Bicycle Commuting to a Simpler Life

The author (and his friends) couldn't achieve his homesteading dreams until he started bicycle commuting and taking other steps to live a simpler life.

| May/June 1981

069 bicycle commuting - main view

Bicycle commuting and other adjustments to a simpler life finally enabled the author and his friends to buy a homestead.  LEFT INSET: The drop handlebars style favored by the author. RIGHT INSET: Upright handlebars.


My friends Jim and Randy and I had spent years struggling to save enough money to purchase our own piece of land, blindly following the popular notion that "hard work will get you where you want to go." But, although that truism certainly represents a worthwhile code of ethics, it seemed like labor alone just wouldn't ever let us make our dream come true!

In fact, in two years of scrimping, we had managed to put away only $800. No matter how diligently the three of us toiled, our paychecks barely covered our living expenses, and precious little cash was left to put into savings.

Still, Jim, Randy, and I were terribly eager to become homesteaders. We were determined to live a simpler life, but with each passing year we found that our goal was slipping further and further away.

Cutting Back

It soon became obvious that the only way to save our dream would be to pare down our basic living expenses. So, for a start, the three of us invested our $800 in a 20-year-old, 8' X 40' mobile home. Although the structure looked less like our dream cabin than had many of the houses we'd previously lived in, we knew that the money we'd save on monthly rent would enable us to move onto our own acreage.

A trailer park in Weare, New Hampshire (where we were living at the time) leased us a lovely spot by a stream for only $45 a month (a far cry from the $350 in rent we'd been paying elsewhere!). And, as an added plus, we felt we could repaint and repair our trailer and sell it at a profit later on.

We next decided to give up our automobiles. Gasoline prices alone were becoming higher than we could afford, and we were also being battered by the never-ending procession of other car expenses: license plates, registration fees, taxes, repairs, inspections, and outrageous insurance premiums.

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