Tuesday, March 24, 2009

C'mon baby drive my car...because I don't want to

I. hate. driving.

Ever since I started riding my bike, I have hated driving my car. It feels...wrong somehow. Today I was driving home and wanted to run every red light, punch the butthead behind me who rode my ass and honked, and was nervous that I would be pulled over (more on that later)

I am also a crappy car owner. A few examples of this are as follows: I don't wash my car, I constantly let my tag expire, I wait too long to get an oil change and I hardly ever check my tire pressure. That doesn't even talk about paying my car note on time, carrying my current insurance card and my intense hate of pumping gas. This weekend I got 2 (!) tickets, one for an expired tag, and one for having a suspended license. How do you have a suspended license when you haven't had a ticket in over a year and you paid it? WTF?!

So, why do I have a car? Well, I thought I had to have one. I still think that my life will be more difficult if I don't...rainy days, cold winters, Hwy 280 (if you live in Bham, you know what I mean by that), travel to visit my nephew...the list goes on. Birmingham is a city that is NOT pedestrian friendly. However, I have a friend who did not have a car for a year and did fine. She then got a Vespa for another year (maybe 2) and also survived. It can be done.

What am I saying (what AM I saying...)? I don't want my car anymore. I found it after a car accident, which was not my fault, and I got much too nice of a car for what I need (I am such a typical American). Oh, did I mention that it has a Salvaged title? Yep, an ex-boyfriend convinced me this would be an ok idea. At the time, I assumed I would drive it until it died and the title wouldn't be an issue, and so far it has not. However, I am considering selling it and don't know what the market is for a 2004 Mini Cooper in fine shape, but with a Salvaged title.

In order to sell it, I need to clean it, replace the brakes (another thing I hardly ever do), change the oil, etc. Despite this, I am seriously considering giving it a shot. Maybe throwing a For Sale sign on it and waiting to see what happens. If nothing happens, I will keep it and life will go on. If I sell it, maybe I buy a cheaper car for emergencies or maybe I invest in rain gear and rent a car when I need it. For the money I am paying each month for insurance, car note and gas, I could have one sweet 2 wheeled ride AND afford to pay for a rental every now and again.

So, stay tuned. I haven't made any decisions yet, but the wheels are turning, so to speak

Oh, and if you or anyone you know, want to buy a red Mini Cooper, let me know. Less than 50K miles, leather, sunroof, all the good shit.


  1. That's funny! I got a ticket for running a red light the last time I drove my car before selling it (I was driving my cat to the vet). About a month before that, I got a warning ticket for expired tags.

    Great idea, if you can manage it! I imagine it would be quite a challenge in Birmingham.

  2. I hear that, I drive about once a month and it scares me.

  3. I had been thinking about getting rid of my car for quite a while, my wife still has one as we have two young ones, but never had the guts to do it. In January it went to car heaven and I have never replaced it. I have been just fine and really don't see buying one any time soon.

  4. Funny! I have had a post about my car lurking in the back of my mind for a few weeks (different from this one, but if I hadn't already paid it off, it might not be!). Good luck, whatever you decide. I think it would be a difficult thing to be carless in B'ham, but a Vespa or a cheap car that you wouldn't have to make payments on, insured as a "pleasure vehicle" and could use for emergencies might be the answer.


  5. I posted on my blog not long ago that I had been thinking of selling off one of our vehicles. A day or two ago, the topic came up in casual conversation, and my wife (who had been mildly apprehensive about the idea) said she agreed that it seemed like the thing to do. Excellent. (Though, she also said something to the effect of, "Here we go again; another bicycling-related buying spree," referring to when I went nuts with the wad of cash secured through the sale of my motorcycles. I'm sure she meant it in the best possible way.)

    Of course, like you, I have to make repairs in order to sell it, and I've been too lazy (and too cheap!) to do so. "It's for the greater good," I tell myself. Time to get on with it...

  6. maybe you can start a bike commune

    or at least a group of people who want to jointly own one car, and live within cycling distance of each other

    in atlanta, there are 'zipcars'

    you kind of join zipcar, then you can reserve a car and pay by the hour or day or something flexible


    zipcar cities
    * Atlanta
    * Philadelphia
    * Seattle
    * Boston
    * Pittsburgh
    * Toronto
    * Chicago
    * Portland
    * Vancouver
    * London
    * San Francisco
    * Washington DC
    * New York/New Jersey

    maybe the ham has something like that

    it;s better than just going to the rental car place

    these cars stay in distributed locations

    like transit stations

    so you can ride bike to where the car is, or to the train then ride train to the car, just get in and go


  7. i wouldn't advertise the fact that you haven't changed the oil regularly when you go to sell it. not changing the oil is extremely detrimental to your engine

    - liz wells's inner car nerd

  8. Liz-I usually only wait about a week or two after it needs it. I just feel like I should be doing it exactly on time! but thanks...you are right.
    wle-No zip car in Bham, although I have requested one with the company. I do have a friend and she and I are thinking about doing a car share if the Mini does sell! woot.

  9. Funny, I don't wash my car, was slow on getting the tabs and am so so on the upkeep. Reminds me of a previous relationship I was in. Dragging my feet. I didn't realize until afterwards, that I wasn't putting into the relationship because I didn't want to be in it... Ditto for the car.

    Right now, I work too far from home and have some family responsibilities that keep the car in my garage. But I am imagining a life without cars, so we'll see what happens.

  10. Great that you reconsider your choice of owning a car. Even if you decide to keep it, I'm sure you thought it through. Most people never get that far.

  11. Hey!

    I hate driving too. HATE IT. Does your 'hood have anything in the way of a car share? That really seems to work great for our car-less friends in Vancouver and Toronto. You have a membership, and when you want the ride you just book it and then take it and put it back when you're done. Like rental, but WAY more convenient. Anyway, that could be a good compromise if it's an available option. If not... then like me, you might have to suffer.

    I also find it really hard to be excited when people tell me they bought new cars. I'm always like, "Oh um... that's great... uh... yeah."


  12. I feel the EXACT SAME WAY. Last summer I contemplated selling my car. I even got as far as posting it on Craigslist, but due to title transfer issues it never worked out. Thankfully, perhaps? I have the same reservations you do. Rainy, cold (though I cycle through the winter), and visiting my family, 6 hours away.

    I could take a train, but then I couldn't bring my dog. I could take a plane, but then I couldn't take my bike. I can also pick up and transport bikes and people to the bike co-op I work with.

    I just LOVE the convenience for those few times when I actually use it.

  13. I went car-free over a year ago and have done fine without one. Of course, living in the Washington, DC area, and having Zipcar and the subway & public transportation helps a lot...but I mostly use my bike to get places, 'cuz I like to bike and get the exercise. I have a couple of folding bikes, so I can put them on long-haul buses (like up to NYC), or on Amtrak, which allows folding bikes. :) Maybe a folding bike is in your future as well? Charmaine

  14. I hear ya! My car gets washed when it rains. I'm meticulous with my bicycles, but drive my car with the oil a quart low. I drive so seldom that I forget how to do stuff...Like I'll turn the windshield wipers on instead of the turn signal! I don't think I'll get rid of my car (yet), but I certainly won't buy another one.

  15. Maybe get a smart car and share it? Or you could always get a reasonably cheap used Honda if you want something bigger.


something on your mind?