Friday, August 17, 2012


As I was interminably riding 4,000 feet continuously uphill today, I had some time to think.  My $7 FM radio couldn't tune in any Top 40 hits so there was no real opportunity to just zone out.  And it occurred to me that it's been one year that I have lived car-free!  Yes, that's right viewers/listeners/readers.  I sold my 2001 green Chevy Silverado 4WD extended bed pickup truck one year ago and haven't purchased a motor vehicle since then.

The Chevy truck in question, moments after its fuel pump quit in the middle of Rocky Mountain National Park
"Why, oh why, would you have gotten rid of it and not replaced it with another one?" you may ask.  Well here goes:

1)  Environment- I won't elaborate on this one since unless you live under a rock you've heard arguments of why cars suck for the environment.  You either believe it or don't.  Anything I write won't convince you otherwise.  Personally I cannot reconcile the paradox between my desire to enjoy the outdoors and driving a gasoline powered vehicle that aids in destroying said environment.  I've tried to not care, but I can't avoid it anymore.  In fact, now I attempt to only use mass transit if I need to get somewhere far away and don't have 3 months to do it (more on that later).  And by that I mean bus.  No airplanes.

2)  Cost- My friend, Eric, and I have talked at length about this one.  When you tally up the initial cost of a vehicle, repairs, fuel, insurance, inspection, registration, parking and all of the other expenses associated with it, it's a lot of money.  A lot.  We both figured if you eliminate that expense, you can either work less or spend the money on cooler stuff, like Twinkies and copies of Point Break.  Personally, I'd rather work less and have more fun.

3) Insulation- What the heck do I mean by "insulation"?  Vehicles insulate you from the world.  They insulate you from the people around you.  They insulate you from the sounds, smells, and sights around you.  They shrink distances.  They blind you to geography and topography.  If you like the fact that you can leave your air conditioned home, step into an air conditioned car and blitz past all the shit you don't care about until your air conditioned destination arrives, good for you.  But there's those of us who don't.  Like me.

Nope.  Still don't need a truck.

"Well obviously you haven't accomplished as much without a car." you will protest.  No.  Not really.  I will admit to needing to make a lifestyle change though.  You need to relax.  You need to transport yourself back to an era where you cannot get anywhere around town within minutes.  Or zip around the world.  You need to plan ahead a little bit better when you go out running errands and make sure that you leave yourself more time before making appointments or get togethers.  You may choose to walk.  You might choose mass transit.  I chose to bike a lot.

And on my bike, I don't think that I have made any compromises.  In the past year, I've gone on climbing trips.  I've gotten out on my packraft.  I've attended a wedding that was 250 miles away (suit in tow) and attended another reception.  I set up a trade show booth at a convention using my bike trailer.  I've gone and picked up beer kegs.  So far this summer I have ridden 4,500 miles and am sitting in central Washington as I type this.  That's more than can be said for my shitty truck that couldn't conquer the Rockies.  While riding my bike even on routes that I had driven hundreds of times, I met new people, saw new and interesting things and appreciated my surroundings far more than was possible by car.  I am in better physical and mental shape than when I drove around.  I love not having a car.

Am I suggesting that everyone does this?  Not necessarily.

Do folks have legitimate reasons that this wouldn't work for them?  Maybe.

Have there been situations in the past year that I rode in or operated a car?  Sure.

Are plenty of folks going to want to discredit my lifestyle?  Definitely.

Do I care?  Nope.

Places your car won't take you- Exhibit A

Seriously.  I don't care.  This is my blog and I am writing about me.  While I doubt anyone will take the time to fully read this let alone comment on it, the only comments that I want to see are questions concerning how you can make your own lifestyle "car light" or "car free".  I'll be happy to discuss it with you.  Any disparaging comments can be saved because I really don't care.  You love cars?  You live 65 miles away from your job and are certain that a car is the only answer and I'm a jobless hippy?  You have 5 kids to get to soccer practice and flute lessons?  Good.  Great.  Leave me to my delusions.

In the end, I am just psyched to announce that I have made it one year in our very car-centric nation without owning a gasoline powered vehicle.  I had my doubts when I first decided to do it.  But now, all that I can think about it all of the cool stuff that I am going to do without one.


  1. My dear delusional jobless hippie friend,
    Congrats on the one year without a car (I hang my head in shame as there are 6 cars parked in front of my house as I write this), but that's a story for another day. As I was reading your blog, it reminded me of the story of the Mexican fisherman who was encouraged by the Harvard MBA to work harder, so he could buy more boats, make a lot of money so he could retire and move to a small coastal fishing village where he would sleep late, fish a little, play with his kids, take siestas with his wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where he could sip wine and play guitar with his which the fellow replied, "that's what I am doing now".

    You've almost made it there! Wish I could dip my front tire in the Pacific with you.

    Blessings, Mike

    1. Si, senor! I know you wish you could be on the beach with me. But we'll skip dipping the tire in the ocean part. The rims and spokes might get saltwater on them and rust. Then we'd have to go back to work more in order to buy new ones... Ha ha!