Thursday, April 12, 2012

Where's the Key??

The other weekend, I decided to get a Mini Cooper Zipcar to go for a drive in the countryside with a friend. The model was a Clubman, which is their version of a station wagon. Since the Mini Cooper is a small car, I rode my Brompton to get to the car, so that it could fold up nice and small inside the car. I drove a Mini Cooper Zipcar years ago for my sister's birthday, so I remember the car's racecar interior (large displays on the dash). On the Clubman model, instead of a hatchback, there are cute small doors that open outward. It's kind of like opening a small cabinet. :) Each rear window has a little wiper blade. My folded Brompton fit in the back area along with the front bike bag.

I got into the driver's seat, and reached for the key which is on a zipline cord. But when I got to the end of the cord, where there normally is a key, there was just a circle key fob! No key! I was in a time crunch to pick up my friend, as we were making an additional stop on the way. How would I get there if I don't have the key to the car? I looked at the instructions for my car reservation, and I see in the Notes section that in order to start the car, you insert the key fob into a slot on the dash.

(You can see this slot in the above picture - just to the right of the steering wheel). You push the Start button and step on the brake, and the car will start. I thought that was an odd way to have a car start - why not just use a key? But I guess the Mini Cooper wants to be different. :) It took me a couple of times, but I managed to get it started. I think a Prius has a similar push-button start.

We had a nice drive out to Shepherdstown, West Virginia - I hadn't been there before. It's a nice quiet small town in the countryside. It wouldn't be a bad place to live and/or has its positive aspects. But then I think about the things that are helpful in order to live car-free. I think living in the city or nearby suburbs makes it A LOT easier. I have buses and the subway available. Stores are within a short walking or biking distance. There are bike trails and paths to safely get around. So, living in the city/local suburb has its positive aspects too.

My friend asked if I enjoyed the speediness of the car, as I drove along. I hadn't thought about it, nor had I really missed zipping along in a car. Zipping along on your bike is a lot of fun - - you can feel like you're in a bike race. :) You get an adrenaline rush when you're flying along (especially down a hill). :)

True, you can't bike as far in a day as you could drive a car in a day. But, you don't get any exercise when driving a car either. :)

There are pros and cons for everything! :)

Next month, I will be on a bike tour from DC to Pittsburgh. When I get to Pittsburgh, I'll fold my Brompton and put it on a Megabus. I've already gotten my bus ticket - - for $1.50. :) Try doing that with a car!! :)


Rootchopper said...

Ginny's been drooling over Mini Cooper's since they came out. She wants a red one with a white stripe down the middle.

So you're riding to Pittsburgh on a Brompton! It will be interesting how it survives the C&O. I recommend spraying it down every night after riding the GAP Trail. That's a crushed limestone surface. The grit will mess up the cables on your bike if you let it accumulate.

Have fun.

Char said...

Yea, Mini Coopers are okay - they're pretty low to the ground and the seats are not that comfortable - not sure if I would suggest that she get it takes premium gas...

I was planning on taking some rags and chain cleaner & lube to wipe down my chain and bike when doing the ride to Pittsburgh. I'll let you know how the ride goes!

Timmy Radloff said...

I’m glad it didn’t cause much of a delay, but, honestly, I think that was a cool experience! I’m not sure if it was meant for security purposes, but having to start the Cooper in that manner feels close to how old car engines were started back in the day. ;) Plus, the fact that you were driving a Cooper, although it is a more modern edition, it still belongs to an iconic car brand.

- Timmy Radloff