Early in August, we decided to forgo our car and use bikes and a bike trailer instead. The first week we still drove quite a bit. But for the last two weeks, we've been solely biking. Today was the first Sunday that we biked to church. Today was the first day I've ever biked in a skirt. A knee-length flowing skirt. Not that non-bikers would consider this afternoon windy, with it's nice and gentle breeze, but I certainly did.
Is biking needful?
Well, no. Biking is not needful. The point though, is that in our family, a car is not needful. We rarely drive anywhere over 3 miles away. We do visit the zoo on occasion. We did go on roadtrips this summer. But when we're at home, we pretty much stay at home. We have three grocery stores on our 3-mile school route, one across the corner from our apartment. My husband's work is 3 miles away, which he goes into once or twice a week. Our church is 2 miles away. Our library is 2 miles away. We have a beautiful city park 1/4 mile down the street. We have a bus system which we haven't needed to use in the past 14 days.
We bought a $3000 used car 12 months ago. Including repairs, gas, insurance, maintenance, and the car itself, an average month cost us $500 to have a car. Which we drove under 150 miles a month other than our two road trips this summer. Yes, the longer we would have used the car, the less the monthly cost would have been, as the car-cost per month would diminish. We spent $250 every month for our car, costs unrelated to the cost of the car.
In comparison, here are our start-up costs for two bicycles:
Bicycle FREE - $150
Yes, those numbers worked out nicely, didn't they.
Our monthly biking expenses will stay well under $50, for new tubes and tires and oil.
Benefits of biking as our major form of transportation include daily exercise (without going to a gym), living closer to our environment, living a greener life, spending less money because we're planning our purchases more, and saving the money from car related costs for things we desire more.
The big drawback is that we sweat. My hair is usually in a ponytail these days and we tend to have sweat dripping off our faces when we bike in the afternoons. This is itself isn't the problem. I think the problem is that other people aren't drenched in sweat everywhere they go, so we're creating a slight social taboo.
But, is it more socially unacceptable to be sweaty, or that we ditched our car in a car-riddled society in the first place?
And, I'm finding that it really doesn't matter to me what other people think. I know that we're doing what is right for our family. And that's good enough.