Transport

Living simply involves rethinking how we transport ourselves. There are now more than one billion cars and light vehicles on the road – and counting! Our car culture is causing great environmental damage and it relies on a cheap and abundant supply of oil. We must find a way to escape car culture, fast.

  • Get on your bike: The majority of all car trips are short distances. Many of those journeys do not require a car. Get on your bike as often as possible.
  • Bike lights: Make sure you have lights on the front and back of your bike for cycling at night. A bright reflector jacket is also a good idea for extra safety. These are worthwhile purchases, and they will soon pay for themselves.
  • Get a good basket and/or some panniers for your bike: Many car journeys can be avoided if you have some carrying capacity on your bike. A good basket and/or some panniers are indispensable. A backpack can also be useful.
  • Get a child-seat or a trailer for transporting children: A bike can carry more than one person. If you need to transport your children to school or daycare, a childseat or a trailer can be easily attached to your bike. And your children will probably find it an adventure!
  • Get some wet weather gear: Don’t presume that just because it is raining or cold you cannot get on your bike. Get you and your family some wet weather gear and some woolen gloves. Riding in the rain can be a beautiful experience.
  • Cycling keeps you fit and healthy: As well as all the environmental benefits to driving less, getting on your bike also keeps you fit and healthy at no extra cost. Since it also means you don’t have to sit in slow traffic, it is also very good for mental health! Let’s face it, commuting isn’t fun. Driving less also saves money.  
  • Public transport: Whenever possible, use public transport when distances are too long to travel by bike, or when the weather is just too wet or cold.
  • Consider selling one of your cars: Sometimes we drive just because we can, not because we need to. Perhaps if you sell one of your cars, you won’t miss it. And it will give you some money to spend on other things – like a bike!
  • Consider going car free: Perhaps there is a ‘car share’ arrangement operating in your locality? Do some research. You might be able to get by without owning.
  • Drive thoughtfully: In those times when driving is unavoidable, think about whether your trip can serve various purposes: Can you do several errands at once? Can you give someone else a lift somewhere?
  • Air travel: Travelling by plane puts huge amounts of carbon into the atmosphere, and is a significant contributor to climate change. It can be a challenge to say no, but try to avoid air travel at all costs. If you do have to travel, pay a little extra to offset your carbon emissions. Is the train an option?
  • Rediscover the lost art of walking: Finally, consider walking more places. It is the simplest and cheapest of all modes of transport. And it’ll keep you fit.

8 Comments

  1. I can’t afford to live where my parents live and my children cant afford to live where I live. We have increasing transport cost because we are being moved out, or competed out of the cities we were born in. I believe it is cause by excessive population growth forced upon us by politicians paid for by eager big business folk. Living simply wont cut it on it’s own, we need to address a sustainable population as well. David Suzuki put a rough figure of 2 billion on a sustainable population for the planet long term.

  2. What are people’s thoughts on off-setting carbon for flights? I do it when I happen to fly, but I worry that it’s just a fraudulent way to appease my conscience. I’ll keep doing it, but want to figure our where best to direct my ‘offsets.’

  3. Not sure whether to post here or in housing or activism. The tradeoff is that now I live where I can walk and bike but have a huge mortgage for a small house. If I move to where I can afford a small house or build my own, then I am way outside my circle of activities (work, shopping, friends) and have to drive everywhere. Current laws and zoning don’t permit affordable housing within a convenient distance. I see the basic structure needing to change so that we don’t have to make this particular choice.

  4. Walking is a healthy and environmentally sound way of travelling short distances; a brisk half hour walk a day has demonstrable health benefits.

  5. For those who can cycle, it is known to be the most efficient form of transport for humans in most terrain. I don’t actually eat any more food when I ride 13Km of dirt track to work or whether I get on the bus. But more than that, it is fun and also satisfying in that you have propelled yourself under your own steam. Many people get put off by a painful experience when they start riding again. I suggest to start with small rides and build up slowly over time. A good touring saddle like an Allay Nomad can reduce the severity of the inevitable sore behind when first riding and some ergonomic grips can reduce or prevent nerve pain in the hands. I am way over all of that now but I do remember some very painfull days when I took on too big a ride when I wasn’t up to it. Stick with it and you will be glad.

  6. We live 6 miles and a 2400 ft elevation change from the nearest store and 12 miles same elevation change from the more fully featured town. I personally cannot bike any of that; they have cut the buses to almost nothing. To cope, we changed to a 50mpg diesel car and do not make unnecessary trips. I probably drive to the 12 mile way town 4 days a week. While that may be a bit more than 10% of the national fuel usage here, combined with the rest of our low energy lifestyle, we use 10% of National energy usages overall (our biggest savings are home power use)

  7. A decade ago, we chose our home based on its high walk score. We are now car free. Our transport is by bike, transit, and walking.

    Life is good.

    Many many more are in a position to transition to a car free lifestyle. It’s best to do it willingly and enthusiastically now before peak oil and economic collapse force it on you in the next five years.

  8. I live where I can walk to many places I need to go. What I find stopping me many times is a busy life style that does not allow the time. For example, I can walk to the store but there and back is an hour and on a work day I don’t have that luxury. I’m working on the lifestyle but thought it might be an epiphany for someone else as well.

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