Leaving Valhalla, Experimenting with car replacement

Well, the news is I left @ValhallaVC after 12 years.

I had been thinking for some time of ways to expand my writing, speaking, teaching, coaching, and mentoring, which have given me more and more satisfaction in the past few years.  When the opportunity presented itself, my partners at Valhalla and I worked through an amiable separation, and, since April 30, here I am.

Lots of food for thought in this, and I’m talking with friends and business buddies about the implications and the next steps.

But, unexpectedly, I’ve begun to wonder about keeping 2 cars in the family.

I had toyed with alternative commutes to Tysons (some 13 miles each way) over the years.  I tried the Silver Line several times (apologies to non-DC audience for these local details) and found it was pretty good in the morning and routinely problematic in the afternoons.  There was, as Roseanne Roseannadanna used to say, “always something.”

I also looked into a ZipCar at the Tysons end of the commute, figuring that I could get out there by public transportation and then use the ZipCar for errands.  The arithmetic never seemed to work out: it was way too much per putative errand.

Now that I’m not commuting at all, however, the arithmetic looks a little different.

If I could bike around for a batch of local local errands and then use either Car2Go or ZipCar for less local trips, it might actually work out.

First, the bike.

I trotted out my hybrid bike from the garage last weekend and found that it has a broken spoke.  I’ll either fix it or have “them” fix it.  My (Valhalla) partner Harry says that a spoke replacement is either easy or it isn’t.  That makes sense to me.

Car2Go and ZipCar are not entirely competitors.  The wisdom of the InterTubes seems to be that Car2Go is more like a taxi and ZipCar is more like a rental car.

Car2Go cars are small and relatively useless for anything besides getting your body someplace (or back from someplace).  New Yorkers I know will schlep groceries or plywood or even (in the case of my friend Ellen) 50-lb bags of sand in a taxi, but that’s extreme.  It’s mostly about personal transportation.

ZipCar is for longer trips, with a more varied selection of cars/trucks, and the possibility of doing some serious hauling if necessary.

Car2Go has one fee for a lifetime signup, and then hourly usage fees.  ZipCar has an annual fee (as well as — how lame is this? — an “initiation” fee) in addition to hourly fees.  And apparently Car2Go pays out for short trips, ZipCar for longer ones.

So I signed up for Car2Go, and am waiting for them to approve my membership (based, they say, on my driving record, which is decent).  And then I’ll see about ZipCar, which has those Other Fees.

2 thoughts on “Leaving Valhalla, Experimenting with car replacement”

  1. Congratulations on the big change!

    As for the small change: I love car2go! We’ve always been a one-car family, but when Bob takes it out of town, I have car2go as backup. It was once described to me as a milk crate with a lawnmower engine, which seems pretty accurate. You’ve had better driving experiences, but it’s just so efficient. Charges by the minute, not by the hour. Often cheaper than taxi, and you could carry a 50-lb bag of sand in the back. Not much else…

  2. A pal just got one of these
    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/gosondors/sondors-electric-bike-most-affordable-ebike-ever
    and it’s awesome. I’ve ridden it, and though it was a little small for my Yeti-sized body, it still carried me around quite well. And for $500, well, consider it an experiment in sustainable alterna-commuting.

    PS ridesharing and the expanding subway lines are resculpting the face of LA. Hipsters are moving from Brooklyn to DTLA and never buying cars. It’s a whole new world, baby.

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