Tag Archives: modo

Camping in EC Manning Park

Camping with Modo
A few weekends ago, we booked a Modo car, loaded up our camping gear, and drove out to Manning Provincial Park for the weekend.

Shadow Falls Derek Falls Wildflower Walk Naturalist Guided Tour
We did a few light hikes – Three Falls, Lightning Lake, and the Wildflower Walk.

Campfire Cooking
We relaxed by the fire and cooked good vegan food.
Vegan Camping Breakfast Stirring the Yams Making Chili Roasted Corn

We stayed at Coldspring Campground. Pro tip: the campsites at the far end (#30-44) are farther from the highway and more secluded. It was a nice campground and conveniently located within the park – close the Lightning Lake day use area and Manning Resort, where there is a general store and a good source of fresh water (the wells in the campground had a boil water advisory).
Tent Sleep-in Modo Tarp Holder Lightning Lakes Relaxing Sneaky Chipmunk

More pictures.
EC Manning Park

Data Nerd: Transportation Expenses Updated

My 2012 post analyzing my transportation expenses is making the rounds on twitter again, so I thought I’d update the charts.
Transportation Expenses by Year Chart

Although the cost of driving in Canada has steadily risen, my transportation costs are flat. I spend $1200 a year split between car rentals, car sharing, cycling, and public transit.
Transportation Expenses by Year Pie

On the Run Again

running kms
I’ve started running again. In 2013 I trained intensively between January and April, completed a full marathon in May, and ran infrequently afterwards until IT band issues sidelined me. After two months without any running, everything feels good and I’m looking forward to hitting the road again.

Runs on PlantsMy goal is to run the the BMO Vancouver Half Marathon on May 4 in under 1 hour and 30 minutes. I’m also going to run the Modo Spring 8k on March 23. It should be a good tuneup and I love that Modo is sponsoring it.

Last year I joined a Running Room clinic, but this time I’m doing most of my training on my own. I’m enjoying the flexibility in scheduling when I go running but it is harder getting motivated, especially with all the rain we’ve been having. I don’t want a repeat of the injury problems I had last year (I strained my calf 4 weeks in), so this time I’m being careful to slowly ramp up the intensity and frequency of my workouts. I’m also spending more time stretching and going to yoga once a week.

If you’re on Strava, you can follow my progress here.

Living Car-Free Saves Me $7000 per Year

Modo Car with a Bike Rack
When I moved to Vancouver six years ago, I made two crucial decisions that have saved me thousands of dollars – I bought a bike and joined the car co-op.

Being a data nerd, I’ve kept detailed records of all my spending for the past decade (first in a spreadsheet, then in Quicken, and now in mint.com). I went back through my records to see how much I’ve spent on transportation since moving to Vancouver. In six years, I’ve spent nearly nearly $8000 getting around by bike, public transit, taxi, car sharing, and car rentals. That’s less than what most people spend on their car in 1 year.

Note: Updated charts with 2013 data are available here

According to CAA, the annual cost of owning a car (driven for 12,000 km per year) ranges from $7,723.72 for a Civic to $10,465.12 for an Equinox. When you don’t drive much, 80% of the cost of car ownership is fixed costs (insurance, license and registration, loan payments, and depreciation). Only 20% is proportional to the distance driven (gas and maintenance). CAA doesn’t include the cost of parking, which can be quite expensive in Vancouver. In my building, it costs $100/month for a parking spot.
Transportation Expenses by Year Pie
My expenses have averaged $1257 per year since I moved to Vancouver, almost equally split between car rentals, car sharing, cycling, and public transit (including taxis).

Transportation Expenses by Year Chart
Cycling is my main form of transportation, and most years it costs less than $200 to service my bike (new parts and maintenance). I purchased a bike in 2006 and 2009, spending an extra $500 (my commuter bike isn’t that expensive).

Bike LineupNormally, I don’t use the bus that often (it’s faster to bike), but in 2008 and 2009 I was working in West Vancouver and commuted a lot by bus (2 zones), which explains the higher public transit costs those years. Otherwise, I spend less than $200 per year on bus tickets and cab rides.

Living in Vancouver, the times I need a vehicle are rare. When I’m buying furniture or playing in the North Shore mountains, I often use a car sharing vehicle from Modo. In the past year, I’ve started using car2go for short trips when public transit and biking are inconvenient. For traveling around BC, I often rent a vehicle from Enterprise. car2go VancouverThe cost of each car trip is high (a car rental for a long weekend is between $100-$200, plus gas), but I only rent a car once or twice a year. My car sharing trips with Modo average $30 (including gas). Even though I only drive a few times a year, the cost of renting a vehicles and using car sharing accounts for more than 50% of my “car-free” transportation budget. But I appreciate the flexibility I have to get a car when I need one, and it is still way cheaper than owning a dedicated vehicle.

Now, it can be argued that living close to downtown Vancouver, where a car-free lifestyle is easy, is costing me more for rent. Which is true, but it’s an easy tradeoff to make for a healthy lifestyle. I’m willing to spend my transportation savings on more expensive rent so that I can replace hours stuck in my car with minutes on a bike and pleasant walks to the grocery store any day.

car2go – A New Option for Car Sharing in Vancouver

car2go Vancouver
Vancouverites looking to get around the city without owning a car now have one more option. car2go, an intriguing new car-sharing option pioneered in Ulm, Germany, will start offering access to a fleet of 225 smart cars in June. car2go is very different from existing car-sharing services like Modo and Zipcar. First, you don’t have to return vehicles to where you found them, so one-way trips are possible. Second, cars do not have to be booked ahead of time, you can just find the closest one, jump in, drive, and then leave it when you’re done.

It’s an interesting concept. I’m thinking of signing up, but I’m not sure how it would fit into my existing array of transportation options. I like the spontaneity and the freedom, but I already get that from my bike. For any long journeys, public transit is usually pretty good within Vancouver. Modo co-op cars and vans are handy when I want to go hiking or snowshoeing in the mountains, or I need to move a couch. And for weekend trips outside of the city, I usually rent a car. I don’t see car2go being a replacement for any of those trips. car2go seems to compete with taxi services, but when I’m in a taxi I’m usually drunk, so a convenient car doesn’t help.

I think I’ll sign up and see when it might be handy. Registration is free in the next 2 weeks, and $35 afterwards. The promo code is “VAN”.

Surprise Birthday Weekend to Harrison Hot Springs

Harrison Hot Springs - Adult Pool
Emily likes organizing surprise weekends. Last year for my birthday, we took our bikes on the train to Portland. This year I didn’t know where we were going except I needed a bathing suit and my bike.

On Saturday morning, we packed, jumped on our bicycles, and headed down to Cambie and 10th where there was a Modo co-op car with a bike rack. It took us a few minutes to figure out the bike rack – Emily was searching the car for a manual, I was looking for a video online, but once we took a closer look at the rack we realized it was surprisingly intuitive – and then we were on the road heading east.

It wasn’t until Surrey that I realized we were probably headed towards Harrison Hot Springs, but first we had to stop in at our favourite restaurant outside of Vancouver – Limbert Mountain Farm. Nothing says “local” like eating on a farm, and the food at Limbert is the freshest, tastiest food around.

At Harrison, we spent lots of time relaxing in the thermal pools and exploring the area by bike. Our friend Leanne gave us a copy of Easy Cycling Around Vancouver – 40 short tours for all ages. Cycling is a great way to explore an area – the pace is slower, you’re more likely to stop, and you see more then just the side of the highway. We followed two of the routes listed in the book: Harrison-Agassiz and Seabird Island. Both were flat routes, with little traffic, on nicely paved roads through scenic farmland (including most of the stops on the Circle Farm Tour). The only downsides were the pervasive smell of manure and some brief stretches on the highway shoulder.

On the way home, we stopped in at our favourite road stop tourist trap, Castle Fun Park, and played a round of mini golf and a few games of air hockey.

What a perfect weekend.

Modo Car with a Bike Rack  Fresh Baked Yum  Green Soup  Salad and a Wrap  Biking on Seabird Island  High Voltage Lines  Blue Cow Bike Horn  Tullip Fields  Scenic Cycling  Smooth Riding  Agassiz Cycling  Lunch with a View  Goats  Goat Kiss  Milking Machines  Air Hockey