First a bit of background. I started riding last May. Before that I hadn't ridden in almost 20 years. I found out that I loved it so much that I decided to sign up for a triathlon. A lot of my cycling training was done by commuting to work but its taken me a while to be able to handle my 20 mile round trip commute day after day. My big race is next Saturday and with it all excuses to avoid riding because I was "resting" are out the window. I've finally got the fitness now that I can easily handle my commute every day and still have energy for other exercise. I'm planning to continue doing tris but from this point on I want to always be able to ride to work every day. I'd like to take the plunge and live car free fulltime. The trouble is that there are a few things I need to figure out before I do so.
First off, what do I need? My wife has been living car free for seven years now but she takes a lot of public transit and gets me to drive her around from time to time. She is also a pretty serious minimalist and will do anything in her power to avoid owning stuff. She rides to work when it is nice but takes the bus otherwise. Her commute is around three miles so she is anti cycling clothes and has been known to ride regularly in heels. On the other hand I am a gear *****. I am tempted by every little gadget known to man and pride myself on having the tools to handle any situation. Here is where you guys come in. First off, I need to figure out what I actually need to cycle year-round in a four seasons city. I've got summer taken care of but its starting to get chilly and I really don't know what to do with winter and/or rain.
Second, I've got a dog. Not just any dog but a dog that likes to run A LOT especially in the woods. I run him in a local park that I walk to on normal work days but I like to drive him out to the country and get him a good long run on the weekends. I'd be a little too worried to leash him to the bike and ride through traffic out to the country so I don't really know how to get him out there. I was thinking about one of those kid trailers but I feel a little silly hauling a dog around in a trailer behind my bike. Thoughts?
Third, what do you do when something comes up at work and you need to run an errand? I like my nice light weight road bike and really don't want to strap a huge rack to the back but what can I do when I need to haul something home? Should I get some sort of trailer and leave it in my office for those days or is there a better way?
Also, I went car free for three years before but I was living in NYC. Its easy to go free there and a lot of the stuff I was able to do there just doesn't apply here. I'm hoping you guys can shed some light.