Shopping for a car is not nearly as fun as shopping for a bike and about 10 times more expensive.

I bike and walk everywhere. Almost everywhere. Lately, we've been making a lot of trips between Kirksville, Columbia, and Rolla. Obviously, I don't bike for those trips! While it would be fun, a 90 minute trip by car takes 2 days by bicycle. That's what our car is for--longer, out-of-town trips.

Since we became a 1-car family in 2006, my bicycle has been our 2nd car. A few years ago, we temporarily needed 2 cars. I solved that by renting a car for the out-of-town trips. At about $50/day once a month, that was cheaper than a 2nd car.

I wondered whether we could be a car-free family, renting a car as needed for out-of-town trips. But as we had a car that was paid for, in good running condition, yet not worth selling, that was an experiment we weren't going to try. Even with an occasional $1500 repair, as long as we kept up on the maintenance it was cheaper on average than monthly car payments. But at 222,000 miles and 15 years, it was only a matter of time before we would be unable to find parts for it. We decided to replace it next time it needed a big repair.

The oil leaked and needed a new seal. It was a small repair, so no new car.

The right turn signal needed replaced. Again, a minor repair, so no new car.

Then a week ago, traveling from Kirksville to Columbia, I ran the car into a deer. I knew immediately this was no small repair. It wasn't a particularly good car, but it had been in our family a long time, and I was surprised at how sad I was at the loss.

With our daughter away at college and my husband commuting daily to his new job, this is not the time for us to try out being car-free. I'm finding car shopping to be confusing, frustrating and not nearly as fun as shopping for a bike. I imagine this is what most people feel like when faced with buying a bicycle. Except that I could buy several bikes for what a used car costs.