The urban bike magazine

Seven years without a car: How this decision has changed my life

It’s an attitude towards life: owning a bike instead of a car. Or perhaps even several bikes, one for every occasion. Seven years ago I decided on a life without a car, and this is how it influenced my life.

Foto_Jennifer_square
She lives in the Rhine Main area and enjoys to daily commute to work with her Holland bicycle. Monotony is not her thing. She likes to make detours to encounter new routes. In her leisure time, she's riding a road bike, likes to be at the sea or in the mountains – always accompanied by a bicycle, as she would not travel anywhere without.

Getting by without a car

When the brakes on my car became rusty because I hadn’t used it for so long, it was clear that I didn’t need a car anymore. What’s the point of owning a car when it’s parked more than it’s driven? So I sold it.

I’ll admit that it was convenient having a car, especially when I was still commuting. Depending on my mood and the weather I either drove or took my bike on the train and rode it home later. It was very convenient to have the choice. As soon as my 30-kilometre commute became a 5-kilometre commute I stuck with my bicycle. Besides, I can get around Darmstadt quicker on a bike than I can by car. It is pretty easy to get by in the densely populated Rhein-Main region without a car.

Getting around by public transport and car sharing

Of course, there are times when it would be great to have a car to just hop into and drive off. But those times are few and far between. If I need one, I rent one. There’s a car-sharing station around the corner from where I live and if I do need a car for a few days then I rent one. Though that doesn’t happen often, so much so that I can count the number of times that has happened in the last year on one hand.

Often I just take the train and rent a bike at my destination. At the moment I find this kind of holiday very agreeable. I’m happiest when in the saddle, discovering the area.

If I go shopping, I take my bike. Back when I still had a car, I only used it to go shopping if I went past a shop on the way home from work. Otherwise, my bicycle was my first choice back then too. Sure, I still need a car to carry heavy, unwieldy things that don’t fit on my bike. But cargo bikes for rent are becoming more popular too – a great alternative!

No such thing as too many bikes

As much as I love my bike I’m still a little casual when it comes to maintenance. Of course, you’re not going to get far without pumping up your tyres and regularly applying some oil. I give my bikes a thorough cleaning once a year. And this works just fine because I don’t leave my bikes outside – I should mention that, right now, I have five bikes. It might sound a little over the top, but they all have their purpose.

I’ve had a used Dutch bike for over 20 years which still runs like a dream, but which is now predominantly used as a guest or emergency bike. Taking on longer, more hilly rides with it has become a little too tough for me. Now I have a modern city bike that can do it all. I was recently given a Dutch bike from the 60s which I ride when visiting family in Saarland. I was also recently surprised with a mountain bike. It was lying on the rubbish heap, missing wheels. After buying a set of second-hand wheels, it’s now perfect for tours through the woods. And then there’s my road bike with trekking tyres that I train on, but which I do also enjoy using for longer bike trips.

Barely a day goes by when I don’t get on a bike, even if it’s raining or snowing. I like the daily exercise and the freedom that bicycles give you, they’re environmentally friendly and one of the best inventions.

Foto_Jennifer_square
She lives in the Rhine Main area and enjoys to daily commute to work with her Holland bicycle. Monotony is not her thing. She likes to make detours to encounter new routes. In her leisure time, she's riding a road bike, likes to be at the sea or in the mountains – always accompanied by a bicycle, as she would not travel anywhere without.

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