Moving stories

When my car got written off, we were like, do we really need to buy another car, pay all the rego, pay all that insurance?

I’m Gautam, we are a family of three, moved from India about six years ago.

When we came here we loved how the city was nice and peaceful and family-friendly. So we decided that we should have a family. So my daughter now is four and a half years old and absolutely love this place and this beautiful little city. Yeah, pretty happy that we moved here.

Last year, in September, my car got written off, so we used to drive two cars to work. This was pre-covid and then covid happened. Obviously we started working from home. And so when my car got written off, we were like, do we really need to buy another car, pay all the rego, pay all that insurance? Given Canberra is so bike-friendly and you know, it’s got all the right paths for bikes, we thought we should probably just try, you know, get the bikes on. So I had my bike already because I used to go mountain biking as well with my mates. So so we just didn’t buy another car. And the only issue was that we wanted to see how the drop-off works for the area in the morning. Given it was all work from home, my wife was at home, so we didn’t really have to move around much. So we were able to manage with one car and we just stuck to that.

For moving around, for grocery shopping, for just going to a mate’s place in the evening, dropping off my kid to school sometimes. And, when we have all the time and we can plan ahead and yeah, pretty much because we live close to the city centre, we don’t really need to take the car out if it’s just the short stroll. So instead of driving all the way parking, we just take the bikes out.

It’s a pretty great ride in the mornings. It’s good for me because I get a little bit of warm-up exercise, start my day off really well. And for her it’s fun because it’s just sitting on a cruiser. She’s just watching everything around her. She’s singing along the path. It’s a pretty fun ride for me and her. Like we enjoy it together, you know, I like to go drop her off and she likes to talk about it in school, so it’s pretty good.

So there were a couple of options. We thought of a seat as well. We also thought if I could ride her own bike because she has got a bike as well. But we weighed all the options and we wanted to try the trailer out. So we borrowed and rented one of the trailers from SEE-Change and just wanted to see. And it was fun because here it’s easy, that I control the speed. I know where to stop, when to stop. If I’m in a hurry, I can just go along. Whereas if you depend on a daughter to come along with you, it’s tough. And with the seat I didn’t feel it safe, so I didn’t want to. Whereas this one’s like a five-point harness, it’s pretty good and the roads are pretty wide. So I thought this is a great place and we’ve been doing it for two months now and it’s pretty good, like we kind of like it. So we might buy one for ourselves. Yeah.

Given there’s only one car now, we’ve got an extra space in the garage for this, so it just sits inside the garage and we are at home or away but and when I’m moving around, high school’s got a parking spot for bikes and anywhere, pretty much around Gungahlin there are bike spots everywhere, like whether it’s a shopping centre at the time shopping centre, we’ve got a place and it’s got its own key and lock. So I can lock the cruiser, I can lock my bike. So it’s pretty safe. It’s nothing to worry yet.

So we are conscious about it. My wife is very much conscious, she is into sustainability. She’s also doing a course on it. So our home is also friendly and we’ve got friends who talk about it, who try to be sustainable. We try to, you know, be good for the environment. So like Brook, for example, from SEE-Change. So we compost at home. So we do it right from home. So environmental factor is a big thing. And, you know, we keep thinking how to reduce that red bin every week. And we’ve come down to basically nothing at the moment like this, just one little plastic bag that we put into it versus five years back where that sometimes used to be like, oh, this bins probably not enough for us. So we’ve come a long way. So and we don’t want to bring another car into this road if possible. We just want to be as friendly as possible to the environment. So, yeah, I mean, that is always running in our mind at home, wherever it is. We try to talk about it to our daughter as well. And when she tries to buy something that’s got a lot of plastic versus buy something that’s just, you know, we can pick something from the box and it so. Yeah, yeah, we try to be that.

It’s the beautiful climate. Obviously coming from India where there’s a lot of pollution in the air; here you’ve got clean air, you’ve got bike paths, you’ve got beautiful trees, the seasons change. And it’s just fun. I mean, it’s just it feels safe to ride a bike. And also my daughter loves it and I get my exercise. In the mornings is getting too busy these days. And the other day I took my car out and I was like, oh, my God, what’s happening? This is it takes me an hour and 15 minutes to reach City. And I was just wondering, you know, whether the bike takes less than that or probably half the time, I don’t know, because for me to drop Aria to school is the same time as I dropping her from in the car. So it makes no sense whatsoever. You know, as many people can adopt this, it’s better, I guess.

I think it’s it’s probably something that you should try rather than, you know, just hear or not try and then think that it’s too tough or too hard because Canberra is bike-friendly. I think if you try for a couple of weeks and I’m sure you’re going to enjoy it, so just give it a go. A lot of savings to start with. At least three thousand four thousand annual savings for sure. So, yeah I think, worth a try given that’s the amount of savings.

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moving story?

Share how you or your workplace are making the move to active travel and help others learn from your experiences! Tell us:

  • A bit about yourself and where you live and commute to; or your workplace, eg what kind of business, how many staff, where it is located
  • Why you are making the move to active travel
  • How you used to travel
  • How you are traveling now
  • What was holding you back from changing your travel habits
  • What initiatives you or your workplace created that got you moving
  • Reflections on the lessons you learnt along the way – what did and didn’t work
  • Observations of changes of travel culture
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  • What you like most about active travel