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Edmonton mom says family has saved $25K since going car-free


An Edmonton woman says her family has saved $25,000 since selling both of their vehicles and switching to bikes.

Sarah Bisbee and her husband have four children. The family sold their second car four years ago and bought an electric trike with a compartment for their children to ride in.

“It was a lot more affordable than maintaining the second car, and then this spring we were looking at things, and we looked at how our insurance rates were going up and how fuel was going up, and we said, ‘Do we really need to have a car in Edmonton?’ and we decided no, we probably didn’t,” Bisbee told CTV News Edmonton.

They replaced their minivan with a Dutch-made e-bike.

“It’s the two wheels with the box in the middle. We can put three kids in the box. I’ve got bags on the back that allow me to haul groceries if it’s full of kids.”

“It’s got a motor that assists on the bikes so I have to pedal for the motor to actually kick in, but when it does it makes climbing hills and things like that a lot easier.”

Bisbee says she’s done the calculations, and charging each bike costs about half a cent per charge.

In fact, she maintains a Twitter account where she details the cost-savings of living car-free in the city.

“Since getting rid of our second car and moving to the trike four years ago, we’ve saved $20,000 over the lifetime in terms of the cost of the vehicle, the cost of fuel, the cost of insurance, maintenance, all of those things.”

“So far, since we went completely car-free this spring, we are just over $5,000 since June 1, and that includes the summer when we decided to take a road trip to Kelowna and we rented a car for a week.”

Additionally, the family used the profits from selling their vehicles towards the purchase of their e-bikes, and the rest of the money went to savings.

Bisbee says being car-free in the summer has been fun for the entire family.

“The summer is glorious. Edmonton is a beautiful city to be outside in the summer and when you’re riding everywhere you just get to know the city in a way that you don’t in a car.”

She says they’ve gotten used to it in the winter as well.

“It’s psychological more than anything. You dress for it.”

“When it comes to the kids there’s the cover that allows us to sort of build a greenhouse effect so the heat stays in the bike. We’ll toss blankets and stuff in there for them if it’s really cold. The other thing we’ll do is take a magic bag, the rice bags, heat it up ahead of time and toss that in the bike with the cover over top, it keeps them warm.”

She says the biggest challenge has been getting out of her neighbourhood after a snowfall.

“According to the city’s snow clearing plan they’re cleared 81 hours after a snowfall.”

“When it keeps snowing like it’s been doing for the last couple of weeks they don’t get clear.”

Despite that, she encourages anyone thinking of going car-free to give it a try.

“Take what you’ve got, throw a trailer on the back for your kids, throw a trailer on the back to go get groceries. It just gives you a new way to experience the city.”

“It doesn’t have to be hard, it doesn’t have to be anything more than what you already have and I think most people will start to find that they really enjoy it.” 

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Marek Tkach. Top Stories

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