Monday, November 9, 2009

Carfree Fail

Its been about 7 months of not having to worry about traffic, gas prices, car insurance, or car payments. In that time I have found life without the use of a car to be pretty easy. A few times I have hoped in a car to carpool places outside of Missoula or to go to Costco with Ashley, but for the most part its been smoothing sailing, until this weekend when I made fairly extensive use of a vehicle.

I had an art show displaying my photography for Missoula's First Friday Art Walk. Time was short to get everything organized and buy the refreshments (booze). Making the trip over to Costco and the Orange Street Food Farm for supplies in the time frame before the show just would have been impossible on a bicycle. Of course, I could have spent more time planning and gotten everything I needed the day before, but I didn't. And that is the lesson really of trying to be carfree, everything takes a little more thought, planning, and time to get done.

Instead Ashley saved my ass and helped me out getting everything I needed. Without her the First Friday event wouldn't have been a success. While carpooling doesn't go against the rules I set for myself over this year, this instance was different because the trip was something that I created, Ashley never would have run those errands, and she did so only because I needed the help.

The second instance of using a vehicle this weekend involved driving my '83 Toyota Landcruiser. Its been parked on the street for awhile now and had become a place to store things. I've had it for sale for a little over a month; I figure if its just going to sit there and its not going to fit into my lifestyle I might as well get rid of it.

Someone finally wanted to take it for a test drive on Sunday, so there was a mad dash to get it cleaned out and make sure it was running fine before the test drive. While I have been in cars since trying to be carfree this was the first time I have driven, going about two miles to get rid of a few things in the back of the cruiser. The test drive was successful and within a week I'll be rid of the Landcruiser. So, while I used a vehicle a lot more this weekend than I should have, in the end I'll be freeing myself from a vehicle and someone else that needs it will be able to use it.


Doohickie said...

Get over it.

I don't see riding as a religious rite. Being carfree is not a vocation. As much as you may want to survive without one, it's folly to deny that for many purposes they are far superior than bicycles. This was one of those purposes.

The fact that you agonize over a simple trip in a car, though, does help inspire the rest of us. I usually ride a bike to work, but for many other purposes I still drive. My actual rate of riding to work is closer to 50% than I sometimes like to admit.

But today, when I had to climb over logs to get past a low-water crossing on the river, and couldn't even cross back on my usual route because it was still flooded, then an old friend (whom I've never ridden with) caught up to me and we finally got a chance to ride together, somehow makes it worthwhile to ride when I can.

But when I can't: No guilt, no worries.

Scottieie said...

Look at it this way, if Missoula was designed in a way for you to be able to exist without a vehicle or to make it an easy option to be without you wouldn't have this problem of "darn, I have to drive today". I have days like that where I live too and I attribute it to poor urban design.

Aiken, SC (me live here), just isn't designed with cycling in mind. The grocery store that I like is 5 miles away through crap traffic with very little amenities for cyclists. Not even a fun trip on a good day and certainly not when I have panniers full of groceries and are the freak on the bike (nobody bikes here, so most people consider it amazingly odd that I do and consider me an oddity at best.

Keep it up and don't fret when you need to rent a car or car share. You are going against 50 years of misplaced progress.


CarFree Stupidity said...

I'm not really agonizing over it. Its just that I made a commitment for a year and wasn't able to keep it as completely as I would have liked.

I'm not upset at all, this after all was an experiment in living a different sort of lifestyle, one that has ended up being not all that different. i want to cover the challenges that I face through this year, and I was just explaining one of the challenges I faced this week.

Doohickie said...

Fair enough. Even your FAIL is WIN compared to the rest of us slugs.

;- )

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