Giving up your car

I have a confession to make. I’m a petrolhead, and not just a little one, I can bore the hell out of you with facts like Lancia Deltas used the same indicator stalks as Ferrari F40s. C’était un rendez-vous is faked and I can prove it. And you should never, ever turn off the traction control in a Smart car on a wet roundabout.
It all started when I was about 8, one lazy Sunday morning I was up early and watched some foreign bloke win a race in a bright yellow car, his name was Senna and the car was a Lotus.
Ayrton Senna Camel Lotus
A few years later my heart was broken when he died one terrible weekend in Italy.
But I still loved Formula One, I even had another dead hero, Bernd Rosemeyer, he died in 1938 in Germany
Bernd Rosemeyer 1937 Donnington Practice
Throughout this time I was still too young to drive myself and so like most young chaps I had a bike. I had several in fact. I loved them, I rode them everywhere. I rode them right up to the day before I took possession of my first car. My dad was a bit of a cyclist and every July we watched the TdF highlights of an evening. Alongside my poster of Senna I had one of a Peugeot Triathlon and watching Greg Lemond power through Paris like a locomotive was one of the most exciting moments ever.
Eventually though when I was old enough I passed my driving test, bought a car and from that day cycling took a back seat for a few years, it never left entirely but was definitely overshadowed.
I owned various types of cars, hot hatches, luxury cruisers, sports cars, but eventually came to the realisation that driving simply wasn’t enjoyable, necessary or even the most practical or convenient mode of transport. So the car went…
And I bought this.
Boardman CX Team
At this point I had already been cycling again for a few years and i picked up this CX as a commuter bike, a job it does very well (note to self, buy some mudguards).
The moral of the tale? I’m a cyclist, I love cycling and bicycles but I also love cars, fast cars, on the ragged edge, I think I’ll buy a go-kart. I have no kids and live 6 miles from work, perhaps giving up my car was easy because of my circumstances. Before I did it I was sure I would have to replace it pretty quickly, but I just never got around to it. Now the idea of dropping several grand on an item I have very little need for that would also severely increase my exposure to liability, seems stupid at best. Giving up motoring has been liberating, no bills, no responsibility, pumping up for the day with a brisk ride in to work and winding down with a thoughtful ride home. Life just seems better.

One thought on “Giving up your car

  1. A good story, well told.

    I have owned cars from time to time. There is no doubt that there are circumstances in which a car is the best or even the only option. For example, having got an exciting new research job 60 miles away from the job I cycled to, I hoped the nearby railway station would allow use of a season ticket with time on the train each morning for work preparation. However, the cost of the ticket was so high that buying a cheap car and its petrol cost less.

    But situations can be changed. In my case it took a year of tedious driving 120 miles a day before selling the house and moving to a pleasant market town 10 miles from the new work. The town had schools, a hospital, a good bus route and all my 3 generation family needed. We stayed there until the children grew up and their grandmother came to the end of her life. On the very rare occasions we needed a car or van, a low-cost and reliable hire company was 3 miles away and would look after my bike while I was away in the hire vehicle.

    I am retired now and live close to the centre of a busy city with congested narrow roads. A car would be an expensive liability. My wife and I are highly mobile, travel a lot, visit people and NEVER have to buy petrol, or pay vehicle excise duty and very rarely get a taxi or hire a vehicle for a specific job.

    The secret seems to be in finding yourself suitable circumstances that don’t rely on owning a car. It might be difficult, but it’s not impossible, even if it takes a year or two. I would recommend it to anyone.

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