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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 05-02-14, 05:16 AM   #1
xixiviii
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I sold one of our cars yesterday to support my commuting habit...

I didn't post this in the car free section, because I am not car free - just one less car. I had two vehicles, one that was paid for and one that was not. Between the two of them I put less than 10,000 miles on them last year when I wasn't riding to work. One was used mainly for camping and carrying our kayaks, the other I drove to work less than 15 miles round trip each day.

Recently I have moved and am now less than seven miles from work in a good weather climate (North Texas). I have challenged myself to commute by bike 80% of the time from May to the end of the year which means there would be even less mileage put on them. It just didn't make financial sense to me to make a car payment on a vehicle that might get driven 30 miles on a few Saturday errands while my other may get driven even less.

I drove to carmax last night and got the newer one (the one with the payments) appraised and was happy to hear they were offering me more than what I owed. Considering that I will likely be driving less than 200 miles a month now it made sense to sell it. The $350 a month payment is now gone as well as my insurance being lowered by almost $50 so I am pretty happy with the choice. Almost $400 less going out each month, I still have a well maintained paid off vehicle (Toyota 4 Runner), and my girlfriend's car gets upper 30's mpg for any road trips where we don't want to break the bank at the pump.

In regards to commuting by bike, I feel like this is a positive reinforcement.
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Old 05-02-14, 05:42 AM   #2
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You're awesome! (no, I'm not being sarcastic).

I'm a little jealous - I hope to sell one of our cars, too. Enjoy that feeing I feel so much better when I get rid of stuff I can live with out.
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Old 05-02-14, 05:58 AM   #3
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Alright. Seems you've thought this through pretty well. I'd love to do the same, but would need to get away from these northeast winters.
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Old 05-02-14, 06:02 AM   #4
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Carfree is a great goal for some, and impractical for many others in our society.

Getting rid of a car is a huge benefit. (Driving your car a lot less is also good, too.)
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Old 05-02-14, 06:22 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by xixiviii View Post
I didn't post this in the car free section, because I am not car free - just one less car. I had two vehicles, one that was paid for and one that was not. Between the two of them I put less than 10,000 miles on them last year when I wasn't riding to work. One was used mainly for camping and carrying our kayaks, the other I drove to work less than 15 miles round trip each day.

Recently I have moved and am now less than seven miles from work in a good weather climate (North Texas). I have challenged myself to commute by bike 80% of the time from May to the end of the year which means there would be even less mileage put on them. It just didn't make financial sense to me to make a car payment on a vehicle that might get driven 30 miles on a few Saturday errands while my other may get driven even less.

I drove to carmax last night and got the newer one (the one with the payments) appraised and was happy to hear they were offering me more than what I owed. Considering that I will likely be driving less than 200 miles a month now it made sense to sell it. The $350 a month payment is now gone as well as my insurance being lowered by almost $50 so I am pretty happy with the choice. Almost $400 less going out each month, I still have a well maintained paid off vehicle (Toyota 4 Runner), and my girlfriend's car gets upper 30's mpg for any road trips where we don't want to break the bank at the pump.

In regards to commuting by bike, I feel like this is a positive reinforcement.
I am in awe! Great decision, not only for finances but for continued health.
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Old 05-02-14, 06:57 AM   #6
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Awesome! Congrats!

We are a one car family also. It works pretty well. My wife is a stay at home and home school mom to our 3 children. She needs a car for errands and kid's activities. I bike to work. If the weather looks bad for my commute, she can usually rescue me. This happens once every couple of weeks or so.
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Old 05-02-14, 07:14 AM   #7
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Now go plant a tree and you'll be able to check off all them "green" boxes!!!

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Old 05-02-14, 10:29 AM   #8
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Way to go! Once you're riding 80% of the time, I suspect you'll start to wonder whether there's any good reason not to just go for the full hundred. Last year I decided to commute full-time on a 40km round-trip; I'm now three weeks away from a full year of everyday riding, and couldn't be happier. I still use a car for hauling kids and cargo, but when it's just me that needs transporting to work, I figure I ought to be able to power that trip myself.
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Old 05-02-14, 10:41 AM   #9
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Carfree is a great goal for some, and impractical for many others in our society.
if the poorest of the poor can be car free the then average bike forum poster can be car free. it's only impractical because people confuse wants with needs.
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Old 05-02-14, 10:50 AM   #10
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I've never been car free or bike free and hope never to be. I love cars as much as I love bikes.
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Old 05-02-14, 11:19 AM   #11
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if the poorest of the poor can be car free the then average bike forum poster can be car free. it's only impractical because people confuse wants with needs.
Can't agree. We've always had one car for the family. It is cheaper than a taxi and more convenient, for some occasions. Carrying stuff, driving when sick etc. Good for road trips also.
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Old 05-02-14, 11:30 AM   #12
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Good job! I've got two vehicles, but now that I (hopefully) have my knee issues figured out, I'm back to bike commuting 100% of the time. Part of me is really tempted to get rid of my commuter car, but it's paid off and extremely reliable and has low miles thanks to lots of bike commuting over the years- If I ever had to replace it, I'd have a hard time finding something like it. Either way, I feel good letting it sit there in the driveway and not having to put gas in the tank except every once in a long while.
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Old 05-02-14, 11:38 AM   #13
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Can't agree. We've always had one car for the family. It is cheaper than a taxi and more convenient, for some occasions. Carrying stuff, driving when sick etc. Good for road trips also.
Pretty much this ... I've got three kids and a dog ... there's no toting them all on my bike.
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Old 05-02-14, 12:32 PM   #14
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Nice.

I saw a woman a couple of days ago riding a bike and wearing a shirt that said on the back, "I lost 3500 pounds. Ask me how."
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Old 05-02-14, 12:33 PM   #15
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Awesome! Congrats!

We are a one car family also. It works pretty well. My wife is a stay at home and home school mom to our 3 children. She needs a car for errands and kid's activities. I bike to work. If the weather looks bad for my commute, she can usually rescue me. This happens once every couple of weeks or so.
I've got the exact same setup. It works pretty well. The best part is that riding a bike has given me some of my freedom and independence back after going down to one car. We both used it all the time for a quite some time, and now I ride almost exclusively. She and my son will "pick me up" at the end of my shift on their bikes sometimes too, so the ride home becomes family time. It's great!
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Old 05-02-14, 12:34 PM   #16
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Pretty much this ... I've got three kids and a dog ... there's no toting them all on my bike.
Do you really need to take the kids place, or do you just want to?

Seriously though, I have no doubt that I could go car free. I just don't want to. I'm OK with that.
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Old 05-02-14, 12:37 PM   #17
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Pretty much this ... I've got three kids and a dog ... there's no toting them all on my bike.
bikes are not the only alternative to cars. going car free requires some refashioning of priorities but it's not the impossibility that many make it out to be.
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Old 05-02-14, 12:41 PM   #18
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Do you really need to take the kids place, or do you just want to?

Seriously though, I have no doubt that I could go car free. I just don't want to. I'm OK with that.
i was car free for years and then the person who borrowed my car bought one so now i'm car light (only 200-400 miles per year). since i have mileage based car insurance i decided to just keep the car until it's ready for a voyage to the recycling yard.
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Old 05-02-14, 01:08 PM   #19
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Do you really need to take the kids place, or do you just want to?

Seriously though, I have no doubt that I could go car free. I just don't want to. I'm OK with that.
Great question ... and basically the answer is both.

Case in point ... I'm a divorced dad, my kids live an hour away. There's really no feasible, or in honesty reasonable, means for me to go get them when it's my weekend unless it's by my car. Cost for a taxi would be exorbitant. Taking public transit would probably add hours to that process.

Another example ... my kids are in sports, and I go to all of their games, even on weeknights. I'd never make it on time to their event by getting there in any way aside from my car.

That said, I'm not saying going car free is impossible. In fact I'm trying to go as car "light" as possible in terms of my work commute, routine errands, etc. But there are definitely times I need a car.

Edit to add: I hate cars. I hate spending money on them. I hate losing money on them. I hate the residual costs.

Good discussion this

Last edited by ill.clyde; 05-02-14 at 01:29 PM. Reason: Added info
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Old 05-02-14, 01:43 PM   #20
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Congratulations! It looks like the planets aligned in the right way for you. This is very inspiring; I hope to be able to get rid of one of the cars one day.
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Old 05-02-14, 01:47 PM   #21
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Edit to add: I hate cars. I hate spending money on them. I hate losing money on them. I hate the residual costs.
It's car drivers that get on my nerves, but then so do bike riders and peds. So, aside from the expense, cars allow you to see your kids and transport them around safely and efficiently, haul heavy stuff from the store, get places faster, protect you and the stuff you buy from the weather, the list goes on and on. Admit it...you really, truly love cars. One of the greatest inventions ever, right up there with the bicycle and airplane.
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Old 05-02-14, 02:28 PM   #22
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bikes are not the only alternative to cars. going car free requires some refashioning of priorities but it's not the impossibility that many make it out to be.
Being car free is not more convenient, quite the opposite. I've always had one, small, cheap (to buy, run, maintain) car for the family (household). Can't see a point in not having a car at all. It doesn't save money, make life easier or anything, quite the opposite. However, it was being driven when needed, most things done by bicycles, buses etc.

My family had a car like this:



It cost around 4000 euros new, and lasted from 1990. until 2010. Some 80,000 kilometers.


My wife and I now have a small city car that is very convenient since she works some 15 km away and has to change two bus lanes to get to work (and climb a small hill) - so by car it is a lot faster, more convenient etc. I ride to work all year long, some 10 km one way. Insurance and registration for the car cost around 100 euros per year, maintenance gets to around 200 euros per year on average, it is now over 10 years old and I expect it to go for at least 5 more years if not more.

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Old 05-02-14, 02:46 PM   #23
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if the poorest of the poor can be car free the then average bike forum poster can be car free. it's only impractical because people confuse wants with needs.
Pretty easy to say when you are from Portland...

We became a two car family yesterday or rather, a car and a truck/suv owning family and both are paid off and our insurance rates are not onerous as we do not use the vehicles for commuting.

I am probably not average and needed something to carry shop supplies and also serve as a camping / fishing / winter vehicle so purchased a used, but very well maintained, and nicely equipped Jeep Cherokee for cash.

I was also looking at 4-Runners which are one of my favourite vehicles of all time (I drove an '86 for 500,000 km) although in comparison, Jeep invented the genre and really knew how to build a utilitarian vehicle... there just aren't as many 4-Runners here in Jeep country.

I guess that now I am one of those driver's that cyclists will judge harshly because of what I drive.



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Old 05-02-14, 03:07 PM   #24
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Being car free is not more convenient, quite the opposite.
You moved the goal post from "practical" to "convenient". I agree that cars are convenient. I also think that you are underestimating the total cost of car ownership. In USAnia the average cost has been reported to be ~7000 euros per year (and gas is far more expensive in Serbia).

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she works some 15 km away and has to change two bus lanes to get to work
Sounds like taking the bus is actually *practical* but not something that appeals. Probably ditto for moving closer to work.




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Can't see a point in not having a car at all. It doesn't save money, make life easier or anything, quite the opposite.
Cars pollute the environment, contribute to habitat destruction/climate change, and encourage unhealthy sedentary lifestyles. IMO, low occupancy vehicle use is a classic tragedy of the commons. While I guess I support the right to choose to abuse cars, users should pay for their societal costs. IMO, cigarette taxation and advertising limits provide a good example of how we as a society should treat low occupancy motoring.

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Old 05-02-14, 03:14 PM   #25
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Pretty easy to say when you are from Portland...
When I ride into outer east portland I always see large groups of people waiting at bus or light rail stops. The carless poor use public or active transport and survive so I just don't buy the it's not practical argument.
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