Thursday, December 10, 2009

Year Two - Car-Free!

Well, here's to being car-free for Year Two! :) In looking back over the year, I was curious to see how often I had used Zipcar (and other rental cars). For Zipcar, I had used them 4 times, for a total of $281. I also had rented cars from Enterprise for two weekends away, for a total of about $400. I took my folding bike on Amtrak to Richmond and Baltimore, for a total of about $70. So that's not too bad. I did, however, have to spend a bit on bike repair through the year - a couple of my bikes are about 5 years old. I didn't keep a running log of those expenses, but they did include new tires, a brake shifter, new drivetrain, new bottom bracket bearings, to name a few. I hope to do a better job of keeping track of these expenses next year. But I'm sure the bike repair expenses were A LOT cheaper than CAR REPAIRS! :) :)

With my late summer move to a new residence, I have a new housemate. Although she has offered to help me whenever I need a ride somewhere, I do try to do my errands on my own. One question people have asked me in the past, is how do I handle getting my groceries. At my previous residence, my friend Melinda, did most of the grocery shopping for both of us, via her car, and I paid my half. I would sometimes, however, stop and get a few things at the store that I wanted or needed. Now, though, I do get groceries on my own. I have found that my two panniers hold A LOT (believe it or not!). With their various zippered compartments, I find room for everything. I make one big food shopping trip a week, and sometimes stop to pick up a few things during the week that I need. It has worked out just fine. I also have my Bike Friday travel suitcase to hook up, to use for larger items or amounts, if need be.

I now live within walking distance to the bike store I frequent. This is VERY handy... I can drop off my bike on the way home, and then walk the 15 minutes to home. The shopping center where the bike store is located, also has a grocery store and a few restaurants that I can pick up carry-out food for dinner or dine in, which is nice. My bank is on the walk home also. And lastly, the subway is only about a 2-mile walk. If ice or snow keeps me off my bike, I can still get to work. So I'm happy with that set-up - it's good to be able to walk to stores and the subway. I did purchase some YakTrax to slip onto my boots/shoes for dealing with icy sidewalks, if I need to walk somewhere.

So, onto Year 3 of being Car-Free! Stay tuned! :)

**** ADDENDUM *****

We received about 20 inches of snow the weekend of Dec. 19th. My thought that I could walk to the subway didn't pan out because the sidewalks were not cleared, and there's not much room on the roads to walk. So I ended up catching rides to the subway with my roommate and/or a nearby friend. I can also walk 15 min. from my house to the main road and catch a bus that takes me to the subway, so that's been helpful. :)


Nickname unavailable said...

I was wondering what happened to you after the move, and glad to finally see the updates. It sounds like you have found a perfect car-free living condition at your new place.

Gareth said...

Using the bike as my principal mode of transport, I now expect to pay a small monthly amount for maintenance and replacement parts.

This is still significantly less than the cost of running a car. One of the costs most drivers neglect is the depreciation on their vehicle, which in the UK for a new car can easily run into hundreds of pounds a month.