Category Archives: flexcar

Day 71 – 72: My life w car

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Oprah goes green: Going Green 101. I really loved seeing this show at the gym while I was working out, even though some of the ideas seemed really, really old. I thought: we can recycle just about anything.

Green investing: I truly believe that this will become a big deal in the near future. We’re about to be cornered on everything from energy to sustainable foodstuffs. So, one day soon, all these “wacky” alternative ideas may become more mainstream than ever thought possible.

What’s up with the bees?

Use one less paper napkin!

Daily Stats:
Car: 10 miles (two tasks, two people)
bike: 0
bus/flexcar: 0

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Day 37: My Life w Car

In Seattle, we have this great program for composting food scraps that’s just working out so well and reducing our overall garbage production. It just started in December, and it’s been part of our ongoing discussion regarding what to do with our food scraps.

As vegetarians, our food scraps are easy and ideal for composting; the biggest issue is we have more food scraps than a small worm bin can really handle. I, particularly, eat a lot of fruit everyday which results in a lot of peels, cores, and other fruit scraps. Then we eat a lot of fresh veggies that create a pile of scraps–cores, peels, etc. We’ve always wanted to compost everything but haven’t been able to, mainly due to the amount.

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Well, now we just add it to our yard waste! What could be easier! At first we were skeptical because we figured the neighborhood raccoons would dig into it, but turns out that with all the other green material in the bin–leaves, grass, prunings, etc–the smell of our veggies and fruit scraps gets overwhelmed. So, so far, so good. And it has reduced our garbage by about 30% each week–amazing!

We still do the worm composting, by the way. The vermiculture output is so good for the garden soil, we could never stop that entirely. Anxious to get the garden going this year!

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Daily Stats:
Car: 8.5 miles/ 3 tasks
Bike: 0
Flexcar: 0
Bus: 0
a pie: 0

Day 11: My Life with Car

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.

Today’s stats:

Car: 0
Bike: 2 miles
Flexcar: 9 miles/3 tasks
Bus: 0

busy day.

Day 7: My Life with Car

So this is the end of the first week. My partner drove us both on errands today, about 12 miles, I’m guessing–to the gym and to PCC.

It was a rainy, wet day like Seattle is famous for–it was warmer than it’s been though. You gotta be hardy to bike around here; my bike is not yet ready for packing stuff out from the store–I took off the funky rack I had on there and I need another panier for carrying stuff, so we just drove.

My total miles for this week:
car: approx 38 miles
bike: approx 25
flexcar: 0
bus: 0
Days with no car usage: 3

Some good links:
Seattle’s official bike site is here, no mention of the many, many potholes that threaten bikers, the thing is outdated, but it’s still better than what many cities offer.

Seattle Critical Mass: I’ve only joined it once but I admire it a lot.

Some critical mass photos on flickr…the slide show is the best.

And finally, the Sierra Club–lots of information, petitions to George W., information and etc.

Day 3: My Life with Car

Began the day with no trips to take and no errands to run. Decided to do a time check instead–I want to begin tracking how long it take to ride my bike to various spots so I can plan trips.
Today’s ride was 2 hours round trip–to the West Seattle bridge via Alki and Beach Drive. Gorgeous day and excellent, if cold, ride.
Tonight we decided to go for dinner at the Pho Brothers diner and needed to eat fast–hopped in the car and zipped over in 5 minutes.
So.
Today was a day With Car, after all.

got my Flexcar membership–looks confusing. I’ll have to try it out on a day when I’ve got time to learn it–not on the fly.
stats:
2 hrs on bike–probably about 20 miles RT
10 minutes in car-1 mi RT

Day 2: My life with Car

Today is a no-car day. I’d like to reduce my car days to 2 or 3, we’ll see.
I had errands to run but most of my day was in my home office working online or on the phone.

Hopped on my bike and ran errands for 1.5 hours in beautiful downtown West Seattle. Admittedly, this same task would have taken about 30-45 minutes in a car, but I got to thinking as I was tooling along: I feel better on my bike. Today’s been a hectic one at my job and riding my bike is a real break from all that stuff.

west seattle view of downtown

I don’t believe doing errands in my car would have given me the mental break or the sense of freedom I got from being on my bike.

Oh and then, when I got back, I felt just fine about that dark chocolate treat I indulged in–4 bike trips a week and all the chocolate you can eat–sounds good to me.

Came back to my office, sat down, faced all the same issues I left before but I felt a lot more refreshed and energized. So–can I quantify that? No. Can I make any dollar or data driven conclusions or arguments for or against? No.

Hmm. I guess I just have to accept it as personal fact. I felt better about the world after riding my bike…and I can’t often say that after driving around town.