Broken Spoke: can you go car free?

Broken Spoke: can you go car free?

 

Broken Spoke: can you go car free?

 

Duncan Moore

 

Broken Spoke: can you go car free?

 

I could be biased on this one, having grown-up in a household that was car free, but if I was asked, ‘Could I go car free?’ then I would say yes. In fact, I’ve not owned a car for nearly 25 years.

 

HSB RR1 56cm car

 
It may seem strange now with many households having more than one car that anyone should make the conscious decision not to own a car, but for me it was an easy choice all those years ago; buy another car or spend the money on a high-end mountain bike. Well, that was an easy decision at the time.
 
Okay, I will admit that I have access to a car should I need one, but having said that I’ve driven a car only a hand full of times over the past eight years. I basically stopped driving other people’s cars regularly when I broke my arm and couldn’t change gear.
 
There is something very rewarding about being able to jump on a bicycle and head to the shop. No driving round and round looking for a parking space, nor do I have to pay to park my bicycle. Ah, but what about your big weekly shop you might be asking. Not a problem, I do it online and get it delivered. Even in the days before supermarkets offered that option a rack and a set of panniers can carry a surprising amount if you pack carefully.
 
I’m sure that if I had children the school run would be a similar story. Indeed, I have many happy memories of my dad perching me on his bike’s handlebars and giving me a lift to school that way when I was at infant school. In those halcyon days health and safety was for other people to worry about. Today not only is there the option of sophisticated child seats and trailers for small children, but also tagalong bikes and links to attach kids’ bikes to adults’ bikes all negating the need for a car.
 
Even when I was racing the choice was ride to the race or just not race. For a couple of seasons, while I was working in London, I regularly commuted by bike and one day a week after work I’d ride over to the old Eastway Circuit, take part in the Beastway Race Series and then ride home.
 
All the time I’ve been doing this it’s not because I want to save the planet, rather it’s simply because if I don’t have a car it gives me a lot more money to spend on bikes and parts. In fact, I’m currently eyeing up cargo bikes. Strictly speaking, I don’t need one, but it’s an excuse to buy another bike so why not. And if I do go for it, it would mean that I could carry heavy loads without too much trouble, which could change my shopping habits, saving me the delivery charge imposed by supermarkets.
 
Incidentally, the fact cycling everywhere keeps me healthy and slim is a nice benefit, too, as I watch many of my friends descending into middle-aged spread.
 
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