# Living Car Free - Carfree living is a function of...

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quintessence22
01-26-06, 11:06 PM
Thought it would be fun to come up with a mathematical formula for much of what I'm reading in this forum.

Part of the reason I want to come up with this is to analyze why I'm having a hard time going more car-light or car-free.

This may be useless and completely bias to me or maybe it can be tweaked to be more applicable to a wider audience but here goes:

These are the variables I've gleaned from threads and thought up: (range for all is >=0, except weather)
A = Money saved in cutting automobile expenses (gas, insurance, registration, maintenance, traffic tickets, parking)
t = Traffic (stress reduced by not driving)
D = Distance or Time spent commuting to primary daily location by bicycle
d = Distance or Time spent commuting to secondary locations (groceries, gym, friends', lessons)
I = Monthly Income
N = Number of children or dependents
g = INABILITY for indepedent mobility of children and dependents eg. too young/old or infirm.
H = Health/Fitness
S = Previous cycling experience/skill
F = Fun derived from biking
P = Pride or endorphins released (good feeling) from being a carfree advocate/different lifestyle
B = Fear/traffic dangers/safety of neighborhood
W = Weather at given season (range is -infinite to +infinite and subjective to you, maybe u like rain)
r = Risk of bicycle theft
e = Existing clothing and equipment for cycling suitable for given weather
L = Laziness (and poor time management)
T = Quality of public transit and taxi service
M = Weight of backpack, stuff you have to lug around
C = Additional time spent (over car) cycling, locking up, getting dressed

Carfree living = A + t - D - 2d - r + T + H/0.4M + (2F*S*e)^W + 1.5P + B/S
----------------------------------------------------------
L*C + I + N^g

I don't konw whether or not I should include, X = Bicycle friendliness of city (urban planning, bike racks and bike routes), into the function. Also, Y = Support network (this forum and other like-minded people), dunno if I would include this as a variable either.

I'd say some of the constants depends on yourself.

Edit: Ooops. the relationship with weather is messed up. Let me see if i can fix that

Platy
01-27-06, 12:17 AM
I think what you're getting at is that there are specific quantitative factors that facilitate or inhibit the ability to be carfree?

chipko
01-27-06, 05:13 AM
I think it is really interesting to see one persons deciding factors, pro and con, all layed out like that. To me it is interesting to see what motivates another person. Many of the factors in your calculus were not apart of my reasoning and the biggest factors in my logic are nowhere to be found in your formula. fascinating.

budster
01-27-06, 10:53 AM
(As) car free (as possible) = fun + challenge + the right thing to do.

That's pretty much my equation.

timmhaan
01-27-06, 10:58 AM
some of those things you can't quantify though. for example, how would you assign a value to "quality of public transit" or "laziness". assign it a number based on what? interesting idea though...

matt_savvy
01-27-06, 01:41 PM
I think you left out stubborness, bragging rights(although I guess that sorta falls under pride), the determination to remain "true", public-transit induced depression, the desire to make just getting to work an adventure, a growing adrenaline addiction, etc etc

I think those are important reasons to me

bokes
01-27-06, 02:16 PM
If my high school algebra teacher would have made equations like this i would have payed more attention in class.

quintessence22
01-27-06, 05:49 PM
some of those things you can't quantify though. for example, how would you assign a value to "quality of public transit" or "laziness". assign it a number based on what? interesting idea though...

Yes, I'd agree most of the variables are impossible to quantify; but it's fun for me to assign weights to each. Laziness is a real problem and a bad excuse for me, I know I can't quantify that one and sometimes it changes day by day.
What I really wanted to see was some discussion about what are your most important factors or less important ones. Chipko, I'm intrigued as to what was in your logic and/or emotional reasons for carfree lifestyle.

I still have to fix the relationship for weather, because as it currently stands, negative weather isn't properly adjusting my equation and throws it completely off when appropriate clothing for highly negative weather exists. For me, weather makes a difference in how much fun I have, and fun has a large weighting.

Anyway, in February there's a bridge closing up for 9 months that I take by car when I drive to school. I hope that's enough incentive for me cancel my insurance. Of course you can see in my equation just how much such an event will affect my decision. :D

01-27-06, 07:05 PM
what

Silverexpress
01-27-06, 10:45 PM
Op...what answer(number) did you come up with for yourself?

twochins
01-27-06, 11:54 PM
i must admit i'm not auto-free, i keep my truck, it's a necessity out here when the next 'town' is over 50 miles away over very rugged terrain...i've been riding my bike solely for 6 months...whenever i use the truck (groceries, large items, supermarket..) i make certain i do at least three errands...so on friday night, i do the laundry, get groceries, get something from a store and then get home and done...i've been in this pattern for a couple months now...it's really great, i know how much of anything to buy in terms of food...i'm better at planning and organizing and having patience to do something when the time is right....now that i think more like this, i can see that the majority of people don't think like this...

i guess i kind of rambled here but i feel a little better knowing that i'm not contributing much to the over congestion of traffic or greenhouse gases

and don't you just hate getting looked at like animals by people passing by in cars...it's funny, i feel like an animal at the zoo

Chris L
01-28-06, 12:09 AM
I think you left out stubborness, bragging rights(although I guess that sorta falls under pride), the determination to remain "true", public-transit induced depression, the desire to make just getting to work an adventure, a growing adrenaline addiction, etc etc

The thing is, a lot of those things would probably fade over time. In my case, my ride to work is hardly anything to brag over -- a flat 14km round trip pales into insignificance when I've been known to do day rides of 250km+ with over 3,000 metres of climbing in my spare time. The sense of pride over not polluting fades away when you realise that one person is not going to save the world. Stubborness and any determination to remain "true" tend to fall away as we become older and more cynical. The sense of adventure of riding to work dissipates as we become used to conditions -- even riding through gridlock doesn't seem that exciting to me anymore.

What keeps me going is a combination of money and convenience. I can ride to work in 15 minutes while people in cars often take closer to an hour to drive it. I'm not paying for fuel -- in fact, my only awareness of fuel prices is through the whining in the media. I can lock my bike right next to the door at the local supermarket, which saves having to trudge all the way across a carpark. Oh yeah, and my Monday ride to work can sometimes act as a nice "recovery ride" from the weekend. Pretty much all the other things are really side benefits by comparison.

01-28-06, 11:40 AM
Thought it would be fun to come up with a mathematical formula for much of what I'm reading in this forum.

Part of the reason I want to come up with this is to analyze why I'm having a hard time going more car-light or car-free.

This may be useless and completely bias to me or maybe it can be tweaked to be more applicable to a wider audience but here goes:

These are the variables I've gleaned from threads and thought up: (range for all is >=0, except weather)
A = Money saved in cutting automobile expenses (gas, insurance, registration, maintenance, traffic tickets, parking)
t = Traffic (stress reduced by not driving)
D = Distance or Time spent commuting to primary daily location by bicycle
d = Distance or Time spent commuting to secondary locations (groceries, gym, friends', lessons)
I = Monthly Income
N = Number of children or dependents
g = INABILITY for indepedent mobility of children and dependents eg. too young/old or infirm.
H = Health/Fitness
S = Previous cycling experience/skill
F = Fun derived from biking
P = Pride or endorphins released (good feeling) from being a carfree advocate/different lifestyle
B = Fear/traffic dangers/safety of neighborhood
W = Weather at given season (range is -infinite to +infinite and subjective to you, maybe u like rain)
r = Risk of bicycle theft
e = Existing clothing and equipment for cycling suitable for given weather
L = Laziness (and poor time management)
T = Quality of public transit and taxi service
M = Weight of backpack, stuff you have to lug around
C = Additional time spent (over car) cycling, locking up, getting dressed

Carfree living = A + t - D - 2d - r + T + H/0.4M + (2F*S*e)^W + 1.5P + B/S
----------------------------------------------------------
L*C + I + N^g

I don't konw whether or not I should include, X = Bicycle friendliness of city (urban planning, bike racks and bike routes), into the function. Also, Y = Support network (this forum and other like-minded people), dunno if I would include this as a variable either.

I'd say some of the constants depends on yourself.

Edit: Ooops. the relationship with weather is messed up. Let me see if i can fix that

Living car-free and living free from certain items of modern technology in general has absolutely nothing to do with mathematics or science to me. Economics plays a part, but it's mostly about qualitative freedom, the freedom to live according to how you choose. More importantly, the kind of freedom that you cannot measure according to scientific or mathematical methods. The kind of freedom that one does not receive according to instructions from experts or technicians. Anyone can come up with trivial formulas utilizing a bunch of numbers and symbols to attempt to explain fundamental human needs/impulses and in doing so woo and impress a certain segment of society in much the same way a magician woos and impresses their audience but it nonetheless remains an illusion, a feeble attempt to explain the unknown with numbers and symbols, flash and glitter, nothing more.

I am sure the previous will anger some, but you know, I see it for what it is. The cult of science and mathematics has certainly swallowed many in it's wake. So many true believers have died for the cult, so many martyrs line the history books to bring us the wonderful labor-saving inventions and devices, all for the illusion of progress, and many more will continue to do so. I used to engage in writing with computer programming languages, solving physics problems and the like, but in the end it all remains fluff and trivial games. Before someone rails at me to exhalt the virtues of modern science and mathematics, the human being is better off being in control of their own lives utilizing their own small-scale technology that they can manufacture and maintain on their own or through participation in a self-sufficient community, rather than having to rely on mediation from an external third party who controls the means of resource extraction and manufacturing their technology. Trying to speak or understand why some live car-free in terms of science and mathematics seems to me just another way to attempt to categorize and introduce order into something that is inherently outside the realm of that way of thinking.

I-Like-To-Bike
01-28-06, 11:59 AM
I am sure the previous will anger some, but you know, I see it for what it is. The cult of science and mathematics has certainly swallowed many in it's wake. So many true believers have died for the cult, so many martyrs line the history books to bring us the wonderful labor-saving inventions and devices, all for the illusion of progress, and many more will continue to do so. I used to engage in writing with computer programming languages, solving physics problems and the like, but in the end it all remains fluff and trivial games.
When did the Unabomber move to Canada to continue his manifesto? Hopefully he will not be allowed to mail packages.

Platy
01-28-06, 12:50 PM
When did the Unabomber move to Canada to continue his manifesto? Hopefully he will not be allowed to mail packages.

I-Like-To-Bike
01-28-06, 04:28 PM
Probably not and let's hope not. Madnomad probably is a noble fellow who just happens to share the same philosophy as that fruitcake Unabomber.

___
01-29-06, 11:50 AM
When did the Unabomber move to Canada to continue his manifesto? Hopefully he will not be allowed to mail packages.

LOL, madnomad has a point though in regards to cycling....btw, I think Zerzan's manuscripts were a little better.

I-Like-To-Bike
01-29-06, 01:06 PM
LOL, madnomad has a point though in regards to cycling....btw, I think Zerzan's manuscripts were a little better.
I don't know, their writings indicate to me as if they shared the same bong. The Unabomber was a born again simple-life bicycling mad nomad himself; while sending his letters-bombs.

KrisPistofferson
01-29-06, 01:11 PM
http://www.fatznew.com/Newsroom/ted.jpg
ILTB rules! :beer:

v1nce
01-29-06, 01:35 PM

I agree the dominant culture tries to quantify, rationalize and weigh everything and that can be a real evil thing and should not be extended to everything. Making references and comparisons to insanity, bongs and convicted felons is pretty funny but if anybody means it, it is also pretty weak. Especially when you consider the stark contrast between those silly statements and Nomads eloquently written opinion. His opinion has merit i think. Disagree vehemently if you like but i don't know about namecalling and such.

In this case though the formula seems to have been made in good fun and for good reasons (unless OP happens to be some sort of evil Marketeer working for Trek trying to expand sales further) so i don't mind one bit. I think it is a pretty fun and funny mental excercise for anyone so inclined.

Roody
01-29-06, 02:29 PM
Madnomad sounds like a cool and crazy zen rider and I agree there's an irrational side to living carfree in America. But I think quint's OP was tongue-in-cheek so he's probably a wildman too. Besides, the unabomber was a mathematician, so what does that tell you?

sbhikes
01-29-06, 03:50 PM
I'm not very good at math. I'd see it more like this:
if(
enjoying_the_scenery > watching_tail_lights_on_the_freeway &&
cool_morning_air > tail_pipe_emissions &&
exercise > sloth &&
sloth + food == fatter &&
fatter == depressing &&
biking == fun &&
driving == frustrating &&
stress + biking == stress/2 &&
stress + driving == stress*2 &&
health > sickness &&
environmental_health > environmental_degredataion &&
savings_account > 0 && gasoline_bill <= 0)
{
ride_bike();
**
else
{
drive_car();
**

Slow Train
01-29-06, 03:58 PM
I'm not very good at math. I'd see it more like this:
if(
enjoying_the_scenery > watching_tail_lights_on_the_freeway &&
cool_morning_air > tail_pipe_emissions &&
exercise > sloth &&
sloth + food == fatter &&
fatter == depressing &&
biking == fun &&
driving == frustrating &&
stress + biking == stress/2 &&
stress + driving == stress*2 &&
health > sickness &&
environmental_health > environmental_degredataion &&
savings_account > 0 && gasoline_bill <= 0)
{
ride_bike();
**
else
{
drive_car();
**

Yah - but is it J2SE 5.0 compliant ? ;)

I-Like-To-Bike
01-29-06, 05:03 PM
...Nomads eloquently written opinion. His opinion has merit i think. Disagree vehemently if you like but i don't know about namecalling and such.
For more "eloquently written" opinions that may be to your liking read:

http://sun.soci.niu.edu/~critcrim/uni/uni.txt

sbhikes
01-29-06, 06:16 PM
Yah - but is it J2SE 5.0 compliant ? ;)
Nah. It's just JavaScript.

v1nce
01-29-06, 08:09 PM
Yes yes i have read the unabomber manifesto and i gotta give the guy props. I agree with the majority of what he writes, don't agree with bombing and killing innocent civilians though. He was a nut but one damn smart nut with some good ideas, of his Wiki:

"He had a very extraordinary intelligence as a child. At the age of 10, his I.Q. was found to be 170. He skipped two grades, graduating from high school in 1958 and entering Harvard at the age of 16, majoring in mathematics.

In 1962 Kaczynski graduated from Harvard. After graduation, he attended the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, earning a master's degree and a Ph.D. in mathematics. Kaczynski began a research career at Michigan, though he made few friends. One of his professors at Michigan, George Piranian, said, "It is not enough to say he was smart." He earned his Ph.D. by solving, in less than a year, a math problem that Piranian himself had been unable to solve. Kaczynski's specialty was a branch of complex analysis known as geometric function theory. "I would guess that maybe 10 or 12 people in the country understood or appreciated it," said Maxwell O. Reade, a retired math professor who served on Kaczynski's".

Platy
01-29-06, 08:14 PM
The Unabomber isn't serving a life sentence for anything he wrote. Thoreau had something of a similar philosophy and way of life and they never put him in jail. Oh wait ...

v1nce
01-29-06, 08:17 PM
In a way i find it remarkable and admirable that a man that was a genius at the exact/mathematics/sciences, and hence could have easily opted for a very materialistic lifestyle had the vision and courage to denounce all the ill effects of those disciplines on society and chose to live in a cabin in the woods.

Anyways, sorry about the Hi jack. I better run off to my weekly Unabomber Groupie Rally. Ta ta! ;)

budster
01-29-06, 09:42 PM
I'm not very good at math. I'd see it more like this:
if(
enjoying_the_scenery > watching_tail_lights_on_the_freeway &&
cool_morning_air > tail_pipe_emissions &&
exercise > sloth &&
sloth + food == fatter &&
fatter == depressing &&
biking == fun &&
driving == frustrating &&
stress + biking == stress/2 &&
stress + driving == stress*2 &&
health > sickness &&
environmental_health > environmental_degredataion &&
savings_account > 0 && gasoline_bill <= 0)
{
ride_bike();
**
else
{
drive_car();
**

Now you speaka my lingo.

attercoppe
01-29-06, 09:57 PM
The Unabomber isn't serving a life sentence for anything he wrote. Thoreau had something of a similar philosophy and way of life and they never put him in jail. Oh wait ...

Sure, Thoreau went to jail - debtor's prison, no? Not for what he wrote. Then again, he came from a basically well-off family, and worked quite a bit other than during his experiment. Still good stuff, though - I'm not saying he was a poser, just that he didn't live as he did at Walden for a significant portion of his life.

quintessence22
01-30-06, 12:40 AM
and don't you just hate getting looked at like animals by people passing by in cars...it's funny, i feel like an animal at the zoo
I rather enjoy being looked at when passing people in cars. I think it's envy, cause the drivers know they could be biking too.

woo and impress a certain segment of society in much the same way a magician woos and impresses their audience but it nonetheless remains an illusion, a feeble attempt to explain the unknown with numbers and symbols

My friend is amazing at card tricks and some other magic tricks; I'm impressed every time, and he knows so many. People like to see stuff, even if it's math. My most recent pursuits have been underutilizing math so I figured it would be fun to apply some old stuff that I've learned to my current life. I have discovered that to keep my mind fresh, I must apply or review past education to my present life and recent education. Otherwise I become closeminded, intolerant of other opinions, and too lazy to read and learn. So my post, even though it has selfish ends, I figured I would share it since it was fun and to see what BF members would say. Madnomad, your post has selfish ends too, and in it you mean to use "eloquent" writing to persuade readers as well. "flash and glitter, nothing more".

I appreciate your post Madnomad, but I was offended by what I perceived as an attack on me. Regardless, I certainly don't mind that the subject has changed a little bit because that's just what I wanted to see, some discussion.

unless OP happens to be some sort of evil Marketeer working for Trek

Oh, I would never work for Trek :p :eek:

sbhikes, I like that Javascript too. Thanks for reminding me about food; because I love all kinds of food, and biking makes me hungry so I can eat a lot of food and not get fat. Also food is way better than gas in so many ways.

I-Like-To-Bike
01-30-06, 03:33 AM
Yes yes i have read the unabomber manifesto and i gotta give the guy props. I agree with the majority of what he writes, don't agree with bombing and killing innocent civilians though.
I thought you (and many others on this Forum) would find yourself in synch with the Unabomber's manifesto.

Just please keep it among yourselves and don't bring up your Unabomber-like political/economic/social/moral persuasions when or where bicycling advocacy is being discussed.