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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 10-13-15, 07:07 AM   #1
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TED Talk: How one woman became a carfree cyclist

This TED Talk is one woman's story about gradually, almost accidentally, becoming a carfree cyclist. The speaker is the blogger, author, and cartoonist Bekka Wright, AKA Bikeyface.

How does your story compare to hers?

http://bikeyface.com/2015/10/08/movi...edxsomerville/
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Old 10-13-15, 09:44 AM   #2
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This TED Talk is one woman's story about gradually, almost accidentally, becoming a carfree cyclist. The speaker is the blogger, author, and cartoonist Bekka Wright, AKA Bikeyface.

How does your story compare to hers?

Moving People: Bikeyface at TEDxSomerville | Bikeyface
I can't imagine anyone car-free couldn't relate to this story on some level. She's basically just expressing common sense that only becomes available once you've gone through the experience of transitioning from car-based living to LCF. Still, important work to express it to those still in the dark . . . and neat cartoons.

Actually, it's not just important to express it to those still in the dark because with all the negativity you get from LCF, it is nice to see others experiencing the positive side of it.
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Old 10-13-15, 10:01 AM   #3
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I can't imagine anyone car-free couldn't relate to this story on some level. She's basically just expressing common sense that only becomes available once you've gone through the experience of transitioning from car-based living to LCF. Still, important work to express it to those still in the dark . . . and neat cartoons.

Actually, it's not just important to express it to those still in the dark because with all the negativity you get from LCF, it is nice to see others experiencing the positive side of it.
I do hope to see more positive comments about LCF on this forum, and plan to introduce more myself as they come up. It's not that I see myself as a cheerleader, but I think we carfree/carlight people have a lot of positive ideas about good ways of living. We should share our experiences and ideas with each other and with the world. It certainly couldn't hurt!

I'm looking forward to hearing more stories about how people became carfree/carlight--especially from women and those who are new to the forum.

I don't think bikeyface is exactly a great speaker yet. She seems kind of nervous and she didn't focus her topic very well, IMO. Her blog and cartoons are pretty cool. I hope this is a good introduction for those who haven't run across her before.
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Old 10-13-15, 10:09 AM   #4
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Well, except for being car-free in L.A. I don't see much similarity. I rode all over L.A. as a teen, but it was in Santa Barbara that living car-free really took ahold. UCSB was great for that.

And when I moved away from my dad's house in L.A., I had neglected to buy a car so there I was. Actually at the beginning, my biggest fear was could I support my house and pay all the bills. Riding around L.A. was nothing new. At the same time, they were some pretty tough streets. Potholes big enough to destroy two rims simultaneously, bike jacking, being attacked by another cyclist, and run over by a car.

But during the gas crisis, I was the only student in my classes to have a perfect attendance record. I also traveled farther than any of the students who drove, since I was not only from out of the district, but lived in the second district away.
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Old 10-13-15, 11:09 AM   #5
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I like cycling, and have little interest in cars. There were times when I was car free/light because I didn't need one, other times it was because I couldn't afford one. Currently it's just because I want to, with no internal or external motives.

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Old 10-13-15, 04:22 PM   #6
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She has a peculiar notion of what cycling shorts look like from the front. Perhaps she should stare a bit, if only to improve her art. That was actually a very off-putting drawing. In a nation where very few people engage in any movement at all and the ones who choose to ride a bike are a tiny subset of those, I have to wonder why she would choose to go tribal and further drive a wedge between various stereotypical riders. This seems to be a "thing" with folks who have discovered the bike fairly recently. I'm not sure if it's because such a view creates common ground with our generally anti-bike culture or if there is some resentment of people who at times use a bike differently and just happen to generally be fitter. There's lots of ways to ride and all of them have one thing in common: they're all better than driving. There should be no tribalism in cycling. We can't afford it at our modal share. Yet, this video is typical of what I see from far too many recently-converted "advocates".

The provincial cheer-leading thing was a bit odd as well. It seemed like the ACS version of Cat 6 racing and was a total non sequitur.

It is interesting that some people will look at her talk and find it to be positive in tone. If you only see the slides dealing with bikes vs. cars, then it certainly comes off that way, at least in a pro-bike way. I suspect more than a few of those who see it that way are also dividers of the cycling community, so her anti-"hipster", anti-"roadie" bias feels just fine. "My way is the only right way" is no way to help make cycling available to everyone imo.
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Old 10-13-15, 04:47 PM   #7
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She has a peculiar notion of what cycling shorts look like from the front. Perhaps she should stare a bit, if only to improve her art. That was actually a very off-putting drawing. In a nation where very few people engage in any movement at all and the ones who choose to ride a bike are a tiny subset of those, I have to wonder why she would choose to go tribal and further drive a wedge between various stereotypical riders...

Yet, this video is typical of what I see from far too many recently-converted "advocates".

.... I suspect more than a few of those who see it that way are also dividers of the cycling community, so her anti-"hipster", anti-"roadie" bias feels just fine. "My way is the only right way" is no way to help make cycling available to everyone imo.
I got some of the same vibe, but I'm not so negative about that. She expresses some of the same prejudices a lot of non-cyclists have about cyclists - they're weird or they're different or whatever, but in spite of it she got biking, so I think the video or her blog will encourage more people to try it in spite of those attitudes. I suspect she'll mellow and become more tolerant through exposure to these strange and frightening different types, as we all do - maybe get a faster bike and some padded shorts for longer rides, look into triathlon, join a demonstration/protest ride, get chatty with a hipster she meets at the bike rack, etc.

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Old 10-13-15, 05:34 PM   #8
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She has a peculiar notion of what cycling shorts look like from the front. Perhaps she should stare a bit, if only to improve her art. That was actually a very off-putting drawing. In a nation where very few people engage in any movement at all and the ones who choose to ride a bike are a tiny subset of those, I have to wonder why she would choose to go tribal and further drive a wedge between various stereotypical riders. This seems to be a "thing" with folks who have discovered the bike fairly recently. I'm not sure if it's because such a view creates common ground with our generally anti-bike culture or if there is some resentment of people who at times use a bike differently and just happen to generally be fitter. There's lots of ways to ride and all of them have one thing in common: they're all better than driving. There should be no tribalism in cycling. We can't afford it at our modal share. Yet, this video is typical of what I see from far too many recently-converted "advocates".

The provincial cheer-leading thing was a bit odd as well. It seemed like the ACS version of Cat 6 racing and was a total non sequitur.

It is interesting that some people will look at her talk and find it to be positive in tone. If you only see the slides dealing with bikes vs. cars, then it certainly comes off that way, at least in a pro-bike way. I suspect more than a few of those who see it that way are also dividers of the cycling community, so her anti-"hipster", anti-"roadie" bias feels just fine. "My way is the only right way" is no way to help make cycling available to everyone imo.
Don't take it so seriously. I would be characterized as a roadie for much of my life. I thought it was humorous. Behind the humor she's making a point that bicycling needs to become more accessible and natural even for people that are not real passionate about it.

Overall I give her high marks for encouraging people to get out there and not fear they're doing it wrong.
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Old 10-13-15, 05:38 PM   #9
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Very different than how I became car free. I was ordered by my doctor not to drive a car for six months. Car free overnight. Once I was allowed to drive again I figured out I didn't need a car and that my life was better without it.
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Old 10-14-15, 08:32 AM   #10
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Very different than how I became car free. I was ordered by my doctor not to drive a car for six months. Car free overnight. Once I was allowed to drive again I figured out I didn't need a car and that my life was better without it.
I was already carfree for economical/ecological reasons. Then I discovered the joys and benefits of fitting exercise into my daily life habits. I mainly did this through walking and cycling for transportation. This had the effect of making me "bus-free" since I was already carfree.
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Old 10-14-15, 10:22 AM   #11
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Really enjoyed this video, thanks for posting it. I do love having a car that could take me from one coast to the other in a few days, but when I move away from here (hopefully within the next year or two!) one thing I'll be looking at for potential new homes will be how safe is it to cycle and walk? It's frustrating to have so many places within easy distance of where I live and to have to get in my car on beautiful sunny days because the roads and drivers are terrible for anything else.
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Old 10-14-15, 10:32 AM   #12
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Really enjoyed this video, thanks for posting it. I do love having a car that could take me from one coast to the other in a few days, but when I move away from here (hopefully within the next year or two!) one thing I'll be looking at for potential new homes will be how safe is it to cycle and walk? It's frustrating to have so many places within easy distance of where I live and to have to get in my car on beautiful sunny days because the roads and drivers are terrible for anything else.
It always comes down to building appropriate infrastructure, which was one of the points made in the video.

If a 10 year old kid can't bike or walk safely in a neighborhood, the infrastructure is inappropriate, IMO. Elderly people and the disabled should also be able to travel without cars, or it's back to the drawing board.

Of course, personal habits and characteristics are also important. People have to develop the mindset to be carfree, or they're not going to do it, even in the few areas where infra is already good.
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Old 10-14-15, 11:01 AM   #13
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She has a peculiar notion of what cycling shorts look like from the front. Perhaps she should stare a bit, if only to improve her art. That was actually a very off-putting drawing.


Bicycling clothing is very off-putting to many people. Her point is that she hopes to break open city cycling to a wide range of people.

She's using exaggeration. Look at the next panel that she showed as well. The bus has a mouth. She did it to get a laugh and she got one. People relaxed, maybe opening their minds to cycling themselves.

Compared to say Khaki trousers, bicycling clothes certainly leave little to the imagination.

It's not as bad as this...

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Old 10-14-15, 02:25 PM   #14
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It always comes down to building appropriate infrastructure, which was one of the points made in the video.

If a 10 year old kid can't bike or walk safely in a neighborhood, the infrastructure is inappropriate, IMO. Elderly people and the disabled should also be able to travel without cars, or it's back to the drawing board.

Of course, personal habits and characteristics are also important. People have to develop the mindset to be carfree, or they're not going to do it, even in the few areas where infra is already good.
I agree with both of these. I don't see much for the future of advocacy in my country, given the general mood as portrayed and promulgated by the media, but that's a different forum discussion.

For myself, I like to at least believe I'm not too terrible at logical risk assessment. I've walked some of the roads I'd like to bike, and I don't see it as being a good risk. Not when I can ride around my relatively safe subdivision or get on any part of the Swamp Rabbit Trail for fun and health. However, when I move, will there be less safe areas I'll have to walk or cycle through on my routes? I'm sure there will be. It's just that around here the entire route is risky.
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Old 10-14-15, 10:30 PM   #15
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Bicycling clothing is very off-putting to many people. Her point is that she hopes to break open city cycling to a wide range of people.

She's using exaggeration. Look at the next panel that she showed as well. The bus has a mouth. She did it to get a laugh and she got one. People relaxed, maybe opening their minds to cycling themselves.

Compared to say Khaki trousers, bicycling clothes certainly leave little to the imagination.
Do you really think there is little left to the imagination in that fellow's shorts? I guess you didn't grow up in a competitive swimming environment. Speaking of which, I wonder if the folks who hate on cycling-specific clothing also wear their khaki when they go for a swim. Why wear clothing that is designed for enhancing one's comfort and performance in any activity?

(Oddly, both her drawing and the one odd photo you found show people with rather large amount of chamois in the front. Weird.)
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Old 10-15-15, 12:55 PM   #16
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Do you really think there is little left to the imagination in that fellow's shorts? I guess you didn't grow up in a competitive swimming environment. Speaking of which, I wonder if the folks who hate on cycling-specific clothing also wear their khaki when they go for a swim. Why wear clothing that is designed for enhancing one's comfort and performance in any activity?

(Oddly, both her drawing and the one odd photo you found show people with rather large amount of chamois in the front. Weird.)
Europeans find the idea that one must wear special shorts to ride a bike a few easy miles is ludicrous. So do I. Of course, everybody understands that athletes engaged in long distance competitions will wear specialist clothing. I know, some riders are "vehicular serious cyclists" engaged in competition against motor vehicles, so they also need the special shorts.
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Old 10-15-15, 01:03 PM   #17
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Do you really think there is little left to the imagination in that fellow's shorts? I guess you didn't grow up in a competitive swimming environment. Speaking of which, I wonder if the folks who hate on cycling-specific clothing also wear their khaki when they go for a swim. Why wear clothing that is designed for enhancing one's comfort and performance in any activity?

(Oddly, both her drawing and the one odd photo you found show people with rather large amount of chamois in the front. Weird.)
Speaking of weird bicycling related photos - Does anyone think a bicycle helmet enhances their appearance when worn off the bike? I have to wonder about why anyone would pose for pictures, especially in front of scenic or historic venues and not take their helmet off? I can understand hair deficient individuals desire to wear a hat, but otherwise? Any explanations?
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Old 10-15-15, 01:57 PM   #18
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Speaking of weird bicycling related photos - Does anyone think a bicycle helmet enhances their appearance when worn off the bike? I have to wonder about why anyone would pose for pictures, especially in front of scenic or historic venues and not take their helmet off? I can understand hair deficient individuals desire to wear a hat, but otherwise? Any explanations?
My theory (I haven't tested it by actually asking anybody!) is they just don't want to deal with carrying the helmet or misplacing it. If I'm off my bike I'll clip my helmet to my pannier. Of course the only reason I use it at all is that it's such a good place to clip my Blackburn Flea light. I don't like to wear hats, either, unless I need to keep rain off my glasses.
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Old 10-15-15, 02:05 PM   #19
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My theory (I haven't tested it by actually asking anybody!) is they just don't want to deal with carrying the helmet or misplacing it. If I'm off my bike I'll clip my helmet to my pannier. Of course the only reason I use it at all is that it's such a good place to clip my Blackburn Flea light. I don't like to wear hats, either, unless I need to keep rain off my glasses.
Twice in the last couple weeks, I've seen network TV news interviews with cyclists wearing helmets. Neither had anything to do with cycling. One interview was about the rain in South Carolina, the other about the Dem. debates.
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Old 10-15-15, 03:50 PM   #20
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Europeans find the idea that one must wear special shorts to ride a bike a few easy miles is ludicrous. So do I. Of course, everybody understands that athletes engaged in long distance competitions will wear specialist clothing. I know, some riders are "vehicular serious cyclists" engaged in competition against motor vehicles, so they also need the special shorts.
Who's saying what anybody else must wear?

I'm not competing with anybody. I wear bicycle specific clothes because I find them more comfortable and it's easier to regulate my temperature hot or cold. I know from your previous posts on this subject that you have a problem understanding that. I'm not alone either. I guess in your mind I have ulterior motives. OK I'm showing off my hot ass too
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Old 10-15-15, 03:59 PM   #21
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Do you really think there is little left to the imagination in that fellow's shorts? I guess you didn't grow up in a competitive swimming environment. Speaking of which, I wonder if the folks who hate on cycling-specific clothing also wear their khaki when they go for a swim. Why wear clothing that is designed for enhancing one's comfort and performance in any activity?

(Oddly, both her drawing and the one odd photo you found show people with rather large amount of chamois in the front. Weird.)
Obviously a size queen.
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Old 10-16-15, 06:15 PM   #22
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Great video and comics too!
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Old 10-16-15, 06:24 PM   #23
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Yeah, she's a talented cartoonist (is that the term? Or is it graphic artist?).

I just can't sympathize with the "us" vs. "them" arguments.

Planes, trains, automobiles, bicycles, horses, they all have their uses.
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Old 10-16-15, 06:24 PM   #24
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Really enjoyed this video, thanks for posting it. I do love having a car that could take me from one coast to the other in a few days, but when I move away from here (hopefully within the next year or two!) one thing I'll be looking at for potential new homes will be how safe is it to cycle and walk? It's frustrating to have so many places within easy distance of where I live and to have to get in my car on beautiful sunny days because the roads and drivers are terrible for anything else.
The US is super car centric. There are many suburbs now that don't even have sidewalks.
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Old 10-16-15, 06:28 PM   #25
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This TED Talk is one woman's story about gradually, almost accidentally, becoming a carfree cyclist. The speaker is the blogger, author, and cartoonist Bekka Wright, AKA Bikeyface.

How does your story compare to hers?

Moving People: Bikeyface at TEDxSomerville | Bikeyface
Bicycles are great, cycling is great.

But I don't believe in demonizing cars, petroleum or the people who use them.

Cycling also carries it's risks as well. And it's not exactly a perfect form of exercise.

Also, I'd say a lot of drivers have good reason to be upset with a certain segment of cyclists, who openly flout the law, run reds, run stop signs and ride on sidewalks.

Having lots and lots more cyclists will not exactly lead to utopian results.
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