They Walk (or Pedal) Among Us
Believe it or not, there are people, even in Toledo, who have given up the hassle and expense of their cars and found freedom and a new sense of self-reliance on two wheels. Are they the new pioneers? Maybe. Are they doing what's best for the community? You bet! Are they totally whacko? Only by the standards of those who think we can sustain our energy consuming culture forever.
Haven't you ever wished you could live without your car? Without the payments, the insurance, the gas every week, the parking? Without the frustration and worry over breakdowns and maintenance and the bite it will take out of your checkbook? Without the hassle of shopping for a new one every few years?
Yes, I know, wishes are a long way from living the dream. And really, the thought of living without a car is totally radical! What would the neighbors say? And how would you visit Aunt Effie in Peoria? But still... wouldn't it be nice?
OK, so maybe I'm barking up the wrong tree here - you're not going to dump your car. But wait! What if your family has two cars? Have you ever thought of trading one of them in for... a bike??
Do You Know How Much Driving Really Costs?
The American Automobile Association's estimate of the cost of driving for 2011: an average mid-size new passenger car cost you $10,024 last year to drive it 15,000 miles. That includes depreciation on the purchase price, interest, maintenance, gas and oil, insurance, registration and fees (it doesn't include parking or tolls). At the same time, the League of American Bicyclists estimate the cost of operating a bicycle (all kinds included) is $120, regardless of how far you ride. Think about it - that's $8,000 free and clear dollars in your pocket, and more every year, to go car-free (not to mention a bunch of extra storage space in the garage).
Think of it another way: $700/month (roughly the amount you'll spend on that mid-size new passenger car above) invested each month at a return of 5% will become $583,668 in thirty years. You'll have a guaranteed retirement - just for giving up one car.
How much do you drive your second car? Is it really worth it?
Catching Up With the Curve
Most of the world, unlike America, has already discovered that mass transit and alternative transportation like bicycles are essential to putting us on the track toward a sustainable civilization. And if you're seriously considering going car-free, you're already ahead of that curve. Congratulations, and good luck with your choice. One cyclist at a time, we are breaking the social and political mindset which locks our country in the past, and burying the cowboy car culture we find so oppressive.
Help is Here
We know there's a lot to consider in going car-free. And we know you could use a lot of help in getting started. The pages in this section and in the Commuting and Utility sections address the many problems you'll face and provide some tips on how to overcome them.
Local Bike Shops
Car Less Ohio
|On-line Bike Forums