Tips and Tricks to Integrate Alternative Transportation into Everyday Life
Thanksgiving is a time to renew family connections and give appreciation for all the good things in life. Given low budgets available for environmental preservation programs and worsening city traffic, integrating alternative transportation – like bicycles, scooters, skateboards, and rollerskates- into our daily lives, can help show our thanks to our home Planet Earth while making commuting and getting around town more fun and active.
#Tip 1 – Start Small
We understand, it can be hard to let go of the car habit, but even small changes can build up to a big difference.
If your city has protected bike lanes, it’s easy to start there and tackle commuting via bike or scooter without having to worry about automobile traffic. Some companies have dedicated indoor parking facilities for bicycles, skateboards, scooters, and other modes of alternative transportation.
You can challenge yourself to 1 day a week and then gradually build up to commuting more often than not using alternative modes of transportation.
Local Trips Like the Grocery Store
Another easy win is heading to the grocery store with your bike or scooter. Providing your own backpack saves plastic bags from going into the garbage dump. If you need more carrying capacity, some people attach trailers or carry attachments.
#Tip 2 – Ready to Go Car Free?
Owning a car in the city can be a hassle. Between the expense of maintenance, insurance, gas, parking, and tolls, it can be a serious wallet drain. Luckily, most urban environments have plenty of alternative and greener options these days.
Public transport options and schedules vary by city, but it’s still typically the most affordable way to cover large distances. For those times when the bus or subway station is just outside a convenient walking radius, a foldable scooter- especially the ultra-compact models like the Xootr Roma– make it a snap to get to the station. Some transportation lines prohibit bicycles (check your local regulations), however most allow foldable scooters and hand-carried skateboards. There’s also always the option of taking the bike, skateboard, scooter, or skates all the way there!
The sharing economy has taken the country by storm and now just about every metro area is served by Uber and Lyft in addition to the local cab companies. Ordering a ride with your smartphone has never been easier or more affordable, especially with the sharing options of Lyft Line and Uber Pool, where rates are up to 50% off normal Lyft and Uber prices. These companies are even currently testing flat rideshare rates in select metro areas, which would drive prices for frequent users down close to or even below current public transportation prices.
Sometimes it’s necessary to have a car- whether it’s to leave town to go on that ski trip, or to visit an old college buddy across the state. The good news is now you don’t have to own a car to have access to a car. In addition to traditional car rental companies, newer entrants like Turo and Getaround let you rent other peoples’ cars, Zipcar provides great value for short term rentals like trips to the grocery store, and there are even companies like Scoot who will rent you access to a motorized scooter. In some cases, costs like gas and insurance are already rolled in so there are no additional expenses.
Tip #3 – Alternative Transportation With Families And Kids
It’s one thing for adults to embrace alternative transport, but how do you introduce kids to the concept? Surprisingly, it can be really easy if you start early. Xootr customers Mike and Lisa Whitla from Toronto taught their boys how to ride bicycles really early. By the time Jake (now 13 years) and Kyle (now 11 years) were 4, they were already riding 2 wheelers without training wheels. Mike and Lisa had already discovered years ago that they enjoyed tandem biking because it allowed them to spend time together while peddling at the same pace. They loved chatting and working together as a team. By the time kids came around, the couple added a telescoping seat post, which is low enough for a small child in the back.
While Mike and Lisa were long time city-folk dedicated to alternative transport, everyone always assumed they would have to get a car when they started a family. They decided instead to build positive associations of alternative transportation with the kids. “It helps to start small,” says Mike. “We got our kids to love bike touring with us but we started small. Part of it is giving rewards- after a couple days touring, we would stop somewhere with fun activities for kids like hiking or swimming. We always made it fun, not trying to do too much at one time.” Some of Jake and Kyle’s favorite activities growing up included riding bicycles and scooters. Mike thought the scooters looked so fun, he got his very first adult Xootr MG and was hooked! The Whitlas manage to continue a car-free lifestyle- quite the feat given winter temperatures in Toronto! As for the family, everyone went on a cycling touring vacation from Amsterdam to Copenhagen last summer, a ride of 750 km total. At the end of the ride, everyone wished it was longer. “Alternative transportation is very natural to my kids now. Actually they get very uncomfortable driving because they can’t stand sitting still that long and they start getting sore backs. We taught our kids to be environmentally positive- it becomes what you want to do and what makes you happy.”
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