I've been lurking here for a bit (hi everybody), and it seems to me that there are quite a few threads about people wondering and worrying about becoming car-free. Lots of people seem to ask about how to proceed to become car-free.
In all this time, I haven't personally read many stories about how the already-car-free people here made their choices. I thought that I could share some of my own experience and maybe some of you might want to do the same as well?
For my own story, I was a cyclist, then a driver for 10 years, and now I'm a cyclist again for the past 3.
I won't go into all the insights and motivations for ditching my car. That's probably best left for another thread.
When I first started considering the change and started talking about it, a lot of people around me actively questioned my decision.
My parents were among the people that had a lot of reservations about the idea, and they were the people that convinced me to go on a trial run before taking any drastic steps. Rather than sell my car outright, they advised me to simply park the car and see how I managed without it. In the end, this was a great idea! I wasn't using the car much by this stage, but I swore off the car for all the remaining chores and had to start to get creative about getting things done without it.
Somehow, the idea that the car was still there helped me clear some mental hurdles in the transition. Instead of having to make a big permanent decision about all potential future things, I simply just needed to go riding my bike each day.
I was planning on trying it out for 3 months at first. In the beginning, I worried a lot about the logistical details. I invested a fancy new bike, fancy clothes for all weather, bags, lights, fenders etc etc and kind of tried to make the whole experience as comfortable and as easy as humanly possible. And thinking back, the first month was a bit of a grumpy one...it was taking a lot of energy to ride my bike the same way as I had been driving my car. Really inefficiently, with zero planning!
But I soon realized that I could just be a cyclist, not a driver-on-a-bike, and I kind of relaxed into making fewer trips, planning my outings better, combining errands and just adapting myself to new expectations. Instead of taking rush-hour arterial routes, I figured out some ways to get places using side-streets and riding through the parks instead of dodging potholes. Most things that seemed like a big problem in advance were fears that proved unfounded.
I can relate to how monumental of a decision it seems, but looking back I now feel like it was a lot easier and more natural than I thought it would be. And it was one of the best decisions I ever made!
How about some of you?