Thursday, December 14, 2006

How to give up cycling

"Some people can gradually cut down their cycling but that doesn’t work for everyone. People like you probably need to just decide to stop cycling entirely one day. I’d suggest you just get rid of your bikes and buy a car."

"Buy a car? But that’s such an unreliable way to travel around town. You never know when you are going to arrive because of congestion and problems with parking. I mean, I have work to do and people who rely on me being on time for my appointments."

"You have to explain to people why you are making this choice. You’ll probably find that they are very understanding."

"And what about longer journeys? I use my folding bike to get to the train station and then I can work on the train – it’s incredibly convenient. In a car, you just have to sit there and you can’t do anything else."

"Well, I admit that it can be difficult combining car travel with other activities but you’d be surprised how much you can do with a little practice. Talking on the phone, texting, smoking, eating, drinking – it’s all possible."

- How to give up cycling

The arguments for switching to driving instead of riding are so persuasive I don't know why I don't drive. By switching from my bike to a car I can be poorer, fatter, and angrier then ever before.


Mark Burton said...

I think people, who use a bike, use a bike because it fit’s in with their daily routines and people, who drive a car, drive a car because it fits in with their daily routines. And that it’s not always a simple as it looks from one person’s aspect to another about either. Take myself for instance, I know I’m unfit, I know I’m over weight and sometimes I even feel my body is crying out to be exercised. Cycling simply doesn’t fit, My place of work is 18 miles away from my home (Darlington/Barnard Castle) I work shifts... therefore public transport simply ant happening. Is there any other way than a car... you tell me?

Mike said...

I think peoples' lives have become so car-oriented that they are stuck in a car-rut and can't see over the sides. I can probably never convince you to stop driving your car; I've tried convincing mountain bikers on mountain bike forums to stop driving their cars with no success because people are so blinkered. So, I'm not sure if there's any way that I'll convince you, but...

Presumably, at some point you chose to live in Darlington despite having a job in Barnard Castle, or to get a job in Barnard Castle despite living in Darlington. Once you did that, you locked yourself into needing a car.

The only way out of the car-dependance is to either move closer to work or to get a job closer to home. That's a huge lifestyle/financial decision and there's no way that I'm going to convince you to do that in these comments.

All I can do is point out the benefits of doing that: reduced commuting time means more time for family and hobbies; the reduced car-running costs means more money for family and hobbies; reduced stress (commuting long distances by car is stressful); plus the health benefits meaning you'll feel better and live longer.

Ultimately, it's not a transportation change, but a way-of-life change. People can either choose to live car-oriented lives or local-lives. One generally results in being poorer, fatter and angrier, the other in being richer, thinner and happier.

It's a choice, but it is a choice.

Mark Burton said...

Thanks for that... “The only way out of the car-dependence is to either move closer to work or to get a job closer to home. That's a huge lifestyle/financial decision and there's no way that I'm going to convince you to do that in these comments.”

Unfortunately; current working financial benefits means getting that job closer to home isn’t possible and family upheaval to move closer to work, just wouldn’t work. I don’t see a town family settling into a village way of life.

It would be nice to be able to cycle into town and catch a bus to Barnard Castle, which would arrive at 5:45am and have equal returns... safe in the knowledge that my bike, parked close to the bus stop, would be there on my return... lights intact!

Mike said...

I told you so :)

Mike said...

Look at me, I just can't stop myself trying, even though I know it won't work :)

If you're a two car family, getting a job nearer home would almost certainly mean you could get rid of the second car. The total financial cost of running this car (petrol, tax, MOT, servicing, insurance and depreciation) considered in terms of how much you need to earn pre-tax to pay for it is probably a lot more than you'd think.

Subtract this pre-tax car-cost from your current salary to get a better idea of how much you're really making from your current job. Compared to this, local jobs may not seem to poorly paid.

I would then ask myself if the financial cost of switching to a job nearer to home is an acceptable price for more time with my family, both in terms of less time spent commuting to work and in increased life expectancy.

If that last paragraph sounds like emotional blackmail, it's meant to ;)

Steve said...

I'm in a similar position to Mark, as I work in Ripon so while I drive there for work I'll use the bike if I'm going anywhere in Darlington.

It'd be great to live closer or use public transport but its actually cheaper for me to stay here in Darlington.Though I used to cycle across to Middlesbrough sometimes when I worked there (til I found how convenient the trains were)