Frostbike is a fun new book about winter cycling from Tom Babin, a Calgary journalist. He talks about his own experiences winter riding in Calgary and then visits and interviews the usual winter cycling suspects in North America and North Europe. There is no new or shocking information in the book, but it is quite well written and free of that single mindedness and arrogance that sometimes accompanies bike advocacy. In short, it is an enjoyable read for the “been there, done that” crowd and a recommended introduction for those who would like to know more on the subject.
We sold the Accord this past August. I had never quite warmed up to that car. It was so large I felt I was riding a boat, it had almost the same mileage as the minivan, it handled terribly in the snow even days after the last snowfall, the combination of the moonroof and the cabin size resulted in a loud flapping noise making it pretty much impossible to enjoy opening the moonroof unless I was parked. The final insult to injury was that it had cost twice as much as my lovely old Protege which had none of those problems. It was not so much that I wanted to not have the second car, it was more that I did not want that particular car.
We had toyed with the idea of sharing a single car for a while, but we were never at a point where not having the second car would not be really inconvenient. This year, a lot of the things lined up and we finally felt we can give car-lite lifestyle a go. I have finished grad school and all of our current weekly activities are close to home. I have a cargo bike that allows me to go to work, carry children and pick up groceries. Chris bought a foldie bike and winterized his old hybrid for multimodal commute on the days I need the van during the day. To avoid paying the babysitter too often, we usually schedule our individual outings on different nights anyway. Finally, since we first moved here almost fifteen years ago, Kanata has grown and we have grown into Beaverbrook. Bus service has improved, there is an increasing number of shops and businesses available to us and many of our friends now live within walking distance.
In last four months, absolutely no instance came up in which I regretted not having the second car. The next four winter months are going to be more interesting. We have worked out alternatives and contingencies and, if all that does not work, we always have an option of buying another car (one that is both economical in price and fuel efficiency with good winter handling and functional moon roof hopefully!). I think we can make it with just the minivan. I am looking forward to the winter, not only because of all the exciting winter fun ahead, but I am curious to see how we meet this new challenge.