The teenage rite of passage is getting you drivers license. It is at that moment that the only form of transportation we generally see is the automobile. It becomes our burden to drive wherever we need to go without too much more thought than what the route will be and (sometimes) where will I park when I get there.
We generally never think about the costs associated with ownership of said auto, we generally just make it go and see where we end up. Payments, insurance, maintenance and gas become just another expense in a long line of costs that in the end may not be all that it is cracked up to be.
Car payment: $300.00/month
Gas: $100.00/month (it may actually be more than that I am just shooting at a ballpark number.)
So $550.00/month. Spread out over a year and that becomes $6600.00/year.
Consider mass transit. Through my employer I can get a pass for about $75.00/month. That pans out to $900.00/year. Compared to a car that is $5700.00/year cheaper.
How about a bicycle? I am not talking about a shitty Schwinn served to you from a Big Box store where the clown who put it together also stocks the personal care products isle with adult diapers. I am talking about a bike from a local bike shop (LBS) who knows what he is doing and will remember you name and the bike that you have. Remember, we want to like to ride bikes not hate the experience from the get go.
A good sturdy bike that has quality components will run in the range of around $1000.00. One that can tolerate my fat ass and hard riding will run about $1500.00. Over the course of a year add $200.00 for tune ups and repairs. Hell, add $500.00 as you might like to wear those funny lycra suits that Lance likes to wear. So at the end of the year it is $2000.00 for a new bike and maintenance... every year... a new bike. (I'm liking this idea.)
So given the options, why would I want to drive a car? Well there is only one. My daughter. In order to spend the time with her that I like I need to have a car. Unless her mother moves closer to us (fat chance) or we move closer to her (I would rather have a root canal procedure done everyday for the rest of my life...) my options are limited. I am choosing a hybrid approach. A car and a bicycle.
We are moving close enough to my office that using a bike to get there makes sense. That is less wear and tear on my car and I get a fair amount of activity. Also I am within a fair distance to get to most of the things that I need during the week on a bike. This includes AA meetings, grocery shopping and the occasional date night out to eat. The other part of this is that we are living on the bus line. This will take us to the light rail or other connections. Kitten's office is right across the street from the end of the light rail in Bloomington. She will be taking that most days along with a bike to get her where she needs to get and I will have my cargo bike.
Did I mention the bikes that I like?
Cargo Bikes! Xtracycle and Surly Big Dummy are the bikes that I like. I can haul all my stuff and a person and all their stuff too. Worth a closer look too if you want some options. That will be another post for another day!