Changing the commute

I’ve recently changed the commute. The second car has gone and in it’s place is transit and a scooter. It’s been a mixed experience, but on the whole a good one.

After a year of driving to and from Richmond I decided that I’d have enough of the line-ups along the Mary Hill Bypass and to get across the Queensborough bridge. A change was needed. It’s amazing how quickly one’s perspective changes. My final UK job involved a two and a half hour each way commute, not getting home until around 8pm. After a year of travelling to Richmond, I’m fed up with travelling for around 1 hour. Actually, another factor in the decision was the cost of running a second car.

Kymco Frost scooter

The commute scoot. 175cc, good for 100kph (downhill, blah blah) and a great way to commute in the summer – a welcome break from transit. Despite the cost of fuel being around 2/3rds of UK prices, when the maintenance and insurance are added in, the whole 2 car thing becomes a financial drain, or maybe more of a dollar diversion as the funds could be spent, saved or donated elsewhere. However, I wasn’t expecting to make the change quite as soon as I did.

My employer is moving from Richmond to Vancouver in November of 2010 and this was always going to be the prompt to review my commute. One weekend in May I decided that I’d sell the 2nd car. As the car was a manual transmission (we were a bifocal family with black and silver Focus’s/Foci?) and let’s face it, manual transmission and North America are 2 terms that don’t sit together comfortably, my thought was that the car could take an age to sell. So, on a warm Saturday morning I took a few snaps, and the Focus was duly put up for sale via Craigslist.  I was not expecting to be car-less by the end of the weekend. First viewer, close to the asking price and that was it, no car.

So began a month of transit which became and still can be a slog. Life from Lesley to Loughheed or Braid Skytrain. Skytrain to 22nd St. Bus to work. The transit journey can be around an hour a a half, longer than by car, but at least I can sleep. During this time I developed a Plan B. Scoot.

Looking upstreamI’d actually ridden my Ducati to the office a couple of times and as much fun as it was, the journey home was very heavy on the clutch hand as traffic could be very busy through New West. Wouldn’t life be easier with a scooter, no clutch and very manoeuvrable. Having decided to go for it I found myself torn between a classic Vespa and the modern Kymco Frost. In the end, the Kymco won out as I couldn’t justify the Vespa price tag and I managed to find a year old Kymco for a good price.

So, I now have options. The scoot’s a real hoot and I’m smiling on the ride. Not only that, I’m exploring other routes to work to keep me off the highways. My recent find has been River Road in Richmond. On a sunny morning, or late afternoon, the ride along the bank of the Fraser is wonderful, peaceful, scenic and a word away from the bustle of Highway 91.

I’ve changed the commute and it’s actually for the better as I’m smiling more and I get the chance to stop and take pics like the ones below.

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