Car free travel stories Car free travel stories

International car free day is on Tuesday 22 September 2020

Could you go car free? For many people the idea of going car free can seem unrealistic, but for Carly and Simon, instant savings and a love for the environment won them over. Read more about Carly and Simon’s story here.

Carly and Simons' car free story

For Carly and Simon, instant savings and a love for the environment won them over. The married couple from Morningside said goodbye to their first car in November 2018 after realising they were constantly jumpstarting it to life. Their second car went soon after in April 2019. Carly was already cycling to work, since a colleague had inspired her to start years before, so it was Simon that took a bit of convincing.

Carly says,
“Simon gradually started using the car less to get to work (he was in the City, then changed jobs, based in Penrose) and used a combination of train, scooter and bicycle. We just stopped using our cars as much and through persistence I convinced Simon to ditch one car...then the next!”

So, what have they found most freeing about not using a car? Parking of course! The pair have been thrilled about not having to find a park or pay for parking. Speaking of parking, Carly also found she saved a whopping $3,500 from not paying for a carpark at her work. And their advice for those of us thinking about going car free?
“It’s possible! I don’t think everyone needs to give up their car completely. But start small - convert your work commute to bike. That’s how we started. Be organized. Have good gear, especially in winter. And make it a habit - it’s much easier to cycle to work every day than to decide on the spur of the moment to cycle.”

Brain and Missy's car free story

For parents Brian and Missy, it was their twin toddlers that influenced them to go car free. The twin’s favourite words quickly became ‘bike’ and ‘bus’ when the family were out and about, so for Brian and Missy the decision was obvious.

The couple say:
“On the weekend, we like to take the bus to the city or other suburbs in Auckland to visit playgrounds, parks or malls… We have two-year-old twin toddlers who are now saying "bus" and "bike" and get excited whenever they see a bus or bike.”

Living in Birkenhead, the couple realised early on that they needed a bike with a bit of oomph to tackle the surrounding hills, so they purchased an e-bike. Soon after that they bought a double bike trailer from the US and modified it, so they could attach it to their e-bike. Brian and Missy could now ride the e-bike and take the twins with them.

The result?
“Our kids love being in the trailer, and they always climb in whenever they can and get very disappointed when we take them in stroller instead! ...We're fortunate to have shared paths and some bike lanes (Onewa Road and the Northcote Safe Routes) in our neighbourhood, but we also find vehicles give us more space with the trailer than on our own. We're looking forward to the Sky Path, so we can continue to get around Auckland by bike as a family.”

When not riding their e-bike, Missy and Brian found multiple reasons to catch the bus, saying-
“The advantage of taking public transport on the weekend is that it is much less stressful than being in Auckland traffic and trying to find parking with two unhappy (screaming or crying) babies/toddlers. We can entertain them, give them food or take them out of the stroller if we need to”.

International car free day is on Tuesday 22 September 2020. Perhaps you could add a new addition to your family, in the form of a bike or e-bike? It’s time to explore an active lifestyle and go car free Auckland.