ride. What if I could ride her to appointments and such? That would be great.

      Delete
  4. Anonymous7/23/2019

    You two will be a rolling inspiration! I can't wait to see photos of your journeys. -Erin

    ReplyDelete

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