Going car free(ish)

All uphill

I didn't recognise you but I knew your bike
Location
Somerset
Five years ago we both worked and each had a car. Then I retired and we went down to one car. We haven't missed the second car on more than a couple of occasions, and have hired to fill those gaps.

Now we are considering going car free, with occasional use of hire cars to do awkward journeys. We are fortunate to live within walking distance of the town centre and main line train station.

Anyone done this, and/or have views?
 

Drago

Flouncing Nobber
Location
Valhalla
I've gone car free, but then people keep giving me the damn things so I ended up reverting. Aside from using for for SAR work, I'm car free - cycle, sometimes bus, get shopping delivered. I live 8 miles from the nearest town and manage OK. Mrs D still has hers though, but she's disabled and isn't always up to walking, but I don't use it at all.

My record is nearly 7 weeks without my car moving before a SAR callout came in. It's a bit of a liability really, but when someone gives you a motor that cost 50 grand new its a bit hard to say no (my Dad also bought Mrs d's car for her new, and a £77,000 motor was very hard indeed to say no to).
 
It's fantastic: I always thought I'd "eventually" get a car, but then this happened and I decided I wasn't going to be part of that. Contrary to apparent popular opinion, it isn't difficult: in fact it's very easy; the difficult part if when people have expectations on you that assume you have a car, like commuting 50k- 100k over hilly terrain every day, or attending a wedding and then a reception about 40k apart within 50 minutes of each other.

I realised the other day that my current job application and flat searching was the first one where I didn't even really public transport and certainly not ever getting a car: everything was done on the basis that I'll commute and go shopping by bike or on foot. It made actually looking for a job / apartment within an acceptable distance somewhat more difficult, but it wasn't impossible.

You can go shopping, exploring, visiting friends et c for free; it's a great way to entertain a small person by having them on the back of the bike, and for an introvert like me it is a great crutch to actually have conversations with people, because the focus is on the bike.

Also fitness, happiness, mental health et,c...

Disclaimer: Germany rather more bike friendly than the UK, and unlike @Drago I'm not doing SAR or similar spontaneous activities of a life-saving nature.
 
Last edited:

Chris S

Guru
Location
Birmingham
I got rid of my car 6 months ago when the clutch went. Traveling to work took twice as long when the buses were on time and up to 4 times as long when they weren't. This won't be an issue for the OP though.

What might be is cycling in the rain. The brakes don't work as well and motorists can't see you through steamed-up windscreens. I stopped cycling to the gym in the rain because working out in wet clothes wasn't my idea of fun. The alternative would have been to carry a spare set to change into and another for the journey home.

I'll probably get another car in August when people trade theirs in for a new registration. I might actually be allowed to use it then as well.
 
OP
All uphill

All uphill

I didn't recognise you but I knew your bike
Location
Somerset
Thank you for your replies, especially to #Andyingermany for sharing that personal story. We have been in a similar situation many years ago. I'm glad your son recovered.

I'm more than ready to make the change, just need to accept that Ms AU isn't yet. She feels a powerful need to be able to get to our son at any time, without being dependent on rail services.

The compromise is for me to go fully car free, just as I am veggy and she isn't.
 

gavroche

Getting old but not past it
Location
North Wales
I think that when the current one expires then that's it for me, regardless of how nice a car any kind soul light offer me for free.
Your car should last a good 20 years so nothing to worry about then.
 

wafter

Über Member
Location
Oxford
Personally I'd not want to be totally without a car but fully endorse using it as little as possible. When I'm in the city the only time I use it is to get outside the city (a one or twice per week occurance); all internal journeys are done on bike / foot / occasionally bus (although not at the moment!).

One of my favourite summers was when I was at uni and racked up about 3-4 times the mileage on the bike than I did in the car; which felt like a big achievement to my fresh-cycling-self :smile:

Even if I needed the car less I think I'd still prefer to have one just in case, but if you're happy to hire and think you can do without, more power to you :smile:
 

mudsticks

Obviously an Aubergine
I'd love to be car free, but living in the country, and needing to make deliveries for business, and to take equipment for classes make it tricky.

I think the next step will be a small electric van, when the S/H prices are within range.

I believe you can write off the whole cost of purchase, of such vehicles against tax, as a capital allowance in the first year.

Must check that out.

I guess there may be a few spare kicking about on the market, before long.

And maybe an e-bike for smaller volume deliveries.

Devon Hills, can be a bit beastly at the end of an already long day. :sad:
 

gavroche

Getting old but not past it
Location
North Wales
We have two cars at the moment but will go down to just the one in about 3 years time when my wife will give up driving ( her decision). I wouldn't like to be without one though so the only way it will happen is if , for some reason, I can't drive anymore.:sad:
 
Top Bottom