Sunday, March 15, 2009

Car-Free Weekend

We are realistic that we cannot ditch our car completely. There's no way we could ride a bike to our local-ish Trader Joe's nor could ride to visit good friends in a neighborhood on the other side of the city. We've lived with just one car since we became car owners, and in the past year or so since moving to New Haven, it has been a bit of a juggling act with one car-- but we've done it. I have to give a shout-out to friends who were generous in giving rides when necessary.

As the boys grow older, they have some commitments of their own so it isn't just about my schedule or P's schedule but five family members' schedules. These schedules sometimes conflict and we need to be in different places at the same time. Some of these places are not within walking distance nor is there a solid public transportation option here. We made a conscious choice to rent in this neighborhood so that P could walk to grad school, but if we were to try and buy a house-- it is most likely that we would need to look elsewhere, and also most likely we would end further away from the school where I work and S and C attend. However, long ago we committed to remaining a one-car family for as long as possible. And now likewise with our brand-new cargo bike, we have a new mantra: If we can get there by bike, we are going to ride.

This weekend, P and I took on a silent challenge. We never really said it aloud but as we mapped out our days, we decided to leave the car parked and go strictly by bike (hence another week of school lunches without those Trader Joe granola bars the boys have become crazy about).

Here is what we did by bike:
  • C's and S's music lessons-- bakfiets, round trip 3.2 miles
  • F at a birthday party in the next town over-- bakfiets, round trip 5. 2 miles
  • Grocery store run-- bakfiets, round trip 5.2 miles
  • Dinner take-out pickup-- bakfiets, round trip 2 miles
  • P off to work (church)-- on his inherited 1968 English Rudge, one way 1.9 miles
  • S and boys to St. Paddy's Day Brunch-- bakfiets, one way 1.1 miles
  • Tooling around downtown New Haven on both bikes, checking out the parade plus the trip home-- at least 3 miles
All-in-all, you can see we never ventured particularly far, but without the baks, a few of those trips would have been car trips. P and I are normally up for walking, but that doesn't work with six-year-old (x2) and three-year-old legs and temperaments. The bikes were particularly handy when it came to wandering downtown for the St. Paddy's Day Parade. We could scoot through streets that had been blocked off to cars, didn't encounter any of the parking hassles, and we were able to make quick get-aways when some of the parade scenes got a bit, uh, hairy for our taste.

Another huge advantage to now owning a bakfiets-- a whole world of cargo bike blogs have been opened to us! Many thanks to the new folks stopping by my blog and commenting, including MamaVee, DrMerton, and Henry in Amsterdam.

OK, I know I have been gushing, but what can I say-- I am in love. And in the words of the immortal Freddie Mercury, "I want to ride my bicycle..."


José Moyano said...

Hola desde Sevilla. Me encanta este post, creo que tus historias de bicis son muy divertidas. Ahora te encantaría esta ciudad. Desde que construyeron el carril bici ves a mucha gente pedaleando. Me gusta!!!
Te dejo una dirección (otros de mis blogs) sobre el equipo de ciclistas de mi trabajo Hay enlaces a algunas páginas

Jennifer said...

This chapter in your lives is so cool!

MamaVee said...

I totally hear you. I can't take my bike that far. But I am defininately trying to use the Sorte for the 1-2 mile trips I take all over. which grocery store do you go to ? Edge of the woods? That cycle might freak me out- you go on with your bad self!

Andrea said...

You and P are going to have butts of steel!