Saturday, 12 January 2013

Going Car-Free

When planning on our move to Australia, I had to decide what to do about my car aka the Purple People Eater.  The Grandparentals have been driving the PPE for 13 years now - I've owned her for 14... I was only planning on going to the UK for 12-months!

Rather than leave them stranded, I embraced the idea of a lifestyle change. Hervey Bay is relatively flat.  I love to cycle - I find it really mentally relaxing.  And while having Pickle behind me on my gorgeous vintage-style bike was OK, he was neither thrilled with looking at my back, but we also couldn't carry much in a pannier bag. Shopping, or even a day out would be tricky.  So I looked into cargo bikes and trialled one in Cambridge (very helpful chap up there, and I'm regretting not buying my bike from him in hindsight).

I decided on the Bakfiets brand of Dutch Cargo Bike.  It's not cheap, that is the major downside.  But they hold their value and are extremely well made.  The research I did into cheaper Chinese-made models varied from worrisome to downright scary.  So I decided to go with a classic, and after riding one, was hooked.

I thought the bike was going to be cumbersome, heavy and awkward.  Pushing off with all my strength, I wobbled as I'd over compensated.  The bikes are well-balanced by design.  It was easy to ride the Classic model, in both the Short and Long versions.  I decided on the Long version, which can theoretically fit four kids - or Pickle and a shed-load of shopping (and a friend or dog down the track perhaps).  But I'm getting the power-assisted model - the power only kicks in if you pedal... but I figure Pickle is only going to get bigger, and as a replacement to regular use of the car, when it's full and I'm going up a hill, it will be really helpful.

And I'll still have access to my car when it's needed - trips desperately seeking culture and old friends in Brisbane and Sydney for example.  In addition to the Grandparentals needing the car, the environmental impact and a healthier lifestyle, I really don't want the responsibility or the continual expense.

Unfortunately, there have been ongoing delays with my bike's delivery.  Firstly the stock count was wrong, and there were none in the four colours of my preference, only one in red, which is not really me.  And investing the money I am, I want a colour I'll enjoy.  Then there were shipping delays, so the new bike that was supposed to be delivered before Christmas arrived today.  Except it wasn't the e-bike I have paid for and need.  So two months after I was hoping to have my bike, I'm having to draw on my inner reserves of patience.  Going car-free will have to wait for another two or three weeks...

Any ideas of names for the bike please? Pickle's Pedals is the working title.  

And I'd welcome any suggestions for personalising the cargo box at limited cost, but with oodles of style please?

Cheers, KangaRue :)


  1. I thought of some other names... Pickle Power, Pickle's Pedal Power or Power Pedals.... Or e-something - as in E for Pickle! e-sea-cycle; e-mover etc...


I'd love to hear your thoughts!