Thursday, December 22, 2011


We've been having a few problems with our old bomb (an '88 Toyota Camry) for a while now. It ran really well for about 18 months and then I ran out of fuel once. I now know it's really bad to run out of fuel in an old car. Ever since then she hasn't been the same. She's been conking out all over the place and it's been quite nerve racking. It's not that great a feeling driving to work praying you'll get there without breaking down. Then Simes told me that it needed a new distributor, so I thought great and I got one and it made no difference! So when Quin left the lights on a few weeks ago after having a play in there, of course it didn't start. When I finally got it going again I took it for a spin to charge the battery and it conked out a few k's down the road. So I think the battery is dead (couldn't start it again) and the conking out issue is still there. Amy and I have been talking about whether we can live without a second car, so we took this opportunity to say bugger it let's lose the old bomb and see how we go (as permies say, try to turn a problem into a solution). It's really hard to cut your reliance on the car. We've tried and we know how hard it is. Below is a chart of the k's we have done for the last few years. We really haven't reduced our car use that much, even since getting the cargo bike. I think the best way is to go cold turkey, we can always buy another car but I don't think we will.

It's never really sat well with me to be a two car family, since I didn't even own a car until my late 20's. We both work about 20 kms from home, so it's a bit of a challenge to ride to work and drop off and pick up Quin from school without 2 cars. It's been a year since we got our electric cargo bike and that's been a great help, so we think we'll muddle through with the help from friends and relies. We're also going to buy a new dutch cargo bike, the Workcycles Fr8. It will look something like this (with a rear seat for Quin, plus panniers).

                      Photo source: Workcycles

Since riding our Bakfiets I don't think I could ride a bike not made in Holland and the Fr8 is a beauty. It's a smaller bike than the Bakfiets, with a modular design which allows many combinations of cargo/kid carrying. It still has some serious cargo carrying capacity (up to 250kg total). I was quite keen on getting a non-electric bike this time, but Amy is adamant that it should be powered. She thinks that way we will use it more often and be less reliant on the car. I really want a Fr8 so I'll go along with it I guess. It makes it rather complicated, since the bike needs a few modifications, but I think it will work out in the end. The theory is that the Fr8 will be more of a commuting bike, with the option of carrying Quin plus the shopping. The Bakfiets will still be useful for trips when we need more cargo space (eg putting Quin's bike in when he gets puffed out). Our aim is to take our average k's by car down by at least 10 a day and by bike up the same amount. I bet we can do it.

Cargone is the past participle of cargo by the way (I pinched it from this cargo bike courier).

The wrecker came today, so bye bye Camry. The family footprint keeps on shrinking...

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