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Has anyone gone car free with kids

mrkev83mrkev83 Posts: 184
edited March 2019 in Commuting general
Has anyone gone car free with kids? Looking for advice... Anything

I have two kids that live with me and one with another mother. I don't think I can completely go car free yet

Built for comfort... Not for speed


  • I’d love to but it couldn’t ever work for us at the moment. The practicalities of various activities, timed with work etc just wouldn’t line up.

    Would be interested to hear stories of anyone that’s managed it though.
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,599
    Once mine left home I could afford more cars.
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  • mrkev83mrkev83 Posts: 184
    cooldad wrote:
    Once mine left home I could afford more cars.

    Good point... So in 16 years I'll be at that point

    Built for comfort... Not for speed
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    Pretty sure loads of people have. Just do it and adapt. If you keep using the car you won't bother to change.
  • mrkev83mrkev83 Posts: 184
    cougie wrote:
    Pretty sure loads of people have. Just do it and adapt. If you keep using the car you won't bother to change.

    It's the kids that need the car. I cycle mostly to work. I think I could manage shopping. Don't think the missus is as keen on the idea but we've already gone to one car so it's progressing

    Built for comfort... Not for speed
  • Depends where you live...
    When I lived in Richmond, the car was only a waste of space (no kids here)... moving out of London it became more difficult to live without it.
    You have to strike a balance between benefits and drawbacks (both for the family and the environment) and see where you are. A bit of struggle is a positive thing and good pedagogy for the kids... a lot of struggle is probably not good though.
    left the forum March 2023
  • I often wonder about going car free (with or without kids).

    I'm not claiming that my view is correct, but the way I see it work is if we (wife and soon-to-be-born baby) contain our radius of activity within walking distance. Home, work, nursery, kid's activities (like sports clubs, weekend events, etc.), shops for weekly grocery, town centre for some recreational spending, etc. Living in London or very congested city, it's much easier to go car-free (everything is conveniently available and congestion makes driving time consuming and stressful, thus puts off using a car). If you're in remote rural area, then it's virtually impossible unless your home is set up as self-sustainable eco-environment.

    For work, there's a leeway on distance as you as an individual can get on a bike for commute (I guess up to 15miles / 60min radius?). Unless the rest of your family is very motivated about cycling everywhere (especially with a toddler on a separate bike or make modification to your bike to carry the little one), cycling wouldn't be a sustainable mode of transportation for family as a whole.

    It'll help massively if your close relatives or parents are in the same town as you are. We found that long-distance drive we've done in the last 12 months were 1) wife's commute to work (I'm lucky enough to cycle to work), 2) seeing relatives scattered across the UK / Europe.

    I'm keen on trying car-free lifestyle, but we're defeated by the sheer convenience of having a private vehicle at hand. One potential alternative (or cheating, depending on how you look at it), is to make use of those car-sharing scheme / rent-a-car for a day type of thing whenever you need a car. But the scheme seems to be patchy (we don't have one where we live) .
  • figbatfigbat Posts: 680
    Some friends of ours - married couple with a 11yo daughter - have never had a car, nor even a licence. They are both professionals; one runs their own business from home but travel to clients a lot and the other does a normal office-based job. The child goes to school nearby. They use trains, buses and bicycles to get everywhere - and they like to get about too. Shopping is the easy one - order online and get it delivered.

    Of course they have ever known the convenience of a car, but they show it is certainly possible.
    Cube Reaction GTC Pro 29 for the lumpy stuff
    Cannondale Synapse alloy with 'guards for the winter roads
    Fuji Altamira 2.7 for the summer roads
    Trek 830 Mountain Track frame turned into a gravel bike - for anywhere & everywhere
  • Can only do it if everything you need is within easy reach of public transport.
    Have managed in London, Manchester and now in Newcastle.
    Was easy before children, but not so easy now that I have an 12 year old daughter - trips to the supermarket and taking my daughter to her friends houses have made it more inconvenient (but not impossible).
    2007 Felt Q720 (the ratbike)
    2012 Cube Ltd SL (the hardtail XC 26er)
    2014 Lapierre Zesty TR 329 (the full-sus 29er)
  • monkimarkmonkimark Posts: 1,268
    I didn't have a car when I lived in London and never missed it. I hate driving in London and it's often slower than the alternatives anyway.
    We moved out when my daughter was 2.5 yrs old and got a car because public transport isn't great where we are now. I could probably get rid of the car but we'd just end up having to take taxis a lot of the time, which seems to defeat the object.

    I guess the way to tell how practical it would be for you is to note every time you use the car for a few weeks and think what the alternative would be.
  • monkimark wrote:

    I guess the way to tell how practical it would be for you is to note every time you use the car for a few weeks and think what the alternative would be.

    True, although you can't get rid of the car without changing your lifestyle. For instance, last sunday we drove to the Cotswolds, without a car we would have gone somewhere else, probably somewhere more urban... it wasn't cast in stone that we had to go there
    left the forum March 2023
  • For a second, I had an idea.


    No way...!!!!


    Four person Electric Surrey Bike Quadricycle
    Normally we drive surrey bike at 15km/h with 4 adults carried. According to our experience, the running distance is up to 90 km by using only one battery.

    Imagine using this on UK roads...
  • elbowlohelbowloh Posts: 7,078
    Well, I grew up in Dorking, so not a massive city and we didn't have a car. Mum and us three kids all walked (we walked a lot), got the bus or the train. Walked to school (25 minute walk to train station and then train for 6th form).

    We had never had a car, so i guess it was never missed.

    I didn't start driving until i was 22 and that was because i needed to for my job. I'm now in South London and I could probably get away with not having a car. No kids yet, but one arriving in April!
    Felt F1 2014
    Felt Z6 2012
    Red Arthur Caygill steel frame
  • mrkev83mrkev83 Posts: 184
    I'm managing 30 miles a week which would usually be car miles so progress. I've managed to get a baby seat that'll actually fit my bike and now need to get the other kids and missus confidence up

    Built for comfort... Not for speed
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