What does it take to go Car lite? I don’t even like the word “Car lite” as it still has the word car in it. What I am looking for is Active transportation (Or an even better catch cry). Bike, walk and community transport. I am not a huge fan of Taxis, Buses and Trains. I am a bit selfish and like my own space. But mostly it is that I have to time things and coordinate things to work in with time tables. The other thing is that I live in an area where public transport is not close. The closest bus is 5km and train is 10km away. Taxis; it is the simple cost, huge. I recently got a taxi from the airport to home a distance of 50km and that cost $157.00. To get a taxi to work would cost $100 each way. So Taxi’s do have a place but not when it is covered by my wallet.
I would like to say here that I am not against cars. At one stage in the mid-90s I had an award winning car with a stereo in it that could remove your head while playing Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. I enjoyed that car a lot. I met my wife at a party while showing off the car to her. So I am not against the car. I would just like to see and use a true alternative that is better for me, my family and the environment. I love bikes, enjoying the true environment, smelling a BBQ, hearing nature and people enjoying the streets. I find that bikes and walking provide a much nicer view of community.
I love to ride bikes and that is a perfect solution. I have two small issues with riding a bike to and from work.
1: I start work at 5.45am so to ride to work I will need to leave at 3.30am so yes it is dark. The dark is not a huge issue but I live out in the bush so cars don’t expect bikes on the road at that time. Street lighting does not exist this far out of the city.
2: I live in a little pocket that is serviced by a high way on one side (don’t play with fast big trucks in the dark). On the other side is a road we refer to as the big dippers. The road is just 2 lanes wide with no shoulder. Going into Brisbane is downhill which is easy to handle. But coming home it is a 25% slope with no shoulder and no foot path so your life is in your hands. Cars think it is a speed way so it is just plain dangerous, especially at night. I have biked it a number of times but it really is scary. Not a great solution.
One of the major problems is that I live in an environment that is designed for cars and cars only. No other alternative has ever been thought of. Another example is my sons school is just 3.2km for our house but he could not walk to school without going onto the road. A foot path does not exist. Once again even for such a short distance it has been designed around a car only life style. To get to work I could cycle into Ipswich and then onto Brisbane but this would add 20km each way to my trip. Once again a design for cars and cars only no other form off transport has been considered as far as I can tell.
At this point I get a lot of why don’t you move closer to work. My ideal solution would be that work moves closer to me. I love where my family and I live. We are in the bush, it is quiet and close to everywhere when using, here we go again CAR. So I am not about to move closer to work. I intend on living most of my life in this location providing all goes smoothly. Just outside my front door is hundreds of miles of bush trail for cycling, running and general exploring. The best crack climbing in South East Queensland is just 40km away. I live in a great location for an active outdoor lifestyle.
What I have been doing is driving part of the way to work then jumping on my folder for the rest of the trip. I get lazy with this very easily because I say just a little further. Having said that, once I get within 10k of work I think more about running than riding. I love the run and it is more flexible because you can so easily and quickly change paths.
I have only one thing I don’t like about riding and that is that I am always worried that I will come back to no bike. I am scared it will be stolen. This could be a completely irrational fear but it is still a fear I have. This may be something I just need to get over with time.
These are just a few thoughts I have on going active transport and or car-light. I guess the best way to go would be just getting rid of my car and then you are in the deep end. A solution to this may be to park the car in my parent’s garage (not mine as it would be to easily accessed) and then just forget I have it. This has just come to me now as I am writing. I need to think about this a little more before making that sort of commitment. I may need to come up with a few more practical solutions about getting my kids to and from school etc first. This is all just food for thought right now.
What are your thoughts?