I sold my truck in July 2021 and have been car-free since. I used my bicycle for transportation until I injured my foot in June 2023, and I purchased an e-bike in September 2023. I love my e-bike, and it's made my life much easier. Still, I've always been an adventurer, and I've been missing taking drives to other areas away from my home. I've been researching vehicles and have even applied for financing got approved, and ordered a new car.
Before I accepted delivery of the car, I had second thoughts and canceled the order. I continued looking at vehicles, watching reviews on YouTube, and contacting local dealers when a car caught my attention. The number of emails and phone calls I've received from the dealerships tells me it must be really tough in the car market right now.
Several articles I read and videos I watched indicated uncertain times ahead for the auto industry and the economy in general.
Further research on the costs of car ownership opened my eyes even more.
As I mentioned above, I always enjoyed taking trips to areas away from my home which is challenging on a bicycle though not impossible, I rode across the USA in 2017. Still, to take a long trip to visit family or friends would be difficult. I can always rent a car or fly. Plus, I came across a car sharing website called TURO that looks like it may be a great option. If you've used TURO please leave your thoughts in the comments.
During my time being car-free, I've managed through various resources that can deliver anything I've needed.
I've also utilized ride-share services from Uber and Lyft when needed.
Culdesac Tempe - "Life at your front door"
You may have heard on the news that there is a new, totally car-free community in Tempe, Arizona. It looks pretty interesting and they have partnered with bike companies, ride-share businesses and more. The community includes apartments for rent, with transportation, shopping, restaurants and more all within walking or cycling distance.
Learn more about Culdesac Tempe
If you are a car owner or are just doing research, I recommend checking out the website Caredge.com. The site is run by a 43 year car sales professional and his son. There is a wealth of research resources and they also have an informative and entertaining YouTube channel. The video below I found especially interesting:
IT'S OFFICIALLY THE WORST TIME EVER TO OWN A CAR!
Rand, my childhood friend of 50-plus years, died on November 13 after his battle with cancer.
I was already planning on visiting him over the Thanksgiving holiday when his wife called me and suggested I change my flight because his condition was not improving. Unfortunately, he passed almost precisely 24 hours before I arrived. This is another reminder never to take a single day for granted.
His wife graciously invited me to stay in their home while I was there. We’ve shared many memories and shed some tears, too.
We visited with their family and friends, who were a large part of Rand's life.
10 years ago this very month, they invited me to stay with them as I was working through some personal things. I look around their beautiful home, walk on their property, enjoy the Southwest culture, and reminisce about playing with my Golden Retriever, Ace. He loved exploring on their property and chasing bunnies.
Rand's wife, Colleen took me into the neighborhood that we grew up in. The vivid and incredible memories of the times we spent together all those many years ago.
The memories of Rand and our friendship will be part of me forever.
Thank you, Rand, for coming into my life and being such a fantastic friend.
I Love and miss you!
I took my e-bike to the Boise Greenbelt today for the first time. The Greenbelt is a treasure to the "Treasure Valley". You can go to Lucky Peak Reservoir, seldom having to go on city streets. According to Google Maps, the distance from Boise via the Greenbelt is about 11.3 miles, depending on where you get on the path.
I didn't go to Lucky Peak but enjoyed a nice ride of approximately 14 miles (round trip).
As usual, many bikes, people, and pets were on the path. I maintained a slow pace of 8 MPH in congested areas and never reached 15 MPH.
As cyclists know, it's common practice to announce yourself when approaching pedestrians by ringing your bell or saying "on your left."
Today, I did something different; as I approached people walking their dogs, I announced, "On your left," but as I passed them, I said, "I didn't want to startle your pup." The responses I received were incredible! "Thank you so much," and "That was so kind." and others. I also had the opportunity to meet some people and their PUPS!
A simple statement of courtesy and marvelous rewards!
If you ride your e-bike on shared pathways, please keep your speed down and use common courtesy so we can continue to enjoy these resources in our communities.
On this beautiful Boise Saturday, I took my new e-bike for a birthday ride!
The total distance of my ride was just over 21 miles, but the most humbling part was when I went to the top of the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery that overlooks Boise. The steep, long hill to the top was easy to navigate on my bike.
I’ve visited several times, and I’m struck by its beauty and peacefulness each time.
More than anything, I’m moved and humbled as I look at the headstones of these heroes.
While at the top, overlooking Boise, I thought about all the sacrifices Veterans have made to protect our country. I am so grateful for their service.
After a while, I got back on my bike and rode home. I was glad that I had taken the time to visit the Idaho State Veteran Cemetery. It was a beautiful and reflective experience. If you live in the Boise area or are visiting and are looking for a peaceful place to reflect on the sacrifices made by veterans, I highly recommend visiting the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery.
Here are some tips for riding your bike to the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery:
Aventon Level 2 E-bike
This article isn’t about the tech specs of the Level 2 e-bike but about the buying experience and initial thoughts about the bike. You can get those tech specs on the Aventon website or numerous YouTube videos if you are looking for them.
The online buying process from Aventon was easy and quick. I didn’t have any issues whatsoever.
Communications from Aventon were excellent throughout. From order confirmation to shipping updates, I always had up-to-the-minute information about my bike. They also provided links to download the owner’s manual and quick start guide. There were also physical copies in the box.
I ordered my bike over the Labor Day Holiday weekend, so it didn’t ship until Tuesday, and I received it early Friday morning.
The box was in good condition with no visible damage. The Level 2 comes almost completely assembled, and The Aventon website provides an easy-to-follow video with instructions to complete assembly (See video below). The video shows the bike being packed in foam to protect the components and the bike itself; however, mine came wrapped in brown paper and paper ties (Not plastic Zip Ties), I’m guessing for environmental reasons. Still, my bike had no damage.
Assembly took about 30 minutes, and it took nearly 4.5 hours for the battery to charge for the first time.
How to assemble the Aventon Level.2 Ebike - (Video)
Video from Aventon website
First ride and impressions:
Having never ridden an e-bike, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to ride. It wasn’t jerky when changing the pedal assist mode, and it was just plain fun to ride! The controller was simple, and the display was clear and bright.
I took a short ride around my neighborhood to familiarize myself with the bike before I venture out on a longer ride.
There is an available app that helps show your stats from your rides and battery status, plus an online community of Aventon E-bike owners where you can share information and photos and ask questions. There are several other unique features on the app. Cool!
Living a car-free lifestyle, I’m excited to see how owning this e-bike will enhance my life and make traveling in my community more accessible and safer.
If you're a regular cyclist like me, (car-free since July 2021) you know that riding a bike can be a great way to exercise and save money on transportation. But what if you're looking for a way to make cycling more accessible and enjoyable? An e-bike might be the perfect solution.
After I injured my foot, I haven't been able to ride my “traditional” bike as often or as far as I would like. Additionally, being car-free, I rely on my bike for grocery shopping and other errands plus the occasional commute to the office (10 miles each way), so it seems to me that an e-bike is a great alternative. There are many benefits to switching to an e-bike from a traditional bicycle, and while everyone’s reasons may be different, here are some of the things that have made me make the change (though perhaps not permanent) to an e-bike.
If you're considering switching to an e-bike, there are some things you need to keep in mind. First, you must decide what type of e-bike is right for you. Many different types of e-bikes are available, so it's essential to research and find one that meets your needs.
Second, you must ensure that you are familiar with the laws in your area regarding e-bikes. Some locations have restrictions on where e-bikes can be ridden. Having reviewed the laws in my area and considerable research, I’ve decided to purchase an e-bike.
The e-bike I’ve decided on is the Aventon Level.2 commuter bike. I’ve spoken with owners of Aventon e-bikes, and they are very impressed with them, and it will work well in my area and terrain. (Idaho).
I share information about the buying process, shipping, assembly, and initial impressions.
Enjoy the small victories!
This morning I rode my bicycle for the first time in two months after I injured my foot when I fell off the back of a truck while helping a friend move.
My foot is still swollen, and I can only get my shoe on by wearing compression socks. Having not checked my mail at the Post Office and wanting to get back on my bike, I decided to give it a shot.
The Post Office is about 2.5 miles from my home, with a few moderate hills on the ride back. Before getting on the busy street, I rode in my neighborhood to ensure no safety issues.
Feeling okay, I headed to the Post Office without any issues. I could feel my foot throbbing, but it wasn’t excruciating, so I continued.
The return ride home was more demanding, but I made it through. I was so relieved when I took my shoe off and relaxed.
Only being a 5-mile ride, this wouldn’t be something I would usually celebrate, but I am! This small victory reminded me of my challenges on my ride across America. Pressing on when I wasn’t sure I could. Perhaps more importantly, making the decision to do it! It was overcoming the pain (this short ride was as painful as anything I can remember from my ride across the country) and reaching my destination.
Was this healthy for my foot recovery? I’m unsure of that; however, it was healthy for my soul and spirit! Saying good morning to the people on their morning walks with their dogs, enjoying the crisp morning air, and the satisfaction of completing this simple but real goal.
Not wanting to overdo it and aggravate my injury, I will take it easy for the rest of the day.
As I mentioned in my recent podcast, I’ve relied on Instacart to deliver my groceries. Tomorrow, I plan on riding my bike to the store once again!
There will NEVER be a "Perfect" time!
I often revisit the moments from my bike ride across America in 2017. So many incredible people and challenges! Looking at the blog post I made on this day in 2017, the title was "Today was a rough day. Though I didn't elaborate, I still remember why I felt that way. Still, I rode about 26 miles that day, and my cumulative total had reached 1,768 miles.
I posted one of my favorite quotes from the late Wayne Dyer, "when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change."
I've repeatedly stated that this ride profoundly changed my life, and it did! If I had waited for the "perfect" time to begin that journey, I would likely still be waiting. There will always be excuses why it's not the right time to embark on whatever adventure you're dreaming of... don't look for the reasons not to do it; instead, take steps towards it every day!
One thing that has always worked for me is publicly announcing your plans. Tell friends, family, and neighbors, and post to social media; these things hold you accountable. I took it one step further; after I decided to do my ride, I was employed full-time. I remember meeting with my boss and telling him my plan would take approximately 3 1/2 months to complete. I told him I hoped I had his support but was prepared to lose my job. That's how much completing this journey meant to me. Not only did my employer support me, but they also followed my adventure on the company's social media pages, and customers followed me too!
Whatever your dream, do it Today! No more somedays
When my truck broke down the summer of 2021 I was frustrated as I was planning to set out on an adventure across Idaho and who knows where else!
Still, it gave me reason for pause and to reflect on my life and finances. This was all happening during the pandemic so chances are my plans would have to change even if my truck hadn't broken down so, with the shortage of quality, used trucks available I had the opportunity to get out from under the payment and make a little money too!
In addition, my Golden Retriever Ace was going to accompany me on my adventures but he was having health issues and wouldn't be able to handle the stress. (see Ace and Podcast links below)
This is what brought me to where I am today...car free for 2 years using my bicycle for transportation.
It's been one year since I said goodbye to Ace. I miss that boy so much! He was such an incredible friend and companion.
It took me several months to get used to him not being here. I live in a small space, an RV to be specific, I often felt guilty because I couldn’t provide Ace a backyard to play in and more space while inside. But, through it all he never made a fuss. In fact, the tight quarters brought us even closer. Every afternoon when I got home, there he was waiting for me, tail wagging and the “smile” Golden Retrievers are known for.
I’ve thought about getting another dog but I think it's too soon and I wouldn't be prepared to say goodbye to another pet. So, I’m just going to enjoy my memories, look at photos from time to time and there are several dogs in my neighborhood, including several Golden Retrievers so I can enjoy their company when I see them.
Below is a gift I received from a friend after saying goodbye to Ace. It’s beautiful and I have it placed in a spot in my home that I can see it from anywhere in the room.
I Love and Miss you Ace!