Petrol prices have rocketed and running and maintaining a car is more expensive than ever before – but one savvy dad is beating the system by ferrying two of his four children around on his long tail cargo bike. The bike can carry one adult and two children and dad-of-four Sam Easterby-Smith from Withington is saving a packet by leaving the car at home and using his other set of wheels instead.
Software engineer Sam, who has two young children Poppy, one, and Aline, six and two teenagers Laurel, 15 and Cassie, 13, says transporting his younger children around in the car is not only cheaper – it is environmentally friendly too. Sam says: “It’s my substitute Range Rover. To some extent it is about saving money and I do have a car. I do the vast amount of my journeys by bike – it’s more environmentally sound and you don’t have to sit in queues of traffic.”
The school run is done by bike and stay at home dad Sam says he is not the only one dropping the kids off that way, instead of using the family car. “There is at least one other family on my school run who do it too,” he says. “When you do it yourself, you notice if other people do as well.”
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“My car mostly sits parked up on the road – to the extent that it occasionally has needed jump starting due to lack of use. The garage tuts at me every time I take it for its MOT and says I should drive it more. That said , every now and then there comes a journey which we just wouldn’t be able to feasibly do without a car – seeing family in the Scottish Borders would be one, or try getting to Chester Zoo by public transport, it’s possible but takes FOREVER. But for the day to day stuff, we don’t touch it.”
Sam says saving money on the cost of living crisis is an added bonus to an already long list of benefits – some of which motorists may not have thought of. The components are all things cyclists can just buy off the peg and Sam says he wouldn’t hesitate to encourage other motorists to leave the car in the garage and get cycling.
He says: “Just being able to get on the bike on a cold morning and you don’t have to wait for it to de-mist is great. You can go right up to where you are going and just park up. There’s no looking for parking spaces and you don’t get stuck in traffic.”
“The wind in your hair feels really nice and even if it’s raining, it’s OK,” Sam adds. “You can just put a coat on and humans are waterproof. You just have to find routes that you are comfortable with.
“I’m seriously considering giving up having a car of our own and renting when we need – possibly joining a car club. It would make sense not to have to be paying for tax, insurance and maintenance all the time. And then, we are seriously talking about getting a second cargo bike.
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