Author Topic: Stuck on car replacement/bicycle commute  (Read 934 times)


  • Handlebar Stache
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Stuck on car replacement/bicycle commute
« on: June 22, 2020, 08:27:14 AM »
As part of starting a new job, I have to give up my company pickup truck.  We currently have a family minivan, and a car that doesn't work.  The new job is 3.5 miles away with a 300 foot elevation change, stopsigns and redlights in the way.  The Baddass part of me wants to do this commute by bicycle, and I've ordered an Ebike kit to retrofit my trail bike to help during humid weather.  There are no showers at the new job as far as I know.

Concerns with not replacing car:
Wet weather
Humid Weather
Appearances (few people use bikes here and I want new company to know work is serious for me)
Needing to pick up kids from future unspecified activities

Fix the not working car:
I replaced the exhaust, which is why it was sitting for a year, but it needs some electrical wires repaired, a starter replaced and fuel line leak fixed.  It's 11 years old with less than 70,000 miles.  It doesn't fit the whole family.

Having a pickup truck was quite handy: I've taken trips to the dump, and trips to a local mulch place to get rid of bushes and branches, I've bought lumber for projects around the house.  I can find pikcup trucks that seat 6 people, which would be handy for trips to the local rail trail with bicycles for the family.  Since the job is very close, I've also looked at used Nissan Leafs, and Fiat 500Es as bad weather/backup vehicles.  Any idea how electric do being driven only about once a week?


  • Senior Mustachian
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Re: Stuck on car replacement/bicycle commute
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2020, 08:49:00 AM »
Wet/humid weather are no biggie.  You wear waterproof clothing and get sweaty, or wear breathable clothing and get wet.  Either way, no problem - and honestly not even much of an inconvenience.  You just wrap a towel in a plastic bag along with your change of clothes and deoderant and stick it in your backpack.  When you arrive at work you towel off and put on your dry clothes (probably best to bring a brush to tidy up your hair too).  You're only going 3 miles, and have an ebike, so shouldn't really work up enough sweat to need a shower.

If you use rim brakes, you'll need to cycle a bit more slowly and brake a bit earlier.  Make sure you have a strong front and rear lighting system for your bike (as well as a bright flourescent rain jacket) as well, because rain and fog makes you less visible to other drivers.

Needing to pick up kids is a problem that you'll have to figure out though depending on the situation you find yourself in.  It can involve having a car, adding a bike trailer or one of those attachments that turn your bike into a tandem where kids can pedal too, or getting your wife to do the pickups.


  • Pencil Stache
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Re: Stuck on car replacement/bicycle commute
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2020, 02:50:37 PM »
We are a one car family, and have been off an on for 3+ decades now. Currently it's one car for 4 adults, 3 of whom drive.

DH bike commutes a short distance (or did before pandemic WFH). On rainy days he walks with an umbrella because the puddles splash up on him. On days it pours rain, I drive him, since I don't work outside the home. On hot, humid days, he rides. Sometimes hot means 110F. Luckily his employee encourages alternatives to employees driving to work alone, and provides locked bike storage rooms.

Instead of a pickup, what about a second minivan? They can haul just about anything a pickup can. We're going to need a second vehicle fall 2021, and while we're considering a used Nissan Leaf, we're also entertaining the idea of a used Mazda 5 or an older Odyssey or Sienna. The one car we share is a compact hatchback, so the ability to haul stuff would be nice.


  • Bristles
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Re: Stuck on car replacement/bicycle commute
« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2020, 07:59:43 PM »
kudos on living close to work, that makes things a lot easier. I would try the one car approach first. Your wife can always drop you off at work or you can take the car in the AM and swing by for lunch and ride back or have her drop you off or uber. It isn't that difficult to make this work since you live so close. Just try it and see how it goes for a few months.

I'm in a very similar situation. I live 2 miles from my office, I have an ebike which I typically only use on super hot days to avoid sweating. On normal days I walk or use my fat-powered bicycle. We also have a 2009 honda fit which I used to use for my clown commute (20 miles each way) before we moved close to work. I drive only when it is stormy or heavily raining. Our family car is a honda minivan. If the fit ever dies I'm not planning to replace it, I'll just have my wife drop me off on crappy days or pick me and the bike up if it rains while I'm at work.

If you want a second car, I probably wouldn't get a truck that seats 6 people, those typically have tiny truck beds that are not very useful. Just use the van. You can get a hitch installed and a small trailer and/or bike rack for all your hauling needs around town.

No sense in having a car that doesn't work sitting around losing value, either fix it and use it or sell/scrap it and put the cash to work or into a functional car. You don't need something to fit the whole family as your second car, you already have a van for that. You need something cheap and reliable to move you from A to B.

Keep it simple/frugal, pay cash, buy the minimum amount of car you need.

I also probably wouldn't buy an electric car for such a minor commute. Older models are unproven in their reliability and newer ones are way too expensive for the mileage you will drive (less than 2,000 miles per YEAR worth of commuting). You can't go wrong with a little honda or toyota four cylinder. Easy to maintain, cheap to repair/replace if something goes wrong.


Wow, a phone plan for fifteen bucks!