Erin heads out of town this weekend. You can follow her bird-nerding adventures on a blog aptly titled Adventures of a Bird Nerd. And since she's taking the car, my countdown is on.
|Erin wishes her bird nerding would be this awesome.|
The challenge is going to be in errand and "one-off" trips, I think:
- Groceries: I can do it, but I have to think about volume and weight.
- Hardware store (hard to predict what you need to haul to keep a house in working order. A box of screws is easy-- a new toilet, less so.)
- Pet store. (7 birds to feed, and the best deal for food is over in St Clements.)
- Visits out of town.
- Heavy occasional supplies that I use for brewing beer, such as RO water and propane refills
A big, less obvious benefit of car ownership is that you don't have to think about this sort of thing very hard. You make a decision and go. Your cargo capacity is enough to handle almost any need. You can go further to get the best deal. You can go whatever the conditions are, and you have secure storage on hand for multi-stop trips.
I can haul a lot on my bike, considering it's a fairly conventional design. Two Basil Memories baskets are already demonstrating their value:
|Handles with all the grace of a pregnant sow.|
... and this past weekend, I proved that they had the strength to carry 24 cans of pop on one side, and 5kg of ice on the other. That's good, but there's no way I'm fitting a 20lb propane tank or a 5-gallon water jug in there. There will be the point at which I turn to Car Share. And there's always transit, too.
|Though this guy has figured it out.|
Flat Rate vs. Pay-as-you-goIt's clear that car ownership is simpler, and while driving an owned car is certainly not free, a single trip feels virtually free-- purchase, insurance, maintenance and even to a certain extent gasoline all feel like fixed overheads. (Yes, I believe it's easy to think of fuel as a fixed overhead: ask yourself if you mentally debited $1 from your budget the last time you drove 10km.) Car ownership feels like a flat rate that once you pay, you get a lot of convenience for free. People like that sort of thing.
Car Share and transit are pay-as-you-go, and they come with the (sometimes uncomfortably obvious) awareness of what each trip costs. Do I want to take a Car Share vehicle for an hour ($10 on my plan) to get a $15 propane tank fill? Or spend $70 to visit my parents? That incremental cost seems outrageously expensive, but it has to be compared against the cost of buying and running a new car ($8-$13K a year) or even keeping a cheaper used car on the road.
It seems clear to me that there will be opportunities to trade time for money, and money for time. Overall, there will be a drive (no pun intended) to seek efficiencies: combine trips, buy in bulk, choose destinations based on accessibility rather than bargain-hunting across town.
And of course, do as much as I can on two wheels, for free.