Recently, car2go launched their four-door pilot on the streets of Vancouver. We've been members for some time now, and always recognized the constraints the two-door model presented with a family of four, so most of our trips were quick jaunts to a meeting when we didn't have to worry about having the kids in tow. So when car2go Vancouver reached out to offer a complimentary test drive of the four-seater, we jumped at the opportunity to explore the region as a family.
Most of our weekends are spent enjoying the outdoors, whether on foot or by bike. That is, except when we get a typically Raincouver day, when even fifteen minutes outside leaves you cold and soaked to the bone. Last weekend was just such a weekend, and it seemed fortuitous that we had chosen that particular weekend to borrow the Mercedes B-Class that comprises the pilot fleet. While we would have loved nothing more that to explore the glorious trails and beaches, the wet weather allowed us to try something new - visit places we rarely get to because we don't own a car and wouldn't dream of in the rain.
Saturday became a North Shore adventure, starting in Deep Cove and heading west. The Lower Mainland is a truly spectacular place, with natural beauty at every turn. But when you see photos and videos, more often than not it's of a gorgeous sunny day. Most people don't get to see the eerie quiet of a rainy day, and so that became our inspiration for the day - to show our children just how wondrous this place we call home truly is.
From the stillness of the docks at Deep Cove, to literally being amongst the clouds at the Capilano Reservoir, we were all amazed at how different the landscape is on a wet, fall day. We even took an umbrellaed walk at Ambleside Beach, with Stanley Park and the Lions Gate Bridge as our moody back drop.
Experiences like this are hard when you don't have a personal automobile available for spur-of-the-moment trips, and we were all thankful that day to be able to take shelter within the warm car as we travelled to our next destination. But that's the beauty of car-share, and why it works so well for families like ours. We don't have the burden of car payments, insurance and maintenance, but we do have access to a fleet of vehicles at almost a moment's notice.
On Sunday we took advantage of the drier weather and walked along Iona Spit, a place we had never visited before due to its distance from home. While the kids tried identifying the airlines of planes flying overhead, we discussed how much we've taken for granted the ability to get out of our comfort zone and go further, thanks to our memberships with three of the car-share schemes in Vancouver. Truthfully, we've spent a large part of our five-and-a-half years of car-lite life trying to prove that you don't need a car to get around in the city, with the caveat that we know there are some places that riding a bike to with children is virtually impossible.
In reality, car-share is just an extension of every other way we get around, and what is pragmatic is recognizing when one more is more efficient than others. In our neighbourhood, travelling by foot or bicycle is ideal because we don't have to think about traffic, parking or buses running on schedule. We also get the added bonus of bumping into friends along the way. When we need to get downtown or the West End beaches, bikes or Skytrain makes the most sense depending on our energy levels, because driving downtown is no one's idea of fun.
But there are places we rarely go because of distance. We love Spanish Banks and walking around UBC, however the sheer amount of time it takes to get there by bus, not to mention the hills to climb on two wheels, have left it an area of the city we very rarely travel to. Car-share provides that opportunity to get outside our proverbial bubble and have adventures throughout the Metro Vancouver. After this weekend, we're thankful for the reminder that we have it as just one of many options to choose when we're ready to explore.
Note: The car2go four door pilot is available for the same cost as the traditional two-door option - 41 cents/minute - with hourly and daily max rates. To find one to use yourself, simply go to the mobile app and filter your search to the four door option. You can also get more information on the vehicle and it's features here. Car2go also currently has a special offer on for new members. Visit hop-in-and-drive.com for more details.
To view the full collection of photographs taken by the authors please click here.