Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Car free?

Well the extended bank holiday for the Queen's 60th Jubilee is almost over. In actual fact, most folk will have gone back to work today but I've taken an extra day's holiday to stretch things out a bit. So here I am chilling at home and lamenting my imminent return to life as a Project Manager in the morning. At least it will only be a two-day working week.

It has also been a fairly cycling-free bank holiday as well. Not for any particular reason, only that the things we did as a family didn't lend themselves to going by bike. I did manage a short jaunt to our local town with my smallest offspring in tow in order to take a parcel to the post office and pick up a couple of bits from the supermarket. Once again, my wife's be-basketed hybrid and the trail gator link acquitted themselves marvellously. In total, only about three miles were covered but didn't take long and it is great to be able to use a bike where once we'd have instinctively jumped in the car. I once went to an industry event on electric vehicles where one of the presenters showed an interesting graph. According to their stats, around 90% of car journeys made are less than five miles in length. Now they were advocating battery-powered electric vehicles as the alternative but five miles is also a really short distance to cycle. Cars are just so easy to jump into though!

There is a point to this ramble - I'll come to it now. For the last eight years we've been a two car family and before that I used a motorbike to get around leaving the car for my wife and the kids. Most journeys we've made for over fifteen years were therefore petrol-fuelled if not by car.

Over the bank holiday weekend, both the road tax and annual MOT certificate expired on our second car. It's been used more or less exclusively as my commuting run around for three years but has 175,000 miles on it and an ever lengthening list of maintenance jobs to do. Since buying my Dahon and cycle-commuting, I have hardly used it. Some weeks ago I decided to do without it but now, legally I have to. When I get round to it, I'll sell the old girl but even so, now we are, technically at least, a single-car family.

By modern social standards, this probably sees us slide down some scale of wealth or another. Plainly ridiculous as I'm spending far less on travel than I did with a second car and so logically should have more cash in my pocket.

Anyway, I'm sure it'll be an interesting experiment and a rich vein of blog material to mine.

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