Alex and I are both urban planners (by training, anyways), and we love to hate on the irresponsible suburbanization of North American cities, especially with regard to how car-dependent we’ve become.
This is why we bought a house downtown. We pretty much ride our bikes everywhere (to work, to get groceries, to friends’ houses), take transit when our bikes won’t do (-40 degree weather, 20km+ distances, when we’re too drunk to ride) and walk the rest of the time.
We generally like to live what we preach. And this means that we are urban citizens living without a car.
Until now, this has been fine.
Now that we’re renovating, we require supplies and construction materials that you simply can’t cart around on your bike or the TTC. We sometimes borrow my dad’s car, but now that it’s summer, he’s away most weekends (and takes his car). Home Depot and Rona charge a ridiculous $75 delivery fee, regardless of how much you spend in the store.
Our reno work has been stalled mostly because we don’t have the luxury of access to a vehicle. We knew that we had to get a bunch of stuff from Home Depot, but when you have to rent a van, you want to make sure that your list is complete because extra trips cost money.
So, we finally managed to prepare a complete list of supplies and headed to Home Depot. The most cost effective solution for us was renting a large autoShare cargo van: $14.95/hour – all-in!
Sunday morning we headed to Home Depot (vanless) and got all of the materials that we needed: sheets of plywood, bags of concrete and other random reno stuff. $650 later, we were all set. We had 3 carts! 3!
Alex rode off on his bike to get the cargo van while I went through the cash with all of our stuff. Then I had some time to wait outside for him to get back.
I did some people watching. This couple entertained me for a good 20 minutes while they tried to attach various building materials to their car. A random stranger even helped the guy shove 2x4s into the side window.
Eventually Alex showed up and we loaded our supplies in the van. Since I rode my bike to Home Depot, I threw it in the back so I could take it home with me. That’s how huge the van was!
All in all, the trip took us 3 hours. I’m glad we didn’t book the van until we knew we were almost done! I would never have guessed it would take us that long!