I love mass transit and I’d love to do without the maintenance and insurance costs of having a car – even my little Civic Hybrid. I obviously raised my son the same way. Recently, I went out to the West Coast to visit. Due to an impending divorce, my son has only bikes and a Terra Trike for a vehicle. I thought this might be an ideal situation to test whether I could live without a car. In a nutshell, it was harrowing. Relying on mass transit during my stay was a breeze. The light rail system and ACE train were clean and dependable. A bit pricey, but given what I imagine car insurance runs in a large metropolitan area, it probably wasn’t all that bad.
What was fascinating was getting around on a bike. The bike lane system in the town where my son lives is excellent. For the most part, drivers are well aware of cyclists and are used to manoeuvering around them. There were a few instances where I was a little shaky when riding on the busier, higher speed limit roads. The real test was the day we decided to ride across town, me on a mountain bike, my son on his Terra Trike, to get a huge jug of water for his water cooler. For once I appreciated having totally white hair by the time I hit 40, because it would have been white by the time I got back from that ride. It was one of the most harrowing rides I have ever been on. The traffic was intense. In the town where I live we don’t see traffic that heavy during rush minute, let alone on a Saturday afternoon. My son was nonplussed with the traffic as he cruised through on his Terra Trike with the jug of water strapped to the back. As for me, I left California appreciative of the fact we have snow in South Dakota much of the winter and little mass transit, particularly in my town, because I’m not quite ready to give up my car.