A car- free life

Michael and Johnny

We chatted to Johnny back in February when he took on the challenge of giving up his beloved mini (and even got featured in The Telegraph. Most people do a one-off challenge with The DoNation but Johnny’s challenge is an ongoing one. Five months later we catch up with him to see how he is getting on in his new car-free life.

Johnny! How are you getting on with your car-less life since we last saw you?

Well since my last update, the weather has certainly brightened, though it’s not especially warm!  It’s been 5 months since I gave up my car, and it is getting easier, as I am gradually falling out of the habit of using a car.

We are impressed you have kept it up! Have there been any particularly hard bits? 

I’ve found it difficult once or twice to be honest – things like going to the supermarket stumped me a little. But then I have two lovely big panniers on my bicycle, and I managed to get four bottles (of wine! Hic!) into each, so I didn’t feel so bad.

A small frustration has been that the promised car share spot which Hackney have got permission for several months ago, has not delivered a car yet. Seeing this planning permission sign back in December, as well as noting Hackney’s goal of all residents living less than 300 meters from a communal car space, prompted me to start my year of car free ownership, but hey ho, I’m sure it’s not far away.

Let’s hope not! How have you overcome the difficult aspects of not having a car?

Well, I love going to the local community plant/shrub centre, Growing Concerns, in Hackney Wick, but it’s not the easiest without a car. I did manage to get some smaller bags of compost into the pannier which meant I had to do two trips, but it was actually fine – all good exercise!

What’s been the best thing about giving up your car?

In using my bike more, as well as public transport, I’m really aware of how useful the extended East London Line has become. It’s now so easy to get to, say, Clapham Junction and South East/South London – an area that in a car can take forever to get to – then I don’t miss the car so much.

But I have to say, the potholes left by our severe winter are appalling! And that I don’t find Taxi Cabs the most kind to cyclists sometimes….

Haha, well we wish you luck keeping it up Johnny – enjoy the cycling!

You can still support Johnny here as he continues his challenge of the car free life! So far, he has encouraged 16 pledges, with two people promising to drive in a more eco-friendly way!

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