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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 06-06-17, 08:36 PM   #1
loky1179
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Life is simpler when bikes are involved

So, I aspire to be car lite, but those aspirations have been butting heads with reality for the past few months. I'd like to bike a LOT more, but the reality is that I live in the suburbs, work downtown, have a wife, a kid, a dog, two cars, and a GIANT lawn.

It is that last item that inspires this post. I don't love lawn care, so a few years ago we dropped $1000 on a Toro 30" double wide mower. Figured, whatEVER the cost, it would save at least 50% of the time it normally takes to cut the grass. Time I could (theoretically!) spend biking!

So, you can imagine my feelings last weekend when I go to start the mower, pull the safety cable - - - and it STICKS. WTF? My bike cables don't stick after riding on salt encrusted roads all winter. I hop on amazon, google the replacement cable, and it is FORTY DOLLARS! Plus shipping. And it is not in stock for three weeks. By which time the neighbors will be calling the city inspector on us.

So I take a look at the cable. And it is exactly the same size as a brake cable. Only problem is the cable snapped in the middle of the housing, so I can't feed a new cable through.

Jumped on Amazon again, and found some Jagwire mid cable connectors, 10 for $10. I already had a set of Nashbar Stainless steel brake cables I got on sale for $2 each. And the parts bin yielded the last parts needed for the fix - an old cantilever straddle hanger and a reflector rack mount. Used a Dremel tool to cut the housing, pulled out the old rusted cable, installed the Jagwire housing connector and the innerwire.

Got the mower running again for $3, a savings of approximately $47! And now my safety cable is stainless steel. I love the simple life.
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Old 06-07-17, 06:23 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by loky1179 View Post
So, I aspire to be car lite, but those aspirations have been butting heads with reality for the past few months. I'd like to bike a LOT more, but the reality is that I live in the suburbs, work downtown, have a wife, a kid, a dog, two cars, and a GIANT lawn.

It is that last item that inspires this post. I don't love lawn care, so a few years ago we dropped $1000 on a Toro 30" double wide mower. Figured, whatEVER the cost, it would save at least 50% of the time it normally takes to cut the grass. Time I could (theoretically!) spend biking!

So, you can imagine my feelings last weekend when I go to start the mower, pull the safety cable - - - and it STICKS. WTF? My bike cables don't stick after riding on salt encrusted roads all winter. I hop on amazon, google the replacement cable, and it is FORTY DOLLARS! Plus shipping. And it is not in stock for three weeks. By which time the neighbors will be calling the city inspector on us.

So I take a look at the cable. And it is exactly the same size as a brake cable. Only problem is the cable snapped in the middle of the housing, so I can't feed a new cable through.

Jumped on Amazon again, and found some Jagwire mid cable connectors, 10 for $10. I already had a set of Nashbar Stainless steel brake cables I got on sale for $2 each. And the parts bin yielded the last parts needed for the fix - an old cantilever straddle hanger and a reflector rack mount. Used a Dremel tool to cut the housing, pulled out the old rusted cable, installed the Jagwire housing connector and the innerwire.

Got the mower running again for $3, a savings of approximately $47! And now my safety cable is stainless steel. I love the simple life.
Can you naturalize part of your lawn with low maintenance shrubs and ground cover?
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Old 06-08-17, 11:48 AM   #3
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For a moment I thought you had a riding lawnmower, and you were going to say that you drove it somewhere. (Childhood memories! That's how I learned how to drive. And we didn't live out in the country.)

Nice work using bike parts for a quick fix!
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Old 06-08-17, 03:51 PM   #4
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Can you naturalize part of your lawn with low maintenance shrubs and ground cover?
We did this. We use a "lasagna" method of gardening (google it). No tiller, no turning soil. Uses whatever natural resources you have locally available. I'm kinda anti-motor so it really fits me.
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Old 06-09-17, 04:47 PM   #5
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Can you naturalize part of your lawn with low maintenance shrubs and ground cover?

If I felt I could, I'd "naturalize" my whole lawn. This whole idea that everybody needs this perfect, weed free carpet or green grass is a triumph of insanity.


There is definitely a lack of info out there. Never having to maintain a lawn before we bought our house, I was totally FREAKED out by the way dandelions took over in May. Yet, I refused to dump herbicide down on my backyard, where my kid and pet play. My reasoning, is that if there there is even a one in a million chance that those lawn chemicals could cause some sort of health problems, there is no reason to use them. And if in fact there IS a one in a million chance, that is not the sort of effect that could be detected by even the most rigorous scientific study. The effect would be, for example, an extra 300 cases of cancer over the entire population of the USA. Three hundred people out of 300 million.

What I noticed after a couple of years - dandelions go crazy in MN in May - but by June they are mostly gone - with or without herbicide. I think most people see the dandelions, freak out, dump down weed and feed, see the dandelions go away, and credit the weed and feed for solving their dandelion problem.
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Old 06-09-17, 05:07 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by loky1179 View Post
So, you can imagine my feelings last weekend when I go to start the mower, pull the safety cable - - - and it STICKS. WTF? My bike cables don't stick after riding on salt encrusted roads all winter. I hop on amazon, google the replacement cable, and it is FORTY DOLLARS! Plus shipping. And it is not in stock for three weeks. By which time the neighbors will be calling the city inspector on us.
Helpful hint; most of the time, you can replace the safety with a "universal lawn mower throttle" from Tractor Supply or some auto parts stores. It's one of the old slide-type friction throttles with a cable, and usually a housing for about $6 and locally available most places. Pull to run, push to shut down, and don't be an idiot by sicking your hand under the deck while it's running.
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Old 06-19-17, 05:36 AM   #7
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Why not just get some sheep? Merino sheep would also provide nice wool for your cycling clothes.
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Old 06-20-17, 08:10 AM   #8
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Why not just get some sheep? Merino sheep would also provide nice wool for your cycling clothes.
That would also give our herding dog some exercise.
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