to think I can give up my car and survive using a bike/trailer?!

(42 Posts)
arwen110578 Mon 10-Dec-12 00:08:50

My second AIBU in as many minutes smile

Not returning to work after having second DD. Will be relying on DH wage which should be fine except that when I was working we both brought in similar amounts so we are dropping approx 45% salary!

DH coincidently has a new job which has started same time as I have ended mat leave and finished work. I don't think we can afford to run two cars and so I am thinking about getting a bike and trailer to take kiddies to pre-school and into town.

We are lucky that we live on a good cycle path, if I leave my house and cycle 2 miles left I get to pre-school, if I cycle 2 miles right I get into town. I can do online shopping for food and we use DH's car at weekends. And there is a bus service which is quite frankly bloody expensive Any emergencies I would call an ambulance for and we live 10 minutes from the A&E department..

DH and most of my friends think I am being ridiculous. I think it is a necessity as times are going to be tough and people did survive before cars and I might stand a chance of shedding some baby weight

Am I being ridiculous? DDs are 8 months and 2.10yrs

Sinkingfeeling Mon 10-Dec-12 00:11:10

Not ridiculous at all - 2 miles is really a very short journey. Can you get to other places, like GP surgery, library etc fairly easily too?

squeakytoy Mon 10-Dec-12 00:13:57

Not ridiculous at all. Even walking with a buggy isnt that far if it is only 2 miles.

WorraLorraTurkey Mon 10-Dec-12 00:16:23

Bikes with trailers that hold 2 kids are normally very expensive.

YANBU if you can afford one but for the sake of such a short journey, I'd walk with a buggy.

I have 4 kids and have never driven. You have to be quite organised but its no big deal not driving really.

CoolaYuleA Mon 10-Dec-12 00:23:29

We've just taken a similar drop in salary due to DH relocating so I had to leave my job and have decided to stay at home with DD for a while.

We only brought one car back from Germany when we moved, but will be buying another very soon. YANBU but I am a lazy sod prefer to have a car available. I don't actually use it all the time and definitely not every day, but I have always had my own so feel a little trapped if I don't have one sat there. I am probably being U there though grin.

BrittaPerry Mon 10-Dec-12 00:25:26

We do this :-). Except we don't have a car at all.

Very doable, although we do use buses and the metro.

Trailer cost £20, bike £30, other bike £35, but we were lucky with friends and ebay.

We have never had a car and are just now thinking of getting one as I will be travelling 200 miles with a 5yo and 3yo more regulary and it could be easier. When they were young enough for a buggy/sling combo on the train there was no need at all.

With one car in the house (esp if you are both able to drive it) it will be no issue at all. We very occaisionally need to get a taxi or have a lift (moving furniture, when I couldn't walk, etc) and relatives do kindly drive us places, but we could manage without.

cheddarcheeselover Mon 10-Dec-12 00:26:58

2 kids, no car here. I guess you don' miss what you've never had, but we've never found it a problem. girls are 5 & 2, do shopping online, go on holiday by train....
you'll be fine.

oxeye Mon 10-Dec-12 00:27:24

you're very sensible but think about the bike you would want. Cargo bikes might be easier, can put on two kids, turn into a tandem and also carry lots of stuff, cheaper and easier to park and store than a bike and trailer. Good luck!

arwen110578 Mon 10-Dec-12 00:47:46

Thanks for the positive comments.

Hoping to fund bike/trailer by selling my car. I wont get enough for my car to replace with a smaller run-around, but should get enough to get a bike and trailer.

GP is just off cycle path on way into town so that is ok.

I probably could just use the pushchair but parts of the cycle path are a bit creepy. We are semi-rural and path is through some wooded areas which are lovely but I like the idea of being able to go quicker through them! I am a scaredy cat

MammaTJ Mon 10-Dec-12 01:12:12

My friend did this for ages. The DC loved it.

Then she moved to where I live and found it hard, but not impossible because this town is so hilly.

Then her DC outgrew it.

LucieMay Mon 10-Dec-12 01:14:10

Of course you can survive without a car! I'm a single parent with no car and ds and I have always lead an ordinary life with school, work, leisure activities, socialising etc. People who've always had a car react with horror and are always asking me when I intend to learn to drive and the answer is never!

Glittertwins Mon 10-Dec-12 05:27:51

The double trailers can be expensive and you would need to check that the trailer clamp fits your bike frame. The one we borrowed didn't fit DH's bike or mine, we didn't realise that it would be a problem. Having said that, the DTs loved it when we hired bikes and trailer and they are 4 and its great exercise but they did like to get out and walk. Do you think you could manage with your older one doing this often?

Iteotwawki Mon 10-Dec-12 05:41:15

Absolutely. I sold my convertible sports car a few months ago & got a bicycle. Does commute to work (8k round trip so similar to your distances), and would do shopping & kids too if I needed it to.

I did go for one with pedal assist electric motor though smile (I live at the top of a massively steep hill!)

blueballoon79 Mon 10-Dec-12 05:44:31

I have two DC and have never had a car. From the age of 2, my DD has walked everywhere. She can now walk miles (3yrs old now).

DS used to be in a wheelchair so I'd push him everywhere, but since having surgery, he can now walk and he can manage 2-3 miles also.

If we're going further we take the bus or train.

We've never had a problem at all, but where we live is so close to everything there's never been any need for a car.

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Mon 10-Dec-12 06:14:52

YANBU but a couple of things to consider

- Are you really really going to cycle 4 mile round trip when it's pissing with rain. Be honest. Maybe you will, but then again, maybe you'll just end up getting taxis a lot. I mainly ask this as not sure whether you're currently a regular cyclist. If not, maybe the idea is nicer than the reality (I say that as someone who used to cycle 7 miles each way to work every day- some days were not much fun but made bearable as I could shower/change at each end)
- Once you've dropped your older child at pre-school, what do you normally do with DD2? Are those places accessible using the bike or the bus service and do the times work with her usual routine (i.e. if going to library is suddenly going to be a 4 hour round trip, that's something to consider?)

Just think it's worth checking before you sell the car.

GrumpyOldWomanToo Mon 10-Dec-12 06:28:40

I think you can manage with only one car... if it is really bad weather, you could take a taxi for that day, and still save money overall.

Glittertwins Mon 10-Dec-12 06:33:34

Buy waterproofs, that's what I did when I had no other option to get them to nursery (they were in the buggy) and then on to work.

We've just downsized to one car now we've moved into's been very workable so far (one month in)

Our decisionwas hastened by one car deciding to ditch its exhaust 2 days after we moved in...

Violet77 Mon 10-Dec-12 06:54:22

You will be fine 2 miles is nothing. I'm sure most families could cope with one car with a sahm.

gazzalw Mon 10-Dec-12 06:56:03

You will be fine as long as you embrace the new and don't keep hankering after your car. My belief is that it's all a mind-set.

We have never had a car with out two DCs and whilst even now they're older it can sometimes be a bit of a pain carrying heavy stuff back or the amount of time it takes by public transport, we've never known any different so we don't moan about it at all....

You might find yourself such a convert that you decide you don't need a car at all...wink]!

Good luck!

Glittertwins Mon 10-Dec-12 06:58:58

We're also in a town which is why we still haven't needed a second car again yet. We've managed 8 years with just one. There have been times when he needed the car for work and I couldn't get out to places but it wasn't a life or death situation.

We cope with no cars very easily, I'm sure you can do it with one grin
DH is a big cyclist and does to/from work every day. We also have a two child trailer that we're yet to use yet, but it wasnt that expensive, £100 iirc?

I bought my bike ready to get back into cycling in the summer, then got diagnosed with bloody arthritis, so it is as yet unridden... Hope to get used to it gradually once spring comes... (DH will pull the trailer if we go out though!!)

Town is 4 miles for me (just googled it). Invest in good waterproofs!

bidibidi Mon 10-Dec-12 07:35:10

I think the main problem is keeping the children warm and comfortable on these trips. They need a covered trailer to keep hail out. for instance. The rest sounds quite manageable.

And you will save a fortune compared to gym membership. smile

BrittaPerry Mon 10-Dec-12 07:40:32

How much IS the bus? Now it is cold, we have got season tickets. For us, the most expensive all zones bus, metro and ferry one is £20 a week. Less if we just use buses or just stay in one zone. It is free for under 5s and 5yo dd1 gets a pass by living in the area so she never pays more than £1.10 a day.

But then even people with cars quiteoften public transport into Newcastle from here (10 miles) as that is cheaper and easier than parking in the city centre.

Even buying new, you only really need to spend £150 on bike and trailer, much less second hand. If I were you, I would also buy a foldy buggy for aout £60 (the very cheap ones for £20 are rubbish) and a sling (find your local sling library on facebook for advice). You can take double buggies on the bus, but at busy times you will appreciate being able to fold up. Saying that, I used a double buggy for a year or so and it was fine.

BrittaPerry Mon 10-Dec-12 07:42:30

I should add,the £20 weekly ticket replaces £5.50 a day for the same zones and transports. So it is well worth looking at, especially as your kids are too young to pay.

RillaBlythe Mon 10-Dec-12 07:45:11

We do this. DP commutes by bike & I take the kids around by bike trailer or bus. Works really well for us, the only thing I've found now dd has started after achool activities is it means I have to be careful with the locations in a way I wouldn't if we used a car.

maillotjaune Mon 10-Dec-12 07:54:48

Of course it will be fine. I've never driven, have 3 children and walk everywhere with occasional bus or tube - and would only ever use tube for work in C Lindon anyway.

We walk just over a mike to school, it's just over and just under 2 miles to each of the places with supermarkets etc in either direction, and get main shop online.

Children all used to walking / scooting / cycling will just get on with it. And good waterproofs mean rain is a minor annoyance.

I wish I could say I had lost all the weight put on in pregnancy

VivaLeBeaver Mon 10-Dec-12 07:55:41

You need to think about what will you do when kids are too old to go in the trailer? They're going to need to bike or walk it themselves. Though you could use a tag along/trailgator for the youngest.

What about when they have friends coming for tea?

What about when one does an after school club and the other doesn't? You'd have to make the trip twice.

CanIHaveAPetGiraffePlease Mon 10-Dec-12 07:59:24

I've been carless twice. First time I used a sling for that year and walked everywhere and lost weight. It was great. However I wasn't able to get to my nct or post natal groups very often as people's houses weren't on the bus routes.

I moved back down south, had a car until it died and fully intended to go carless again but it was a nightmare. We couldn't get to music group or the farm or other places we used to go. One friend that was 20mins away by car turned out to be nearly 2 hours by 3 buses.

I guess if we'd never had a car we wouldn't have started the music,ballet etc but we did end up getting a car for managing to get out and about.

It depends on your area and if you can get to all the places you want to realistically by public transport.

lljkk Mon 10-Dec-12 08:09:26

It's not carLESS, it's Car-Free. grin

I don't think 2yos have mates back for tea. I may be wrong, though. Even at 4yo I find half the parents prefer to drop them off after school rather than risk them walking half a mile to our house in the wind & rain, (like mine do). So I don't need to give any lifts, after all. And they don't stay that long, anyway.

I find they can go in trailer until about 6yo depends on your size child & trailer, though).

How much is your road tax & insurance on the vehicle you'd be giving up, OP? Plus you have to consider what loss you'd be selling the car at. Might be cheaper to keep it available than to only give it up for 1-2 years.

I'm still carrying my kids on my bike, and they are 8 and 11. Granted, if we were somewhere with decent cycle paths, I'd have them biking on their own, but as we are in London ...

At any rate, as others have said, in your shoes I'd consider a normal cargo bike - either Bakfiets or Christiania, or you could go with a Yuba Mundo if you wanted something a bit lighter - you'd need seats for the kids with a Mundo, while the Bakfiets and Christiania have buckets to put the kids in.

The one 'gotcha' about biking places with an 8-month-old is, you won't have a pram when you get there. So going to town and wandering from shop to shop requires some sort of infant carrier. But a backpack would work, and if you get a bucket-style bike, you'll have somewhere to store the backpack in transit, for example.

TeWisBeenNargledByTheMistletoe Mon 10-Dec-12 08:17:39

We don't have a car.

If we have a playdate we all walk together. I get the bus a couple of times a month and a taxi every few months.

You will find there are places you just don't go weekdays, because you haven't got the time. That doesn't really bother me though.

Weissdorn Mon 10-Dec-12 08:22:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Caerlaverock Mon 10-Dec-12 09:02:40

You can get trailers that double as a pushchair. I would do it.

milkymocha Mon 10-Dec-12 09:09:25

I cope just without any car smile
How far away does DH work? He could cycle in somedays leaving the car free for you and the DC?

maillotjaune Mon 10-Dec-12 12:55:00

Re. after school clubs, my older 2 (mainly) do things on the same night even if it's not the same activity.

OP you've said it's pre-school in the opposite direction to town - will that change when they go to school? Although our house is only 15 mins walk at child's pace (about 7 at mine) it's a bit far to walk home and back when only 1 is at a club (timewise it's fine, but hard to get them back out of the house if you go home sometimes), but our library is only 5 mins from school so we do library visits which combine toys, books, and somewhere to finish any outstanding homework.

As someone else has said I think you do end up not doing some things in the week - so I never got in with the post-toddler group thing of outings to soft play thankfully but don't feel we've missed out

ChiefOwl Mon 10-Dec-12 13:05:32

My only question is how far will school be? As that is a trip you will have to do come, rain, snow or shine!

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Mon 10-Dec-12 13:18:32

There are a few important considerations. Is it flat or hilly? A flat 2 miles is easy a hilly 2 miles not so much with a double trailer. How will you cope when the DCs are too heavy for a trailer but (maybe) too small to cycle, is there an alternative? Is there somewhere to leave the trailer so you can go off on your own while DCs at pre-school? How will you manage in bad weather? Warm dry clothes obviously but what about icy and snowy conditions? Can you manage on the bus on days when cycling out of the question? Can you get to other places easily including school in due course?

I think YANBU at all but I would want to be clear how I'd manage in the longer term and in less than great conditions.

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Mon 10-Dec-12 13:21:31

Also I'm guessing for a while you'll have 1 DC at school and 1 at pre-school - will that be feasible also?

RillaBlythe Tue 11-Dec-12 12:31:03

You can take kids in a trailer for quite a while though - I have a croozer for 2, & I carry my 4 yo & 1 yo with ease. I think dd1 (who is big for her age) could stay in till 6+ but she can already ride a bike & I expect her move out next summer. My croozer also v quickly can be turned into a pram but I generally just take a carrier along.

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