Life without a car? No sweat


For many households, life without a automobile can be unthinkable. Not so Iris and Bjorn Kropp who dwell in Oldenburg, a metropolis in north-western Germany, and who removed their automobile three-and-a-half years in the past.

At the time, their kids Martje and Jasper have been three and 9 years previous, and most of the household’s pals thought they have been loopy to surrender their automobile.

“We were told that with two children it was absolutely out of the question,” Iris remembers.

Because her husband spends half the yr at sea as a captain, Iris is alone with the kids a lot. The trainer additionally commutes about 20km to work day by day. Even so, she’s capable of say that “so far, we haven’t missed having our own car”.

Bucking the pattern

Figures present that if something, Germany’s love affair with the automobile is rising stronger. The variety of automobiles registered within the nation elevated by 14% between 2010 and 2020, and an increasing number of households personal two and even three automobiles.

For the Kropps, being kinder to the surroundings was one argument for giving up their automobile. Getting extra train in on a regular basis life was one other.

Iris cycles to work even in rain and snow, overlaying 80 to 100km a week. She is nearly the one one amongst her colleagues to take action, she says.

That’s not stunning. According to figures from Germany’s Federal Statistical Office, 68% of commuters drove to work in 2020, typically travelling solely quick distances. Around 13% used public transport, and just one in 10 travelled by bicycle.

Bike, practice, and automobile sharing

The Kropp kids have solely a quick commute to highschool so Martje walks and Jasper takes the bike.

In the afternoons, a bit extra planning is required as Jasper is a volunteer with the hearth division within the neighbouring village 10km away. Depending on the climate, he both takes his bike or public transportation.

“For Jasper, life without a car has led to a fair amount of independence very early on,” his mom says.

It is even farther to Martje’s using classes than to Jasper’s fireplace division. There isn’t any good bus connection and never sufficient time to cycle there after college. That’s why Iris has opted for a compromise: Once a week, she books a automobile by means of automobile sharing.

Getting round on two wheels

Martje rides her bike for brief distances, for instance, when visiting pals. On longer journeys, she will get a journey on the household’s cargo bike.

The car has room for one or two kids within the transport field. Martje sits on the fold-out bench, and when it rains she stays moderately dry below the protecting tarpaulin.

The cargo bike can also be indispensable for weekend buying with crates of drinks. It may also be used to convey house a new shelf or soil for the raised mattress.

“The biggest thing we’ve ever transported with the cargo bike was our 2.80m-high Christmas tree,” Iris says.

At weekends, the Kropps are out and about a lot by bike. “Even Jasper, who is 13 years old, still likes to do that,” Iris says. The household cycles to the forest, the amusement park or the lake.

In summer season 2021, the Kropps packed a trailer, the cargo bike and bike baggage, and cycled to the North Sea for tenting.

The yr earlier than, they went to the Black Forest in southern Germany – too far to cycle in order that they took the practice. Once there, they have been capable of avail of the realm’s wonderful native transport community.

The household has additionally now purchased a tandem bike for longer journeys. One of the mother and father sits on the again and steers. When it involves tandem biking, although, the household continues to be studying the ropes, Iris says. – dpa/Ann-Kathrin Marr

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