Today was interesting: my first experiment with FlexCar…and I learned a lot of things.
First, I dropped off my bike at Aaron’s Bike Shop for an overhaul and had my usual disagreement with Aaron–still feel bad about it, don’t know why he’s so difficult to get along with. But check it out: I spent about an hour and a half last week testing the fit of my bike and reviewing all the things that needed to be done. I also wanted to put a new rack on and a carrying case and an odometer. All tolled this was going to cost waaaaay more than I expected but the promise of a great functioning bike was worth it, I figured. Came back today, handed over the bike for the work, and handed over the odometer I’d purchased before. Aaron took the odometer and said, that’ll be $10 to put it on.
Now, call me nuts but I pretty much figured this was already accounted for in the overall and large estimate for everything else. It’s not the 10 bucks, not at all. It’s the fact that I already bought it, already put a down payment on the work and now, after all that, and the time, he hits me with the lousy 10 bucks. It just seemed petty and I said so. Aaron, thoroughly insulted, nearly kicked me out of his shop. I stood my ground and insisted that it should have been included in the final tab. I told him I think he does fabulous work, love the shop, love the local business, etc–but hey, I’m a customer! Treat me like a Customer, fer chrissakes.
Okay, rant over.
I went from the shop across the street to where the Flexcar is conveniently located. I reserved the car for 2 hrs, $20, and was headed downtown for a business lunch; as well, I had appts on both sides of noon so I was nervous the car wouldn’t be there, that I wouldn’t get it back in time etc.
Online reservation is a snap and all went pretty well, for a first time. It’s really weird using a communal car, though–I just gotta say that. The car isn’t anywhere near pristine, it smelled a wee bit like smoke, and it wasn’t so clean inside. But hell, it’s an experiment so I sallied forth.
Entry was pretty easy, got to my lunch on time, got back on time. Exit made me a little nervous cuz you put the key inside the car and shut the doors locked–it’s just so counter intuitive to lock keys inside a car.
Then I walked home–all good and well. Can I see myself giving up my car and relying on flexcar? Nope, not yet, but it’s early days, very early days. Here’s an interesting discussion of Flexcar usage in Seattle–I agreed with several of the points after my first attempt, but I need more info, much more info.
I realized today that part of the reason living without a car seems more plausible to me lately is because I’m traveling to El Salvador every month–and while I’m there, I just live without a car. I walk, or sometimes get a ride from someone else. And when I come back home, a car seems sort of a luxury. See? It’s always good to get away and get a different perspective.
Bike: 2 miles
Flexcar: 9 miles/3 tasks