5 weeks of car free bliss..

Commuting, Day rides, Audax, Incidents, etc.
Tonyf33
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5 weeks of car free bliss..

Postby Tonyf33 » 3 Jun 2012, 12:08am

I've just re-taxed the car & put it back 'on-road' having gone through the last week of April & all of May being 'car-free'.
I'm very fortunate in that I have shops and local amenities pretty close by, friends are just 5-6 miles away and I have a fairly good mainline station which helped when going to see the folks oop North.
it hasn't been easy though, some shocking weather at the end of April/Early May really made me doubt I could do it but the rest of May has been fair. I did have to cancel going to watch my rugby team as it wasn't feasible for me to cycle sixty odd miles to Gillingham & not have anywhere to shower never mind lock the bike up but it was a blessing in disguise as we were rubbish...lol Having to make sure I have enough time to get somewhere and take a change of clothes has been a little challenging but not impossible
On the plus side I managed to use the bike for everything from taking scrap metal to the tip to cycling around for my charity work, however it is due to this that I've had put the car back on the road :( as well as for a friends wedding in Bucks I said I'd help out on. The financial aspect is fairly minimal tbh as each month costs me £14 in tax and I generally do very little miles aside from certain long trips but it has been worth it overall.
I couldn't give up the car completely but I will be getting my tax back for as many months as possible, I'll need to plan ahead regarding visiting friends around the country and trips away as it is far easier/cheaper by car for the most part but I can see at least 2 more months this year sans motor :D

gilesjuk
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Re: 5 weeks of car free bliss..

Postby gilesjuk » 3 Jun 2012, 12:32am

It has been weeks of car driving misery for me. Bad weather in April meant less cycling than usual and then I injured my coccyx which has only just healed up, plus my hip has started to click when I walk, but it seems not to affect cycling.

I'm hoping to recharge over the long weekend and be rolling again soon.

alanesq
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Re: 5 weeks of car free bliss..

Postby alanesq » 3 Jun 2012, 4:49am

do you have a car hire company near you - this could be worth considering for the occasions you need a car, rather than owning your own?

eileithyia
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Re: 5 weeks of car free bliss..

Postby eileithyia » 3 Jun 2012, 7:30am

I managed this a few years ago, despite it being winter and shift work commutes.. living on my own I could do all my shopping by bike.
In fact I think the car was not used for best part of 3 months. When I came to use it the battery had well and truly died; so I got up late afternoon on a night shift... tootled off to the garage, got a new battery... just managed to fit in my camper long flap and rode home :D

It was now the start of the race season and requiring bike transport was a necessity.
I stand and rejoice everytime I see a woman ride by on a wheel the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood. HG Wells

gbnz
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Re: 5 weeks of car free bliss..

Postby gbnz » 3 Jun 2012, 8:23am

I hadn't really thought about it. 5 years without a car (In 7 weeks and 2 days time)

Of course, work is only 21 miles away, the supermarket 3 miles away, the lakes where I holiday 130 miles, the dentist 4 miles away, the railway station 4 miles away. It was notably difficult when I found myself cycling through 15" of snow the other year on the commute, but then I'm only working 2-3 days a week. And at least on a bike, I've never found myself snowed in, unlike the nurse, police officer and teachers locally (Strange how even the chain smoking cashier at the local supermarket, managed to walk 3 miles to work and wasn't "snowed" in)

And evenings like Wednesday this week, when it seemed too wet to cycle to the cashpoint, so I walked (I forgot it's a 11 mile round walk :oops: )

I suppose popping down to Italy was a long haul and I did catch a plane to get to New Zealand :oops:

james01
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Re: 5 weeks of car free bliss..

Postby james01 » 3 Jun 2012, 11:31am

Tonyf33 wrote:Having to make sure I have enough time to get somewhere and take a change of clothes has been a little challenging but not impossible


You obviously haven't yet become the true utility cyclist. Did cycling midwives change their uniforms on arrival at the patient's house? :D I cycle in normal clothes when visiting friends, shopping etc. The trick is to cycle at just below the speed which provokes sweating. Only do the sweaty athletic stuff when you know you've got facilities waiting at the destination.

gilesjuk
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Re: 5 weeks of car free bliss..

Postby gilesjuk » 3 Jun 2012, 2:26pm

james01 wrote:You obviously haven't yet become the true utility cyclist. Did cycling midwives change their uniforms on arrival at the patient's house? :D I cycle in normal clothes when visiting friends, shopping etc. The trick is to cycle at just below the speed which provokes sweating. Only do the sweaty athletic stuff when you know you've got facilities waiting at the destination.


Even with full mudguards you still get some splatter of mud if you take a shortcut across some grass :)

PH
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Re: 5 weeks of car free bliss..

Postby PH » 3 Jun 2012, 3:08pm

Changing jobs meant I lost my company car and haven't been able to decide on a replacement, that was in 1997.
I have no objection to car ownership, there's been times when I wouldn't have wanted or been comfortable not having one and I don't know if that will be the case at some point in the future. I do know that if it isn't already sat there on the drive it's easier to come up with alternatives. Maybe we should do away with all the tax on petrol, VED and insurance and have a set fee for every time you move it. For a 100 mile journey with several appointments, a car would seem the most practical option and worth paying the fee for, collecting the kids from school a couple of miles away wouldn't be worth it. I can't remember the figures, but a large proportion of car journeys are single occupancy and under 5 miles, I used to do it all the time, now it make no sense to me at all.

Tonyf33
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Re: 5 weeks of car free bliss..

Postby Tonyf33 » 3 Jun 2012, 4:11pm

james01 wrote:
Tonyf33 wrote:Having to make sure I have enough time to get somewhere and take a change of clothes has been a little challenging but not impossible


You obviously haven't yet become the true utility cyclist. Did cycling midwives change their uniforms on arrival at the patient's house? :D I cycle in normal clothes when visiting friends, shopping etc. The trick is to cycle at just below the speed which provokes sweating. Only do the sweaty athletic stuff when you know you've got facilities waiting at the destination.

I did ride to meet friends for coffee on two occasions in 'nice' clothes (one is up & down terrain 5 miles each way run) and I just cracked out a pair of trouser clips, however there's just something in me that pushes me along no matter where I'm going. I have a choice of 3 'big' supermarkets that are only 2 miles away in any direction yet I have to hammer it there and back, just can't help myself :D

Hiring a car isn't really an option in many respects because I often need an estate car but even just a medium/compact 5 door hatch is £85 for a 3 day weekend, (which includes paying excess insurance given most companies charge you £800-£1000 for excess on damage or loss!) minimum 5 times a year I visit the folks and need the car (other times I can use the train) so that's £400 straight off.
A couple of other w/end trips plus tootling off to France for a booze run, so another £250 min then there's the charity work for which I'd need a vehicle for at least 4 days a year, that's another £120 min. Not even taking into account any other ad-hoc uses for going out etc that's a very very minimum yeary cost of £750 in hire charges. That's more than my car insurance, full years VED, full bi annual service & MOT put together for a Passat Tdi Estate.
I'll always try to use the car as infrequently as possible but i'll never give it up completely, it isn't worth the hassle/inconvenience or overall cost.

PH
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Re: 5 weeks of car free bliss..

Postby PH » 3 Jun 2012, 5:39pm

Tonyf33 wrote: i'll never give it up completely, it isn't worth the hassle/inconvenience or overall cost.


Yet you start a thread entitles 5 weeks of car free bliss..
make your mind up :roll:

gbnz
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Re: 5 weeks of car free bliss..

Postby gbnz » 3 Jun 2012, 7:32pm

It's viewing reality from a motorists perspective :roll:

Though I love the justification for requiring a car "My charity work"(4 days a year) and booze :lol:

Tonyf33
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Location: Letchworth N.Herts

Re: 5 weeks of car free bliss..

Postby Tonyf33 » 3 Jun 2012, 7:32pm

PH wrote:
Tonyf33 wrote: i'll never give it up completely, it isn't worth the hassle/inconvenience or overall cost.


Yet you start a thread entitles 5 weeks of car free bliss..
make your mind up :roll:

Make my mind up on what, instead of giving it the eye roll why not try to contribute something positive to the discussion?
it was bliss because aside from one occasion I didn't need to use the car for that period, the weather was nice (bar a couple of days), I got to use the bike a lot more and I enjoy cycling. Why should you or anyone else dictate I have to make up my mind about it being blissful or not, does that preclude me having to hate using the car? ? It doesn't, I actually love going for a drive to the coast or out to a nice restaurant/leisure activity with people in tow and/or that I can't reach easily.
There's a lot of point to my post, it shows that with a little thought people can use their cars far less without it creating a great hardship, however from my point of view it also shows that we often can't do without them either and there are little to no alternatives.
Anything else you'd like to add :roll:

Tonyf33
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Joined: 17 Nov 2007, 3:31pm
Location: Letchworth N.Herts

Re: 5 weeks of car free bliss..

Postby Tonyf33 » 3 Jun 2012, 7:37pm

gbnz wrote:It's viewing reality from a motorists perspective :roll:

Though I love the justification for requiring a car "My charity work"(4 days a year) and booze :lol:

Well it isn't the only justification, but despite my best efforts at using the bike I can't collect & distribute a tonne's worth of magazines every quarter, just isn't possible given the area I cover. I deliver around half using the bike locally though. My weekly charridy work can be done on the bike except when the weather is really horrendous. Then there's meetings/training sessions which are just too far away for me and with no facilities either it's a none starter.
As for the booze run..well I could cut that out but seeing as the wine is so cheap in France it'd be rude not to..lol :D

Ivor Tingting
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Re: 5 weeks of car free bliss..

Postby Ivor Tingting » 3 Jun 2012, 10:12pm

Your experiences seem close to mine.

I go for a month, two months sometimes without using my car. I normally ride to work, but then some times I just don't have the time to cycle so have to drive for several weeks at a stretch or I need to carry a whole heap of stuff quickly and safely that would be a logistical nightmare by bike even though I have front and rear racks with excellent panniers. I guess if you live a pretty frugal boring life then you could survive by bike alone but some have other interests or committments that simply don't allow for such an austere lifestyle. To fail to recognise the huge liberation and independence the car has brought people and families improving their opportunities and quality of life is to totally mis-guage the huge benefit the car has been to get to where we are. Of course there are problems with congestion and pollution, I am not saying there aren't, but the motor vehicle has given people independence that they would not have otherwise known. Plus cars of today are sooooo much cleaner than they used to be.

I love my bicycles but I also love my car. I use the most suitable conveyance for each journey. I just don't see this almost pathological hatred some people, cyclists, have of the car and the people who choose to drive. Some people have no choice. Believe it or not we still have freedom of choice in this country. Perhaps some cyclists would prefer Hitler was our leader as he was very pro-cycling and the healthy life?

I may even on occasion take a train or even a bus ........ although I hate buses mixing with the great unwashed :wink: .
Last edited by Ivor Tingting on 3 Jun 2012, 10:41pm, edited 2 times in total.
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snibgo
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Re: 5 weeks of car free bliss..

Postby snibgo » 3 Jun 2012, 10:27pm

We should applaud anyone who reduces their car usage, for whatever reason, even if they can't entirely do without.

We can't deny that cars that cars are convenient and may be fun and even sociable (for the people in the car, of course). Our current society seems to try its best to mandate the use of a car. We have a vicious circle: the more we use cars, the more society changes to encourage their use. Nevertheless, I can't condemn people who are unable to manage without.

I'm relatively new at being car-free: two years now, and I haven't been inside a car for a year. I needed the cold-turkey treatment, and I'm happy to have broken out of my personal addiction. If we can encourage others to reduce their habit, that's a good thing.