BikePortland

Becky Jo’s Carfree Life: We Have Hourly Rates


TFW you’re carfree but you need a car.
(Photo: Becky Jo)

Here’s the thing: I’m new to cycling as my main mode of transportation; but like each of you, there are things I am proficient at, and the sewing world is one of those things. So, when two weeks after getting rid of my car, I had to go to Tualatin to transport 54 bolts of fabric back to North Portland (about 20 miles, with hills), this presented a conundrum.

No worries, I said. We have a contingency plan for this, I said.

Our budget is set up to handle a Zipcar rental every now and again, and if used efficiently we figured should only be needed one or two times a month, tops. I researched it and set it up after the CarMax/Lyft revelation in the first post. I live by University of Portland, so I have three or four close Zipcars as easy options. This time around, I figured I’d get it for a full 24 hours, that way I could pick up the 54 bolts, drop off 54 bolts, drop off college kid’s really heavy dumbbell set at PSU, go to IKEA (because the standing desk I’ve been wanting is on sale), and get cat food/cat litter. No problem.

I biked over to UP, and opted for the Subaru Crosstrek with roof bike rack. I had watched YouTube videos the night before on how to put my bike in the roof rack. (Note: I’m about 5′ 9″ and like I’ve mentioned, my bike is really light, so it didn’t present any real problems. It wasn’t the most graceful job, but I got it done. If I were any shorter, or the car was any taller, it probably would have been more frustrating/comical.)

The hourly rate motel is no longer the seedy joke. Zipcar is the new hourly rate motel.

Before I even unlocked the car, I walked around the outside and shot a video of it. At mid-40s, I have had enough experience dealing with rentals and existing damage, so I was on top of it! No one was going to make a fool out of me! Heh.

I got in the Crosstrek, took a couple seconds to figure out the manual paddle shifters vs automatic transmission, but then hot damn! I had just sold a large SUV, which by comparison was sooo slow. I haven’t had a zippy car, let alone a manual transmission, for a few kids now… it was so fun! My immediate thought was, “I bet the college kids drive the sh*t out of this car!” This will come back to haunt me later.

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Crosstrek Trojans

I dropped off my bike at home, dropped the rear passenger seats to increase loading area, took one teen to help with the first errand of fabric bolts. Came back home, unloaded fabric bolts, went to put back seats in position because for the IKEA trip I’m taking two teens. At this time, Teen #1 adjusts front passenger seat and a 12 pack box of Trojans popped out from under the back of seat right as I was about to set down one of the dumbbells.

This is the moment in the movie when the protagonist gets solid evidence of who the antagonist is, and then flashes back through the movie showing clues along the way.

I instantly thought of the front passenger and driver seats. How at first they seemed grungy but I didn’t think anything of it. Momlyfe, remember? I have other things to think about…. But now I’m fully focused on the fact that we’ve been sitting in 23andMe petri dishes for a few hours already.

Well, I was a hundred bucks into this venture, and I had things to do. Life as a forensic nightmare must go on. Don’t worry, I emailed Zipcar complete with photos and they promptly ignored me. It may not be a revelation to Zipcar, and maybe you’re even laughing at my naiveté right now, but the hourly rate motel is no longer the seedy joke. Zipcar is the new hourly rate motel.

So, my question to you is this:

What do you do when you need to move 54 bolts of fabric? Or, whatever it is that you need to move, but something that does actually require a car?

I looked at Getaround, but the husbeast was more wary of that because it’s not as well known, and could be creepy. Creepier than sitting in a sponge of bodily fluids? I don’t know. Please help or send bleach.

PS: While submitting this post, I stopped to call Zipcar so I could give you a full-circle. They said they’d open a ticket to look into why no one responded to me, that the complaints were received, they did clean the car, and offered to give me a $15 credit to apply to a later rental. Also it should be noted I was never once upset/angry in this situation; I’m impressed at the financial and sexual responsibility…maybe I just need to bring my own Glad bags?

— Becky Jo, @BeckyJoPDX
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