A Padre Island sunrise

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Bicycle - bicycle - bicycle or life without a car

I guess I could title this as "These feet were made for walking"?

A few months back we sold our car with the intention of getting something that weighed less (our RV was not happy on hills with the VW camper) and then decided to try car-less for awhile. We have both bicycles, why not?

With a store bought milk crate bungied to the rack on the back you can carry what you can put in one of those grocery store carry around baskets. Add a front basket and a back pack and you can do a shopping trip for two.
This worked well in Quartzsite. Quartzsite is flat, the desert is rock based not sand, everything is within 2 miles and it doesn't rain. There was a day the wind got me, I had to pedal DOWN off the overpass but for the most part a bike was fine in (flat) Quartzsite.

At all the rest of our stops since then a bike or on foot as been a reasonable answer, until we settled in Iowa for 6 months.

Riding a bike in heavy rain is not fun, riding a bike along a busy road is very uncomfortable (basic physics), riding a bike with 30mph winds is an exercise in futility, and the thought of riding a bike 6 miles on busy roads to go to an Aldis to shop is just nuts.

I'm aware of the above points but wanted to give the 'car-less' lifestyle a real chance, the Des Moines area does have a bus system. Then came yesterday.
I had to go to the post office, there was no way around it, a quick on-line look with google maps showed it was just over 3 miles away. Three miles? Not a problem! How's the weather? Problem! 30 mph wind and cold. The bus stop is one mile in a different direction.

I can't ride a bike into 30 mph headwinds, sorry. I had to go to the post office, I chose to walk. By the time we got home we'd done 7 miles with a cold wind from the side or in your face the whole was, was a tough walk.

During our walk we saw a lot of places to explore (in Altoona) on a bike if Spring ever gets here but that doesn't really address my problem of those places that are just too far away or the roads to get to them scare me if I was on a bike. Part of our plan was to settle in an area  for several months and explore, not as easy as I thought it was going to be. After yesterday, we need a car.
I've thought of a gas or electric motor on a bike but the cars are ALL way bigger than we are (physics) plus it does rain in the mid-west all summer long. I'm watching craigslist for car.

Maybe I'm just getting too old for life without a car? Maybe because walking or a bike rather than a car is a choice? One of my thoughts as I was trudging into that god awful head wind yesterday with my gortex raincoat turned windbreaker's collar pushed up so I could put my chin in it & out of the wind was that if I had to walk back to the west coast I'd be in trouble. Walking back to the RV was not easy.

All my life I'd figured that as long as I was on the mainland I could (if I needed to) walk to where ever it was I had to go. That thought has been a key in all the "what if" survival plans that I've had over the years. In the early 80's I lived west of the San Andres fault, 300' from the beach in Pacifica, CA. I was aware that if a quake came & I didn't 'fall into the sea' we'd be on our own for awhile, I kept water & such in my small apartment. Survival preps have always been important to me, I read some blogs & am on a couple of email lists but I see the preparation as insurance rather than as a way of life.
Yesterday I had to walk home to the RV... walking home to Washington state would not be easy.

I'm watching craigslist, VW buses are in short supply out here but I keep looking! Maybe it's time for a pickup truck, it's been awhile...


  1. I happen to have the same hot pink milk crate!

    Sorry to hear about having to walk in the nasty elements to the post office. Did you ever consider a taxi?

    Hope your search for a car is fruitful. I too love VW buses :)

  2. On the way back the thought of a taxi crossed my mind. A taxi not something that I've used very often so it way down the list when I'm thinking of things.

    That crate bungied has to the rack has worked well for everything but a 20lb bag of ice.

    Thanks for visiting!

  3. I have a 1994 Chevy V-8, 5.7L, great running truck. I use it about 400 miles per year, to the vet and landscaping store. I am only selling it because as you know from my blog post today that I am selling everything I own and hitting the road fulltime. Let me know if you are intersted at bhoundsnrvs@gmail dot com

    I have not found a contact email for you.