Sunday, August 05, 2007


I've just called the breakdown people to come and look at my car, but the past week or so has been fantastic without it. On Monday morning I was slightly pissed off that it wouldn't start, but since then it's been great being liberated from it.

I've cycled 90 miles this week. I've also used the train to explore places I've been meaning to visit for a while but never got round to going to. It helps that summer finally seems to have arrived, and my longer bike rides have been rewarded by fantastic views, but let's go back a bit.

On Monday not having the car meant that I didn't run, but that was probably sensible given the state of my legs. On Tuesday I cycled to work which is what I always do on a Tuesday, but because of the nice weather I decided to come a slightly longer route home. When I did that I discovered some lovely country lanes much closer to my house than I'd expected, which kind of set the tone for the week.

On Wednesday I cycled to work, from there to running club, I ran, then I cycled home. Doing that is hard work, but it felt a lot easier than the only other time I've attempted to do that. On Thursday I cycled to work again, and on Friday I decided to do a long bike ride on the way in, instead of cycling to the gym and working out there. Oh the bliss. I worked out an 18 mile route, and the first 13 were almost entirely through countryside, I had the roads to myself, I had glorious views, and there wasn't a traffic light or bus in sight. In the evening I walked a mile or so down to the park to watch a free showing of Dirty Dancing, and then back again.

On Saturday I was due to do my long run. I'd planned to do the Keighley run, where I get the train 20 miles out of town and run back. Usually when I do that I drive into town and leave my car with a bag of clean clothes and food, but with not having that option I got the bus, dumped my stuff at the gym and set off from there. Getting the bus into town meant that it was better to buy a day metro card than separate bus and train tickets, and that's where the fun started. Once I'd finished my run, at about 12.30, I had the rest of the day to fill, and a ticket that would take me anywhere in West Yorkshire (for a mere fiver). I decided to head over to Hebden Bridge, as I've been meaning to go for a while. Although it was drizzling up there, and not the bright sunshine in evidence elsewhere in the country, it was nice to get up into the pennines, and remind myself that I don't need to trek into the dales to get some nice countryside. While I was there I found out about a couple of nice walks that I'd like to do some day, when my legs aren't recovering from a 17 mile run!

So, today it's time to get the car started. I'm almost disappointed because I've missed it so little. The main reason I'm doing it today (I could after all have called them on Monday) is that today I've got the opportunity to take it on a long run to recharge the battery, rather than a 3 or 4 miler which would do no good. The irony of all this is that although I was planning to go over to Warrington today anyway, if the car hadn't needed a bit of attention I'd have been going on the train! I did get in a 10 mile bike ride round some more country lanes this morning before calling them, I wanted to make the most of the sunshine so turned my trip to the shop for the newspaper into a bit of a longer exploring expedition - I quite like that I can find new routes on the bike when I can carry a map in my pannier bag, then I know whether they're options for runs in the future.

This has given me a lot more confidence that I can cope without a car over winter. In fact, I'm looking forward to getting rid of it. I'm starting to wonder whether I actually will buy a new one in Spring or whether I'll just find other ways round transport issues. The more time I spend car-free, the more I realise that I don't like sitting in a box, being transported from A to B with little opportunity to enjoy the journey. The distances I travel during the week just aren't long enough to justify the costs of car ownership, and it seems like the only reason I have a car is to get to the rugby. Now, I like the rugby, but do I like it enough to justify paying the sort of money a new car will cost me just to get to those Friday night games that aren't feasible by public transport?


Blogger t__m__i said...

There's always car hire and taxis - put the money that would otherwise go on tax & insurance in a special fund for those two and it should go quite far (and you won't feel extravagent because you know you've already saved that much).

But if you think not having a car is freeing, just wait until the telly breaks down! Ours died a couple of weeks ago and I don't think we'll get a new one except maybe for the dogsitters (!)

6:30 PM  
Blogger YP said...

Funny you should mention that. I'm barely watching the tv at the moment and am wondering why I'm shelling out £40 per month for sky...

6:50 PM  

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