My first winter without wheels. The FAQs edition.

Walking back from one of many grocery trips. Giant backpack courtesy of the Philipstown Soccer Club.

How’s it going without the car? Great. I love it.

You love it, even though it’s winter? Yes. Rainstorms are a definite buzzkill for the zero car lifestyle, but winter is working out just fine.
Are you still cycling everywhere?  I ride my bike if it’s above freezing and the roads are not icy.
When you can’t ride your bike, how do you get around?  We walk.
Aren’t you cold? I am not. I wear clothes. Lots of them.
What if you slip on the ice? Mom, is that you?
Do you walk to the grocery store?  Yes. I have a huge backpack.
Can you really get everything you need into one backpack?  Not always. Last week my husband joined me for extra backpack stowage. It was like a date. We had a very nice time.
My bounty from one of my grocery expeditions. A full backpack’s worth.
What about other stuff you need?  What else do I need?
Um, what about when you need to run errands? I don’t really have any errands besides grocery shopping. Sometimes (often) I go to the liquor store, but that pretty much falls into the “grocery shopping” category. Honestly, I’ve never really understood the whole errands thing. What are you folks actually doing out there in your cars?
Didn’t your kid have a birthday recently? How did you throw a party without a car or running errands?  I asked for help from friends with a car. They swung by our house right on their way to the party and picked up the cupcakes and food and brought them to the party place. It worked out great. My family rode our bikes. I also planned my trips a few days ahead and started bringing things over in my backpack the week before.
Are you ever uncomfortable asking for help? Yes.
But you do it anyway? I am getting the feeling that people like to help. Or they feel sorry for us.
Does not having the car limit you? Of course. When I go somewhere on foot or on my bike, I am forced to be thoughtful about what I carry with me. I can’t carry everything, so I have to consider what is essential.


When I am grocery shopping, I buy only what we need. There is no room for non-essentials. The upside is that we save a lot of money and eat healthier. The downside is that I don’t buy cantaloupe very often.
Milk is heavy, too. True. We get that delivered to a neighbor’s front porch by a local dairy:  Several families on our block, even those with cars, get their milk delivered. It’s good stuff.
Why don’t you get all your groceries delivered?  I wish! We don’t have Fresh Direct or any substantial grocery delivery service in our town. The neighboring city of Beacon does, but not us.
What’s the best thing about not having a car in the winter?  Since we don’t have a driveway, our village parking rules dictate that we would have to move the car off the street before every snowfall. No car. No street parking issues. I also never have to warm up the car. I don’t have to scrape the windows. I don’t have to shovel snow to liberate stuck tires. I don’t have to slide around on icy roads praying for my anti-lock brakes to kick-in. Winter has never been so easy.

Author: zerocarmom

I am a 50-year-old mom with two kids (ages 7 and 24), a husband who works in our attic, a sneezy old cat, and a full-time job as the co-founder of a Brooklyn-based business. My family lives a mostly idyllic life in a small village in the Hudson Valley, sixty miles north of New York City.

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