I sold my beloved Mitsubishi Carisma a little over 5 years ago. It was a sporty, nice trim, end-of-line model. At that stage I had been driving Mitsubishis for over 9 years, with a no claims bonus to match.
My car was pretty much clapped out in 2012 and the purchase of a new one was in order.
I opted out and went to South America instead and traveled for a year.
Today I cycle everywhere or else take public transport. Does anyone else love the opportunity to read and nap on a few hour bus or train trip?
It’s like a moving rest. Very efficient.
At the moment I do a sixteen mile round cycle trip to work.
So, five years on, is it still worth not having a car?
For me, yes.
We all know not having a car = saving money.
Just how much can be surprising. Although I haven’t had a car for 5 years, I have been living out of the country for about a year and a half.
With that in mind I have put together the below estimation of my savings over that time, using conservative numbers for the car costs based on the kind of mileage I used do.
Even when I had a car, I didn’t use it as much as many others would. No doubt these car costs will seem a bit on the low side to some.
So, over 5 years (3.5 potential car-using ones) it’s a reasonable assumption that it’s very possible to save 10k. That’s probably a conservative estimate of the savings.
Think of what you can do with that – invest it, travel, kick something off your bucket-list.
I pretty much used that money to build a Tiny House in Ecuador. It’s my dream to be able to live there in the future and that was an important step on the path.
I’ve written about all the other benefits that cycling has brought to my life here.
“When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.”
Sherlock Holmes author, Arthur Conan Doyle, Scientific American, 1896
More so than anything, the biggest non-monetary benefit of not having a car is actually the daily cycling that is required. Shopping, commuting, calling to friends. All on the bike.
Lots of movement, all included in transport, basically free and built into the structure of life.
The mindset that believes a car is a necessity for transport is often the same that thinks a gym membership is related to exercise.
I know, because I convinced myself I needed my car for about six years to complete a four mile daily commute. Cars are a necessity for some, and a luxury for many.
That’s not to say cycling is without its downsides. These can be best avoided by:
- Learn to fix your bike when it breaks. It’s great to be able to fix your own transport. There’s nothing to sit inside on a cold Winter morning, however, if you can’t get it moving again.
- Motorists will at best respect you, at worst hate you. Some cyclists do us no favours either. Most motorists have fond memories of cycling themselves, even if it was only down the cul-de-sac as children. The real motorist haters are made up of those who see cyclists as a lower form of life and cannot envision much outside themselves and their wheeled box at that moment in time. To avoid the latter it really is best to go the extra step to seek out wide roads/cycle lane routes, especially for regular cycles and commutes
- Fuel up properly for a commute, especially over 5 miles. The end of my commute has some pretty steep hills. If I am running on empty they can be pretty challenging and I can be about ready to eat the curtains when I come through the door in the evening!