Update to carfree living  

I did more research over the weekend. Still going with a FreeRadical hitchless trailer. I think I've changed my mind on the motor. I am strongly leaning towards a Cleverchip Stokemonkey. The price is steeper, but I think it will really give me more bang for my buck. I found some OK reviews on the Wilderness Energy kit. Every person that has a Stokemonkey LOVES it.

Here are some reasons I'm leaning towards it:
* It is built specifically for the Xtracycle FreeRadical hitchless trailer
* More torque than the WE hub kit
* All the battery options for the WE hub kit seemed to take up valuable cargo room or I'd have to buy a seatpost rack, but not sure that would really help much either.
* Seems the mileage range is longer on the Stokemonkey than the WE

The number one thing that is strongly pulling me towards it - some guy in San Fransisco uses one for his daily commute (visiting nurse) and he also can climb the hills with a rider on the back of his bike! I think the Stokemonkey can handle the hills in Greenville!

While it is a bit more expensive and it does make me nervous to spend that kind of money on an accessory for my bike, it will pay for itself in only a few months.

The sad thing is...it's not currently available. They needed to make some adjustments to the Stokemonkey design and they're behind schedule with the production. Last update was March 26th and they were hopefully going to ship to the States soon, but they aren't exactly sure of the actual date.


Living Car Free  

Since I moved back to the States in July 2007, I have not had a car. I really didn't expect to be without one this long. So far it's worked out mostly OK. It's frustrating at times, but I've gotten used to it. Every time I have "needed" a car for some reason or another, God has provided the use of one at just the right time!

Now that I've saved some money, I'm at a crossroads. The amount of money I have will not buy me much of a car. That's OK with me. I just need something to get me from point A to point B and haul some stuff here and there. But...is it really worth it?

Since I work from home, I don't need to get to/from work. I was having to go to the Post Office quite a bit to mail boxes, but now I can do that from home using Endicia. Most everywhere I need to go is within a 2 mile radius of my house. I have a rack with panniers that work great for hauling groceries and smaller stuff, but sometimes they're not quite enough for bulkier items.

The hills here in Greenville do present a bit of a problem! My stamina has increased, but some of them are killers. A few weeks ago I almost passed out when I got off my bike after a hard ride. They take the joy out of riding. Granted, sometimes it's a thrill to accomplish them, but when I'm tired or don't feel like riding, but need to get somewhere, it's not fun. I dread them. Sometimes if I can, I'll take a slightly longer route with less hills.

So...what to do? Continue living car free? Or buy some cheap car that is going to need to be replaced probably sooner than later?

I've been weighing my options & minimally, I'll save over $4200/year ($350/month) by remaining car free! That's just for gas, insurance, oil changes and saving for a replacement car. That is not including car repairs, yearly registration, etc. (AAA's research shows the annual average cost of driving a small sedan is $6,320 per year.) With that kind of savings, living car free is becoming more tempting! That leaves me plenty of money to give my friends gas money (I do need to get to church, unless I find biking with a change of clothes will work.) or rent a car for a few days if I need to! The Transit Authority here recently installed bike racks on all the buses. So far, I haven't ridden it yet. The one and only time I tried to catch one didn't work out so well. Maybe I'll try again later.

So I've come up with some options to overcome the hurdles of hauling stuff/the hills:

First is the Xtracycle FreeRadical hitchless trailer conversion kit and WideLoaders. The hitchless trailer provides a lower center of gravity for more stability. It also provides more cargo room than my current saddle bags. The WideLoaders provide a platform to haul bulkier things:

The next purchase will be a Wilderness Energy ebike kit. This will give me assistance going up those tough hills without killing myself!

I had been planning on saving my tax rebate check for a rainy day, but I'm seriously considering putting that money towards these accessories. After all, that's what the government really wants us to do - stimulate the economy by buying things, right? :-)

There are some other options out there. But, since I'm just starting out, I don't want to sink a lot of money into something I might regret later. If I decide this is going to work out, I can always upgrade since I'll have some extra spending money!


I recognize that place!  

Heather sent me a link to ivman's blague. She said one of the pictures reminded her of me. (For those of you that know me, I'll let you guess which one!)

The interesting thing I noticed on that page was the Donutland picutre. I was quite sure I recognized that location and the cars. I did a little digging on the web and sure enough, it was taken where I grew up! Sadly, it is no longer a Donutland, but now an Italian restaurant.


(Not) Free Starbucks Coffee on 4/8/08  

Update- I stopped in at noon and there were about 5 or 6 people ahead of me there for the same thing. Some had seen it on the Starbucks website. Some had received an email from Starbucks. The manager there had absolutely no idea what the free coffee was all about! Bad PR move on Starbucks part! Most of us left without purchasing anything.

Starbucks is giving away free coffee on 4/8/08 12pm EST/9am PST!

Check out Money Saving Mom and Starbucks for more details!


A disappointing trip to CVS  

Today I needed to get out of the house for awhile. It has been raining the last couple days and it finally eased off to a mist. I grabbed my umbrella and walked almost 2 miles to the CVS. (I do better at exercising when I have a destination! Otherwise I wimp out and come home.)

I got 5 bottles of 24ct pain reliever and 2 bags of licorice. I paid 25 cents out of pocket and got $19.95 back in ECB to use later. I really wanted some of the body wash that is on sale because I had a couple coupons that expired today, but they were out. :-( I did also get a $4 off $20 coupon to use later!

I headed across the parking lot to check out the grocery store and see if they had the Campbell's StockPot Fresh soup. They did, and it was even Fully Loaded Baked Potato Soup today! I wasn't hungry when I got home, but I did taste it and it's delicious! I can't wait to heat it up tomorrow for lunch!