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 Comments on "Simple Solution"


Shebicycles
July 11, 2012

Exactly!

Opus the Poet
July 11, 2012

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
July 11, 2012

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

:-)) Smile ((-;

Lee Hollenbeck
July 11, 2012

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
July 11, 2012

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.

Dave
July 11, 2012

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

Kevin
July 11, 2012

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

GrahamS
July 12, 2012

> “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
July 12, 2012

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?

Dave
July 12, 2012

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.

Dave
July 12, 2012

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
July 12, 2012

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
July 12, 2012

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

Ethan Fleming
July 18, 2012

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.

 
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