Friday, May 19, 2017
A No-Car Family
We still haven't replaced the dead minivan, which means that we're currently a one-car family. This is actually not a big deal for us, as A. works from home and I, uh, don't leave the house. Like ever. Sharing a car between us is definitely feasible.
But what happens when even that car isn't available? We found out.
See, A. had scheduled some maintenance work on the Subaru at the mechanic's shop in the village, and he really wanted to get all this little stuff taken care of before he was required to get the state inspection done next month. He had been meaning to buy a bike for himself anyway--because we bought bikes for the kids and already an adult has to have one too to keep up with Cubby--so he figured he could ride his bike to drop off the car and pick it up. It's only seven miles from our house to the mechanic's shop.
Well. Distance becomes a much different thing when one is on a bike. Seven miles in a car is not at all the same as seven miles on a bicycle. Especially, ahem, if one has not ridden a bike in approximately 20 years.
A. dropped the Subaru off on Tuesday morning and biked back. It took him about half an hour and he said it wasn't a bad ride at all.
The car was supposed to be done that day, but the mechanic called to say that when he test-drove it, he discovered a brake problem. Okay, said A. I can pick it up tomorrow.
We didn't really need it that night, and then he wouldn't have to make the bike trip again on the same day.
On Wednesday, the mechanic found more issues when he was working on the brakes and had to spend some time tracking down a used part. So the car wouldn't be ready that day, either. But A. had to go to the post office in the village to mail some documents for work.
No car, so that meant another trip on the bike. He left at 3 p.m. and called an hour and a half later to say he was at the post office.
I guess the heat (84 degrees), the hills, and the wind (15 miles an hour with stronger gusts) had a bad effect on his time. Just a little.
And then I compounded the misery by reminding him that I needed some sunscreen to send in to school for Charlie the next day for his "beach day" (sprinklers and popsicles on the soccer field). So he had to go up to the store just a bit outside the village. This seems like a trivial distance in a car, but on a bike, that long incline out of the village becomes much more noticeable. And it added another two miles to his trip.
Sure hope Charlie enjoyed that sunscreen.
In the end, he got back three hours after he left, after riding about 16 miles. His legs were done for. He took a really hot bath with Epsom salts that night.
The next day was just the same weather--hot and windy. And he had to ride back into the village to pick up the car. But at least this time the car was actually ready, so it was only one way.
I suspect that the drive home, sitting in a cushioned vehicle whizzing along at fifty miles an hour, has never seemed so luxurious.
At least now A. knows it can be done. He said he didn't mind it that much, it was just a little bit of a trial by fire to do so much riding so suddenly. But he does plan on sometimes using his bike to go to the post office on nice days.
I, however, am not planning on cycling merrily off to the grocery store with Jack in a trailer or something. A one-car family I can handle. A no-car family? No, thanks.