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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 08-22-05, 09:25 AM   #1
jeff-o
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Ditch one car for a scooter?

OK, here is a little debate my wife and I have been struggling with over the past week. For several reasons, mostly cost but also environmental-mindedness, we started exploring the possibility replacing one of our cars with a scooter. Specifically, the Yamaha Vino 125. It's a 124cc, four-stroke scooter with a gas mileage in the 65-75mpg range, which absolutely blows away either of our cars. It could be ours for only $3300 CDN after tax. We calculated that if we were to take one of our cars off insurance and garage it for eight months of the year and replace it with a scooter, we'd save over $1000 a year. Great, right? Well, not so fast...

The problem here is our Great Canadian Winter. Specifically, the one coming up this season. This september my wife will begin a 100km commute every day. If we were to totally replace the second car and ride the scooter for all 12 months of the year (well, I would be riding it...) then what would I do when the weather is just too bad to ride a scooter? What do I do when the snow is more than 2" deep, when it's freezing rain, or when it's bitterly cold? I may be willing to sacrifice some comfort, but I will not sacrifice my safety.

So what's the answer here? The bus schedules are too sporadic to get me to work on time. There's not really anyone I can hitch a ride with. What can I do? Is it possible to ditch the second car this winter, or will it have to wait until the spring?



As a side note, I've devised a rather mad-scientist solution to this... I could attach an electric hub motor to a trike, and outfit the trike with studded tires. It would be able to handle ice and snow better than a scooter, though it still couldn't handle freezing rain or bitter cold. It would also be cheaper than the scooter. Ha, well, I suppose I could still keep the second car insured for the really nasty days and scooter/bike to work on the days when it's dry and warm enough...
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Old 08-22-05, 10:10 AM   #2
Platy
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Originally Posted by jeff-o
...The problem here is our Great Canadian Winter. Specifically, the one coming up this season. This september my wife will begin a 100km commute every day. If we were to totally replace the second car and ride the scooter for all 12 months of the year (well, I would be riding it...) then what would I do when the weather is just too bad to ride a scooter? What do I do when the snow is more than 2" deep, when it's freezing rain, or when it's bitterly cold? I may be willing to sacrifice some comfort, but I will not sacrifice my safety.

So what's the answer here? The bus schedules are too sporadic to get me to work on time. There's not really anyone I can hitch a ride with. What can I do? Is it possible to ditch the second car this winter, or will it have to wait until the spring? ...
It appears to me that you have correctly concluded that you should keep driving both cars for now. When people give a long list of reasons why they have no alternative to driving a personal vehicle, I am never inclined to tell them otherwise. Happy motoring!
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Old 08-22-05, 10:31 AM   #3
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Ride a bike on those days with snow.
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Old 08-22-05, 10:50 AM   #4
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Ride a bike on those days with snow.
That's certainly possible for my 4km commute to work. However, in situations where I need to be somewhere quickly, or not drenched in sweat, or need to carry more than what will fit in my rack bag, I'm out of luck.

However the trike might be able to handle that.... Ah! There's still the issue of carrying capacity, really bad weather, etc.

I wonder if I'd be able to convince her to keep both cars on, get the electric trike, and ride the trike weather permitting. There would be no extra insurance cost and no gas cost, though we'd still be paying insurance for the car that's sitting idle in case of an emergency...
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Old 08-22-05, 11:24 AM   #5
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Sounds like you need both cars. A 3 mile commute certainly won't do much more damage to our environment, although it may ruin the car because that isn't enough distance for it to fully warm up, especially in the winter. Or get rid of one and bike in, use a cab on those infrequent days when you need a car. Keeping a car garaged for occasional use is more expensive than most people realize. In addition to insurance cost, depreciation can be significant, unless the vehicle is already fully depreciated.
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Old 08-22-05, 11:27 AM   #6
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On second thought, how about a small enduro motorcycle - way better than the scooter in snow, cheap on gas, reg. and insurance.
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Old 08-22-05, 11:49 AM   #7
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On second thought, how about a small enduro motorcycle - way better than the scooter in snow, cheap on gas, reg. and insurance.
That's a dirt bike, right? Yeah, I suppose those gnarly tires would be better for snow, but they wouldn't beat a trike with studded tires.
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Old 08-22-05, 01:45 PM   #8
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A 3 mile commute on snow days = snowshoes.

I'm walking to the post office these days hauling a hand truck with my boxes, I work up a sweat, and you know what? I always arrive with a smile. You know, people pay to go to a gym to get exercise like that!

Don't feed the evil gas monster
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Old 08-22-05, 02:27 PM   #9
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OK, here's a question:

1. How deep can the snow be before I cannot ride in it on a trike with 20" front wheels? (ActionBent Tadpole)

2. Ditto for a scooter with 10" wheels

3. How safe is it to ride a scooter in snow or ice? (I think I know the answer to this already...)
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