How it's goin'

credit: Peter Pryharski via 
On day 15 of this month-long #OneLessCar stint, I thought I'd offer a "state of the experiment" report. So, here it is, by the numbers:

Estimated miles biked: 42 (K commuting) +  62 (P commuting--about half w/"cargo") +  4 (little squirrels) =  108 (family total)

Dollars spent on transit:  $8.50 (K) + $11.50 (P) + Free for kiddos = $20.00

Ride-hailing services called upon: 0

Cars rented: 0

Trips for which I've ridden in someone else's car for some reason or another: 3

Dining room sets moved with the help of the greatest neighbors in the world's SUV and trailer: 1

Times the Mazda in the driveway has moved: 0 (Parker did turn it on and let it run in the driveway for 15 minutes last week just for maintenance sake)

Words blogged: Many

I had a number of questions as we began this experiment. I wondered if we really would save money without a personal car. By the time I used the bus, the train, ride-hailing, and rentals, would I really save money? So far the answer is yes. But my job is such that some weeks (and some seasons) there can be a greater demand for putting on the miles.

Another question I had was whether we (especially I) would just end up externalizing the cost to the community around us. In other words, would my community end up swooping in to offer me rides so much that while I wouldn't be paying for a car, my community would collectively be paying for my not having a car. I believe in mutuality but I also believe in boundaries and being up front about costs. So far, this one seems like it's still in the reasonable carpool range.

Finally, I wondered if I could hack it. I wondered if I could hack it physically through the weather and in terms of my stamina. I wondered if I could hack it mentally and emotionally--if I could keep my nerve when others pushed back on what we're trying to do. So far those things are going pretty well. Writing is helping with the nerve, and the cold and snow haven't reached problematic levels. I do suspect though that winter could have more to dish out before the month is over.

There are other aspects of course that are harder to measure. How many people have stopped to chat with me on the street or out of their car windows? How many more people have engaged me in conversation about active transportation because of the experiment and the blog? How much have I learned about my community this month? How much exercise have we gotten? How much fun have we had? The answers are all the same: Plenty!


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