We at selfsufficientish.com have compiled this little guide to alternative ways of reaching your destination. The motor car is called public enemy number one by the Friends of the Earth and no-one who works for Self suffientish drives a car, or indeed has a drivers licence, this makes us somewhat experts in getting around without the need of a car. If you want to find out about alternative fuels to petrol (gasoline) then click here.
I could not get by without my bicycle and use it every day to get around, on some routes I have in fact found it quicker than a car and public transport.
If you are going to ditch your car in favour of a bicycle to get to work then please follow these tips.
Check the route before, so you know how long it takes
Cycle back along different routes, you might surprise yourself and find a nicer or quicker route
In winter months especially ensure that you have working lights, its a good idea to check them the night before your journey
Look out for parked cars and give them distance, car doors can be lethal
If you are new or returning to cycling it might be wise to practice on smaller roads and cycle paths first, until you feel comfortable.
Use clear hand signals drivers are not mind readers.
On long journeys always carry enough water/food to sustain your self.
Also on long journeys carry a puncture repair kit and a pump, this can also be extended to an inner tube and spare tyre.
regularly check your breaks.
In wet weather wear waterproofs as their is nothing worse than having a wet bum.
Get some leather gloves to keep your hands warm, it can be difficult to control your cycle if you have cold hands.
The UK does not have the greatest public transport system in the world, in fact if you have caught a train recently you might say we have the worst in Europe. However we do have a system and the more that we use the more revenue the companies will receive and the better it should be.
There are many train companies that operate within the UK and some are better than others. There is a website that helps you to plan your journey without having to search through each respective companies site to plan your journey, it can be found here. You can also telephone national rail enquiries on 08457 484950, they will tell of any works on the line and also keep you informed of any timetable information.
The biggest coach company in the UK is National express, they offer a cheaper alternative to the trains and in my experience will get you there when they say they will. A cheaper alternative is the new mega bus service that is now operational between a limited number of UK towns and Cities, Bristol to London for a quid, now that is cheap. You do have to book in advance with Mega Bus it works in the same way as Easyjet.
For local journeys the bus is generally the easiest way to get around. Many towns and cities now have some green buses that run on gas or electric. The biggest company in the UK is the First Bus group they can be a bit overpriced but as they have got rid of many of their competitors unfortunately it is the only option in many places.
I have hitched a few times and found it a great way to meet a wide range of people. I would advise people to travel in twos, you might not get so many lifts but it is far safer. Use common sense when sussing your lifts, if a man says "I am just going to giver the lady a lift", say no. Obvious stuff really. Use a bit of card board and a marker pen and try and be a bit vague if you want to get to Nottingham for instance and are on the M1 then write The North, some people tell me that they, "would not have picked me up as they are only going to Northampton, that's half way and it is better to be sitting in a car than on the side of the road.
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