Anti Automobile April – Conclusion

april_fullYou might have thought that I’d forget to check up on you as Anti Automobile April came to a close. But here we are, on the first weekend in May. How did you do? Did you track your driving last month, and maybe even drive a bit less because of it?

I did, and here are the results:
Family Road Trip Driving: 1115 miles
Local Clown Driving: 13 miles
Walking: 107 miles
Biking: 111 miles

In the measure of “miles traveled by car”, we had a gluttonous month, because the MMM family happened to be in the middle of a big Southwestern road trip on April 1st. That night, we had to drive from Moab, Utah to Zion National Park, and the next day on to Las Vegas. And eventually, it was necessary to travel all the way back home from there.

But after that, the month was more respectable. Only two car trips were taken, for a total of 13 miles. They were both Clown trips, in the sense that they were within city limits and thus within biking distance. But at least they involved the whole family traveling together, and they were areas that are a bit of a stretch for little MM to ride to, especially since time was tight on those days.

There was some fun in it for me: we had a series of weekly record-breaking snowstorms in Colorado (Although this is normally a warm time of year here, you will still occasionally get beach weather in January, or deep snow in May).

During one of these storms, I happened to need groceries, so I threw on some snow gear and hooked the bike trailer up to my burly old full-suspension mountain bike. As the garage door rolled up, I was greeted with an apocalyptic blizzard: strong winds, huge flakes everywhere, and a deep crust of snow and ice on all surfaces. It was going to be an interesting ride.

The two miles to the store were no problem: downhill, on roads mostly melted due to the fact that it had been 70F just one day earlier. But inside the grocery store, I was confronted with amazing sales on many of my favorite foods. Obeying my own food shopping algorithm, I bought an enormous quantity of heavy stuff (85 pounds of it, as I discovered upon weighing it all at home). While this normally presents no problem for the bike trailer, I wondered how I would fare in the deep snow.

On the way home, I always cut through the park and ride along the creekside bike path. But halfway through, I discovered it had not been plowed, and the snow was getting deeper as I rode. I shifted down a gear and pedaled harder. The bike trailer’s narrow tires dug into the snowdrifts and presented increasing friction.

Eventually, I was in the lowest of my bike’s 27 gears, spinning the rear tire and pedaling with every bit of energy I could muster, shooting out steam clouds of breath, and moving slower than a very leisurely walking speed. My front tire slipped out, and I had to put my feet down and stop. And there was still a mile of this bike path left to travel. Snow was melting on my cheeks, icicles were hanging from my beard, and the 85 pounds of groceries were mocking me from behind the clear plastic window of the trailer.

I thought about you, and what you would think of me if I gave up. “Does Mr. Money Mustache talk about Badassity, or does he talk about Wussypants Convenience?” I asked myself.

“Am I going to go home and whine about this bike ride, or am I going to feel like I kicked some serious ass when I make it home from this?”

I waited for my breathing and my heart rate to recover. I looked around at the snow falling into the rapids of the creek, balancing on the tree branches, and floating straight down from the white abyss onto my face when I looked up. It was beautiful to be out here alone, when everyone else was safely hiding in their houses and cars. Even with ice on my cheeks, I felt warm, healthy, and even a little bit badass. I forced the bike and trailer to start moving again. The drifts were shallower as the trail progressed. I climbed the final 100 foot ascent to the neighborhood where I live. And rolled back into the luxury of my warm, dry garage, victorious.



That’s what the Anti-Automobile mentality is really about. It’s not about me whining, criticizing, or making America feel bad about its love affair with cars. It’s about all of us winning.


(For bored voyeurs, here is the full table of my transportation tracking for the month):

4/1/201318010Moab, UT to Zion National Park (camped this night)
4/2/201316530A night out on Freemont Street
4/3/2013060Tour of strip (took bus)
4/4/20137050Trip to Hoover Dam, hiking around dam, meetup with Mustachians
4/5/201340020Las Vegas to Fruita, CO (camped this night)
4/6/201330020Fruita, CO to Longmont
4/7/20130210Biking with boy, Grocery trip with Mrs. MM.
4/8/2013082Biked son to school, then walked all day for construction project
4/9/2013023No school, cold weather. Biked to friend's house.
4/10/2013052some fun plumbing work today on the addition
4/11/2013052more construction
4/12/2013054Construction play, toured new house and made offer today.
4/13/20136210Drove family and bikes to lake for running/biking lap
4/14/2013026Store errands, helped a friend with some electrical work
4/15/2013015Ultimate Blizzard Challenge trip to store
4/17/2013024Library and errands, tiny bit of work
4/18/2013052Big work day
4/19/2013052Big work day 2
4/20/2013013Visited friend across town, drank too much beer today
4/21/2013036Nice morning walk at the creek, mega weights workout, afternoon biking with boy, grocery run in evening.
4/26/20130310lots of biking, bit of work
4/27/2013727Clown Day: Movie and birthday party at a park (family was already tired from biking to the other side of town in the morning to watch Mrs. MM run a 5k race!)
4/28/20130103Many errands around town today
4/29/2013034Work day
  • The Stoic May 6, 2013, 6:28 pm

    Sold my 2003 4×4 F-150 with Triton V-8! I’m down to a motorcylce, walking, and using mountain bike. It’s only been two weeks, but so far I’m liking it.

  • Emma Lintott May 6, 2013, 10:00 pm

    Avid reader and reside in Fruita, Co. Hope you enjoyed your visit here. VERY bikable town with some of the best mountain biking in the nation!! Hope you hit the trails.

  • Grum May 6, 2013, 11:01 pm

    I thought of you last night, as I got a puncture, half way into my 17km bike commute home from work, dark, raining, 8deg C. Yep it’s winter and metric here :-)

    Annoying, but no biggie, I always carry 2 spare tubes. Wheel off, tube out, new tube ready, try it, pump pump, nothing. No inflating happening. At all. Hmm, unusual. Lucky I have a backup. Try that one, pump pump, nothing. At all. Check pump, working fine. So, two failed spare tubes, cause yet to be determined.

    Anyway, there I stand in the cold and wet, temporarily defeated. For a moment, I considered reaching for my cellphone to call my partner to come get me when she finished work. But wait! How badass is that? How could I explain this to MMM? Must get home under own steam at all costs!!

    Rack brain, and suddenly remember I have a friend who lives close by. Walk 5 mins with broken bike. In dark, cold, rain. Brrr. Friend not home, but wife is. After strange look, allows me access to garage, where spare tubes abound.

    Replace tube, reassemble bike, ride home. Light fire. Drink beer. Tastes extra good tonight!

  • Linda May 7, 2013, 1:43 am

    The photos were an epic ending to a brilliant post! I laughed when I saw them – so much WIN!

    I managed to replace a few car trips this the past month with cycling instead, better than most but a long way to go! They were some of the best and most memorable experiences of the month.

    Memory 1 – cycling down a hill seeing a wall of rain start coming down in front of me, and getting completely soaked. I’m not sure why that felt so liberating.

    Memory 2 – being outclassed by an elderly gentleman riding his bike while I drove to buy groceries. The next week cycling instead to the same area, and passing the same guy – I smiled at him and he gave me a salute/wave in return.

  • Dorothy May 7, 2013, 8:29 am

    I did 26 on foot, 30 by bike and 360 on the bus. I mostly use a combo of bus/bike/walk to get to work, and for the last two days of the month I was brave enough to put the bike on the bus’ bike rack and cycle the last mile in to work as well.
    I only drove by myself on six days of the month to get to work, and we had out of town visitors that we drove around with – total car miles were 640, but divided by passengers who rode each trip it comes out to 360 passenger miles.

  • Jacob @ iHeartBudgets May 7, 2013, 1:41 pm

    I didn’t write down anything, but I did carpool (for free) somewhere between 5 – 7 days last month. This month it should be closer to 20 days of carpooling. Biking to work for me would be inefficient, though I can def. see the value in conquering the commute with my own power. We planted ourselves about 15 miles away from where I work, and though I enjoy my job, I wouldn’t mind finding something a bit closer. Riding a bike 5 miles (or less) to work would definitely convince me to get off my duff and get to riding. For now, the time lost is not worth the pride gained from cycling to work.

  • Mark May 7, 2013, 1:50 pm

    A little late to the party here, but did you not have to laugh to yourself as you realized passers-by would think you had your kid(s) in that trailer? I can’t stop laughing about it.

    Great story.

    In my Anti-automobile April, I:

    – Stopped driving to work, and started walking (5 miles round trip per day, plus a mile or two at lunch time for good measure).

    – Bought an old Trek 820 for $110, and a bike trailer from my neighbor for $40.

    Thanks for an entertaining post.

  • Fred Patel May 7, 2013, 7:12 pm

    April was a very good biking month! Living in New York City without a car makes it quite easy. Now religiously biking to work and reducing my commute time down to 12 minutes driving up the bike lanes on 1st and 2nd avenue. I was inspired by the many stories and now my wife and I ride along the East river on weekends.

    Albeit quite a ways off, I’ll want to secure rain and thermal gear for the winter months. Definitely want to tap into some inner badassity to see if I can maintain the trek all year round.

  • Jeff May 9, 2013, 6:54 am

    You do look pretty badass on that bike.

  • Mason May 10, 2013, 9:33 am

    Does this include mileage on your work van?

    • Mr. Money Mustache May 10, 2013, 10:25 am

      Yes! The road trip was actually made in the minivan, and there was no work mileage since all my work these days is within bike-trailer distance :-)

  • Darnell Rosen May 13, 2013, 7:00 am

    Hi Mr. Mustache, I have just been turned on to your wisdom. I have a job that is 65 miles from my house… ugh. I commute 4 days a week. I have a car that has 3 years left of payments on it and I owe 14000. While I am looking for a job closer to home what should I do about the car? Continue to pay payments, sell and break even and buy a beater? The car is a 2010 with 62,000 miles on it.
    The man without a mustache.

    • Mr. Money Mustache May 13, 2013, 7:48 am

      In general you want to drive a car that you can afford without a loan – regardless of the commuting situation. Switching over to a 2001-2005 or so might be a reasonable compromise (you still need a pretty reliable car if you are driving that much, unless you are mechanically inclined).

      But, great job in general: you figured out that the commute is the biggest problem. That 520 mile-per-week commute is costing you $13,000/year of after-tax money, plus another $13k of your free time! It’s hard to get ahead when this much life energy is immediately flushed down the toilet before you even get a chance to invest it.

  • Kris May 15, 2013, 6:47 pm

    I found this blog in May and have been reading old to new. Made an exception and read this one tonight! I have started biking to work again thanks to your blog. Campus is only 1.4 miles from home. I come home for lunch as well. Good exercise and beautiful spring flowers in SW Michigan.

  • Ian Turner May 24, 2013, 1:47 pm

    If you are only driving a couple times a month, at what point does it make sense to just sell your car and subscribe to a car-sharing service?

    • Mr. Money Mustache May 24, 2013, 3:53 pm

      Good point, Ian.. For me, it would totally make sense financially to sell both vehicles and find a way to do car-sharing.

      The only reason we don’t do it is because we lead a huge, excessively decadent lifestyle (as detailed in other posts) :-)

      If money were a concern for us at all, one or more of the cars would probably be among the first things to go.

  • Ronda May 1, 2014, 10:15 am

    I am sort of in awe at this whole biking business. I rode bike for pleasure all the time as a kid, but since entering adulthood, it is a rare thing. That may be partly because I have spent most of my life in the country with the nearest neighbor being at least 1/2 mile away and all stores, schools, and businesses many miles. I find it interesting that you choose homes on the basis of biking distance–such a foreign idea to me, when my main consideration has always been space and privacy! I wonder if you think it merely a foolish extravagance to live in the country? As I said, I am intrigued, but actually find the idea almost otherworldly! :) So very different from anything I’m accustomed to!

  • Wandering Whitehursts April 5, 2017, 6:12 am

    Though 4 years behind, we are playing along too this April (to some degree).

    “Screw Mr. Money Mustache!”

    -My wife after biking 3 miles to meet me for lunch at work with our 3 children ages 4, 2 and 1. The 4yo is still on training wheels and gave up 3/4 way there. For the ride home all the kids packed into the smallish Burley D’lite (circa 2006) with the kiddie bike towed behind by diaper bag step.
    To compound the struggle, Blue Angel F-18s were practicing, so the kids were crying about the jet noise, despite the hearing protection provided.

    I’m mighty proud of my wife!


Leave a Reply

To keep things non-promotional, please use a real name or nickname
(not Blogger @ My Blog Name)

The most useful comments are those written with the goal of learning from or helping out other readers – after reading the whole article and all the earlier comments. Complaints and insults generally won’t make the cut here, but by all means write them on your own blog!


welcome new readers

Take a look around. If you think you are hardcore enough to handle Maximum Mustache, feel free to start at the first article and read your way up to the present using the links at the bottom of each article.

For more casual sampling, have a look at this complete list of all posts since the beginning of time or download the mobile app. Go ahead and click on any titles that intrigue you, and I hope to see you around here more often.

Love, Mr. Money Mustache

latest tweets