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 retire...it 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!! :)