Travelling When the Car’s Not Available
Some people cannot imagine living without a car or even going one day without using one. However, in especially crowded parts of the country or if you’re just out of gas and need an alternative, there are plenty of ways to get to a destination without a motorized vehicle. Some ways are even much healthier, cheaper, or both—bicycles, buses, trains, and walking are great examples.
There are many bikes to pick from to best suit your needs as well as additional gadgets to attach, but there are some things to consider when choosing a bike. These include travelling distance, terrain, and your destination’s grade. For someone who just needs a bike to go to the grocery store or commute to work, consider a road bike with a basket to carry your items.
If you prefer trails and rougher terrain, consider a mountain bike, which is multi-versed to take on many types of terrains and built with a lighter frame to jump over branches or curbs. Often, these types of bikes are better for shorter distances.
Buying a bike doesn’t have to cost much either. While some store bikes can be pricey, there are plenty of ways to stay within a budget. Look on websites like Craigslist, newspaper Classifieds, or even ask friends if they have a bike they’re willing to sell.
Keep extra tools in mind for your budget: bike lock, tire pump, and other tools like tire patches, a flashlight, and a multi-tool to keep on you for emergencies. Also, be sure to keep your bike maintained—when the bike is not in use, it should be kept in the lowest gear and protected from the elements to prevent rust.
Bus stops are usually generously populated throughout larger cities, and most are a short walk from home. Bus routes are usually available online, which can help determine which bus to take for the quickest route. If choosing to ride the bus, be mindful of the time because buses stick to strict schedules.
Always bring exact change because buses will not break 20-dollar bills for you. Also, consider purchasing a bus pass to save money if you plan to be a frequent commuter. Bringing a book or a music player are always good options too, but be polite to other commuters as well by keeping your bag under your seat, refraining from eating on the bus, and offering the seat to pregnant women or the elderly if the occasion arises. Most importantly, thank bus drivers—they are hardworking people helping you get to where you need to go.
Although they can be similar to bus commuting, trains require a few extras steps you should familiarize yourself with. Take time to research the train station, learn which stop you should use, and know the fare price before you ride.
Train passes can be a cheaper alternative to cash or card if you plan to be a regular commuter. Maintain a safe distance from the tracks to prevent injury and to make room for disembarking passengers. You can bring entertainment, but if you’re listening to music be sure to pay attention to the train stops so you get off at the correct one.
Like biking, walking is a healthier alternative. You don’t have to worry about gas, parking spots, and insurance—it may even be quicker than driving because of the lack of traffic. If possible, moving closer to your work should be considered since walking isn’t exactly an option if you live 20 miles away.
Purchasing good walking shoes is highly beneficial to take care of your feet to prevent blisters and callouses. Entertainment should be considered with caution, as listening to music during your commute requires extra vigilance. Cars and bikes can easily be hazards to pedestrians, so caution cannot be stressed enough. Take water, rain gear, and other essentials you may need when you go.
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