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Why I Still Won’t Give In And Get A Car

This is pretty much your future if you go car free.

It’s been awhile since I’ve written something about the original premise of my blog: living without a car.  On the other hand, it’s kind of a miracle this site hasn’t turned into a collection of nutso posts about “101 Varieties of Boiled Eggs” or “Understanding your Neighborhood Cricket”.  Before I bring it all back home, I’m giving a shoutout to my friend Victor who is cycling across (well, more like around) Europe for the next few months.  Read about his journeys here. He’s also the guy who helped bring you the latest, greatest Baltimore Bike Map which will go public next month.

Despite recent issues with MTA customer service and a former car free-er who will now go back in the cage, I’m still doing it. Why? Because.

  • Just too much fun. Sometimes cycling down St. Paul Street in the spring feels like flying. Or at least on a long runway about to take off.
  • Health. Did I mention I used to be overweight before I sold my car? For real. Incidental exercise and lifestyle changes helped me get in shape more than going to the gym 5 days a week.  I feel healthier too.  Just like cool, respectable people aren’t meant to watch episodes of The Office when it went dumb and slapstick after season 5,  bodies aren’t meant to be caged up in a car for hours a day.
  • Psychological stuff, like in the brain.  It’s funny how much more anxious I was when I had a car. I attribute part of it to spending less time and money on bullshit. No buying gas. No sending checks to vampire insurance conglomerates. No leaving happy hours early because I parked in the police chief’s spot (kidding!).  No twitchy, grinning mechanic telling me I need to replace the flux capacitor on my hyperdrive unit. Not having a car somehow makes you more free in the important ways.
  • It makes you bad ass. Raining? I used to cry when it rained.  Now I’m like a duck.  Or something.  The water just rolls off my back. Cold? Hot? Hail? Volcanoes?  Whatever. I can take it. Being outside more makes you better able to deal with the outside.
  • Serendipity. Last night as I got off the train from DC, I decided to take the #3 back downtown to pick up my bike.  Worn out and beaten down from a full day of educational funtivities, hoola hoop tournaments, and hopscotch (yes, for me. I don’t have kids) my demeanor was akin to an old man trying to bring back soup at a deli (credit: G. Constanza).   Some little 3 year old girl noticed this, deemed it unacceptable, and made a rambling series of funny faces until I broke and started laughing.

Little Girl:1  Me: 0. Peace.


  • Erin Adams

    We all need more funny faces! Nice post — and thanks for sharing link to V’s blog. Adding to Google Reader now.

  • Mark

    thanks. victor’s travel log is really good.

  • Robert Kanigel

    You sound so much like a younger version of me!  It’s a delight to read CarFree, I must tell you. 

    I’m a Charles Villager, recently back from 12 years in Cambridge, Mass., where I cycle-commuted 12 months of the year, 7 miles round trip.  Now I work at home and severely miss that “incidental exercise.”  We have a car, my wife and I, drive it about 6000 miles a year, but mostly it sits on Calvert Street and we walk or bike.  But not nearly enough on the bike now.   

    I’m a writer, 65, working on a biography of…Jane Jacobs.

    Robert Kanigel

  • Nolan Levenson

    I couldn’t agree more. Having a car again has started to drive me insane! I miss being carfree

  • Mark

    thanks! hope you can start biking more as the weather gets warmer. would be interested to read your biography.

  • Mike

    Awesome. And The Office really does suck now.

    So if I go car free, my next girlfriend will look like that?

  • No longer car free

    I miss my bike – time to buy ANOTHER one. 

  • Mark

    you’ll have to pick up a kona speedster when you get to where you’re going.

  • Bridget W.

    Hey! I wrote the MTA article you link to,and guess what… I didn’t go back in “the cage!” Hooray! Been biking a lot more, and it does make you badass.

  • Mark B

    Hey! Glad you didn’t become a cager!