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Small car culture: how do they make it work?

We have two cars. We're working on having just one car. For 7 years, we survived with only one car. You should have seen us try to wedge that infant carseat into the back of our 2-door hatchback the first time. Oooh boy. That was funny. Pretty much had to turn it vertical and upside down to cram it into the backseat. With a real live baby inside! Ours! It's funny now, terrifying then. But we did make it work for years.

Then we bought a white Subaru. We had two kids. We're AMERICANS for crying out loud. Was 4 doors too much to ask for a family of four? We didn't think so. We got a 4-door wagon. It's small (the Outback Sport) -- about the smallest 4-door Subi you can drive.

Then the bikes and feet became more popular forms of transport in our family. Having made a variety of lifestyle changes, we're now feeling optimistic that one car would once again be enough for our family. My husband commutes strong on his bike nearly every work day. Me and the kids are going into walking and biking season: our goal is to walk or bike all trips that are within 1 mile of our house. Now that we'll soon be out of our school routine, the time constraints will no longer provide that convenient excuse/crutch.

As you can imagine my husband's old red car might be feeling a bit left out of the fun right about now. Neglected. Passed over. Dusty. Wall-flower. Simply taking up space in the garage that might better serve our growing fleet of bikes. So a few changes are in order:

  • We'll need a bike rack for the Subaru. Up til now, the red car had the bike rack. And of course the bike rack we have won't fit on the white car. Life is so complicated.
  • We'll need to sell the red car.
  • We'll need to figure out how in the world we'll manage to pack our stuff into a tiny white car for the times when it's all we'll have. Even now, it's pretty cramped quarters when we try to wedge a grandparent between the car seats in the back (it's a lucky thing they're all slim). Or camping trips... You pretty much can't fit an extra bag of marshmallows by the time we pack our tent, cooler, sleeping bags and pillows.

So how do people who live in cultures that drive small cars do it? Those crazy Smart cars, Twingos and other tiny vehicles that are dreams to park. Do these people just not camp? Do they rent when they need a bigger cargo space? Anyone have any insight?

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