Örebro is a bicycle town. Being fairly flat (apart from the hill on which we happen to live) it is conducive to cycling, and being a university town there are an abundance of students whose main transportation is by bike. Since we arrived bicycles have been a big part of our life. The kids ride to school every day, Maria cycles to work, and I cycle to my Swedish classes and to the shops. We have made the long trip into town for church a few times.
We bought a cycle trailer soon after we arrived so that we could take Isak on longer trips which were a bit beyond the scope of his little bike. It doubles as a shopping trailer when I go down the hill to the supermarket, but the trip back up is always a struggle with an extra 30-40kg behind me.
We have, of course, felt very virtuous about all this. We feel environmentally friendly for the first time in our lives! We are pleased with the money we have saved! We are glad that we are getting more exercise, which makes us feel better in general.
But there are drawbacks. Hanna hates cycling anywhere because it is too hard. She can’t see why Isak should get to ride in the trailer, so there are often conflicts. Maria finds cycling up the hill at the end of a long shift at work very taxing. Since the snow has come cycling is much harder and more treacherous. Only yesterday I rounded a corner a little too fast in town and the bicycle disappeared from under me. I was not on a road, thankfully, since this town is full of cycle paths, and I was not hurt. But I was a little embarrassed!
The other thing is that there are many times when we must have a car to do the things we want to. Although we use the bus a bit, there are times when it is just not practical. Whenever we need to get something big or bulky we have to borrow a car, often a trailer too. If we want to go anywhere vaguely remote, like up to the hills for an outing, we have to borrow a car. When we go to Orsa to the holiday house we have to use a car, both to get there, and to get around once we are there.
So we have finally decided to look for a car. It is not an easy thing. We scour the internet sites every day looking for the impossible dream – low km, low years, low price. We have almost certainly sold our car in Australia, finally, after advertising continually for almost 6 months. So we have some money, or at least we soon will have. But getting out to look at cars is difficult when you don’t have a car already. We have been incredibly blessed to have the use of Maria’s parents car almost whenever we want it, but we are growing increasingly embarrassed by how often we have asked.
So that is our challenge just now – to find a car. Not that we will stop cycling. But at least it will give us a little more independence. Which will be in many ways a good thing.