Thursday, July 5, 2007

Testing the Waters...

So as a many-fold step we sold our van, partially to pay off some things before our second child comes in Oct, but also partially to pay for an electric assist for Nickie, and at the same time to try out at least for a month or so how it would actually work for us going car free as a family. We still have another car... kind of... Its an older ford explorer someone gave us that has a dying trannie that's only good for about 16 miles of warmup before it starts slipping and limping along.

We figured since we wanted to try out the waters of going car free now that we're placing an order on an electric assist, having only a partially functioning car as backup would be useful set of circumstances to get our feet honest to goodness wet with this lifestyle.

One thing is for sure, I really admire my wife. Its really neat to see her challenging cultural stereotypes as she rides her trike along with a big preggo belly with child in tow behind her. In fact when we were talking the other night about getting a replacement car for the one we just got for free with the dying trannie, she actually said she'd rather get an electric assist first so she can go everywhere by bike including the 30 and 40 mile trips despite the extra strains of pregnancy and towing a 70lbs worth of trailer behind her. Then if we find after a month or two that its not working to be pretty much without car and having a decent amount of time to see how the electric assist changes the picture, we'd reevaluate replacing the car.

She's always impressed me with her adventurous spirit and willingness to re-evaluate cultural norms.

The other day when I was talking to a co-worker about getting an electric assist for her so she could get all around the Boulder metro area by bike/trike even with being pregnant and having a child in the trailer behind her, his response was "Wouldn't it be easier to just take your guys' van?". I like what one of the founders of Xtracycle said in a video, "Its not about making life easier, its about making life BETTER". I couldn't agree more. Figuring out the logistics of doing life, business, family, fun all without using cars, certainly poses many challenges, but on the flip side, there's so many benefits that most don't see at first glance that more than make up for it.

So anyway, bringing it back to the original point of this post, we're taking some exciting steps towards really making life work without a car and with a family. I'm probably placing the order on the electric assist in the next day or two once we hash out a few details, and I'm selling my Steelman and replacing it with a tough steel mtb with Schwalbe touring tires, and heavy duty rack, with the intention of adding an Xtracycle at some point in the near future so that my bike is good for much more than just getting me to and from work. Exciting stuff :)

2 comments:

Adam Durand said...

What brand/model of electrical assist did you decide on and why? I apologize if you mentioned it already and I just didn't see it.

Nickie, Anthony, Samuel, and ??? said...

Its not a kit solution. We're purchasing the parts from a few different suppliers through a guy in Australia who does this as more of a hobby than a business.

Google solarbbq@hotmail.com to get ahold of the guy in Australia.

His site is also here

We purchased the GL-2 motor laced to a 20" rim for lots of pulling torque and a sane cruising top speed of around 20mph along with a 48V 11ahr lithium polymer pack through him as well.