Thursday, November 15, 2012

Another Carfree Update

We've been carfree for 4 months! I wish I had been keeping track of all the miles we've put in on the bike and the bus. Maybe I'll start up on January 1 and keep track for 2013.

Of course, that's if we're still carfree through 2013. McKay is concerned that with 3 kids, we won't be able to continue to go carfree. I think the biggest hurdle is actually the Zipcar. We need to use it at least once a week to go to church and buckling 3 carseats in and out of a car? Kind of a pain. And what if the Zipcars near us won't fit 3 carseats across?

On Tuesday we took 6 buses round trip to the park. The park was worth it and when I mentioned the bus situation on Twitter, some of the other bikers I follow suggested I get an e-assist.

The bikers really want to see us succeed in our carfree experiment. The overriding opinion was that if we upgrade, we'll like it enough to continue. Upgrading means tuning up the 24-speed and possibly buying a bucket bike and/or e-assist. Humofthecity, a San Francisco biker, wrote a post recently on the e-assists she's tried. Being in San Francisco, she understands hills- and maybe if we had an e-assist we could get rid of the Sunday Zipcar trip. We could just go on up the hills on our bikes! In our Sunday clothes! And be awesome!

But the thing... as of last week when McKay and I were discussing car possibilites, we agreed to try carfree as we have it through the winter. Yes, now would be the perfect time to buy a car when all the dealers are trying to get their 2012 models off the lots, but I'm pretty sure that the dealers will still be having their regular "let's have a sale because it's a holiday!" sales next year. President's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Memorial Day... And so our agreement was to try through the winter, see what it's like once we have 3 kids and I'm off my babymoon and then find the closest Monday holiday and buy a car then if it doesn't work.

But but but... Oh to upgrade! To a bucket bike! With Thanksgiving next week, there will be sales and I know which bikes I want to keep an eye on. I've even set up google alerts for craigslist in case someone wants to rid themselves of a cargo bike. It would be sweet to upgrade and see if the biking thing gets better and more manageable with 3 kids. It's manageable now, but we could make it a lot easier on ourselves.

The problem is all those upgrades (cargo bike, e-assists, etc) will probably cost us a couple to a few thousand dollars. Still cheaper than a car, but it would suck to buy all that and then find out it still doesn't work for us and have to buy a car on top of all that. On the other hand, the re-sale value of the bike and e-assists would probably be pretty good; we wouldn't be out all our money. And even used cars/minivans on Craigslist are going to be more than $3000, so we'd still be saving money. Oh, but we're supposed to be paying $5000 for this birth since I did hire a midwife (still not sure if I want her there, I'm rather split on the matter at the moment). And Christmas is coming up. And my birthday. And McKay's birthday. And this future baby will probably need a carseat and clothes and things.

So yeah... weighing the options. How sweet would it be to have a bucket bike?! And be able to bike to church?! We would only need the Zipcar on occasion instead of weekly. Now that would be living the dream.

If you want to follow my Carfree Pinterest board with bike ideas and child-arrangement ideas, it's here.


  1. I am fascinated with how dedicated and determined you've become with this carfree stuff! Someone just sent me a book called "Everyday Bicycling" to review on my blog. It's a how-to book about biking for any person, anytime, anywhere. I think you fit the bill!

  2. I was just sent your blog from another biking friend and I'm loving it so far! We home educate and are soon to be car free! We live on the Jersey Shore (the real one not the show LOL). We have three kiddos and just had our third this past August. I highly recommend the bakfiets cargo bike. We also have a Madsen bucket bike and it's great, but the bakfiets is a lot easier to handle with three and especially with a little baby. We are in the process of selling our car, but rarely use it now that we have the bakfiets. You can do it! and if you have an e-assist it's even easier. That's next on our list ;) I say get the bikes and forget the car.. though I know it's not the easiest decision or the best for everyone.


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