How I became car free


Biking is my main mode of transport and I love it. I call it a joy and it has taught me many lessons. Today I want to share about my choice to sell my car and commit to biking. Now, before I do, here is my warning: the choice of going car-free is not for everyone. I live in an urban setting with great transit and bike lanes. I used to live in the suburbs, and being car-free would never have been possible. Without further ado: My choice to go car-free!

In 2019 I realized my car was costing me way too much money each month. At this point, I was living in a city and already in the habit of biking to work when the thought of selling my car crossed my mind.ย  I decided to give myself a trial run. To do this, I took the insurance off my car for 3 months and parked it.ย  I chose to do this in the summer – this was not a trial in suffering, I wanted to see if I could get around via bike and transit only.

After 3 months I didn’t miss my car at all and actually, my life felt better because of it.ย  When my husband and I got together he didn’t have a car either and we both found the lifestyle fit us really well. Here are some things I’ve learned along the way:

PROS of not having a car

๐Ÿšดโ€โ™€๏ธI save money

๐Ÿšดโ€โ™€๏ธI never have to worry about parking and always park right in front of the store (heck yeah bike racks)!

๐Ÿšดโ€โ™€๏ธI don’t feel rushed – for some reason when I drove I always cut it close. Now, with transit and biking, I build in lots of margin.

๐ŸšŒ More time to read and listen to podcasts – I get so much reading done while taking transit, it’s a fantastic way to build reading into my everyday life.

๐Ÿšดโ€โ™€๏ธIt simplified my life. Now, when I think of going across town to go shopping I think twice. Not having the convenience of a car has simplified where I go and what I do. All of my necessities are in my neighbourhood, if it’s not nearby, there’s a good chance I don’t build it into my routine.

๐Ÿšดโ€โ™€๏ธMy stress is so much less! At the end of a work day, when I dismount my bike I feel more relaxed than I ever did driving home

๐ŸšŒI never have to worry about drinking and driving – seriously, whenever my husband and I go out for dinner we transit home. It’s so nice to never have to think about it.

๐Ÿšดโ€โ™€๏ธI am more active- I’m generally way more active by not having a car. Even just walking to the bus stop really adds up. 

๐Ÿšดโ€โ™€๏ธ I experience the weather – there is something about biking and taking transit that gets you in touch with the weather. When someone says ‘it’s been a dry Fall.’ I know exactly what they mean, I know exactly how many times I have put on my rain gear. I get to daily interact with the outside world, leaves changing, and changes in my neighbourhood, I notice it all and feel way more connected.

CONS of not having a car:

๐Ÿš— It’s hard to get out of town for an adventure – my husband and I enjoy hiking and it’s hard to get out of town. I often tag along with friends but realize this is very limited by not having a car.

๐Ÿš— Weekend trips don’t happen – we have to be way more planned if we want to go away. We borrow a family member’s car or book the bus. We are still able to get away but it takes much more planning.

๐Ÿš—Seeing far-off friends is challenging – I have friends who live a one-hour drive outside of my city and it definitely means I see them less. We try and meet in the middle, but I wonโ€™t lie in saying it doesnโ€™t affect who I see.

Some questions that came up:

Do you bike all year round?

Yes, I bike all year round. I live in Vancouver which has more rain than snow. I started to bike to work when I was a nurse, due to the early and inflexible start time I found biking the most convenient. I have since switched to hospital administration and still bike most days. The best part is I know exactly how long it will take me to get to work. There is never traffic, parking issues or transit delays.

Is Vancouver hilly?

Yes I bike hills both ways to work. I am lucky to have bike lanes and it is a very bike friendly city.

Do you take transit/rent a car?

I have a bus pass and use Evo, a car share network in my city. Again, this is not a trial in suffering, I enjoy taking transit, but when in a pinch or late at night I take an Evo. Overall with all these different methods I save SO much money.

If you want to try living without a car here are my recommendations:

  • Trial it, take the insurance off your car and see what happens.
  • Be prepared. I invested in rain gear, bike lights, and paniers. Even when I’m taking the bus I dress for the weather. Good walking shoes and an umbrella are almost always indicated.
  • Take note of how your life improves
  • Wear your best. I’m always surprised by how easy it is to wear my second-best workout gear

How do you get around? Have you ever thought of selling your car or changing how you get around?

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