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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 11-01-16, 10:12 AM   #1
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How did you get here?

So, with all the talk of trolls and splitting the LCF forum I got curious about the folks here.

Without trying to offend anybody (though I'm sure I'll succeed), I split bicyclists into two groups.

There are those who bicycle because they love bicycling, ie. touring, racing, a few hours in the park on Sunday, etc. And there are those who bicycle mainly because it suits other purposes, whether practical or philosophical. Of course there's plenty of crossover, so rather than pigeonholes I think of this as a wide shelf with people occupying various places.

So, think about the MAIN reason you're a bicyclist. You love bicycling, and are therefore fitting it into your life more. Or you have lifestyle preferences or needs and the bicycle fits in well.

In simplest terms, is bicycling then means to other objectives, or is LCF the means to bicycle more? (or some combination of the two)

---------------

I'll start.

I'm a lifer, having started bicycling in my teens, and an active tourist and sport cyclist favoring long rides with small groups of friends. I went LCF some years back, for multiple reasons, and would still own a car but for the economics. But to me being LCF is more about bicycling more, than it is about getting id of the car.


BTW- there shouldn't be anything here to fight over, so let's keep any back and forth short and friendly.
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Old 11-01-16, 01:49 PM   #2
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...I see the best bicycles (designed for whatever purpose originally) as useful objects of practical artistry (sort of like Richard Sachs at his most philosophical). Indeed, I think the bicycle and the sewing machine might be my two favorite machines (for different reasons). But they're not really practical to have around if you don't ride them (the bicycles, not the sewing machines.)
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Old 11-01-16, 01:55 PM   #3
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.
...I see the best bicycles (designed for whatever purpose originally) as useful objects of practical artistry (sort of like Richard Sachs at his most philosophical). Indeed, I think the bicycle and the sewing machine might be my two favorite machines (for different reasons). But they're not really practical to have around if you don't ride them (the bicycles, not the sewing machines.)
I'm from the "if you love it, you'll use it" school, so I won't own any bikes worth so much that I'd be heartbroken if they died.

But I also love old machinery, and once passed up a spotless treadle powered Singer for $150 (decades ago) and regret it, though I doubt either Deb or I would ever have used it.
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Old 11-01-16, 02:03 PM   #4
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There are those who bicycle because they love bicycling, ie. touring, racing, a few hours in the park on Sunday, etc.
That's me. If I can take care of mundane needs like groceries by doing something I love, all the better.

I'm car light, but not car free. In fact, some days I drive my bike somewhere nice to enjoy a scenic ride.

But, on a day to day basis, I try to use my car as little as I can get away with. Frankly, I don't enjoy driving it. I live in a city so for most things the bike or just a walk is a good alternative.
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Old 11-01-16, 02:38 PM   #5
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I started absolutely in the biking for practical uses camp. In fact I didn't enjoy being a car-free cyclist at all for the first few months, mainly because I was in poor condition and it was a whole lot of work. And because I didn't know anything about it.

That evolved through a lot of different stages of motivation and now I'm "car-light", riding 2 or 3 times the utility miles I'd had when I was car-free, and literally only because I enjoy it.
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Old 11-01-16, 03:18 PM   #6
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Some strange fear of being "trapped" in traffic keeps me cycling. Not sure "fear" is the right word but I really hate sitting in gridlock traffic with time to THINK about how dumb that is, not to mention wasteful. This is likely caused by where i live having relatively narrow streets so ANYTHING that happens - a breakdown, garbage truck, road crew, festival, or stray cat can cause massive delays even clogging back streets with no escape but to wait. Riding a bicycle is almost like being a ghost who can just walk through walls to go directly to where I want to be no matter what is going on around me. It is nearly impossible for me to be trapped in traffic on a bike.

Knowing ^this....it is not hard to see that cars I owned would just sit in the driveway and fall apart. I would actually love to own a cheap car for weekend getaways but just don't use them enough to make the car happy.

I enjoy cycling enough. Not really in love with it like some. Cycling just suits my personality and habitat the best.
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Old 11-01-16, 04:04 PM   #7
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So, think about the MAIN reason you're a bicyclist. You love bicycling, and are therefore fitting it into your life more. Or you have lifestyle preferences or needs and the bicycle fits in well.

In simplest terms, is bicycling then means to other objectives, or is LCF the means to bicycle more? (or some combination of the two)
I'm definitely in the 'love bicycling' camp and have over time found more and more ways to incorporate cycling into my life.

I'm not car free mind you, but my current circumstances permit me to live very car light and I really enjoy any cycling time I can get. Frankly I don't enjoy driving in the city at all - it's stressful, frustrating, can be expensive (for parking) and completely unrewarding unlike riding my bike.

When I drive I often feel trapped, when I ride I always feel free. That's my motivation pure and simple.
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Old 11-01-16, 05:05 PM   #8
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I enjoy cycling and have been doing it for 9 years now. I don't like it when people take a normal act of cycling or even living without a car and turn it into activism or ideology...The only reason why I participate in these forums and especially in LCF forum is because I have lived car-free for 3 years and car-light for a lot longer and I have a lot of experience riding in the worst weather conditions, running errands and transporting all manner of groceries using a bicycle...I have a very good understanding of what it takes to live car-free and use a bicycle for transportation in the suburbs where the distances between destinations are much greater then in the downtown areas of larger cities...I am going to be blunt and honest and say this: Living car-free in the suburbs in not a very practical thing to do, sure it can be done...but just because something can be done doesn't mean it's the most ideal way to live, a much better alternative is to be car-light.
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Old 11-01-16, 05:50 PM   #9
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I find the reasons are synergistic. Like many kids my age I biked a fair amount as a kid to get around my neighbourhood, and was the right age to get caught up in the "Japanese bike boom" around 1970 and got what was then called a "ten speed" (5 X 2 gears). Even so, I didn't get heavily into road riding or touring at that point although they were always in the back of my mind as possible future interests. Education, work and family life distracted me from biking much in my 20s and 30s, although I did occasional weekend pleasure rides, but living in a transit-rich city, I sold my car when I got married and we just had my wife's car and I took the subway to work. During a transit strike around 1991 I experimented with biking to work, found it preferable to transit in non-severe weather and have been doing a 25/75 transit/bike commute split ever since. That would be transit on ice or in heavy rain, otherwise biking.

Biking to work stimulated me to spend time on older bike discussion groups and kindled a latent interest in cycling for pleasure and in environmental issues, so in fact I now bike more for pleasure than I did in childhood or early adulthood, as well as commuting 130-170 days a year by bike, and as well as think a lot more about environmental and urban issues than ever before.

I was on bikeforums for a while before I drifted into LCF but it seemed familiar and similar to other discussion groups I had seen or participated in, where biking intertwined with social and political issues, so to me, this forum has never seemed anomalous. I'm repeatedly surprised at people who think those discussions are somehow out of place here.

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Old 11-01-16, 05:59 PM   #10
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...I see the best bicycles (designed for whatever purpose originally) as useful objects of practical artistry (sort of like Richard Sachs at his most philosophical). Indeed, I think the bicycle and the sewing machine might be my two favorite machines (for different reasons). But they're not really practical to have around if you don't ride them (the bicycles, not the sewing machines.)
I think there was a movement to have witches ride sewing machines, but the luddite witches sabotaged it and they stuck with brooms. Apologies to Wiccans - I'm talking about fictional witches as it was Hallowe'en yesterday after all.
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Old 11-01-16, 06:02 PM   #11
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When I drive I often feel trapped, when I ride I always feel free. That's my motivation pure and simple.
Ditto. When I drive in slow traffic, even if I am going faster than I would on a bike, I still get annoyed, because on a bike you are rarely held up by traffic.
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Old 11-01-16, 06:55 PM   #12
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I used to drive quite a bit, and was never patient in heavy traffic, but after being car free (almost) for 6+ years I can barely tolerate backups or slow drivers. I especially can't stand slow, indecisive drivers who hold me up while they ponder their navels.

BTW - you haven't answered the thread's question. If you recall, I answered your questions in other threads so how about it?
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Old 11-01-16, 07:47 PM   #13
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BTW - you haven't answered the thread's question. If you recall, I answered your questions in other threads so how about it?
I'm not sure if that was directed to me - I tried to answer in the "synergism" post above that starting to bike to work rekindled an old interest in cycling for its own sake, and stimulated a latent interest in environmental and urban issues relate to cycling.
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Old 11-01-16, 08:18 PM   #14
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I'm not sure if that was directed to me - I tried to answer in the "synergism" post above that starting to bike to work rekindled an old interest in cycling for its own sake, and stimulated a latent interest in environmental and urban issues relate to cycling.
It was but only because I linked from the notification, and didn't scroll back to your post before the response about hating traffic.

It's a sort of BF/FB glitch, where I miss stuff between two notifications. So, sorry.
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Old 11-01-16, 08:27 PM   #15
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It was but only because I linked from the notification, and didn't scroll back to your post before the response about hating traffic.

It's a sort of BF/FB glitch, where I miss stuff between two notifications. So, sorry.
I ignore notifications and mentions (sorry, 3alarmer) - I just go to "User CP" where I see if any threads I am subscribed to have been updated. I am automatically subscribed to any thread I post in. I don't know if that is true for everybody or is a custom setting.

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Old 11-01-16, 08:36 PM   #16
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I ignore notifications and mentions (sorry, 3alarmer) - I just go to "User CP" where I see if any threads I am subscribed to have been updated. I am automatically subscribed to any thread I post in. I don't know if that is true for everybody or is a custom setting.
It's an option, as is getting an email notification of posts to subscribed threads.

Both work fine unless, like me, you do quick glances and don't scroll back to see what else happened.

I'm the same about emails. I wake up to about 80 overnight emails, and hit the delete key while having my first cuppa. I have a fast delete finger, but sometimes it's too fast.
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Old 11-01-16, 09:57 PM   #17
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To be perfectly honest, LCF means nothing to me if it doesn't include cycling. If I can bicycle more places with a car then I will keep a car. If I didn't need a car to take my wife places I might not have a car. If it was necessary to have a 4x4 to ride my MTB, so far it isn't, I would consider getting a 4x4. Bicycles is what I have in common with Bicycle Forums.

That would be my main reason anyway.
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Old 11-01-16, 10:12 PM   #18
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As I've mentioned elsewhere, I bike more because I enjoy it. I drive less because it lets me bike more. But this explanation is also incomplete. It is also true that cycling is a means to an end. When I cycle, it takes me longer to get places and weather, etc., may constrain how many obligations I set for myself in a way that doesn't apply when I'm driving. I used to live in a big metro area and practice law - it was an all-consuming "lifestyle." When I moved to where I am now, I stopped practicing law and took radical steps to keep my "life" from taking over my life. Biking instead of driving is a good way to do that - it forces me to consider what activities and obligations I will take on because I spend more time and energy getting from one obligation to the next. Thus, for me biking is both an end in itself and a means to an end. But I'm not car free. I could be one day, but today is not that day. Also, biking is not for me political or environmental (though I do consider myself politically concerned and an environmentalist).
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Old 11-01-16, 10:18 PM   #19
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I am a cyclist... because I love the experience of bicycling. But I also have great affections for many cycling related activities... like wrenching. I have often joked that I don't exercise... I do however often bicycle several hours a week.. just for fun.

I am conservative by nature which makes me environmentally concerned... and I always have been. I live a very green lifestyle. I even built my own wind powered electric generator 42 years ago. But because I am a true believer, and practice another religion... I can't pretend to practice the religion of environmentalism. So I remain forever car-lite.
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Old 11-01-16, 10:21 PM   #20
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To be perfectly honest, LCF means nothing to me if it doesn't include cycling. If I can bicycle more places with a car then I will keep a car. ....
.
I'm with you, I'm a cyclist and car free is purely a practical decision because I'm so comfortable using a bike anyway. (and car lite isn't economically smart)

Just about the only two places I'd ever consider being car free without a bicycle factoring would be NYC (Manhattan) and Paris. Both are dense cities with plenty of amenities scattered through the residential areas, and good transport, so walking and reliance on mass transit are a very viable options. Besides, both cities can make car ownership a burden, so it's that much easier to say goodbye car.

Here in the burbs, going car free without a bike would be much more of a burden than I'd be able to accept. I'd either get a car, or move (or probably wouldn't be here in the first place).
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Old 11-01-16, 10:42 PM   #21
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I'll start.

I'm a lifer, having started bicycling in my teens, and an active tourist and sport cyclist favoring long rides with small groups of friends.
That's pretty much me. I crave long rides, especially the kind that don't involve dealing with traffic. Give me some hills to climb and I'm even happier. Utility riding is just a way to both spend more time in the saddle and sneak in some extra fitness.

Admittedly, I do spend some time on other parts of FBinNY's metaphorical shelf. However, I think I'm mostly just rationalizing all my cycling when I justify it with environmental concerns and whatnot. I'd still ride even if it was shown to be worse for the environment, so my selfish joy is clearly my motivation. Well, that and the fact that if I didn't ride I'd be obese.
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Old 11-01-16, 10:57 PM   #22
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I ignore notifications and mentions (sorry, 3alarmer) - I just go to "User CP" where I see if any threads I am subscribed to have been updated.
...you mentioned this once before. Apparently at that time you thought I was using @cooker as some way of irritating you. Kind of an "in your face" thing. The reason I do it is much more mundane, in that I enjoy using a feature here that has almost no practical value. It amuses me.

I don't honestly care much whether you choose to respond to anything I say or not. Most of what I write here is of little importance, and will soon fade away. I just take it as further confirmation of your rather obvious narcissism.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.
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Old 11-03-16, 05:48 AM   #23
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... I don't honestly care much whether you choose to respond to anything I say or not. Most of what I write here is of little importance, and will soon fade away. I just take it as further confirmation of your rather obvious narcissism.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.
FWIW, in reply to the content (but not the context) of your post, @3alarmer, I have written to a few threads scattered over the Forums:

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I have been an avid cyclist, as a lifestyle since about 1972… and it was frankly incredible to find a community that shared so many concerns I had kept to myself as a lone cyclist…

What I have gotten directly from BF [include]:
  • the opportunity to post and literally "journal" my thoughts and activities about cycling and lifestyle (even if nobody else reads them), but which I wouldn't write down otherwise…
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...you mentioned this once before. Apparently at that time you thought I was using @cooker as some way of irritating you. Kind of an "in your face" thing. The reason I do it is much more mundane, in that I enjoy using a feature here (@mention) that has almost no practical value. It amuses me
I once posted to the User Assistance Forum:
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What do these terms mean, and how long have they appeared in a poster's profile? It seems that few subscribers are either.

Are either an honor or a disgrace?
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just yet another way of linking someone to a post, not an honor or a disgrace.
I @mention frequently, as a mark of “honor” and familiarity, entre-nous, if you will.

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Old 11-03-16, 09:14 AM   #24
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Without trying to offend anybody (though I'm sure I'll succeed), I split bicyclists into two groups.

There are those who bicycle because they love bicycling, ie. touring, racing, a few hours in the park on Sunday, etc. And there are those who bicycle mainly because it suits other purposes, whether practical or philosophical. Of course there's plenty of crossover, so rather than pigeonholes I think of this as a wide shelf with people occupying various places.
I suppose I could get offended, but since you express some respect about not wanting to offend, I'll just explain that I love bicycling but the practical and philosophical aspects of it are part of why/how I love it. Philosophically, I find it good to be motor-independent, but I also love doing it the way I love being able to use my body without a pacemaker.

When I am on a bike/MUP path that goes through the woods, that is my greatest joy, both experientially and philosophically, because I not only know that all the forest growth/life is good on many levels, but I also enjoy the aesthetics of so many organic lines and forms interweaving to create an infinite number of totally unique designs. I think cultural aesthetics programs minds to appreciate complexity, but only to a certain degree since even the most complex man-made art/architecture consists of relatively simplistic elements. Nature, on the other hand, is all built of fractals emerging from microscopic cellular-level processes of growth and structuration. I wouldn't be able to make out the exquisite details of all the forest-growth I'm passing by if I was going car-speed.


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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
I enjoy cycling and have been doing it for 9 years now. I don't like it when people take a normal act of cycling or even living without a car and turn it into activism or ideology...
To me, everything is activism. I guess I have this view because I see every individual choice as a vote that feeds into a demand curve. I won't expound on this because I'll get diverted to P&R, but I think it's worth mentioning that I just don't see anyone as not-an-activist. People are all advocating for their personal views and preferences in everything they do and say.

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Originally Posted by Mobile 155 View Post
To be perfectly honest, LCF means nothing to me if it doesn't include cycling. If I can bicycle more places with a car then I will keep a car. If I didn't need a car to take my wife places I might not have a car. If it was necessary to have a 4x4 to ride my MTB, so far it isn't, I would consider getting a 4x4. Bicycles is what I have in common with Bicycle Forums.

That would be my main reason anyway.
This is a personalized political statement about not hesitating to choose a car when it seems like "the right tool for the job." It is very similar to the statement made by Wolfchild about it being easier to live car-light in the suburbs. Both subtly advocate car ownership and/or driving. I just want to point that out because these are both posters who complain about advocacy, politics, activism, etc.

Beyond that, I would agree that I wouldn't like LCF without bicycling. I would do out of resentment for the fact that I was being forced into driving for whatever reason, but I see biking as the most effective mode of LCF, since you don't have to deal with transit scheduling and time-constraints of walking. When I have the time, however, I like to walk more because I see no reason to haste through a bike ride to go and sit somewhere. I might as well walk and use the time to keep my body activated.
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Old 11-03-16, 10:19 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
I suppose I could get offended, but since you express some respect about not wanting to offend, I'll just explain that I love bicycling but the practical and philosophical aspects of it are part of why/how I love it. Philosophically, I find it good to be motor-independent, but I also love doing it the way I love being able to use my body without a pacemaker.

When I am on a bike/MUP path that goes through the woods, that is my greatest joy, both experientially and philosophically, because I not only know that all the forest growth/life is good on many levels, but I also enjoy the aesthetics of so many organic lines and forms interweaving to create an infinite number of totally unique designs. I think cultural aesthetics programs minds to appreciate complexity, but only to a certain degree since even the most complex man-made art/architecture consists of relatively simplistic elements. Nature, on the other hand, is all built of fractals emerging from microscopic cellular-level processes of growth and structuration. I wouldn't be able to make out the exquisite details of all the forest-growth I'm passing by if I was going car-speed.



To me, everything is activism. I guess I have this view because I see every individual choice as a vote that feeds into a demand curve. I won't expound on this because I'll get diverted to P&R, but I think it's worth mentioning that I just don't see anyone as not-an-activist. People are all advocating for their personal views and preferences in everything they do and say.


This is a personalized political statement about not hesitating to choose a car when it seems like "the right tool for the job." It is very similar to the statement made by Wolfchild about it being easier to live car-light in the suburbs. Both subtly advocate car ownership and/or driving. I just want to point that out because these are both posters who complain about advocacy, politics, activism, etc.

More pontificating of OT personal philosophy; not offensive - just boring especially when posted in numerous iterations and re-paraphrasing of the same old, same old stuff.
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