It's official. Aside from the many reasons to go car-free, here's another: it can actually help you save/make gobs of money. Last night Alina sent me this link to a book I should have read back when my car was beginning to show early signs of death: How To Live Well Without A Car. As anyone who has ditched their car can tell you: cars are way more expensive than the price of gasoline and your car payments. Think: insurance, maintenance, parking tickets, toll-roads, and parking. Hell, some apartment buildings go so far as to charge monthly fees for their own residents! The preview on page 8 breaks down all of the financial benefits for you (although in today's sad economy the investment aspect of things might not be quite so apparent). I am pretty sure my first bike purchase paid for itself within the first month of use, and that was when gas was at $2 a gallon! Anyway... I do not need to be given more reasons or guidelines on how to live my life without a car at this point, but it would have been nice if someone had presented the option to me around 2 years before I bought my first bike. And for the record, getting rid of my car did not allow me to save money or pay off my debt, it just stopped my debt from increasing exponentially.
And also, I can't wait to get back in the states just to ride my Surly again.