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My little G Wizzard

After months of speculating, hemming and hawing, analyzing and researching, on Monday my little GWiz was delivered to my doorstep. My first car in 11 years; if you can call it a car, that is. Technically a quadricycle, the GWiz runs on a battery and is about the size of a golf cart (with windows and doors, of course). It’s cozy inside, and I imagine even cozier for those larger, taller peeps. In fact, with a car seat in the back for Louis, it feels I’m almost sitting on his lap. But nevertheless, I feel safe enough, at least as safe as on the bus or on my bike. Well, almost.

The funny thing about a GWiz (there are actually many) is that when you turn the car on, there is no engine rev up. It is quiet. No fumes are emitted, there are no fancy buttons to press or extra features to worry about. In a way, the car is like reverting back to the most basic concept of a car. Yet driving around feels futuristic, almost as if you’re floating (until you hit the speed bumps – ouch!). I guess people still aren’t really used to seeing these funny, happy additions to the road because I’ve gotten a lot of looks, some finger pointing, smiles and a few honks (at least one from an agitated driver who thought there was a need to show his petrol-fuelled motor strength).

My main reasons for the purchase are to save time and money without offsetting my carbon footprint in the city. I haven’t had a car for years, but have noticed that I end up spending hours in transit using the various methods of public transport available and being partial to using the bus. This has meant adding an hour give or take to each side of the journey whenever traveling any distance to teach or to see a massage client. This means extra hours of nanny time and extra last minute taxi fares; extra stress and extra costs I don’t need or want.

Enter the GWiz. Sure, the car isn’t cheap (my used 2007 cost £5,000 with a new battery and a free service thrown in) but once the car, insurance (£400) and a membership to the Source London charge network (£100) is paid for, there are no extra costs. Congestion fees, parking in Westminster, road tax and residence permits are free, not to mention there are no costs for the ever pricier petrol. In a sense, the car pays for itself.

For seven years I lived dependent on my bicycle while in Amsterdam  – riding it to work, carrying everything from bags (and bags) of groceries, to furniture, to other human beings with it as I embraced the Dutch lifestyle, and for the first 3 1/2 years I’ve done largely the same here in London. But the fact is, I’m not getting any younger. With a child, having some kind of vehicle you can hop into in case of rain, load up with groceries or get to the hospital in an emergency, it is a little luxury that my (soon to be) 39 year old body welcomes.

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