A couple of days ago, I hit 2000 miles of biking for the year. It wasn’t a goal to do this at the start of the year, but I’m rather pleased with myself. I actually thought it was a bit of an accomplishment until I read a blog post somewhere about a woman with MS who rode like 6000 miles for the year. I have a long way to go to reach that. But this got me thinking, do I really need to own my own car?
One of the big plusses in buying my house was that I didn’t want to be dependent on a car. While I mainly bike to work, if that’s not an option, I can also take public transit. I absolutely do not need my car to get to work. I live approximately four blocks from a grocery store, four blocks from a library and maybe six blocks from Target. And I’m less than a mile from a train station that can get me downtown in around 10 minutes. For my day-to-day life, I really don’t think I need a car.
Are there times when I do need a car? Absolutely. I can’t easily get to my Mom’s house without a car. And I have plenty of other family members and friends who live out in the suburbs that are much easier to get to with a car. It’s also really nice to have the car when I go to get supplies from Home Depot for working on my house. Could I replace these drives with using a rental car instead? One of the most-brilliant things I did years ago was purchase a lifetime membership in, then startup, I-Go Cars. In Chicago, this by-the-hour car rental is now part of Enterprise. And I’ve just found out that there’s an I-Go car parked about a mile from my house. It’s not as convenient as my garage, but it’s pretty close. So using the rental more is definitely an option.
Since this year I’ve been trying to use my bike over my car, I have found that when I do drive my car…it’s more fun. It’s kind of like a treat to take out the car. I know a lot of people dread driving, but I’m not one of them. The other thing I like about having a car is that it’s a complicated piece of machinery. And learning how it works is really interesting to me. There’s a small part of me that enjoys doing maintenance on the car. Yes, I know this makes me an oddity, but it’s also an argument for keeping the car. And I do have to say that driving my car to a new city with my bike, has been my major source of relaxation for the past year.
I think I’m going to use this winter as a test. I want to see how many times I just go to my car without thinking about it. Or I’ll see if I can plan all my trips so that it would be like I’d be planning on getting an I-Go car. Now I’m just curious about this. A few years ago, I would have never thought this was a possibility. But now I’m thinking that it might be.