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Thoughts on Vehicles and Personal Transport


vehicle
--n
Any conveyance in or by which people or objects are transported, especially one fitted with wheels.

It's interesting, I think, how some people are just baffled. Okay, I'm often baffled on many things myself, but what I'm talking about is that people are stunned--sometimes rendered speechless momentarily--when I tell them that I voluntarily choose not to own a car. Some (many) are convinced that it is impossible to get by without a car...this is the car-centric society in which we live. Here are two brief examples of conversations I had today; the first one was with a co-worker.

She: So Joe, are you going to get another vehicle?
Me: I already own multiple vehicles.
She: You know what I mean.
Me: Yes I do, but I'm serious...and actually I hope to never own a car again.

Moment of speechlessness, then a quick succession of questions.

She: But how will you get to your sister's houses (who all live in the suburbs), to the airport or train station when you travel, to the grocery store in the winter.
Me: Buffalo Car Share to my sisters; taxi, bus, or another ride to the airport or train station; and bus or bike in the winter; but mostly bike and walk to everything else.

Our conversation ended soon thereafter, but here's another example; this took place as I was coming out of the health club and unlocking my bike. There were two guys sitting in chairs nearby.

He: Hey buddy, what type of bike is that...it's pretty interesting looking?
Me: Thanks, it's a Torker Cargo-T but based on the Batavus Delivery Bike
He: What's with the large racks?
Me: It's for carrying stuff; this and another bike, which is larger and can carry even more stuff, have enabled me to go car-free.
He: You mean you don't own a car, you do everything by bike?
Me: For the most part, yes.
He: Wow, that's awesome. I'd love to do that.
Me: (thinking this to myself but not saying it aloud...You can if you really want to, then) Thanks, have a nice evening.

And as I pedaled home it was drizzling a little. It has hardly rained at all this summer so it felt good. Really good. Normally I try to avoid the rain, but I didn't tonight. At one point I was stopped at a traffic light and just stood there straddling my bike in the light drizzle, being conscious of how it felt as it landed on my face and bare arms. I realize that going car-free is not for everyone (and may not even be permanent for me...we'll see how I fair a WNY Winter), and I'm certainly not trying to cram a car-free lifestyle down anyone's throat...I only talk about it if people ask me (except on this blog, where you can close the page or un-follow if it bothers you). Anyhow, as I pedaled home and felt the light rain on my body I felt like an active part of my surroundings, not a passive one. At that very moment it felt good to be on a bike coasting slowly in the light drizzle. I am grateful for many things in my life, and at that very moment this was one of them.

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