Life in the Slow Lane

For this Winter Park couple, bikes are the way to go—sometimes.

The Rosses own two bikes but only one car.

Photo By Norma Lopez Molina

Jesse and Angie Ross of Winter Park went “car light” in 2009, turning to bicycles to get around as much as possible. Last year the Rosses put just 6,000 miles on their only car.  Here’s the family’s strategy for making a smaller environmental footprint:

THEIR BIKES: Jesse, 33, pedals an eight-speed Madsen cargo bike. Daughters Sofie, 6, and Vivian, 3, ride securely in a large bucket that’s set over the rear wheels. Angie’s bike is a Robin Hood made by Raleigh. COMMUTING: Jesse bikes the 9 miles round-trip between home and Colonial High School, where he teaches English... He takes Vivian each way because she attends day care at Colonial, and on the way home picks up Sofie, who Angie has dropped off at school in the morning by car. Angie, 31, vice president of programs at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Florida, drives to work though her commute is only 4 miles each way. She feels guilty about that, but biking to work would present too many problems, such as getting sweaty and having to change clothes. DRESS FOR SWEAT: Think light cotton clothing—Spandex and fancy bike shoes are for competitive cycling. Jesse packs a poncho, bathing suit and Crocs in case of rain (he can shower at Colonial if necessary). A canopy over the bike bucket protects his daughters from rain, but Angie drives the girls in case of severe weather. WHERE THEY BIKE: To nearby shopping centers and the grocery store for errands, through neighborhoods for pleasure riding. To make up for her car commute during the week, Angie relies on her bike as much as possible to get around on weekends. THEIR SAVINGS: The Rosses figure that by not having a second car payment and by driving only the 6,000 miles annually—about a fourth of the national average for a two-car family—they have saved $12,000 over two years.

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