When her car broke down this past March, Kayla Crawford took the advice of her boyfriend, Matt Carter, and decided to go car-free.
The dead battery on her 1999 Oldsmobile Aurora was the final straw in a long line of car problems.
“Having a car is insanely expensive,”said Crawford, who lives with Carter in Mount Pleasant, Mich., home to Central Michigan University and the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe.
With poor gas mileage and a high insurance rate ($180 per month, driving became more of a hassle than a convenience.
Two months ago, the couple received a pair of bikes from Crawford’s father, and they have not looked back.
“It is really exciting to me that I have no other option but to go out and ride my bike,” Crawford said. “It is so much healthier for me and the environment.”
Crawford also said the Vitamin D from the sun, endorphins from the exercise, and the surprises from nature are an added bonus.
“The other day I rode past a goose, and I was so close I expected to get pecked by it,” Crawford said.
Crawford and Carter said biking through Mount Pleasant is safe, although they avoid its busier streets. They also said an increase in bike racks and bike lanes would make the city more appealing and accessible for bicyclists. Mount Pleasant’s plan to go in this direction was spotlighted in an earlier article.
Their most common route is the 10-minute ride from their apartment to the restaurant where they work together.
“I do not have to sit and wait in traffic,” Crawford said. “I am in control of how long it takes for me to get there.”
“And it is a lot faster than walking,” Carter said.
Becoming car-free does have its challenges – namely, the elements. “It seems like we are always biking against the wind,” Carter said.
“But that is when you turn up the volume on your iPod and power through it,” Crawford added.
Both also noted they are sometimes limited in what they can do without a vehicle, such as transporting groceries from the store, but neither Crawford nor Carter regrets their decision.
“This past winter was rough for me, but as soon as I got on the bike I was immediately talking about how much happier and healthier I was feeling,” Crawford said.
With the money gained from selling the car and saved each month from being without it, the couple is looking to invest in a basket so they are able to carry their groceries home with them. There may be one issue, however.
“I am really picky about my basket,” Crawford said.
Read more about people who have decided to live car-free in the Curbing Cars eBook, published by Forbes. Download it here.