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. 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!


  • Anne  
    6:05 PM

    The Xtracyle is one of the best bits of kit I ever purchased.

    I find myself making excuses to run errands an pick things up just to see how far I can push the envelope with the versatility.

    It's the closest thing to going car free.

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