Saturday, January 9, 2021

#CarFreeFamily 2020: How Much Does it Cost?

Welp, that was... a year. Our transportation costs were lower than ever because we went nowhere & did nothing, basically. Oliver worked from home three quarters of the year, the HUB Cycling Ed spring & summer seasons were cancelled, & the fall was less work than usual, still thanks to COVID. We deliberated bike camping, but decided not to, & any other travel farther afield was right out. 

This year was even easier to calculate than previous years: no taxis, no ridesharing, no car rentals, no ferries. We got around by bike the vast majority of the time which costs us virtually nothing.

Our biggest expense of the year was bike maintenance, mainly brake pads, a few replacement parts. A lot of it was my Tern GSD, because that's the workhorse in our fleet, but Oliver did have a little work done on his Brodie Romax in January. The kids' bikes & the rest of our bikes didn't need much, except replacing the kickstand on our Yuba Mundo. All told, bike maintenance was roughly $60 a month, $708.71.

I think I spent about $8 on electricity charging my Tern GSD. I really have no idea how often I charged it or how many complete charge cycles I did in 2020, but based on previous stats the last time my Tern dealer plugged it in, I estimate about 65 full charges of the 900Wh of batteries in the roughly 5000km I rode.

We both renewed our Mobi Community passes, which cost $20 each. I only used Mobi for 16 one-way trips, & Oliver likely rode even fewer times than I did but the pass was still well worth the cost. It's really handy to have access to for one way trips to transit or when dropping off & picking up a bike from the shop. Total: $40. 

I took two transit trips all year, one of which was paid by work, & the rest of the family didnt take transit at all. Grand total cost to me was $6.90. 

We also drove very little, since most of our Modo trips tend to be for family birthdays & holiday dinners, & those were all cancelled. We usually rent a car to visit Oli's family in the Okanagan, but decided not to bring our potential germs to his elderly father this year. 

Back in The Before Times we did a few Modo trips, then none at all until September, when we picked up a couch with a Modo cargo van. Then one outing to see Winterlights in December. I also made a booking for work, but again, this was paid by my employer so I don't count it toward our family's total. Modo costs for the year came to $273.63.

Interestingly, our transportation costs were not that much lower than 2019, but again, that wasn't a banner year for going anywhere either, with my broken ankle, & Oliver's new job. We spent roughly $650 more that year. 2018 was more of a typical year for us, with some travel in BC, Washington, & Oregon, including a few bike camping trips & visits to the Okanagan to see family there. 2018 came out to nearly four times what we spent this year. If you're curious about the numbers you can check out my posts on the breakdown for 2018 here, & 2019 here.

So, now, the moment you've been waiting for... the grand total transportation costs for our #CarFreeFamily of four in Vancouver in 2020 was...

$1039.24. 

It's eight or ten times less than we'd be spending if we owned a car. Just the insurance would be more, whether we drove it much or not. Reducing transportation costs by cycling rather than driving makes such a huge difference to the affordability of living in Vancouver. The other downsides--getting a bit wet or cold occasionally, dealing with shitty drivers--are outweighed by all the other upsides--built in exercise & fresh air, more social interactions, easier parking, near zero carbon produced, often faster. Still pretty happy to be a #CarFreeFamily. 

So, how about you? What did you spend on transportation last year? Do you total it up annually? What are the upsides & downsides of how you get around?

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Nov 29 People Protected Protest Ride in Stanley Park CANCELLED

CANCELLED! 

Sorry, folks, the next People-Protected Protest Ride in Stanley Park will NOT take place on Sunday 29 November. Due to unfortunately high COVID numbers, we've made the call to postpone. 

Hopefully, we will be able to have next next family-friendly ride soon, but in the meantime, here's something else you can do. Please write the Park Board about the safe cycling infrastructure you'd like to see in Stanley Park. 

Let’s continue to show the Park Board that we want permanent protected bike lanes on Stanley Park Drive and Pipeline Road, in addition to the current access to the sea wall path.  We also want the sea wall gates opened so that non-standard bikes and child trailers can get through. Let’s explore other ways to ensure the safety of sea wall users without excluding families and disabled cyclists from the sea wall path.

There is a form on the Park Board website here.

Look forward to seeing you all on bikes in the future!

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

People Protected Bike Ride on Stanley Park Drive 1pm October 18


Come for a People-Protected Bike Ride on Stanley Park Drive with us this Sunday, October 18, at 1.00 pm, meeting at Ceperley Car Park.  Stronger, more confident cyclists will be riding on the outside of the right lane, protecting the children and less confident/vulnerable riders who benefited the most from the temporary separated lane that was inexplicably removed on 25 September, with Covid-19 cases at their peak in BC and reduced cyclist numbers after a week of forest fire smoke.


The Park Drive bike lane was removed alongside the reopening of the Park Board’s recreational and leisure facilities across Vancouver. However the removal of the protected lane closed a recreational facility used by tens of thousands of people of all ages and abilities. A better comparison is the City of Vancouver’s ongoing improvement and expansion of its Slow Streets program including the Beach Avenue Bikeway, the busiest bikeway in the city. And all this at a time when fewer people are driving to the park and there’s even less need for two lanes for drivers. 

We’re campaigning to have the protected lane on Stanley Park Dr returned in Spring 2021 when Park Board commissioners will vote on a potential permanent Stanley Park Drive bike lane. There isn’t enough room for all the people who want to cycle on the seawall - we also need a bike lane on Stanley Park Drive to share the load, and a protected return route down Pipeline Road for people who want to cycle safely to the middle of the park or cut back before the hill.

Please keep at least 2 metres distance from other riders not in your household and bring a mask.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Unofficial Beach Ave Bikefest Sept 27 2020

Family rides on Beach Ave Bikeway
Photo: Lucy Maloney
UPDATE!!

Looks like we need to reschedule the Unofficial Beach Ave Bikefest 2020 due to the air quality. [Sad trombone] We will try again in two weeks, Sunday, September 27th, 3-4pm again! 🤞 for good weather/air!



Unofficial Beach Ave Bikefest 2020

Choose a costume! Organise your cargo! Bring the family! Come on down to Vancouver’s most popular and scenic cycling destination for some healthy outdoor fun!

The inaugural unofficial Beach Avenue Bikefest will be taking place on Sunday 13  27 September between 3.00 and 4.00 pm rain or shine!

This event will be Covid-19 compliant - there will be no gathering and no giveaways, just laughs from afar at costume-clad cyclists. All you have to do is choose a costume, and/or decorate your bike, and/or load up your trailer and ride up and down Beach Avenue. Don’t have a trailer? Just dress up and/or decorate your bike.

You can post your own photo on Twitter using #BeachAveBikefest, pause for a photo on the grass triangle where Beach Ave and Pacific Street meet at Jervis Street when you can safely distance or just smile at one of the roving photographers.

“Judging” will take place on Twitter at #BeachAveBikefest on Sunday evening or as soon as we can manage it. We will be awarding creativity and hilariousness of cyclist costumes, bike decorations, instruments played, and loads carried. Choose a theme! Make us laugh!

And if you love riding on Beach Avenue Bikeway and in Stanley Park, fill out the City of Vancouver survey on Making Streets for People by September 7, sign the HUB Cycling petition to Make #BeachAveBikeway Permanent and fill out the Park Board survey on Space for Cycling in Stanley Park by September 13.

Please note, this event is not associated with any organisation, we just think it might be a bit of safe, healthy fun in these dark times - participate at your own risk.




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Saturday, July 11, 2020

Upcoming Family Cycling Webinars

Join me online in a webinar all about Family Cycling! I'm working with HUB Cycling to present an introduction to riding with your kids, from wee ones up to big ones. This FREE webinar will be held on three different dates in July & August. Register here, on the HUB Cycling website


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Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Family Cycling Live Q&A for HUB Go By BIke Week

Tuesday, May 26 I answered questions about family cycling live on Facebook as a part of the HUB Cycling Go By Bike Week. If you caught the livestream, or even if you missed it, I've collected some of the resources I mentioned here, all in one spot.

First off, the best place to start if you're cycling in Vancouver & the Lower Mainland, is the HUB Cycling resources page. You'll find tips on route planning & maps, insurance & theft prevention, buying a bike, rules of the road & safety tips, cycling groups, issues & improvements, bike friendly businesses, plus data on cycling.

A few related videos I've found useful:


Last but not least is the Vancouver Family Biking Facebook group. This is a closed group, so you'll need to request to join & be sure to acknowledge that you've read the group rules so you can become a member. It's a friendly little community with a couple thousand cycling parents who regularly share tips, gear, & help each other find bike, child seats, & advice on anything related to family cycling.



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Friday, February 14, 2020

#Modo Love Story

I joined Modo in spring 2003. At the time, my main transportation was transit. I biked sometimes & walked a lot too. I thought it might be handy to have a car sometimes, but had no desire to drop tens of thousands of dollars to buy a good one, or deal with a cheap but unreliable beater. Modo was a great solution!

Suddenly having access to a whole fleet of cars was pretty exciting, as I'd never owned one. I'd never  had my own vehicle waiting for me in my driveway 24/7, so the concept of making a booking online, then walking a few blocks to pick up a car wasn't a big deal for me. 17 years ago I wasn't thinking about reducing my carbon footprint as much as I do now, so I probably drove a bit more than I really needed to because it was such a novelty. Still, I rarely used the cars more than once a week.

Getting Hitched With Modo

In the fall of 2003, Oliver & I got married. We used a Modo car (our favourite one at the time: a little blue Volkswagen Beetle) to travel up to Squamish, where we hiked up to the Third Peak of the Stawamus Chief.

...

To read the rest of the love story, head over here to Modo's website. 



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Wednesday, January 22, 2020

#Bike365 Challenge for 2020

My Tern GSD on the False Creek Seawall 
A few days into the new year, I was inspired to start another year-long social media challenge. If you've been following me for long on Twitter or Instagram, you probably know I love me a good hashtag challenge. I did #365FeministSelfie in 2014, I have participated in #30DaysOfBiking the last few Aprils, I decided to write a blog post every single day, plus a few others I'm forgetting the names of.

The reasons for these are generally the same: challenge myself to stick with a thing, use social media for both moral support & obligation to "stay honest", promote the thing in a small way by showing how I do it.

The plan this year is to ride every day of 2020: #Bike365. This challenge is, well, actually not terribly challenging for me, in terms of the cycling. I already bike five or six days a week usually. The real challenge is more about consistently writing & photographing my cycling. Biking is to me what water is to fish, & I often take for granted the aspects of it that are really worth sharing.

So if you're interested in following along, or joining in by chronicling your daily rides, please do! I'm mainly sticking to Twitter, though I may post some of my days on Instagram if I manageto get good photos. I've started a thread where I'll collect my daily #Bike365 tweets here, if you'd like to see.

P.S. You can still use the hashtag if you don't actually ride every single day of 2020--it's more about normalizing cycling for transportation than bike fundamentalism!




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