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Publish Date: 10/12/2005

David Wiley leaves his home in southwest Longmont for work last week on his eMax electric scooter. Wiley sold his car in August and has since used the scooter and a LashOut electric-assist bicycle to travel to and from work. “I just wanted to go electric to do something more environmentally friendly,” he said. Times-Call/Kristin Goode

Switching gears
Longmont man trades in car for two-wheeled transportation

LONGMONT — Ellen Wilkin was a little concerned when her husband, David Wiley, first proposed selling his car and switching to alternative modes of transportation.

“I was a little concerned about the logistics,” Wilkin said.

But the transition to being a one-car family has gone smoothly ever since Wiley sold his Subaru Outback in August and used the money to buy an eMax electric scooter and a LashOut electric-assist bicycle.

It’s simply meant adjusting their lifestyle to a single vehicle.

For example, Wiley plans ahead when he needs to take longer trips.

“If I had to go to a store in Boulder, I would wait to have four stores to go to and do it all at once,” Wiley said.

Other changes include moving any appointments he has to midday hours instead of at night because he doesn’t find it as safe to ride bikes or scooters at night.

And if he needs bulky items from the hardware store, he’ll either rent a truck or have materials delivered.

Wiley said one of the biggest reasons he decided to make the transportation shift was to reduce expenses and consume fewer natural resources.

The scooter, which tops out at 35 mph and can travel up to 40 miles, gets the equivalent of 260 miles per dollar spent on electricity.

The bicycle, with a top speed of 18 mph and a 20-mile range when pedaling lightly, does even better. It can travel 383 miles on a dollar’s worth of electricity.

Wiley said the transition was easy because he was already riding his bike half the time and lives within 4 miles of his job at Emulex and equally close to a grocery store, a hardware store and downtown Longmont — and also to Niwot, where he gets haircuts.

“I had the mindset, but I was starting to have a little arthritis from bike riding,” Wiley said.

When his knees hurt or the weather was particularly bad, he usually opted for his car.

“I removed the option of being able to drive my car,” Wiley said.

Wiley and Wilkin find it easy to compromise when they both need the car because Wilkin is retired and has a more flexible schedule.

“What happens when we both need the car is, if it is work-related, he has the priority,” Wilkin said.

The couple also now chooses to take walks in their neighborhood instead of driving to the mountains. They also cook most of their meals at home. When they do want to eat out, they’ll walk to a neighborhood restaurant.

“I’m fortunate enough to live close to everything I do,” Wiley said.

While Wiley is relatively new to the gasless commute, Lauren Greenfield has been commuting to work for more than a decade.

Greenfield, the administrator for Longmont’s Art in Public Places program, has been commuting on her bicycle for the past 14 years and is a staunch advocate of people making decisions such as Wiley’s.

Getting around without a car, she said, is a lifestyle and said people can change if they take baby steps.

Greenfield suggested people start by riding their bikes twice a week to work and begin fitting it into their schedules.

“My whole lifestyle revolves around going to places where I can walk or ride my bike,” she said. “It benefits the individual and ultimately benefits the entire community because people are more active and it gets the cars off the road.”

Besides, she said, riding a bicycle also can be therapeutic.

“I love it,” Greenfield said. “It clears my head. I don’t have to deal with cars. It’s easier because I can go door to door (for errands).

“And it makes me feel healthier. I get to eat as much as I want, and it’s cheaper.”

Katherine Crowell can be reached at 303-684-5336 or tcnewsintern2@times-call.com.

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