Resolved to be car free
At the beginning of September, we picked up our cargo bike. Despite practicing at the car free lifestyle throughout the summer with a trailer, this marked the transition for us to using bikes as our primary tool for transportation. Right before we picked up the cargo bike we sold our second car. We still have a car, so we are not technically car free, but we have decided that the right primary transportation tool for us is the bike.
This has meant that I do not use the car for trips that are in town, unless there are extraordinary circumstances (like the terribly snow-covered roads with negative wind chill there other Sunday). It has also meant I make decisions about where we can go based on what it would require for transportation. I try to make plans for activities that are accessible by bike or public transit. We have made special trips via car, like our trip to see family in Pennsylvania or a special day at the Skokie Exploratorium with the Chicago City Dads group. We just try to use the right transportation for the right job, and try not to use the tool of the car casually.
During the month of December, we drove our car fewer miles than we rode bikes. My average baseline mileage for a week is about 25 miles. My partner, Katie, averages about 20 miles a week. In December, we drove our car a total of 137 miles. With a total of 180 miles biking, we beat our car mileage by 43 miles!
It definitely is not easy. Just this morning a pleasant ride to the grocery store turned into frozen tears and cries of "the weather is mean" from my two year old when we had to return in a frigid head-wind. It can also be challenging to plan for all the errands that we need to accomplish or adjust expectations for what is possible based on the transportation tools we choose to use. Despite all of the challenges, there are far more smiles than tears (from all the riders). We feel great and little bit of the good kind of crazy.