Carless in the country

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Three years ago we gave up supermarket food. Two years ago we took down the kitchen clock. A year ago we gave up air travel. And, this week we sold our car.

We have spent money on cleaning it and having it “worthy” of the road. We’re a little tense as it’s raining and one of us, eight years old, is not so aware or interested in the effects of the mud on his shoes on the upholstery. We still have some petrol in the tank. It will be enough for the journey. It’s been a year since we made the decision and we have rehearsed being carless all through the winter recording each kilometre travelled, each litre expended, and the extent to which our participation in global resource wars disables our reembodiment, our relocalisation, our humanity. And now, we’re at this point, at this significant milestone of our transition, ready to drive for the last time from the town with very little public transport to the city dripping in it, where the young guy who works for the Armed Services Credit Union, will unironically hand us a cheque which we will in turn cash in at the bicycle store. (from a letter to a Hamish Morgan, Dec 2010)

We kept a logbook for this past year for no other reason but to enable a more conscious examination of our largest polluting activity.

The financial savings living without a car will be about $10,000 pa, including initial cost of the vehicle, depreciation, petrol and maintenance. But the ecological and social savings for living the rest of our lives without one will be immeasurable. The carport will become a bikeport, garden tool shed and potting area. The driveway will be ripped up, heavily manured and become an extension of our food forest.

Yesterday we headed to Melbourne on foot, bus and train to collect our new long-tail cargo bikes. We had our helmets with us so we thought we'd give the Bike Share a go en route to the bike shop.

On the way we checked out some spontaneous urban natural history.

Then the exciting moment... Our new bikes and a tourist-like snap in the city by a passer-by.

After a quick lunch we hopped back on the train.

And rode 30km from Ballan to Daylesford. We sang and screamed for joy at the immense sense of freedom. Cars and trucks belted past, some only a foot or two away from collecting us.

We both have front baskets to take Zero, the family's Jack Russell, and Zephyr, our awesome eight year old, has new panniers and a pack rack on his ten speed racer. Stay tuned, probably on the Artist as Family blog, for bike camping/touring adventures and, more generally, a family's everyday refusal to participate in the chronic abusiveness of the dominant culture and its industrial military complex.


Isis said...

this is inspiring!!!! thank you

Permapoesis said...

thanks for the thumbs up isis.



tam said...

completely blown away - what a big exciting and brave step - just shared your post with my husband - I hope it grows a little seed in my mind (a wise 90 year old once told me best to say casuually your intensions and then let them think that they thought of it!)

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