No more car! No more car! No more car! (Day 117)…

sad

I did it. I sold the car.

It wasn’t an easy decision: A whole lot has happened in the seven years I’ve had my Bugaboo, and saying goodbye made me pretty misty-eyed. But it went to a good home — a nice girl from just outside the city, who found my listing on Facebook‘s marketplace.

We settled on a fair price, shook hands, and as she drove off (not quite into the sunset, but almost), I felt a weight lift off my shoulders. I’ve pumped up the tires on my bike, and I’m officially ready to move on to a more debt-free, carbon-free lifestyle.

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47 Responses to No more car! No more car! No more car! (Day 117)…

  1. Brad says:

    Good for you! Trust me, I’ve been living car free for over 7 years now, in no time you’ll be loving your new car-free lifestyle! A little more planning may be required, and some more legwork, but you’ll feel more free without the car than with it. Pain-in-the-ass commute to work notwithstanding. Again, you rock.

  2. Morgan says:

    NICE WORK!!!! And I’m sad for you at the same time because I know what you’re feeling!

    I was a Jeep Cherokee guy…I loved it, it hauled my kayaks, my bikes, all my gear and I mainly used it to get to remote locations to paddle…but guess what, my wifes Ford focus with a roof rack gets me to those same locations (there are roads everywhere now :(…)

    I watched this nice couple drive off in my Jeep at the beginning of December, and all though I miss it’s functionality, that feeling is smashed by my feeling of contributing a lot less CO2 to the atmosphere. I have to admit, not supporting the oil companies as much is a huge perk too!

    It’s been easy for me because I was already in a car pool during our winters, and in the warm months I ride my bike!

    My next vehicle will be an electric…or a clean diesel that I can make my own bio-diesel for! For now…we’re a one (small) car household, and I ride everywhere on bike!

    Cheers,

  3. just ducky says:

    Oh my gosh! You are my new hero. I’m not ready for a gigantic step like that yet… However, it is fantastic that you are. I’m just starting to embrace the whole cloth napkin thing in my house… Congrats to you!

  4. Steph says:

    I just did the same thing about a month ago … It was very freeing and frightening at the same time. But, as much as I kinda loved my car, I can honestly say that I don’t miss it at all.

    Congrats!

  5. Wow, that’s pretty cool! I hope Toronto isn’t too hilly. Are you planning on using a mix of biking and public transportation or are you forgoing that as well?

  6. Vanessa says:

    Thanks guys! Yep, Crunchy, I’ll be riding my bike (it takes about an hour each way) as well as taking public transit. And I’m going to allow myself to use a car-sharing service like Zip Car occasionally if I need to haul a massive pile of groceries or something.

  7. Fiona says:

    Hi there,

    I feed your blog to my Live Journal and I must say that I really look forward to reading your entries. Congrats on going car free..My hubby and I have been carfree for almost two years and though he still misses having a vehicle I totally love NOT having one. We even moved to a city which has better public transportation and is more bike friendly so we could continue this new and better lifestyle….I also love that you are in Canada so it makes your blog more accessible and personable:) Keep up the continued Good Green Fight!!

    Fiona
    Edmonton AB

  8. besweet says:

    A friend of mine works at the Post. It is far away. Good for you! Your car is cute, so I would be sad to see it go if it were mine too.

    We are car-free — mostly because we just couldn’t afford one — but it’s really nice to not have to worry about gas or repair costs or insurance or parking. The transit gets us most places, and we have nice friends who have cars when we really need it.

  9. Anon says:

    Wow. What a huge step!
    Congrats, now you have all that money to spend! :)

  10. Catherine says:

    Congratulations! I’ve been reading your blog nearly daily since March, and wondering whether/when you would go car-free… This move has got me convinced of your good faith ;-)

    I’ve never owned a car, by choice, but rent (or borrow) one when needed for hauling bulky stuff, etc. I wonder how the car share systems (of which there are yet none here in Hamilton) compare price-wise to renting… And can you specify you would like a hybrid?

    Once again, congratulations – this is one of the BIG changes! The planet thanks you – and think of all the free cardio from cycling every day!

  11. Love that photo of you! Mazel tov on the car sale. Can’t wait to cast mine off when I graduate. I am down to filling once a month so that’s something. Let’s get your basket decorated!

  12. Mary says:

    Absolutely Frigging AMAZING!!!

    YOU ARE AMAZING!!!

    Actually, in an exhausted funk last Friday, I ready your ENTIRE Blog. Even going back in time, I didn’t see this one coming!

    I was telling my husband how you went from using recycled paper towels to getting rid of your fridge (or at least turning it off) and I thought that was impressive, but WOW!! I’m really tanked on this one!!

    I’m proud to be a reader, and I think you’ve certainly been absolved of the SUV from this weekend by this one!!

    Keep up the great work and thanks for the honesty and lessons learned.

    By the way, you write beautifully! When is the book coming out?

  13. Carreen says:

    Just curious about some of you who have given up your cars, how many miles are you commuting? How many miles do you have to drive to do things like grocery shop or other usual weekly errands?

    I already car pool and am thinking about simply riding my bike to work. But…. I live six miles from work. Now, granted six miles isn’t much but there are mornings that it’s 90 degrees F before 8 a.m. Nothing like starting your day sweaty and smelly… (There are no showers at my office! Otherwise it would be a no brainer.) So how do you deal with that? And what about wintertime? It snows here… Will you ride your bike to work when there’s snow on the ground too?

  14. Andrés says:

    Congratlations.

  15. Hellcat13 says:

    Wow. I’m originally from the country, and having a car was such a necessity for commuting to university, jobs, etc. I have since moved into the city, but still cling to my car due to the 1h20m bus ride to work (vs 25m car ride) and my sport of choice (trust me, carting hockey gear across the city on the bus 3 times a week is not an option, especially since the bus doesn’t even come close to 2 of the rinks I play out of). However, I telework twice a week and carpool to the games whenever possible, so I deal with my guilt with the “it spends more time in the driveway than on the roads” argument and my determination to get a hybrid next.

    I’m thoroughly impressed, though. You’ve put your loyal followers to shame.

  16. patty t says:

    I thought for sure this would be day 365. Wow.
    What you got for an encore? Maybe get elected as a Green MP (you probably could, seriously)

    If we ever do brunch in High Park, I’ll drive.

  17. patty t says:

    btw – to minimize sweatiness upon arriving at the post, consider taking your ride on the subway (get on Queen, ride to Don Mills, about 35 minutes). it’s downhill all the way home

  18. nichole says:

    Nicely done! I have certainly been contemplating this the past week. Cars seem to be nothing but trouble. And, since mine is at the shop as we speak, I’ve noticed that not having one keeps me from temptations like cheeseburgers!

    Careen–it’s less than 2 miles to my work (straight up hill), four blocks to the grocery and less than a mile to the gym. I’m in Seattle so I mostly have to worry about rain. Hmm, never thought about that hill on a bike on ice. That’s gonna suck.

  19. lesley says:

    Wow! Congrats!

    I’ve long lived in cities that are car-free friendly (Washington, DC / London) and I LOVE not having a car! (Okay, except for the occasional really hot day when walking home from the grocery store w/ ice cream or popsicles just isn’t doable). Very convenient car rental servicecs are increasingly available in US cities and I wonder if it’s the same up in Canada — do you have Zipcar or Flexcar? (You can rent them for a couple hours to days at a time. They park ‘em around the city in designated spots and when you sign up with one of the companies they send you a funny little electronic credit card car key thingy…at least that’s what Zipcar was doing a few years back when I used the service more regularily).

  20. Dan says:

    As many people have said it – well done!!! life gets so much better with out one, and the domino effect it has on your other activities you’ll notice as well. Things like shopping locally (using a nanna cart of course), getting around town for dinner, catching up with family and friends, all turn into mini adventures and are much more fulfilling.

    Down here in Melbourne Aus, the trains are a good hybrid to get to destinations that are a little off the radar to pushbike to (yeah you heard me mum) :)

    Cheers and keep it going – Dan

  21. Mido says:

    Wow, that’s totally awesome. You are officially my hero. Good luck!

  22. Hi, came across this post on wordpress frontpage whilst researching. Well done!

    Vanessa, I run a Global innovation Agency, 2thinknow(TM), as Innovator-In-Chief. Effectively it’s a think-tank, but with the point that besides thinking people must do. As you have done!

    This is precisely the sort of individual action we are trying to encourage become change agents , individuals taking social action with global trends. We define innovation as positive social change. Info: http://www.2thinknow.com

    Personally I don’t actually own a car for the last few years, which is hard given I run a business, but it can be done, with hiring a car/limo in those situations it is required.

    Anyway, well done. I’m going to right a piece about your blog in our global innovation conversation blog, tracking global innovation, shortly if you don’t mind. Cities in Canada are on my list of innovation centres to research, so if you have any opinions about that please drop me an email.

    Christopher Hire
    Innovator-In-Chief, Melbourne

  23. gmpicket says:

    Very impressive, and congrats!

  24. Brad says:

    Again Vanessa, you kick ass. This is a biggie, but really, not as big as I think some people are suggesting. Giving up a fridge seems like a bigger lifestyle change to me. You have transit as a good option once the car’s gone. There’s really no backup to the fridge.

    The other reason you can feel amazing for giving up your car is more symbolic. There’s probably no less sustainable and environmentally friendly way to build–and live–than the suburbs. Cars are by and large what make this kind of building and lifestyle possible. Cars both enable and are then required by suburban living. Glad you gave up this massive symbol of unsustainability!

    Careen:
    I have a 5 km bike commute to work. But I’ve had longer. The 5 km is admittedly not very difficult, especially in good weather. In winter (I’m in Halifax, a substantial amount of snow falls), I still bike. It’s way less trouble than people initially imagine. You don’t need to bulk up too much or you simply overheat. Once you get over the psychological barrier of “I can’t bike in snow”, it’s a breeze. It’s fun. And good exercise.
    Nearest grocery store is about 1.5 km away. I typically walk there and back.

    A car really is more a liability than anything, I’ve found, especially if you live in the city.

  25. Vanessa says:

    Wow, thanks for all the support guys! As it turns out, when I was biking home yesterday, my front tire got this weird tumor-looking thing and suddenly exploded, and I had to haul it up onto a streetcar all the way home :(

    I felt like it was some bad omen, but in reality, it was probably just because I pumped the tire too much and the tube inside was kinked or something. Oh well. I took public transit to work today and it only took an hour and 15, which is totally doable. Plus I got to read my book all the way here, which was FAR more relaxing than swerving about in stop-and-go traffic.

  26. Chile says:

    Congratulationson going car-free, Vanessa! We’re working towards that ourselves but biking in 105 degree temps like today just wipes me out. Now, get your tire fixed up, learn the proper pressure to pump it up to, and get back out there. ;-)

  27. Greenpa says:

    Vanessa- awesome. :-) Has to be a wrench, but you are bravely pedalling forward.

    About the bike omen- I’ve been astonished how many times my vehicle has broken down- in a good place. If it had to go, this was way better than other possibilities. Maybe true here too; now you’ll have a tire that you can trust.

    Go get ‘em!

  28. lloyd alter says:

    just caught up on this, amazing. you can borrow my Subaru whenever you need it.

  29. Michael A. says:

    Congratulations, Vanessa! I’ve been car-free for five years next month and apart from a few rough patches at the beginning it’s just gotten easier the whole time. Although when I started out I had no money so one of the first things I had to learn was how to fix my own flats. Sounds like you’ve already had some experience in that area, though. :)

    I live in Austin TX and the summers here can be brutal w/o an air-conditioned vehicle. But through a combination of bike, bus, relocating to be near work, borrowing friends’ cars and the local zipcar equivalent, they’ve become quite doable.

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  38. luke w says:

    YOU GO GIRL! Giving up my car later this month as I move from Florida (yuk) to a small New England town, I CAN’T WAIT!!! I am so tired of cars, they cost too much, they smell, and they are dangerous. I really can’t believe residents of the “first world” got so duped by such a corrupt system as that offered up as “FreeDumb” by the big three auto makers and their big oil counterparts. Good riddence to the car and the boring subarban lifestyle that goes with it. Want a really good critique of the auto crazy socity look up James H Kunstler’s (author of the Long Emergency) website at http://www.kunstler.com he does a great job of explaing the problem of cars and the riduclious zoning laws that wrecked our country.

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