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Old 07-25-12, 10:13 AM   #1
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Going carless in the sticks

Someone I'm close to lost his license for a year. He's always driven everywhere, is in crap shape, you get the picture.

He's taken a very positive attitude towards straightening out and the remedial steps he has to take. He's started cycling to work (15 miles each way) even though he's still allowed to drive there. Physical condition is improving rapidly and I've been helping him with equipment and advice.

However, he's a single dad, lives pretty far from everything and doesn't socialize much so asking friends to step in is apparently not an option. There are a number of practical things he hasn't figured out the best way to do (such as get his kid to activities or his dog proper vet care) since these things are not within the exceptions he's allowed.

I'm just fishing for ideas here. Thanks.
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Old 07-25-12, 10:31 AM   #2
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Since he's in the sticks, does losing his license also include driving an ATV? I have relatives in the sticks, and they do everything on ATVs and snowmobiles from fartin' around town to attending weddings at the school gym/VFW/recreation center/local hang out. The kids drive their own at tots, and the really young ones just hitch a ride. They are all essentially carless unless traveling to "the cities" since it's 6 hours away.

But then there is the cost of obtaining ATVs...
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Old 07-25-12, 10:43 AM   #3
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Depending how old his kids are/how big his dog is, a trailer could solve this.
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Old 07-25-12, 10:52 AM   #4
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I live in the sticks. We have the Illinois public transit system. It's a dollar each trip and they pick you up. Mostly used by people in your friends situation.
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Old 07-25-12, 11:02 AM   #5
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Since he's in the sticks, does losing his license also include driving an ATV? I have relatives in the sticks, and they do everything on ATVs and snowmobiles from fartin' around town to attending weddings at the school gym/VFW/recreation center/local hang out. The kids drive their own at tots, and the really young ones just hitch a ride. They are all essentially carless unless traveling to "the cities" since it's 6 hours away.

But then there is the cost of obtaining ATVs...
If he lost his license for DWI/DUI, it counts for any motorized vehicle that is driven on the road, including a riding lawnmower.

Really, the question is based on budget. He could use a Velomobile to fill the void, but from what I understand, they're somewhat pricey. There is a guy on Martha's Vineyard with two handicapped -Autistic(?) - daughters, that he transports everywhere in his Velomobile.
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Old 07-25-12, 11:11 AM   #6
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One more vote for the trailer. If he has the cash, he could get one for cargo and one for the kids.

My mom can't drive and uses the local dial-a-ride service on occasion, like what chris is talking about, but then that's suburbia. Are y'all even technically in the radius of such a system?
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Old 07-25-12, 11:20 AM   #7
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I live in the sticks. We have the Illinois public transit system. It's a dollar each trip and they pick you up. Mostly used by people in your friends situation.
If there is public transit available, you don't really live out it the sticks.
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Old 07-25-12, 11:21 AM   #8
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Since he's in the sticks, does losing his license also include driving an ATV? I have relatives in the sticks, and they do everything on ATVs and snowmobiles from fartin' around town to attending weddings at the school gym/VFW/recreation center/local hang out. The kids drive their own at tots, and the really young ones just hitch a ride. They are all essentially carless unless traveling to "the cities" since it's 6 hours away.

But then there is the cost of obtaining ATVs...
ATVs aren't actually legal to ride on the road in most places.
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Old 07-25-12, 11:25 AM   #9
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As someone who actually grew up in the sticks, no way would I live out there with out a car. And being a parent means you need to be responsible and you shouldn't rely on others to transport your kids for you. Growing up, the closest store was 20 miles away, it just isn't practical to live that far out from things without a vehicle.
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Old 07-25-12, 11:34 AM   #10
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If there is public transit available, you don't really live out it the sticks.
They cover the county, it really is in the sticks.
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Old 07-25-12, 11:41 AM   #11
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They cover the county, it really is in the sticks.
Then that is a rarity from my experience.

You can get a cab out of one of the bigger cities to go quite aways out to get you, but man I would hate to see that bill. That would be as close as you get around here.
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Old 07-25-12, 11:50 AM   #12
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We're not even that far out and it costs us $50 to take a cab into the city.
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Old 07-25-12, 11:53 AM   #13
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banerjek,

Sorry for your friend's pain. You should definitely check into the Living Car Free, Recreational & Family and Utility Biking forums here on BF. Or have your friend do it if he can. The Commuting forum can help him with any commuting questions. There's a lot of practical experience that has been through similar problems already. He's not alone.

Knowing the size of the kid and the pet, and his budget would help. Two year old's are not the same as 11 year olds. How far exactly is it to those activities and what equipment is needed?

But for generic advice, no commuter should have only 1 bike. I'd recommend getting a second bike, a used, hard-frame mountain bike and add street tires, fenders, lights, racks and shopping panniers. My panniers are Sunlite Grocery Getters. If there is money he might consider buying a Surly Big Dummy, Kona Ute or get an XtraCycle rear end for the mountain bike.

Find a used kiddie trailer to keep the kid dry and it can also be used for grocery shopping. If possible, make it so either bike can tow the trailer. It's possible that for a year, maybe some of the child's activities may need to be reduced, but that will allow for added daddy/child time at home, and since the friend is in the sticks, other activities may be possible in making sure that the child does not have Nature Deficit Syndrome like many kids do.

Lots of good advice can be had. But knowing what to recommend requires knowing more about the problem.
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Old 07-25-12, 12:01 PM   #14
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Since he's in the sticks, does losing his license also include driving an ATV? I have relatives in the sticks, and they do everything on ATVs and snowmobiles from fartin' around town to attending weddings at the school gym/VFW/recreation center/local hang out. The kids drive their own at tots, and the really young ones just hitch a ride. They are all essentially carless unless traveling to "the cities" since it's 6 hours away.

But then there is the cost of obtaining ATVs...
ATV's not street legal so yes he can drive it. No license required.
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Old 07-25-12, 12:08 PM   #15
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ATV's not street legal so yes he can drive it. No license required.
But, you can't drive it on the streets because it's not street legal. You can get pulled over and ticketed for it.

Or at least they can try as you duck off into a field and through a woods, not that I would know about pulling stunts like that.
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Old 07-25-12, 12:11 PM   #16
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But, you can't drive it on the streets because it's not street legal. You can get pulled over and ticketed for it.

Or at least they can try as you duck off into a field and through a woods, not that I would know about pulling stunts like that.
Not that I'm admitting anything, but why stop.
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Old 07-25-12, 12:19 PM   #17
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Dunno his financials, but agree with Artkansas that since he's now relying solely on his bike, he should invest in another one. The trailer route will be cheaper, but maybe the guy could use something like a Big Dummy/Xtracycle, Kona Ute, and the like. Possibly even outfit one with electric assist to help with heavier loads or travel distances a bit further and/or faster.
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Old 07-25-12, 12:20 PM   #18
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Dunno his financials, but agree with Artkansas that since he's now relying solely on his bike, he should invest in another one. The trailer route will be cheaper, but maybe the guy could use something like a Big Dummy/Xtracycle, Kona Ute, and the like. Possibly even outfit one with electric assist to help with heavier loads or travel distances a bit further and/or faster.
I'm still confused as to how the second bike will help with the dog and kid(s)? Cargo bikes are usually serious $$$$
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Old 07-25-12, 12:25 PM   #19
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I'm still confused as to how the second bike will help with the dog and kid(s)? Cargo bikes are usually serious $$$$
And people obviously have never tried to strap a kid in a trailer for a couple hours if they think that is actually a workable solution.
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Old 07-25-12, 12:32 PM   #20
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And people obviously have never tried to strap a kid in a trailer for a couple hours if they think that is actually a workable solution.
A couple hours? We still don't know the actual distances for vet and kid rec time travel.... glad you're being so open minded with the facts present here.
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Old 07-25-12, 12:37 PM   #21
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And people obviously have never tried to strap a kid in a trailer for a couple hours if they think that is actually a workable solution.
Yeah... I have pretty much a three-mile radius of action with the 2-year-old in the trailer. But then, I live in the burbs and it's hard to get too far beyond that without the roads getting very trailer-unfriendly. But I think if my son had his snack cup and maybe a book, he'd be okay for a few more miles.

I was hoping that "out in the sticks", there wouldn't be much traffic and thus, he'd be able to make it further with appropriately-distracted kids in the trailer.
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Old 07-25-12, 12:46 PM   #22
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A couple hours? We still don't know the actual distances for vet and kid rec time travel.... glad you're being so open minded with the facts present here.
Out in the sticks and 15 miles to work, to me out in the sticks means it's probably 15 miles at least to most places.

And to me, being a father is my biggest responsibility in life and I take that job very seriously. My kids well being is the most important thing. So that takes precedent over any hair brain idea to try and leave a certain way. What happens if the kid gets sick and you need to get him to the doctor?
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Old 07-25-12, 12:47 PM   #23
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Yeah... I have pretty much a three-mile radius of action with the 2-year-old in the trailer. But then, I live in the burbs and it's hard to get too far beyond that without the roads getting very trailer-unfriendly. But I think if my son had his snack cup and maybe a book, he'd be okay for a few more miles.

I was hoping that "out in the sticks", there wouldn't be much traffic and thus, he'd be able to make it further with appropriately-distracted kids in the trailer.
Yeah, but a round trip would be a lot and would only be interesting so many times.
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Old 07-25-12, 12:50 PM   #24
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Out in the sticks and 15 miles to work, to me out in the sticks means it's probably 15 miles at least to most places.

And to me, being a father is my biggest responsibility in life and I take that job very seriously. My kids well being is the most important thing. So that takes precedent over any hair brain idea to try and leave a certain way. What happens if the kid gets sick and you need to get him to the doctor?
Wouldn't know, in my 5 year tenure spent as a step dad I always had a working familymobile and was licensed and insured.. so I'm doing my best to supply helpful info here without passing on my prejudices... but I also can't see kids and animals being less antsy on a cargo bike then a trailer.. perhaps you can clarify for me?
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Old 07-25-12, 12:57 PM   #25
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Wouldn't know, in my 5 year tenure spent as a step dad I always had a working familymobile and was licensed and insured.. so I'm doing my best to supply helpful info here without passing on my prejudices... but I also can't see kids and animals being less antsy on a cargo bike then a trailer.. perhaps you can clarify for me?
They wouldn't be any less antsy between the two, a trail a bike is slightly better than a trailer, but only when they are awake and alert. The problem is them being confined to such a small area for any length of time. Same thing happens in a car, only difference is how much distance you can cover in that time. A hour is about my sons limit, but there are days when even that is far to long.
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