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Old 07-31-10, 07:57 AM   #1
adlai
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Let's talk about how a bicyclist's perspective is different

I'm the only bike commuter in my house of roommates, and simultaneously, I almost never leave the city and go to the country...because I don't have a car, but also I have more access to stores that they don't because going in and getting parking is a cinch compared to dealing with car traffic. Compared to my friends who walk on sidewalks primarily, I don't notice as much of the local stores, but everything is much closer.
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Old 07-31-10, 08:13 AM   #2
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I almost never leave the city and go to the country...because I don't have a car
When I was car-ownership-free for 6 years, I left the city just about every day, and rode in the country. I would do shorter 20 to 80 km rides during the week, and 80 km and much, much longer on the weekend. Not having a car didn't prevent me from doing that ... I didn't need a car to ride my bicycle!

When I wanted to go to another province or another country, I might rent a car or take a flight. And being car-ownership-free gave me the ability to fly to all sorts of places because I wasn't putting my money toward a car.

Just because you don't own a car doesn't mean you have to have a limited perspective on the world around you.
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Old 08-01-10, 06:14 AM   #3
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Me: "Let's go downtown to see some major event."
Them: "Too much traffic and no parking."
Me: I bike down.

Me: "Lets go to DC and see the Cherry Blossom Festival."
Them: "Too much traffic and no parking."
Me: I bike down. (50 miles one way.)

There is definitely a change in the air on what mode provides the greater mobility.

If you are up to the challenge, there are people who bike 100+ miles in day, that should be enough to get you out of the city and into the country.
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Old 08-01-10, 06:48 AM   #4
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One problem that arises (at least for me...
Them: Let's go to the store. (Goes, looks for 1-2 mins for parking spot, parks (possibly further away than desired but there is ALWAYS a spot somewhere), locks car, shops without care, returns home.) Thinks nothing about what they've just done - it's the "American norm".
Motorcyclist: Okay. Hops on crotch rocket, zooms to store, ticks others off by parking practically anywhere, removing key locks fork/bike, shops without worry, picks up 1 item, returns home. Repeats sequence to additional stores. Tallies up speeding tickets. wink. Gets on with the day smiling at the thought of going out and doing it all over again tomorrow.
Me: Okay. (Bikes, looks around for 5 mins for a place to lock the bike (occasionally finds NOTHING), shops always semi-worrying that the bike will still be there and/or that I may have accidentally bought too much for my baskets to hold, returns home). Looks at watch - afternoon/day is shot.

Time differential: varies based on distance to store - They are more likely to make numerous stops, buy more and take less time than I do. Motorcyclist is a relatively happy medium.

Lifestyle effect: They return from the trip in 99% of the cases warm/comfortable and dry. I return from the same trips often dripping with sweat, grimy from road dirt, and needing an immediate shower.

Weather: Summer temps average high mid-high 90s with 85-92% humidity (at 7am this morning, it was 81F 92% humidity heading for 96F this afternoon!). We won't talk about rain - when it does, it pours, not drizzles.

FWIW, I live in a the suburbs of a major metropolitan area in the South where grocery and other stores are within 1-5 miles. Malls (enclosed and strip) are 3-5 miles away. Public transportation system sucks in the 'burbs where I live (poor frequency, inadequate routes --- the exact opposite of the in-city transit system). The malls have no/few bicycle racks to lock the bike to - I am usually stuck locking it to a light/lamp post or a shopping cart rack. Bike-theft rate for medium-priced bikes is high enough to worry about every time one leaves the bike (think 1-200/month; the police don't even take reports sometimes.).

As a former motorcycle-only "driver", parking was easier than with either cars or bikes; otoh, it was not more comfortable than a car and I had the same carrying issues as with the bike (solution was multiple trips but much easier/quicker than on bike).
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Old 08-01-10, 07:44 AM   #5
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Yes ... the bicycle parking is an issue. When I was car-ownership-free, I opted to walk or take the bus to the stores because I never felt comfortable locking my bicycle to something outside the store, and leaving it there.

And then I had to visit the store 2-3 times a week because I couldn't carry any more than about half a week's worth of groceries at a time ... especially if there was anything large like kitty litter or laundry detergent.

So, about every 4-6 months, I would rent a car and do my grocery shopping to get half a year's worth of stuff like laundry detergent, toilet paper, dish soap, canned goods, etc. ... or if I didn't rent a car, I would take the bus to a large store, and then get a taxi home.
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Old 08-01-10, 09:56 AM   #6
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Me: How about we go see a show tonight.
Them: Not tonight, the car payment's due this week, maybe next week depending on my finances.
Next week.
Me: How's this week for seeing a show.
Them: Not at all, I just got my car insurance bill, it went up twenty percent, what a ripoff. That leaves me barely have enough gas money just to get to work.
Me: I've got some spare cash, I'll pay your way, buy dinner for all of us, and put some gas in your car to get us there.
Them: Really? Wow, that's great, I'll see you tonight.

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Old 08-01-10, 10:15 AM   #7
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[QUOTE=The Human Car;11209916]Me: "Let's go downtown to see some major event."
Them: "Too much traffic and no parking."
Me: I bike down.

Me: "Lets go to DC and see the Cherry Blossom Festival."
Them: "Too much traffic and no parking."
Me: I bike down. (50 miles one way.)

I often go to events in our downtown/lakefront, actually any with expensive difficult parking, by throwing my bike on the car rack and parking a mile or two away where it is free/available and riding in the short distance to the event. Some large events such as Summerfest (http://www.summerfest.com/flash/#) have a fenced bike parking lot.
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Old 08-01-10, 10:36 AM   #8
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My co-workers are mystified when they learn I seldom take the fastest, most direct route anywhere.
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Old 08-01-10, 01:48 PM   #9
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When I first went car lite, ( have access to company vehicles if i want. ) it was primarily for health reasons. When you have, for the most part, stepped outside the whole owning a car thing, you really start to notice how much of life is bent around the car, and the costs, which are often indirect, thus ignored by most.
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Old 08-01-10, 02:34 PM   #10
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Me: I've got some spare cash, I'll pay your way, buy dinner for all of us, and put some gas in your car to get us there.
Do you need a new friend in north central Texas?
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Old 08-01-10, 05:43 PM   #11
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Do you need a new friend in north central Texas?

My family members are already doing a great job of making sure that my pocket book doesn't get too fat.
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Old 08-01-10, 06:03 PM   #12
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I started carrying some of those reuseable (recycled materials) shopping bags in my backpack, and errands became a LOT easier. There's always a tree, a cart corral, or somesuch to lock my bike to, and I'm never in a store long enough to really worry about the bike. (Besides, most people on my side of town THINK I'm a cop, so they leave me alone a lot. *No, I don't 'pretend', it's a simple matter of, they don't believe a 'white boy' would ride a bike like mine through 'their hood', unless he was po-po*)
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