11 June 2008

Buy it, but don't use it!

Hey, it's been a while since I've posted something here. I have been busy, and I've been pondering, planning, and procuring things. There are a number of things in play, all seem to be pushing me in the same direction. As you now know, we are expecting kid number three. As we start getting ready for this, we have realized that we cannot fit three car seats into our car. As much as we don't want to, we need to get a minivan. They use way too much fuel... but we need to get one. But there is a way to balance this necessary evil.

We can buy it, but we can choose not to use it.

OK, I know that sounds insane, but let me explain: I have kept mental track of our use of the car, and how far we drive on average. Over a few months, well over 90% of our use of the vehicle has been for trips less than 5km from home. Most of what we do, we could do without the car if we simply walk or bike. With that realization, we've been talking about using bicycles for much more of our errands. The problem being, what to do about grocery shopping and other such trips? I am getting a rear rack for my bike and have a plan to add some hardware so I can quickly clip on three baskets (two on the sides, one on top) so that I can carry more stuff. Most of our trips for groceries end up with us buying three to five bags of groceries. That would be easy to carry with such a setup. Another option is to get a trailer designed to be towed behind a bike. Most of them can easily carry 150lbs of cargo. Some can handle up to 300lbs of cargo. That's a lot, by the way.

So we will buy the vehicle, but only use it for those few and far between longer trips, or when weather makes bicycle travel more than difficult. By that, I don't mean that winter is a problem. In fact, with properly studded tires, winter riding can be easier than in the summer. It's a matter of will power.

The next few posts will explore some more of my thoughts, and things I have found in researching some of the options. There is a lot of information out there, many good reasons for doing something like this. The ecological reasons. The health reasons (a recent report states that riding a bike to work rather than driving will reduce your risk of heart attack by a factor of 5). The fincancial reasons (just in case you havn't noticed recent prices for fuels). The mental reasons. The social reasons.

Anyhow, enough for now, there will be more to follow.

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