Readers who have been with this bike blog from the start (hi Roberto, hi Gus) will know it began with a question: how many prestigious bikes could I own, for the price of one fancy car? Our Subaru Forester was rusting, and I didn't want to replace it. Marriage being a compromise, though, we have kept the rusting thing going… but not for much longer.
Yes, it's ta-ta, you rusty old car. Primrose, out of her frugality (Scottish blood, see!) has finally agreed we can sell it. Here's what became of the last car we owned (photos below). It went from playing our music and protecting us from the wind, to being a triple somersaulting acrobat at 110km per hour, all in an instant. Blame the flash flood, but it could have been anything. Nothing is meant to travel at the kinds of speeds road signs tell people to drive at. Alright, so nobody died, and I got to try morphine, but I had already been through all this before, when I was 15 and the car I was a passenger in on that occasion, had also done one of these tumble rolls at highway speed. After the second crash, I really did think I had used up my luck.
We went for 6 months with no car after that crash (pictured above), and I only yielded to Primrose's whining to get one, because Renault and Subaru released cars with 5-Star ratings from ANCAP. Both had the usual rust rating though: no stars at all. Cars, you should know, are largely made from iron, a substance that the earth and the air are constantly conspiring to put back in the ground.
But I don't care about that anymore. When our kids' prepaid swimming lessons wrap up in December, that's it, we'll be living car free. I understand how this little family of mine will henceforth be sacrificing access to most of the sprawling city we live in, but since all the over-educated types like ourselves are mostly crushed into my part of town anyway, I can't say our confinement really concerns me. Plus, any friends I have in the suburbs, seem to like coming to town, with my house giving purpose to their struggle to find some place to park.
What I know we'll be spared from forever, are conversations like these, with our mechanic: "You need a new torque converter. But this new one I'll fit, for three thousand dollars, will last you the next twenty years!" Then, six months later, we get the news that we need a new diff, "…but don't worry, this new one I'll fit…".
We are to believe that our parents moved to the suburbs because they preferred what was on offer out there.
"The fact that they later breathed polluted air, existed miles from work in tract houses which forced them to spend a massive amount of their disposable income in support of the automobile and petrochemical monopolies, and used a large proportion of their tax dollars to pay for infrastructure in the form of freeways rather than public transport, all had to be the result of their own bad judgement."
—Alexander Cuthbert, Understanding Cities, p. 159.
It wasn't bad judgement. It was their lack of education and access to knowledge, and the fact they were actively duped.