Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Giving up your car

I have a confession to make. I'm a petrolhead, and not just a little one, I can bore the hell out of you with facts like Lancia Deltas used the same indicator stalks as Ferrari F40s. C'était un rendez-vous is faked and I can prove it. And you should never, ever turn off the traction control in a Smart car on a wet roundabout.

It all started when I was about 8, one lazy Sunday morning I was up early and watched some foreign bloke win a race in a bright yellow car, his name was Senna and the car was a Lotus.

Ayrton Senna Camel Lotus

A few years later my heart was broken when he died one terrible weekend in Italy.

But I still loved Formula One, I even had another dead hero, Bernd Rosemeyer, he died in 1938 in Germany

Bernd Rosemeyer 1937 Donnington Practice

Throughout this time I was still too young to drive myself and so like most young chaps I had a bike. I had several in fact. I loved them, I rode them everywhere. I rode them right up to the day before I took possession of my first car. My dad was a bit of a cyclist and every July we watched the TdF highlights of an evening. Alongside my poster of Senna I had one of a Peugeot Triathlon and watching Greg Lemond power through Paris like a locomotive was one of the most exciting moments ever.

Eventually though when I was old enough I passed my driving test, bought a car and from that day cycling took a back seat for a few years, it never left entirely but was definitely overshadowed.

Then, when I was old enough I bought my dream car, well, of all my dream cars, the only one I am ever likely to be able to afford, a Lotus Elise. What a beauty, what a car! The noise of the sports exhaust, the exquisite balance and handling.

Lotus Elise

Such a shame that there is almost nowhere to enjoy it and so it spent most of its time in the garage, usually just coming out for a cruise around town. Only once or twice did I ever really experience its wonders on a B-road. It didn't take long for the realisation to set in. Too much car in too small a country. Too expensive, too frustrating, too likely to end up in court or a grave. She sold very quickly, to a man from Belgium who had once taken part in LeMans.

And I bought this.

Boardman CX Team
At this point I had already been cycling again for a few years and i picked up this CX as a commuter bike, a job it does very well (note to self, buy some mudguards).

The moral of the tale? I'm a cyclist, I love cycling and bicycles but I also love cars, fast cars, on the ragged edge, I think I'll buy a go-kart. I have no kids and live 6 miles from work, perhaps giving up my car was easy because of my circumstances. Before I did it I was sure I would have to replace it pretty quickly, but I just never got around to it. Now the idea of dropping several grand on an item I have very little need for that would also severely increase my exposure to liability, seems stupid at best. Giving up motoring has been liberating, no bills, no responsibility, pumping up for the day with a brisk ride in to work and winding down with a thoughtful ride home. Life just seems better.


  1. This is more than a year late, but you're lucky to own your dream car. Everyone loves to own their dream car or just to experience driving it even once in their life. Just sad to know that it didn't stay that long with you. But always look on the greener side of the pasture. You won't have to spend as much on maintenance with your bicycle. But I still suggest you buy a car that is practical because owning a car these days is truly necessary, especially for emergency purposes. → Ava @ EliteToyota.com

  2. Cycling is good for your health, Lovelo and that's what you've got to enjoy after giving up your car. However, it's true that owning a car is necessary, especially for going to family gatherings, high school reunions, and cross-country trips. I may be a year late, but I hope you've got your car back in your garage. :)

    Ashely @ Infinitiofannarbor.com