Thursday, November 6, 2008

First Year Anniversary

This month will mark my first year of living without a car. :) Hard to believe it's been a year already! Here are a few of my thoughts about being car-free:

1. I have come to enjoy and appreciate the slower pace, both in bicycling places, and using public transportation. I have done a good bit of reading in my public transit time, something I haven't had time for before. You'd think it wouldn't be possible for me to say I enjoy biking EVEN MORE than I have - but I do. I enjoy seeing the sights around me and exploring new areas. Cars zoom past me on the road...yes, they beat me to a destination, but I have more fun getting there. :) I also enjoy getting even more exercise than I did before. I appreciate the simplicity, ease and use of the bicycle.

2. I have saved about $2K in my savings account, which I add to each month. It's been neat to see the account grow, and I haven't withdrawn any of it. Someone mentioned that I could use the money to pay for any bicycling repairs or expenses I have. I suppose I could do that, if I didn't have the resources otherwise. I suppose I also could add more to the monthly amount that I deposit, but I was keeping it at the amount that equaled how much I had been spending in gas and insurance for my car.

3. I've explored getting around by bus, train, subway, plane, etc. Though sometimes it's been a little frustrating or slow to take public transportation, for the most part, I've managed alright and I've worked around some obstacles. I have made the adjustment in my mind of how long it will take to get to my destination. It's been neat to meet people in my travels who start up a conversation with me when they see me with my bike. It's been fun to share with them that I don't have a car and how I've managed to get around. Some people look at me with disbelief, and state they couldn't possibly live without a car. Others have told me they have enjoyed biking in the past and have been thinking about taking it up again. I tell them how great this area is with the bike paths, transportation, etc. and I encourage them to try it again.

4. The hourly/daily rates of renting a Zipcar has risen the past year. It'd be nice if it hadn't, but inflation has hit everywhere, so I'm not too surprised. When I had donated my car, Zipcar opened my account with $500 in driving credit, which is valid for a year. I remember talking with a co-worker about that credit, and told her that I BET I could make that $500 last all year long. Through the year, I have rented Zipcars as needed/wanted (8 times). I used the last free Zipcar rental recently, so now I'll be the one paying the hourly fee. Even though I like having Zipcar as an option, I probably can get along without it even less.

5. Thanks, Melinda! Lastly, (but not least!) I thank and appreciate my friend and roommate, Melinda, for rides to/from the airport, train depot, Zipcar locations. I have tried to schedule my returns to not be late at night, so it will allow me time to then bike home. Sometimes though, when I have finished a trip to other areas, I have been delayed along the way (unexpected transportation delays). So, even though I have TRIED to be back in town early, I get thwarted. It would be even later, if I were to try and bike home. Yawn... Melinda has been kind and gracious to come to my aid. We sometimes catch a meal together when we meet up, and I pay for her's in appreciation. Also, if I am with her when she happens to fill up her gas tank, I help out towards that. I also have helped her out a few times where I pick up items or run errands for her on my way biking home - which saves her a trip out, and she appreciates that. So, we help one another out. :)


Anna-ree said...


Shek said...

congratulations. Going car free is great. It is great to have access to zip cars too. Unfortunately, we in Jacksonville dont have that, so there are some expensive cab rides here and there. Friends help a lot though. I have a couple of Melindas here.

Nicola said...

Way to go! That is awesome!