An (almost) Carfree Family

December 29, 2013 by  
Filed under Undriver Stories

sara1We met this (almost) car-free family at the Ballard Neighborhood Greenways event where they got their Undriver Licenses™ in fall, 2013. The whole family goes almost everywhere on bikes. Sara Daum tells us their story:

What did you pledge for your Undriving pledge month? 

“We pledged as a family. None of us drove at all in that time, not even a carshare vehicle.”

Do you ever drive?

“I haven’t driven my own car in over 4.5 years. The only driving I’ve done has been infrequent carshare vehicles (Zipcar), fewer than 3 times each year. My car has been sitting in the garage for all that time. I do want to sell it, but it does mean there will be another car in use. As long as I own it, it will not be in use…so, selling it is very mixed for me.  I just don’t want to drive anywhere ever.”

sara2How do your kids feel about traveling by bike? 

“My daughter loves to ride our bicycles. She often asks to go on night rides.”

What’s the biggest challenge biking with kids?

“Biking with kids in cold or wet weather requires extra time for dressing appropriately. For me, this is less of a challenge, and more a matter of timing the dressing process appropriately. Since she doesn’t pedal along with me, she needs enough layers to keep her warm. But we have to wait until the last minute to bundle up, as my daughter gets overheated quickly inside, if there are any delays in leaving the house. The process requires a lot of organization. My daughter wears a two piece snow suit in the cold weather and a two piece rain suit in the wet weather. She also wears a scarf, and a hat under her helmet. For really cold days, she has a balaclava, which keeps her whole head and neck covered.”

Any advice for other families starting out biking together?

“My advice is to test-ride as many options as you can before choosing. My quest for a cargo bicycle started with a test ride of a very different bicycle, which I had thought would be the right one for us. Based on that first test ride, I knew I needed to try many more options. I set about finding ways to test ride several other options and found the one I love, the Xtracycle EdgeRunner.  Around that time, I also organized a get-together for the cargo-bike curious.  Many families brought their family biking setups and allowed anyone there to test-ride. It was great fun and helped several families make decisions about which bikes were right for them.”

What’s next?

“I decided to buy a Brompton folding bike for bus/bike trips and traveling to other cities or countries with our bikes. Very excited about that! My husband also ordered a Brompton folding bicycle which, in addition to our plans for traveling with bicycles, he also plans to use for commuting to work in downtown Seattle. In addition to being really fun to ride, the folding bike will cut out the parking portion of his commute, as he will simply fold his bike and bring it into his office.”

We’ve noticed that Undriving is sometimes contagious. Has your Undriving influenced others?

treebybike“A young man we know got rid of his car and bought a bicycle because of our influence. I was really struck by his excitement and enthusiasm when telling me. He told me that his bicycle came from a Craigslist seller and that he had replaced the tires which he believed were the original 1970′s tires. It is a very pretty blue, vintage Schwinn. Another family we know has asked for lots of input in their process of deciding on a family biking setup. The mom is ready to ditch their minivan and go completely car-free, but the dad isn’t ready to do that yet.”

What’s a cargo-toting challenge you’ve overcome by bike?

“This year, because we have a cargo bike, we were able to bring our Christmas tree home by bicycle. This would have been next to impossible with my old bike, but was actually easy with my cargo bike. My husband and I both agreed that it was much easier than bringing a tree home with a carshare vehicle, which is what we did last year.”

Thanks, Sara and family, for Undriving!

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