Before we get started explaining how to adopt a car-lite lifestyle, do you need to be convinced as to why going car-lite is so great?
Why Should I Go Car-Lite?
1. You’ll save money.
First, think about how much money you could save if you learn how to go car-lite. The AAA estimates that it costs an average of $894/month to own and use a car when you factor in car payments, insurance, gas, maintenance, taxes, parking, and repairs. That adds up to $10,728 per year – nothing to sneeze at! That’s a nice tidy sum to sock away for a rainy day.
2. You’ll improve your health.
Active transportation like biking and walking is undoubtedly good for your health. Consider this: according to the League of American Bicyclist's "Women on a Roll" report, bicycling just 20 miles per week reduces women's risk of heart disease by a whopping 50%.
The health benefits aren't all physical. Moving your body supports your mental health: it reduces your anxiety and stress, helps you sleep better, and boosts your memory and creativity. (source) Pretty much the opposite of sitting in car traffic, right?
3. You’ll reduce your carbon footprint.
Besides being good for you and your pocketbook, active transportation is also better for the environment. The Bureau of Transportation Statistics says that the transportation sector is responsible for 71% of U.S. petroleum use, while researchers have discovered that more CO2 is emitted by the United States' transportation sector than any other nation's entire economy, except for China, which is not something to be proud of. One way to combat the damage to the environment is to trade in your car for a bicycle, at least part of the time as part of a car-lite lifestyle.
Hopefully, we’ve persuaded you that going car-lite is something you should try to do, at least on Sept 22. Now here are three tips for how to go car-lite:
Pictured: Orchard Grocery Pannier
How to Go Car-Lite
1. Start Small to Ease into the Car-Lite Lifestyle.
Just because you want to learn how to go car-lite doesn't mean you have to quit driving cold turkey. Instead, pick a couple of destinations that are possible to get to without a car, either because they are close by or because they are along a public transportation route. This could be anything from the post office to the convenience mart to the movie theater.
Once you have a shortlist of non-car destinations, aim to travel to at least one of them each week without a car. Soon you'll have some new transportation habits in place and you can continue to grow your list of places to get to without driving. Before you know it, you'll be living a car-lite lifestyle.
2. Go Multi-Modal.
That fancy phrase simply means that you should try mixing up your transportation options. Sometimes hopping in the car is the best way to go from A to B. But what if you just drove to the nearest train station instead? If you're fortunate enough to have bike share in your city, try taking the bike one way and the bus back. Variety is the spice of life when going car-lite, and you'll probably discover that some trips are best served by a mix of transportation options - especially when it’s raining or showing!
Pictured: Chelsea Trunk Bag
3. Gear Up with the Right Clothing and Accessories.
No, you don’t have to buy a whole new wardrobe or a pricey new bicycle when learning how to go car-lite. But, if you’ve always gotten around by car, you will find yourself having to think a little bit more about what you’re wearing to make sure you’re comfortable all day.
If you wear heels at work, keep them at your desk or in your bag and put them on when you arrive at the office.
If your commute includes travel on foot, bike, or scooter, we recommend investing in some reflective gear. Our City Lights Collection is made with reflective thread that looks sleek and subtle during the day, but will help you be seen by cars at night.
If you choose to bike to work, we recommend getting a bike bag that helps you carry what you need without wearing a backpack that will get you all sweaty. Unsure which type of bike bag you need for your commute? We’ve got you covered: Po Campo Bike Bag Guide.
You may also like:
How to Bike to Work and Arrive Looking Presentable
E-Scooter vs. E-Bike: Which is Better for Commuting?
The Best E-Scooters for Commuting: A Buyer’s Guide
How to Carry Things On Your Bike When You Bike to Work
My Top 7 Items for Winter Biking
Editor's Note: This post was originally published in 2016 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.