For the last ten years I’ve been driving a 1992 blue and white Ford Explorer. The car was my father’s before he passed it down to me after I received my license at the age of 16… and boy did I love that car!
But you’re probably wondering, why in the world am I talking about my car on a website devoted to bicycle travel?
Well, the reason I’m talking about my car is because I’ve recently decided to donated my vehicle to charity and am now without any sort of motorized transportation.
With my car out of the picture, my main source of transportation is by bike. And because I’ve decided to live for the next 12 months (and possibly even longer) without any sort of vehicle, I thought this would make for an interesting topic of conversation here at BicycleTouringPro.com.
With gas prices on the rise and the economy in a lurch, more and more people are getting on their bikes. Many of these people are riding to work, running errands, and cycling purely for the (cheap) entertainment. Of these people, many of them are actually giving up their cars and committing to a lifestyle that doesn’t involve driving everywhere they go.
Because bicycle touring (and bicycle travel in general) is a lifestyle choice for me, I see this move to a car free existence as both exciting and rewarding. While I’m likely going to miss having my car at times, I can already see some of the benefits I am sure to enjoy (Namely: not paying for gas, insurance, repairs, etc.).
Here are the four main reasons I’ve decided to give up my car:
1). My car is old and in need of repair
As I mentioned at the top of the article, my car is a 1992 Ford Explorer. More than 15 years old, the vehicle has a lot of issues. For example, the battery constantly dies; I need to put new oil and lubricants in all the time; it catches on fire when climbing steep hills; the brakes hardly work at all; there is no radio, CD player, heat, air-conditioning, or 4-wheel drive; and it’s simply on its last leg.
2). I barely drive anymore
Another reason I don’t see giving up my car as that big of a deal is because I barely ever drive my car anymore. I’m in a particulary lucky situation because I live in a town that has a free bus service that goes just about anywhere I want… and the rest of the time I can get to where I need to go simply by walking or riding my bike. The only other place I really go (not served by the local bus service) is to the Salt Lake City airport… and yet again, I’ve lucked out because there are a number of shuttles that will drive me back and forth between my home and the airport for a relatively low expense. To sum it all up, I just don’t drive that much anymore.
3). I’m going to save a lot of money
One of the big advantages of getting rid of my car is that I will no longer have to pay for insurance and gas. The car is all paid off by now, so I haven’t had that to worry about, but just paying for gas and insurance has pissed me off at times. And while I don’t drive that often, I’m sure I’ll save at least a thousand dollars or more this year by not having my car.
4). Finally, my main reason for giving up my car is that I will be traveling to Europe this winter and won’t need a vehicle for at least the next 8 months.
Yes, I’ve committed to traveling this winter and will not be at home to drive my car. Because I’ll be away and renting out my home in Park City (and because I don’t want to pay for a place to store my car while I’m gone), I’ve decided that this is the perfect time to get rid of my vehicle.
I don’t want to use this article as a means of convincing you that you should also give up your car and ride your bike wherever you go, because I know that this simply isn’t an option for some people. But what I do want you to do is think about what you would do if you had to go for 12 months without your car. If you had to go without a car for the next twelve months, how would you get around? How would you get to work? Go to the post office? Pick up groceries at the supermarket? Etc…
Use the comments box below to share your ideas. If you had to go for the next 12 months without your car, do you think you could do it? What do you think your biggest obstacle(s) would be? And how would you get around those obstacles to lead the life you want to live?