Beating the system - the cycling commuting section
As of November last year, we're a 1 car family. We're not missing the second car at all. We could have sold it 3 years ago, but I kept it sitting there "just in case."
This morning marks 4 years (to the day) since I last drove to work, and weight loss of 24kg to date. By the end of this week, I'll have done 20,000km of commuting in that time (4,000km of that since January this year).
Life is good.
We sold both our cars when we moved to England in 2006 and we could only afford to run one car as my wife was home with our young child and not working.
When we returned to Melbourne in 2008 we realised that we didn't need two cars. We've been living for four years in Australia (six in total) as a one-car family.
We are lucky though as my wife can catch public transport to work. I drove to work in 2008 but changed jobs to the CBD and since then I've been catching public transport/riding.
We have all of life's necessities within walking distance and generally we drive the car once a week Mon-Fri to get to Kung F u training after work. The only time we really use the car is on weekends to take the kids places and visit friends/relatives.
We've gone from a 2 car to 1 car family about 6 weeks ago. I've missed a few gym sessions as I haven't felt like riding 3 ks in the cold/wind/rain to the gym. Apart from that, there hasn't been any impacts. I'm doing extra riding so that's some compensation.
Kona - well done on two accounts - great video and on being a one car family.
Just great - now all you have to do is spend the $3000 per year (at least) you are saving on things you like n=n+1 p.a. (good luck with that )
Not fast, no style, but still get there.
Some great stories here
The mrs sold her car a few months after we met, we've had just one car ever since, about 8 years now. And it sits in the carport all week. Have not missed the 2nd car at all. There are much better things to spend money on. And having ridden a bike for 6 years now, I can ride virtually anywhere I want to go. Traffic, parking problems, what's that?
I can't remember why I wanted to buy a bike all those years ago, but I'm so glad I did!
I was all in a couple of yeas ago, changed jobs, lost a company car but gained an easy bike commute. Resisted the urge to purchase a car immediately and survived well. It was a bit harder at times and had to arrange a few extra lifts that I wasn't used to but that was OK.
Was difficult the day one of the kids had to go to emergency while I was still at work, I guess not much different if I caught the train to work everyday.
I ended up getting a 2nd cheap ($1500) car for a long trip for study and to avoid a long bus ride, or hiring a car - figured the cheap car would cost not much more than the hire option and I would sell as soon as it was no longer required. Turns out we were glad the other car was available when my wife returned to work and the kids were starting/finishing school at the wrong times with quite limited public transport around. Now I drive the kids to/from school as required as a detoured commute, but ride to work whenever I can (still 2-3days per week). The other car doesnt get used much, but it's handy when required.
bychosis (bahy-koh-sis): A mental disorder characterised by symptoms, such as delusions or hallucinations, that indicate impaired contact with reality not containing bicycles.
I'm in a similar boat to you. I was a teacher, but left the teaching game in 2007 and went to work for a govt agency in a related field. The hours are good - 37.5 hrs p.w. In 2009 the cycling bug bit me and I bought a nice flat bar road bike (Giant CRX3). I outgrew that after a few months and bought bike after bike until I now own six. I know, it's ridiculous. I have an SE Draft Lite single speed drop bar with CX tyres - a great banger for my mostly flat 20km each way commute. I also have a Felt Dispatch single speed lightweight road bike, Fuji Roubaix 1.0 alloy road bike, Surly Cross Chceck CX (my main commute bike), Fuji Nevada 3.0 hard tail MTB and a custom built single speed for weekend cruising. Oh yeah and I just put a deposit on a Giant carbon roadie, so will gift the Roubaix to my son. In Nov 2009 I ditched the second car. It was an easy decision. By then I was cycling 200 to 250km p.w.
I have great end of trip facilities, including bike racks in a secure car park, and nice hot showers and a locker. I love the feeling of starting work after a good 40 min workout and shower. I also love the way the ride home lets me de-stress after a bad work day. Mind you, I have far less of those than I did when teaching - man oh man teaching is the hardest job I've ever had , and I've been a pizza cook, a poker machine mechanic, a barman, a steel worker, an executive, an office worker, a workplace trainer, an auditor and a supervisor of office staff amongst others.
I'm lucky too because I live on a bus route which is handy for those horrid wet & windy days when the cycle commute is a chore and pain in the arse. But though I'm fitter, smaller in the waist, stronger and happier, I am also poorer. I sink so much money into bike clothing, accessories and new bikes that it's not funny and I'm sure I'm worse off financially. I should probably seek professional help for it. But I don't care. It's my passion, the kids have left home and I don't have a big mortgage.
Enjoy your journey!
Giant TCR Adv 0 Di2
SE Draft Lite SS
Felt Dispatch SS
Surly Cross Check CX
Fuji Nevada 3.0 MTB
Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race. H G Wells
Went the other way unfortunately. Commuted for 7 years rain or shine and changing jobs meant longer hours. My wife wasn't happy with me cycling home at 7-8pm each night, so we got another small car.
Much like my pre-nupial agreement to surf at least once a week, I now ride to work once a week. Bit of a change in fitness levels and I miss the regular rides, but 'safer' in the end.
Lived in the UK for 4 years and never had a car, but then transport is better linked there than in Sydney.
Bike: new 2013 Merida carbon T5 speeder
Where's the evidence that it is more dangerous to commute home on a bicycle after dark? If you are well lit and wearing visible, reflective clothes I would say that you are just as safe, if not more so due to increased visibility, cycling at night than you are during daylight hours. Explain this to the wife and do what you want. It'll be a good excuse to buy new lighting gear and kit.
Check out my practical cycling and cycle touring website: VELOPHILE AUSTRALIA
That's sad to hear Blackrock. Changed my hours a couple of weeks ago so now ride home somewhere between 12.30 and 1am. Luckily my wife understands I'm less likely to hurt myself travelling at 25kmh on my bike than 100kmh in my Kingswood. We also live in the country so once I'm off the highway it's extremely unlikely for me to even see a car
Fondreist R10, Dura-Ace, Cosmic SL's
Specialized Hardrock, Spinergy Xyclones
And the occasional trailer full of kids......
I went all in a bit over 6 years ago. We originally only had one car, my wife commuted by train and I had the car for work (and ferry her to/from the station). When our first child arrived I decided to ride to work rather than get a second car. Unfortunately on my very first ride to work I was hit by a car (broken bones, knocked unconscious) and was unable to ride again for almost two months (and had issues assisting to care for the newborn). When the doctor gave me the OK to ride again (he was very much encouraging me to ride to resolve some health issues - I was very overweight with zero exercise and a sedentary job) I hopped on the bike and started riding again.
The second trip I was really "feeling the pain". I got about 20% of the way there and was crouching on the side of the road retching and struggling for breath. After resting, I took it more easily and managed to get to work in about 50 minutes (only 5.5km trip). Over the next few months my times reduced to around 25 minutes each way and I lost 21kg in the first three months.
I have no public transport options (not that PT is generally very useful for a 5.5km commute) and I ride rain, hail or shine (luckily no hail yet, but only because I've been lucky). I have a "High Sierra" backpack which has an inbuilt bright yellow rain-cover which I find very useful. I also have an "Ortlieb" pannier bag which I put my computer into (I upgraded to a high-power and quite heavy laptop and it was giving me shoulder pain when I carried it in the backpack, so I got the pannier and am much better for it). I normally ride to work in daylight at school drop-off time (I ride through a school zone) and ride home after dark (even in summer).
I can borrow my wife's car occasionally (usually about once a month) to run errands... but only on sunny days as she needs it to take kids to school on rainy days (some people I work with think that this is a bit backwards ). My wife is pushing me to get a second car as she finds it annoying to give "her car" up once a month, I keep telling her that for the price she should just deal with the inconvenience!
Oh, and my Dr wants me to ride around the block a few times rather than just go straight home... Apparently my commute is too short and he wants me to keep my heart rate up for longer. I have started to use an exercise bike and rowing machine for this (my main issue is lack of time, and at least I can do something else when using the machines)
Since moving to melbourne a couple of years ago, I drove my car around everywhere and it was killing me slowly.
So a few months ago I sold my car and bought a moto, not all in I know but, a few weeks ago I bought a second hand
Reid Condor for $100. After fixing it all up I've been commuting to uni and work most days of the week. I'm saving
at least $30 a week. Now while I know I haven't gone all in, I am loving not having to keep my car going.
All in might be slightly overstating it, as I got rid of the 2nd car before buying a bike to use public transport, family of 4. It's been 2 months since I last used public transport, but I always have it as an option if I need/want to. Saving up to $160 a month, spending way more than that on bike stuff currently though Hoping that will even out at some point.
My car (our "second car") sat in the driveway growing moss for a couple of years. Not needed during the week because I ride every day, rarely used on weekends because the whole family tends to go together in the one car. Used it every couple of months on average, but it was reassuring to keep "just in case".
The biggest thing is that one of my daughters is in a wheelchair, so we're somewhat restricted in how we can get her around. Essentially, whoever is looking after her has to have the wheelchair van. So in the rare case when one of us goes out alone without her, taking the van would leave the other housebound. So we would take the old Volvo when going out alone... and 99% of the time, the van would stay parked at home and not move the entire time.
It was costing next to nothing though. The Volvo was as depreciated as it was ever going to get. Fuel and maintenance costs are negligible when the car is parked (I gave it an annual oil change, even though the car had generally only done 2000km). Rego and 3rd party insurance only added up to about $1k/year.
Even so, $1k/year is $20/week. Given how often the car was being used, it was effectively costing a good $150 every time I started the engine (and that's assuming the battery hadn't gone flat so the engine actually did start). Looking at it that way, rental cars are a very cheap alternative.
So, we gave ourselves permission to use rental cars (and taxis) whenever it would be convenient to do so, and we became a 1-car family.
In about 9 months, that has amounted to 3 taxi trips, and we're going to take our third rental car this weekend .
Another bonus is that our "second car" can now be whatever car is best for the job. Instead of always being an old Volvo wagon, now it can be a buzzbox or a ute. Or both, on consecutive days. The downside is that the "second car" is now a ~2km bike ride away from home, rather than sitting conveniently in the driveway, and it requires a skerrick of forethought to book it and pick it up during office hours.
The standard line about saving $10k/year by getting rid of a car is hopelessly exaggerated in our case, but any saving is worth having.
When one of my sons went to uni 10 years ago I let him take my car. I commute by bike anyway so I only used the car on days off, no great inconvenience there. The head blew costing over $800, then the windows got smashed at Monash uni. I let him have the car outright but from then on all the expenses were his.
I have not bothered getting a car for myself since then.
I figure to own and maintain a late model car exceeds $4K a year including rego, insurance, maintenance and market value depreciation. If I need a car outside the weekend I hire one from down the road for $37 dollars for the day. As I live less than a kilometre from a major rail junction with bus and tram connection I only ever hire a car once a month.
That puts me a few thousand in front each year, some of which gets pumped into my bikes.
Sold our 2nd car about 4 years ago been riding ever since,winter time sucks a bit especially if its raining but once your on the bike and into it before you know it your there..Just couldnt afford to run 2 cars. Might take it out of you by the end of the week but just think of the money that rego and fuel would cost you.
I'm about to sell my car to the scrap merchant/spare parts guys/daihatsue organ transplant people.
Ever since my mechanic diagnosed $2,000 of repairs for a 1993 daihatsu (worth approximately $1.5k on ebay), I've stopped myself using it to see if I could go car free. Now that rego and insurance (3rd party) are coming up, I've decided to get rid of it and go car free.
I'm single, I live round the corner from a train station and 10mins walk from a tram stop, so I'm well positioned to do this, but still slightly apprehensive.
I thought cycling through winter cold and rain would be a challenge, but a relatively small investment in a showers pass jacket and fenders has made winter wet commuting exceedingly manageable.
According to your location (Northcote - probably within a few blocks of where I used to live ), you're an easy ride away from a cluster of car rental places just up in Preston.
With what you're saving on rego and insurance, you can afford to rent a car any time you damn well please, and not feel that you're being the slightest bit extravagant for doing so. Keeping your old Daihatsu would be more extravagant than renting a car every second weekend.
who hasn't bothered renting a stand-in second car at all yet this year... but has booked one for a few week's time. This time our second car will have teleported to Queensland. Pwoah, my real live second car couldn't do magic like that when I owned it!
Yeah, that's basically my thinking Tim. A car is convenient (except where there's traffic), but at what cost? The sums didn't add up anymore.
I'm near Dennis station btw.
One issue is the odd occasion when I get sick. Can be hard to address one's food needs you're passed out in bed!
But I'm finding I need to change/fine tuning my shopping habits with pannier bags. I just need to keep my provisions a little better stacked. And the reality is, I don't mind going on the odd pootle up to northcote plaza to get groceries. The same trip in a car is quicker, but also a boring hassle.
Ive still got my car... well 2 actually! I picked up my mates AU falcon wagon dirt cheap when he got sent overseas for work, so it gets used every now and then during the week and to transport the bikes to races etc on weekends. For the practically negligable outlay and the relatively low running costs (do all servicing myself) its well worth it.
Theres also the fun car that comes out maybe once or twice a month for weekend cruises or trackdays. Its also well worth the annual rego and insurance costs for those infrequent blasts
I do all my weekly commuting on the bike.
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