Energy Diet

Trading My Bike for a Bus

I have never really found owning a car to be necessary. I owned one once when I was 17 and learning to drive but lent it to my mother, on a permanent basis. I know people who claim that they could not live without their car and indeed a means of transportation is very important to the everyday lives of everyone however there are alternatives to owning your own car.

For the majority of my adolescent and adult life I have relied on public transport. At times it can be a nuisance with certain buses failing to turn up on time and other services being unavailable, yet using public transport is genuinely my favourite means of transportation for medium to long distance journeys. A problem only usually arises when trying to travel within Cornwall. With its bounty of small picturesque villages, poor infrastructure, and narrow roads, journeys at times can become unbearable.

As a result of this, and a sudden need to find employment, last year I decided to invest in a motor vehicle; not a car but a small engine motorcycle.  I utterly adore her and with a fuel efficiency of 85 MPG (£12-£14 for 260 miles) it is one of the most efficient styles of transport. However, this does mean that at times I have been neglecting to use other means of transport.

I understand that a motorbike is not for suitable everyone and in adverse weather conditions there is no shelter from the elements. However for me, as I do not have any children or anyone else to transport, I have no need for anything larger. I would not be able to afford to keep a car and even if I could, I would feel rather bad for wasting the petrol.

For this week I set myself the challenge of cutting down on my personal fuel assumption, instead returning to the use of public transport and my legs.

To guarantee my success I have started the week by cancelling my insurance and bringing the motorbike inside for a clean. This way I cannot simply pretend to myself that I need to use her to drive 10 minutes down the road, a distance that as a healthy adult I can easily walk without problem yet often find myself making excuses for.

Whilst cleaning my bike this morning it occurred to be that I own a push bike, a rusty old thing with two flat tires. By midday it only had one flat tire as there was a boxed inner-tubing with my toolkit all I need now is a second inner-tube and some oil then I can walk for short distance, cycle to the far side of town and get a bus to the county town when necessary.

Returning to my last post, I have received my second delivery of organic, locally grown vegetables. They were as beautiful as the previous weeks and I am immensely pleased with the service. I have also found myself visiting the local health food shop once again. Not a single trip to the supermarket.



  1. Christina Nunez
    November 16, 2011, 10:47 am

    Shrinking your already tiny fuel use even further — I’m impressed!

  2. MalikTous
    Richmond VA USA
    November 16, 2011, 7:10 pm

    Having that regular safety bicycle can definitely help out – and if you want you can add an ‘assist motor’ like the Tanaka Bike Bug in most areas without added licensing or insurance hassles. Beating 40km/liter (100 miles per USA gallon) for short trips sounds really nice… Keep the full size motorcycle for serious travel but use the ‘assisted’ or unassisted bicycle for local trips and walk for less than a kilometer. I use a Haro Escape (3 front 7 rear) bicycle with added pannier foldup baskets for travelling all over town – including using the bike racks on the front of the city busses when convenient.

  3. Teresa
    united states
    November 20, 2011, 7:45 am

    thanks for sharing samanta! Our daily life is merely a series of habits, and can be changed to new ones! I’m inspired by your post!

  4. Andy Denley
    Hook, Hampshire
    November 21, 2011, 10:26 am

    I travel to work every day by car up the M3 from Hook to Feltham. I have a very economical diesel car that will do 70mpg with ease. I don’t see an alternative other than moving house?
    Having also lost my younger brother in a low-speed none-fault motorcycle accident, I would seriously advise against motorcycles to be honest, there is no protection and the roads have too many cars on them.
    On the way to work the other day I saw a white van pull in from the outside lane of the M3 to the middle lane and did not see the motorbike who was travelling in the lane already!!! – How can you prevent against this type of thing? Maybe dedicated motorcycle lanes?

  5. Igor
    Oklahoma, USA
    November 21, 2011, 11:00 am

    A very impressive undertaking indeed and one I wish I could replicate, but, unfortunately for most of us living in the U.S. everything here is so spread out that our cars are our hearts whether we like it or not.

    I suppose we could all do as best we can by perhaps following your example of buying a smaller displacement motorcycle but it seems most people here have the opposite idea and drive around in large trucks and such. I wonder what it will take to make these people finally give those things up? $10.00 a gallon?? Gas here is simply too cheap, but I digress…

    I dream of being able to simply walk or at least bike to work but unless you live in a very large city like NY or one of a handful of pedestrian friendly cities like Boston, tough luck. Most places don’t even try to promote such a lifestyle as evidenced by the lack of sidewalks and public transport in most cities here pales in comparison to what Europe or Asia has.

    I don’t believe this lifestyle is sustainable for very long, somethings going to have to give and it’s not going to be pretty.

  6. Samanta
    November 22, 2011, 12:48 pm

    Thank you for the support everyone.

    Hey Andy,
    I would not be comfortable on the M3 with a 125cc, a larger bike perhaps but not a 125 as the small engine can handle 70mph on the flat but can struggle on hills, besides that isn’t the speed most cars are travelling at anyway (80-90+).
    Luckily I never have any need to travel via motorway.

    I am not going to insult you or your brother (my condolences) by playing down the danger but with sensible driving I have never experienced any problems but accidents do happen and can happen to anyone.

    For the mean time the bike still remains my personal best option for travel in and around the countryside where I live. I inconvenienced myself greatly over the weekend ( when I decided to take the bus instead.

    Remember: Think Bike, Think Biker.