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For Car-Free Family, Biking Replaces Bad Habits

by Kate Trainor on June 3, 2008

POST no car(1) For Car-Free Family, Biking Replaces Bad Habits

"Do we really have to have a car?"

It’s a question many households ponder, but seldom explore. It’s the very question Erick Cave posed to his wife, Jess, as he drove their sputtering Volvo toward a SoCal freeway, before they went car-free.

The family of three didn’t meet the stereotypical symptoms that lead many to undergo a carectomy. They weren’t a spandex-clad trio, biking to do errands and enjoying long weekend rides on the waterfront. Instead, Erick was significantly overweight. He and his wife didn’t even own bikes. But none of this changed their decision to dump the Volvo and convert to bikes. Erick outfitted the family for under $1,000 and bid farewell to his money-pit clunker.

Like the Durning family in Seattle, the Caves conquered their car-addiction and the myriad complications that arise when one doesn’t have a car in a car-oriented culture. Their biggest obstacle? Overcoming their car-centric attitude. Everything else, said Erick, was a cinch.

Switching to bikes has been a boon for the family, reports the OC Register:

They’ve discovered new restaurants. Met new people. Rediscovered their own neighborhood.

"It’s taken a lot of stress out of our lives," Erick says. "We’re not hurrying all the time. And we spend more time together as a family

Within two months they paid off two credit cards. No car meant no car bills. It also meant no quick trips to Taco Bell. No morning jolt of Starbucks. No impulse buys of jeans or toys at Target. Shopping on a bike, says Erick, prompts the question: "Do we really need an extra box of Crunch ‘n Munch?"

One day Jess had a strange complaint: too much money in her wallet and no place to put it. Erick figured out they were recouping more than a third of their income. "It’s as if your boss came in," he says, "and asked if you wanted a 35 percent raise."

The family’s car-free experiment has also encouraged them to have a greener houshold. Erick told the OCR, “I began reading about the environmental impact of what we were doing, and I realized, ‘Wow, you really can make a difference.’" The family now recycles and has reduced their water and energy use.

 

POST no car 2 For Car-Free Family, Biking Replaces Bad Habits

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photos via flickr by sfbike and jmforest.

Related posts:

  1. MTA Helps Commuters to Bike-and-Ride
  2. Family Goes Car-Free in the O.C.
  3. Could Less Money Make Us More Green?
  4. How To Drive Less: Small Steps To a Complete Carectomy
  5. Americans Skip Summer Road Trips
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