Simple Solution

One year ago this week I sold my car. To commemorate that, I wanted to reflect on my former commuting life, and how sometimes there is a “simpler” solution right under our nose. But it takes an open mind to *see* it. And take the leap and figure it out.

Simple Solution

There’s nothing wrong with cars, they’re very useful. But they’re not the tool for every job. With Boston being ranked as 19th for congestion (and my former home city of Los Angeles as 1st) I’ve found I can get more done on two wheels, while enjoying life much more.

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39 Responses to “Simple Solution”

  • I do not like reflecting on my auto dependence days because of how sad I was as a person, but it’s nice to be reminded of why I gave up my car in the first place.

    Another potential future post is the frustration of finding a parking spot – my tipping point for selling my car in Boston.

    • We rented a car from the car-share the other day to move some stuff, and my wife spent literally almost 10 minutes circling near our apartment trying to find a place to park when we were done with it. SOOOOO don’t miss that.

  • That was me about 5 years ago when I llived only 20 mIles from work. Unfortunately, I’m back to where I started — only I now drive over 3 times the distance :=(

  • I’ve had that thought so many times over the past years its not even funny. Still, I live in a metro (Charlotte) where getting around w/assistance to cycling (i.e., public transportation and safe(er) roads), just isn’t happening as fast as it is elsewhere. I do it.. and to get looks from kids, teens (!!), and fellow adults (!!!) that I do go by bike is a a trip.

    But, yea, passing them when they are stuck in that AM/PM traffic jam up because the roads here we designed for fewer and slower traffic. That’s just pure fun to no end.

    • pamelamurray

      Good for you! I bike everywhere in Charlotte too. The key is to live in a close in connected neighborhood. I live in Midwood and I can bike just about everywhere doing everything. Keep looking and you’ll find ways/places closeby. It’s difficult to never drive here but I’ve gotten it down to one day a week which is tolerable. The other 6 days I’m biking and loving it.

  • Ethan Fleming

    Society today is WAY TOO DEPENDENT on cars. I swear, the human race has become so lazy that heading to a store a half mile away is too much work for some people to walk.

    I bike to work 17 miles one way. I only use the car when the winter comes and I really need it.

    Also. I have grown up with epilepsy which means every time I have a seizure I loose my license for 6 months. This has made me realize what a privilege it is to be able to drive in the first place. That is why I have such negative feelings for people who become too dependent on their car. IT is also why it bothers me when a driver honks at a bicyclist for riding in the middle of the road and not letting the car go by. All I want to say to those drivers is, you have a license, you have a car, you have the finances to manage it, so shut your mouth and quit honking and be happy with what you have.

    Good job bikeyface. The messages you put in these comics make me feel like your reading my mind. Keep up the good work.

  • Wendy

    Cars are like drugs. Useful when absolutely needed as a last resort, but highly addictive. Fortunately I cannot afford to keep putting gas in my behemoth so I drive as little as possible.

  • My last car died in 1995 with 125000 miles on the odometer when a chunk of rebar bounced off the road and broke the nose off the crankshaft. Since I live in one of the most car-dependent areas in the country (the DFW region of TX) learning how to get on with the necessities of life without one was a painful learning curve, but I can honestly say there are few times I really miss having a car. Car-free isn’t as convenient as having a private motor vehicle at beck and call, but it’s about $10K a year cheaper here in TX. A bus pass is about as much as gas for a car, and I ride my bike most of the time so I don’t need a monthly pass, which then leaves the money I don’t spend on buying the car, replacing the car at roughly 5 year intervals, depreciation, interest, insurance, taxes, maintenance, and consumables other than gas like tires and oil. The only thing that went up after we went car-free was the grocery bill as I’m consuming about 4500 calories/day and still losing weight, and the other members of the family also increased their intakes, without gaining weight. My conclusion from my little experiment: Cars cost too much money and make you fat.

  • l

    ‘Equivalent’ to your last row centre panel my utterance would definitely be ‘unprintable’ (in /for polite society/readers) :p :D

    :-)) Smile ((-;

  • Lee Hollenbeck

    I do need my car for work. Some of the time, I leave it at work and pedal home the 17 miles. Ride , rest. repeat. More bike = more beer/ coffee $. Where I live in the ‘burbs north of Boston, some people just don’t get “it” at all. They say ” you pedal all the way to Boston” my reply’ it only takes 20 minutes more by bike than by car. I also have bike paths the last 6 miles to Brighton. Averaged 2,000 commuter bike miles in each of the last 4 years, nice.

  • traffic cyclist

    Although I cycle commute 6,000 miles/yr, the time spent driving is kind of a luxury (I can avoid most congestion): radio/iPod, A/C, limit-less carrying space, speed, companions, long distance, etc. Let’s face it: we can cycle only because cars exist in the first place.

    • Pretty sure people were cycling well before cars existed, not to mention before they became the primary mode of transportation for the majority…

    • Kevin

      What majority? Far more people ride bikes than drive cars.

    • GrahamS

      > “we can cycle only because cars exist in the first place.”

      Roads were first built for foot traffic, then horses, then bicycles.
      Cars are late to the party!

      http://www.roadswerenotbuiltforcars.com/

    • traffic cyclist

      I don’t care what came first, it’s not a race.
      We can cycle because cars, trucks, trains, ships do all the heavy lifting: how does food gets into the grocery stores that we all cycle to?

    • Again…. I think people ate food prior to the invention of the automobile.

      Our current society is set up so that mass-production of food is done in certain areas of the country, and then transported huge distances by truck to the rest of the country, but it’s still quite possible in some places (Portland being one) to mostly eat food that was grown/raised within an hour drive of the city center, and if we were to re-arrange our cities so that agriculture was once again a significant part of the layout of the city, we could even get a significant part of our food from within the city limits, in which case that food would not need trucks for delivery, it could be done by delivery bicycles like B-Line (http://b-linepdx.com/).

      Point being, it’s all a matter of choices and priorities – we’ve arranged our society to depend on automotive transportation because we *can* – it doesn’t inherently *have* to be that way.

    • That’s not to say automotive transport doesn’t make certain things easier or have certain advantages, it certainly does. But my point is just that we wouldn’t have to depend on it the way we do if we were to change the way we do things.

    • draft horse

      like it or not, we have been embedded in a fossil-fueled life for 300+ years, in part because fossil fuel enabled (our ancestors and) us to <> do things like cycling–plus it empowers us to do things like traveling at 500 mph, or to fertilize food for 7 billion people. i have no idea what will replace fossil fuel but i am sure we can never have a muscle-powered society again, no matter how much we cyclists think we can change the world.

    • draft horse

      “… in part because fossil fuel enabled (our ancestors and) us to *not* do things like cycling”

    • Ethan Fleming

      But the problem is that the people who cycle realize what a privilege it is to have a car and to be able to drive. People who only drive don’t realize that it is a privilege and tend to become WAY TOO DEPENDENT on it.

  • Brandon

    Eating the steering wheel reminds me of Liz Prince :) I’m now 13 years without a car and still loving it!

  • Steve

    I wish I had you courage.

  • Matthew J

    Coming up on my 8th Anniversary without a car here in Chicago. For the first couple of years, I used ZipCar a lot. Now maybe three times a year. Amazing what once seemed so crucial turns out to be so unimportant.

  • MT Cyclist

    It’s amazing how impatient I am when I get behind the wheel.
    Because I live in Montana, I’ll probably never be car-free, unless they bring back the stagecoach. However, in addition to commuting by bike most of the year, I can pedal to most of my errands: grocery store, food co-op, drugstore, hardware store and doctor’s office.

  • Love your art and commentary.

    I hit 10 years this month since I sold my truck. I can’t imagine giving up my daily bike commute now. It’s the best part of my day.

  • Joanne Bilbrey

    Congratulations on one whole year car-free!

  • I rode my bike to a cafe, I’m sipping a mocha, then I come across your extremely appropriate comic for city commuters. Thank you for brightening my morning.

  • Krista

    I moved to Brooklyn about a year ago. After 5 months of barely using the car, I finally sold it. I thought I was going to miss it. To my surprise, I didn’t. I finally felt free from parking, maintenance, etc.

    But when I went for a two week visit to relatives, I missed riding my bike. INTENSELY. It’s become a simple daily joy as much as a way to get around.

  • Jonathan Krall

    Congrats on your first post-automobile year! My own first anniversary is coming up next month. As I see it, I have more or less traded one hour per day of wasted time (in a car) plus an hour of useful time for two hours a day of useful time spent exercising or reading (while on mass transit).

    Living without a car is much easier than I thought it would be, but it does involve more thinking and planning. To me that’s a bonus, but I can see how all that thinking might scare people.

  • I’ve discovered that I have a very selective tolerance for traffic and time spent commuting.

    A 2.5 hour commute by train? No problem!

    A 1.25 commute by car, with 15 minutes of stop-and-go traffic? I CAN’T WAIT UNTIL TOMORROW WHEN I GET TO RIDE THE TRAIN INSTEAD!

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