How do we use our means of transportation ?
In this piece, I’ll lay out how we deal with the use of our car, the recumbents, the bikes, and the bike trailer in our household.
Our “carpark” is composed of the following vehicles :
– 1 x car, Toyota Starlet
– 1 x velomobile, Versatile
– 1 x trike, Optima Rhino FS
– 1 x bike, Koga Miyata Globe Traveller
– 1 x bike, Gazelle Medeo
– 3 x old bikes
– 1 x bike trailer, Handy 340 (Vogel)
The car belongs to my girlfriend; I don’t have a license myself. The Versatile, the Optima, the Koga, one old bike and the Handy trailer are used by me. My girlfriend has a Gazelle Medeo and two old bikes. Behind our house, we have a little shed (300cm x 220cm); in it stand the Versatile, four bikes, the Handy, some garden tools and a bin for old paper. To make some room on the floor, two of the bikes hang on hooks on the wall of the shed. The rest stand on the floor. In Kockengen I rent a shed from a farmer where I keep the trailer for our boat, a frame for a workbike, and the Optima Rhino (which doesn’t fit into the shed at home with the other bikes).
Is used for shopping (we go shopping once a week at a supermarket here in the neighborhood; a consequence of this is that we have to leave early, otherwise the parking lot at the supermarket is full, and we have to wait until someone leaves with a car), horseback riding (1x per week), visiting the in-laws (1x per month) and in the summer for driving to the sailboat in the yacht harbor in Breukelen.
It doesn’t make sense for my girlfriend to use the car to drive to work. So she goes by train. When people hear that, they often react with “yes, but doesn’t the train always run late?!” It’s true. My girlfriend is regularly confronted with train delays, but driving with the car to her work means that she would regularly come to a stop in the traffic jam in the direction of The Hague. Delays either way. When she needs to go someplace else for her work, she chooses to get there by public transit.
Commuting – I bike to work daily with the Versatile.
Pleasure – on the weekends, I normally go cycling in the surrounding area.
For commuting, a velomobile is naturally ideal. It is extremely well-suited to cycling in the rain, on slippery surfaces, and in strong winds. Previously, I often found it unpleasant to have to go out with the bike in those conditions, but now I don’t have any trouble with it.
Commuting – my girlfriend cycles with one of her bikes to the train station in Woerden. There she takes the train to Leiden, where she has another bike parked which she uses to ride to her work on that end. At both stations there is indoor bike parking; her bikes are thus protected from theft and damage from having to be parked outside the station. In the summer, I generally leave the Versatile at home and go by bike to work.
Shopping – when we need to do some extra shopping during the week, we use the bikes for that (on her route from the station on the way home, my girlfriend passes a supermarket; my commute runs past the same supermarket, thus it is convenient to do some shopping on the way).
Bike tours – in the summer, my girlfriend and I regularly go biking together.
Commuting – in the summer, I want to use the Optima Rhino to ride to work.
Pleasure – now and then to ride around.
I bought the Optima Rhino a few months ago. It still needs to be made ready for riding. I wanted to have an “open” recumbent available to ride in the summer and have trouble with the two-wheeled recumbents (balance problems).
The Bike Trailer
Commuting – When I want to take something with me to work or somewhere else, I use my bike in combination with the Handy. I’m regularly carrying computers, monitors, Christmas gifts, etc. Everything will fit into the bike trailer, to the astonishment of my colleagues who always come to work by car and regularly ask me whether I need a ride home with my stuff. I’ve never had it happen yet that I couldn’t manage to take something from work with the bike trailer (or in the Versatile).
I bought the bike trailer fifteen years ago, and it has become indispensable in the meantime. Before I met my girlfrient, I used it for everything, and I could always find someone with a car if there was something that wouldn’t fit into the bike trailer. And even now it is used with great regularity. For instance, I recently rode with one of our rabbits in the bike trailer behind the bike to the veterinarian.
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