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Feet On The Ground And Pedals | KFP Articles
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Saturday, 07 June 2014 18:59

A broken down car.  That's what I got for moving back to St. Louis and I'm thankful for it.  One month before I made the move back my car died at a busy section of one of St. Louis' busiest streets, cars racing by on all sides I was lucky that some one stopped and helped me push it to the nearby gas station, safely.  Ninety miles from my home, I made my way by foot and bus to a friend's place for the night.  That difference in how I got around for a couple days changed everything about my week in a very good way.  I slowed down, noticed the people around me and even ran accross a couple old friends.  There is definitely something to the simple life, taking things slow and appreciating the small things.  

Recently there was an article in the Irish Times by Cliona Brophy The Road Less Traveled telling the story of a small family that dropped their car for bike (electric) trasport.  Their motives were to avoid the threat of vandals, as well as the troubles and costs of a car.  I guess my reasons for liking this mode are different, but how much?

Instead of being daunted by the prospect of a new year with car loans and associated costs and worries, we are looking forward to a new phase in our lives: car-free and carefree.  - Irish Times Article

Car-free and care free.  I like that but it challenges me.  Unlike Cliona, I don't make much of my own food, and I do own a car - its rather hard to handle family evenst without one - but I do wish to greatly limit the use my gas guzzling older SUV to get my money's worth and extend its life.  Carefree, that's seems a bit off the mark unless life slows down, or I let it slow down, but when the life style is adapted to I guess it is more carefree.  It requires more planning and some consistency in schedule plus some other good luck such as reasonable commutes to activities.  One example of the challenges that come with this life is mentioned in Ciona's article: 

Our preferred type of holiday – camping in France with our own gear – presented a problem. We looked at many options: shipping our gear in advance, buying a car for the summer months, even ditching this type of holiday for good. Then, last December, a solution fell into our laps with the introduction of the new LD Lines ferry to St Nazaire. This port is at the start of a beautiful cycle route: La Loire à Vélo. We have booked to go at the end of June with our two bikes, two children and camping gear. We may only cycle a short bit and set up camp for two weeks at the beach; we may, if the weather is bad, board a train south or east.

 I'll keep plugging away, as I was partly successful this week, and hope to be more successful this week, at least by slowing down.  Stories like this always inpsire me.  Give it a read:

 I thought that getting woken up at 3.30am by a phone call from a neighbour who had spotted two guys trying to break into our car for the third time in a year last December was the straw breaking the camel’s back.

 However, our 1996 Toyota was to make loud complaints the following afternoon, stubbornly refusing to move on the N81 in Tallaght. No amount of crying by the five- year-old and three-year-old children in the back could cajole this particular camel home. Three gardaí came to assist it into a safe parking spot, during which it used up its last gasps. Later that evening, having finally made it home, relaxing with a glass of wine, I heard myself wondering aloud to my husband whether we could actually do without the car for good.

 Some might think we like to do things the hard way. For example, although we live in west Dublin, where groceries are not hard to come by, we have allotments to grow our own vegetables. My husband likes to make sausages and charcuterie, we make all our own bread, use wine kits and I’ve even been known to make tasty cheese. But do we really need to go as far as living without a car? We decided to look into all the pros and cons.  

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