About two weeks ago, I gave my car to a young pizza delivery guy. This act wasn't as generous as it sounds because, although it was a reliable vehicle, at 10 years old and classified as a "rolling total loss" by State Farm after a hailstorm 4 years ago, it wasn't worth much. Giving it up also wasn't as rash as it sounds since we still have my wife's car. Two years ago we downsized from a suburban house to an urban condo and since then it has been easy to walk or use bicycles and city buses for most of my transportation needs. My wife isn't as enthusiastic about biking or riding a bus, but very few 58-year old women are. However, we both walk to appointments and nearby businesses and restaurants regularly, something we could not do at our last house. I am 63 years old and we are both retired and maintain a fairly busy schedule of volunteer activities. There is a good system of sidewalks, trails and bike lanes in our area which makes traveling under one's own power feasible. For me, getting around by bike is much more enjoyable than driving even on the rare occasions when traffic is light. When the weather is bad, there are two bus routes within half a block of our condo and the local buses have bike racks. It is amazing how much driving most of us do. Almost everything about the typical suburban lifestyle is detrimental to our health as well as the environment. However, keeping everyone in constant motion is probably very good for the economy.
Anyway, I bike a 15-mile round trip to one volunteer job 2 or 3 times per week as well as other trips of lesser and greater lengths. It is very gratifying to get around under my own power and at a pace that allows enjoying the scenery. That is especially true now that spring is in full bloom here. I am still looking for the perfect commuter bike with my Bianchi Bergamo being the best one so far. A better chain guard and less chain maintenance are my goals now. It would be nice to try an 8-speed hub to see if the gear range would cope with our hilly terrain.
Yes, we are not car-free, but it feels like a significant step for us. This is the first time since 1967 that I haven't owned a personal motor vehicle. It is liberating although a bit disconcerting not to have an automobile at one's full-time disposal. I don't think I would have taken this step without the encouragement gathered from other bike forums participants. For that, I thank you.