Sunday, 1 August 2010

Could You Get Rid Of Your Car?

Something I've been wondering for some time is whether any of us could really get by without a car or other form of automated transportation in our day-to-day lives?

You may or may not have noticed the constant link in my "Blogs I Read" for LFoaB, or Large Fella on a Bike. The link's always at the bottom because Scott gave up blogging a year ago having completed his goal of losing weight and indeed massively changing his lifestyle. Anyway, he & his wife decided to sell the family car and commute everywhere they needed to go by bicycle.

I guess the question is encompassed by do you actually need to go massive distances to perform daily tasks like shopping, work, visiting friends, etc. If the answer is "no" then why take the car or bus? I think our need to use automotive travel is often a combination of habit, laziness & not wanting to be different to other people. For example if you lived in a community where motor vehicles are frowned on or banned then using a car would be as much of an anathema as it currently is using a bike continuously.

Places like this do actually exist, and we have something vaguely similar in Centre Parks holiday camps here in the UK. You deposit your car at the car park and from then on I believe all travel inside is either on foot or by bicycle. Expand this concept to enclosed modern housing estates or what the USA has as guarded estates and it doesn't really look too bad does it? Again the concept is only really valid if amenities are within a reasonable travel distance.

Once you factor employment into it things become a little more fuzzy, because other practicalities apply such as where you work, what you do for a living & there's always the "I need to get home ASAP to watch the footie" type scenario's. Scott got around this in a rather 'extreme' way by relocating the family a number of times and then he and his wife found new work locally. Personally I couldn't do that as the security of work & the families security created by constant employment overrides the need to cycle. Hey ho but that's just me!

The question I have asked myself then is "could I get rid of the car?". Its a fictitious question because within 5 seconds I have decided there are too many factors against the idea. The distance to work is the main factor though and maybe...just maybe, if I had an office job in the Reading area I would seriously consider it.

The weekly shopping could be carried out using an Xtracycle type bike, my wife works locally, her relatives are semi local - not outside cycling distance, the school is local, cinema, and when we need to travel longer distances like on holiday there is the main train station and the bus.

So not so far fetched eh? Of course my wife would probably divorce me, the kids would leave and they'd all consign me to a mental hospital.


  1. TBH Adrian I havn't abandoned my car but use it a lot less than I did before I started cycling, I go and get shopping on my bike commute to work but as you know only live just under two miles away.

    If I have to go to Croydon I use the bike, so overall I find that I use my car less and less, but abandon no I still a buzz out of driving my car the same buzz I got when I got it new. That is probably why Thursday I had to attend a speed awareness course in Ealing

  2. My car is used for just rugby stuff now. I very rarely use it otherwise...

  3. In college, I went everywhere by bike or walking... but the distance wasn't huge and everything was self contained. Unfortunately now, I just don't trust my fellow humans in leaving my bike alone. I could bike to the grocery store, but there just isn't anywhere to lock the bike up. I could bike to the mall, but I don't want to leave my bike in a location with that much foot traffic. I would like to start regularly biking to work... but everytime I get gung-ho about it, I wake up late and my boss is anal as hell about being even a minute late to work. If only I lived 5 or 6 miles away it would be easy as hell... but when it is either 14 hilly miles or 19 flat miles... the time commitment is a bit much.