car-free

3 months on the road and car-free

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Today is our 3-month nomadaversary of full-time travel (yes, I know that isn’t a word!). I know it’s a cliche, but the time really does fly by. However it also feels like we’ve been doing this forever, it’s so comfortable. 3 months ago we also went car-free. With the exception of the day that we rented a car to visit the Lake Shasta Caverns (because there was no way to get there by bicycle or bus), we have been without a car since we left the Bay Area.

What it’s like to rely upon your bicycle for everything

As you can see from the header photo, we’ve got quite the setup for when we want to run errands, travel long distances, or just roam around. We have saddle bags on the back of each e-bike, and recently we added the crate you see on top of the rack to increase our carrying capacity (without having to carry full backpacks). Between the bags and the crates, we have brought home a ton of stuff from the grocery store.

If it doesn’t fit on the bike…

We still have options. For example, parking lots for larger grocery stores, department stores and home improvement stores, shopping malls, etc typically have parking lots that have room for our motorhome. We stop somewhere along the way, and loading supplies is as easy as pushing the shopping cart up to our front door. We’ve done that to buy flooring (an upcoming project), paper towels, pet food…anything that is too heavy or bulky to carry on a bicycle.

Another favorite trick of mine is buying through Amazon. About a month ago I got a case of toilet paper…we won’t need any more for a long time. I also order toiletries like shampoo, body wash, and hand soap through Amazon, because I can consistently get the brands I want and leave the space on the bike for food items.

Dealing with weather car-free

I’m still not a big fan of riding when it’s really hot and the sun is beating down, and when it’s raining hard it would probably be too dangerous. But here’s what is so perfect about our lives–we really never have to be anywhere at a time. We try to plan ahead with our shopping so we aren’t completely out of food before the next trip, so if we run into bad weather, we can just wait it out. In Redding we did lots of rides at 8:00 at night to get groceries or other errands. It was 90 degrees, but after sunset.

Dealing with car-free discomfort

Anyone who rides their bikes as frequently as we ride ours can tell you that it isn’t always comfortable. The roads can be bad, you may end up breathing in tail pipe exhaust, people don’t pay attention and almost hit you, and sitting on your saddle for too long can cause other problems. But if you truly love riding, it’s pretty addictive and not something you’d consider giving up despite all that. The best bet you can make is investing in the proper riding gear, maintaining your bike and making certain it’s adjusted to fit you as well as possible.

That being said, I’m including a video of one particularly harrowing experience traveling from Warrenton to Astoria. The winds were at 20+ miles per hour, and we had only a very narrow shoulder to ride in (at one point, there was no shoulder, either, and I found myself sharing a lane with a car). My heart was pounding after that was over. It took full concentration just to stay upright in that wind…plus, the railing next to us was only about 4 feet high, so it was possible that we could have flipped over the railing if we fell into it.

Nonetheless, cycling is something I will do as long as I’m physically able. It’s an amazing way to stay healthy, spend time in nature and see sights you might not see in a car.

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