Hi All! How’s it going? You know, since it’s been raining fairly steadily for the past few days, I’ve been thinking more and more about how nice it would be to just be able to jump in the car and head out. But wait a minute, we don’t own a car…
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Why don’t we own a car? Are we mad?!
Well, there are a few arguments for and against car ownership, and in our case they tip in favour of not owning a car at all.
Reason number one: The cost. Really and truly. Sit yourself down with your motoring bills (insurance, fuel, servicing, random consumables) and add it all up. Now take into account your average depreciation (here’s a nifty depreciation calculator). How much are you really spending? Do you need it that badly?
Reason number two: We own motorbikes. Well, I own a scooter, Boyfriend owns a motorbike. We did the maths that I mentioned in the above reason, and then we did the maths on the bikes. SO MUCH CHEAPER! Not even kidding. My scooter has a fuel efficiency of 3.1L/100km. Owning two motorbikes costs less than half of what it would cost us to own one car per year. It’s a bit crazy like that. I do have to admit though, that my scooter costs a LOT less than Boyfriend’s bike, but that’s because I bought it secondhand, it has a smaller engine, is easier to maintain due to less electronic wizardry, and generally just oozes awesomeness. I can’t convince Boyfriend to get a scooter. It’s apparently not manly enough.
Reason number three: We own bicycles. I even have an electric bicycle that can carry large amounts of shopping without any difficulty, though it’ll never win any awards for speed. Bicycles are a really good way to get around. They don’t cost much at all after your initial setup, though they do need regular chain oiling and will eventually need new tyres and brake pads and the like. AND you get to stay fit. It’s a win all over the place, unless you live at the top of a very steep hill.
Reason number four: Shanks’ Pony. That’s right. We walk. I’ve got feet attached to the ends of my legs, and I’m not afraid to use them! We live a twenty minute walk to our nearest shopping centre, and only 3 minutes walk to the local shopping strip (where things are more expensive, but more convenient also). We also invest in decent walking shoes. This is important (trust me, I had my bunions done when I was sixteen, I know about the benefits of good shoes).
Reason number five: We have public transport nearby, it may not be great public transport, but it still works on the days where you really don’t want to be riding anywhere (really windy days are quite dangerous for motorbikes).
Reason number six: Where we live and who we are. We live in a town with public transport and shopping centres. And we don’t have kids. We also don’t have to taxi people around the place, and we don’t own our house (no need for regular trips to the hardware store). Not owning a car will not work for everyone, but it does for us.
So what about those times when we need to carry large things? Well, we are very lucky. We live near my parents who let us borrow their car when we need it. When their car is unavailable, there are these amazing things called taxis, which will take you short distances for a reasonable price.
How do we manage our weekly shop? We don’t shop weekly. We shop a few times a week. This doesn’t work out to be more expensive for us. We still buy things in bulk where we would reasonably use it all, like olive oil, a giant can of which can be comfortably ferried home in a backpack. We don’t bother going specifically to the supermarket all that often either, which is made easier by the fact that I work in a shopping centre, so I can just drop into the supermarket after work.
But What Do We Do When It Rains?
Do you have any idea how many times I’ve been asked this? Mostly when it’s raining I dodge cars. The only problem with rain is that the cagers (people who drive cars) seem to go a little crazy in the rain, let’s face it, people just want to get home quickly when it’s raining.
You don’t get wet on a motorbike unless you didn’t remember to pack your wet weather gear. Wet weather gear takes up almost no space, and if you really can’t be bothered carrying it, do what I do in case of emergency and keep one of those disposable ponchos in your glove box (scooters have glove boxes and generally just a lot more storage than most motorbikes). I’ve got more wet catching a bus in the rain than I’ve managed to get on the scooter, so if your main objection to scooters is rain, you might want to rethink your beliefs.
Aren’t motorbikes awfully dangerous?
Yes and no. To be honest, in my opinion, most motorbike accidents are caused by the motorcyclist not riding as safely as they should be. It’s really important to be defensive on a motorbike. If some git in a shiny 4WD that has never even seen mud wants to cut in front of you, just let them. No amount of pride or anger is worth taking on a ton of metal, because you will lose, and when you do, it will hurt. There are accidents, and there are things that you can’t avoid, but so long as you keep your wits about you and place yourself safely on the road, you’ll be decreasing your chances of dying. ALWAYS give way. NEVER become complacent.
Do I love scooting? You betcha! It’s a brilliant way to get around!
How do you save money on transport? Do you own a car? Do you NEED your car?