Thursday, July 30, 2009

One car anniversary

I was going to write an entry on the first anniversary of my venture into one-carredness over the coming weekend, but when I looked at the entry, I actually sold the car at the beginning of July, not the beginning of August as I had thought. Well, happy belated freedom to me...

What have I learned over the last year?

  • biking isn't the easiest way to get around - let's be honest
  • biking can be the fastest way to get around
  • I'm less fat when I bike regularly
  • motivation is still a problem (see Snak's post), especially in the winter
  • I've saved a bunch of money
  • I'm buoyed by a sense of self-righteousness (or, I could be less fat and in better shape)
  • a bus, or a bike/bus multimodal method of movement is a good way to get around in an urban area
  • I don't regret purchasing the Big Dummy one bit. An Xtracycle is really a useful option if you want to go carless or less-car.
  • a Big Dummy doesn't fit on a bus' bike rack

    The biggest gains have been in my overall conditioning, big surprise that, and the money we've saved with only one car. Mrs. Yam has been without steady employment for many months now, so the loss of the extra expense of a second car has been a welcome relief from the financial pressure on the Yam household. Licenses, fuel, insurance and general upkeep are, or were, an unnoticed though steady drain of cash and the loss of the second car gained us some badly needed breathing room. Between the bikes and the rechargeable bus card, there are few places I can't go if I haven't access to a car.

    Summer is here and this one has been quite a bit cooler than our normal summers and this is quite a relief to your humble narrator. I'm still a winter guy, but with days reaching into the mid 80's and nights pleasantly cool, I can live -- and bike -- with this. I just fear that the other shoe will drop and that shoe will be very cold indeed. I have a winter bike and I've been able to get the clothing mostly right, so our second winter with a single car will be possible.

    So, now into my second year of single cardom, what do I expect to see? Hopefully more of the same and perhaps even more time on the bike during the deepest, darkest days of winter. Motivation is difficult to attain when you're biking in the dark most of the time, temps that freeze the water out of the air or snow so thick that walking is faster, but wrapped in my blanket of self-righteousness and donning my cone of smugness, I hope to survive the winter.

    Don't consider this an exhortation to drop a car, but see this missive as an example that you can (possibly) get by better than you think and the benefits, though initially well hidden, are there. I'm not anti-car, I still have one after all, but cutting down is completely possible and you may even improve your life a little without the vehicle.

    Doug said...

    Wow, it's been a year already? Congratulations! I know everybody can't make the jump to a one car household, but it sure works for us.

    Snakebite said...

    Well done!

    The Old Bag said...

    Congrats! We ponder this in the midst of two commutes of 12-16 miles in opposite directions (SLP to Eagan/EP). Commuting to the 'burbs just doesn't give us the best public transit options to fall back on (1.5 hrs. bus to work :-[ ), although I'll have light rail in my direction in 2015 or 2020 -- can't come soon enough.

    bother yam said...

    OB: I understand the conundrum -- it's almost impossible to get from inner ring to outer ring using public transport. Especially to 'burbs that did their best to eliminate said transport since that's what poor people ride...

    shannon said...

    kudos to you one year carless! we've only ever had one car (and a passle o' bikes), and I can imagine the freedom that cutting the expense and headache of car owning in half would bring!