More ways to get to work
On Monday, I wrote about some of the problems with mass transit and I thought that I would spend today on some of the other means of transportation.
When my wife and I were first married, we assumed that we needed two cars. Looking back, it was a little ludicrous. We both worked within two miles of our home. After we had children, Mrs. Stew quit her job to stay home, but we still continued to pay insurance, maintenance, and registration for two vehicles. About three years ago, I totalled my car and never replaced it. Ironicly, a car accident has actually saved us money in the long run . . . The point is, that we have met our responsibilities with one vehicle. We never thought it was possible, but with a little planning and a little self discipline, we are doing just fine. There are days when I have to take the car to work and Mrs. Stew has to be content to stay home or walk, but in the past two years, I have tried out several other ways to get to work.
My job has a “peak season” where I often work seven days and put in 70 to 80 hours in a week. During the off-peak season, I have the option of coming into work anytime between 9 am and 10 am. So last year, I walked the three miles to my office several times a week. It takes me about 50 minutes and I enjoy the exercise. I had to make sure that I had good shoes and proper clothing for the weather, but once those items are purchased, walking can be a really inexpensive way to get to work – if you have the time in your day. My wife often picked me up after work, so I did not have to walk both directions. You might be able to walk to work – try it once and see how you like it.
Cons: time, shoes, clothes, weather
Pros: good exercise, no registration, no insurance fees, no maintenance, low fuel costs (food)
Before I started walking to work, I was riding my bike. This is my favorite way to get to work. A little exercise, not a whole lot of time lost and it does not wear out your shoes quite as much. I was also fortunate to have a pretty nice bike, because I had a friend who worked in a factory and used his discount to get it. I loved the bicycle . . . until it was stolen last summer. I have not found a way to replace it, although I plan to make an effort to find one at a second hand store or rummage sale this year.
I have a friend who bikes thirty-five miles one way to work every day when the whether is nice. You might be surprised how easy a bicycle commute could be.
Cons: bicycle expense, clothes, weather, flat tires
Pros: almost as fast as driving, good exercise, no registration fees, no insurance costs, little maintenance, no fuel costs
My latest work transportation is a little scooter that someone at work had in storage. They gave it to me and said, “If you can get it running – it’s yours”. The tires were flat, but only needed new valves. It leaks oil, but I add a little every week. It has trouble starting – sometimes it takes 30 or 40 “kicks”, but overall it has been a nice little way to get to work. I have since found out that it was made in China and parts are extremely difficult to get, so if it dies, I probably will just junk it.
In the meantime, my state does not require scooters of this size to be licensed, so I can drive back and forth to work for about $2.50 a week. That is really my only cost for this little bike so far. The biggest issue is weather. Riding can be painful if the temperature is less than 70 or it is raining. My scooter is not cool at all – no bright colors, it is old and has some cosmetic damage, but it gets me from A to B. Scooter riders have to deal with interesting looks from other people. A scooter provides for way more eye contact than driving a car. It can be unnerving.
Cons: cannot give rides to my kids, weather, rude stares, helmet head
Pros: same time as a car, no license/registration fees, no insurance, little maintenance
So what is your favorite way to get to work? Have you thought about getting there the cheapest way possible? - Article by Stew
Photo by palindrome6996