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Milestone post: Ten years without a car!

Posted Jul 14 2012 7:29pm
10 years without a car. It was like tearing down my life and starting over only to discover something new and wonderful.

I started commuting via something other than a car back in 1992 when I was living in the Minneapolis/St Paul metro are. I mixed it up between a bike, public transportation, and walking....and I still drove a lot back then. However, that's when a new lifestyle started evolving for me. A lifestyle where I no longer depended on an automobile to move my flesh and bones to and fro.

Get this: In March of 2000 gas prices hit $1.45/gallon. I remember it distinctly. Because that was the tipping point for me. I thought it insane to pay that much for gas when I could easily get around by other means much more cheaper. Funny, huh? It was a turning point also. That is when I started riding the bus and biking to work more days than I drove. The ratio was about 10:1. I would drive only once for every ten days of not driving.

2001 was the year Susan and I spent 7 months unemployed, by choice, so we could spend 6 months backpacking the entire Appalachian Trail. Our vehicles sat unused for those 7 months. When we returned to "normal" life and relocated to Duluth, my truck continued to sit. It may have gotten used twice a month to run an errand.

'94 Toyota
I began to realize I was paying money to have a vehicle sit around waiting to be used. The truck had long since been paid off, but I was still paying for routine maintenance, insurance and registration. Ten years ago this month I made the hard decision to sell my truck, I loved that truck. However, I wanted to see if I could manage without a vehicle. I thought the experiment would last a year or two. So far it's lasted ten years.

It's like the top picture. You have to tear down your old life, the life where you used two tons of steel to move you about. And rebuild a new life where you no longer depend on a car. It's a process. It took me a long time. Even though I sold my truck in 2002, the real process began 10 years before that when I did my first commute by bicycle back in 1992. And really, the process began long before that first bike commute in 1992.

I can't imagine going back to driving every day again, and I hope I never have to. My bicycle commute is the best part of my day, most days.

How about this: I haven't put gas in a vehicle to get to work in TEN YEARS.

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