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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 06-04-05, 07:16 PM   #1
SecretSatellite
MY BICYCLE IS MY CAR!
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Car Free and Loving it

hi all, since it appears there wont be a car free section i thought i'd start a thread with question/answer stuff and car free living experiences. how's it going not having a car?
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Old 06-04-05, 07:31 PM   #2
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The one thing I can't quite figure out is going to the laundromat. I walk there now (it's less than 1/4 mile) , but it's really a pain because laundry baskets are so bulky. I wonder if there are other peole who manage it?
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Old 06-04-05, 07:39 PM   #3
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I have a car, so probably shouldn't be contributing to this thread, but I would think one of those extracycle things plus a couple of large rubbermaid plastic tubs (wal-mart etc have 'em usually) would do it quite nicely. Or really any kind of trailer + big plastic tubs (with lids, so they can be water-tight in case it rains).

I think if I went car-free the first thing I would buy would be a trailer.
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Old 06-04-05, 07:41 PM   #4
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It's going GREAT here. Four groceries stores within walking distance (two miles); the dogs and cats go to the vet four blocks away; I have an arsenal of bikes to choose from, as well as spare wheels ready to go; weather's great. I have washer and dryer at home, but if I didn't I'd probably walk to the laundromat. (It's close enough.)

The only part I have yet to solve is getting the canoe to the bayou. I guess I need a trailer.
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Old 06-04-05, 07:44 PM   #5
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If you're within walking distance of a laundromat, one of those folding wire carts with wheels on (around $20 at the hardware store) made for shopping works nicely, eliminates the struggle to carry bulky laundry baskets.
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Old 06-04-05, 08:54 PM   #6
SecretSatellite
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i can fit all my laundry in my messenger bag and two bike buckets(old whole-sale food buckets with brackets to mount on a rack. you can make them yourself, theres direstions in Chainbreaker Zine). i saw a guy in portland who built his own canoe trailer. it looked awesome.
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Old 06-04-05, 09:00 PM   #7
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There's supposed to be instructions on the 'net for building your own bike trailer, that's one way to do it too. That Chainbreaker Zine sounds great!

I'm like as not going to do my post office trips walking with ye olde Radio Flyer wagon, it's not that far and that's the easiest solution for now. I eventually want to get another bike that's more touring oriented and put a rack and panniers on it. I may look at a bike trailer but I'd want to be one I can easily unhook from the bike and tow in with me into the p.o. - that's really the only use I'd have for a trailer right now.

If taking the laundry to the laundromat is all that's keeping you from going all-bike, then think about it: $500 a month or $700 a month or whatever it costs you to run a car, just so you can drive it to the laundromat???
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Old 06-04-05, 09:20 PM   #8
SecretSatellite
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you can get chainbreaker zine from microcosm publishing( www.microcosmpublishing.com ). they also have a zine about how to build a bike trailer, diy wheel buidling, diy repair, and other bicycle themed zine like Leapfrog(i love that zine).
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Old 06-04-05, 09:25 PM   #9
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Very cool. I'm thinking on my pannier bike (that I haven't gotten yet) with one of those "Blackburn" type racks, there's that flat surface on the top, which can be used to carry the odd large box, roll of packing foam, etc just tie it on there.
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Old 06-04-05, 09:30 PM   #10
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the bike buckets are cool cause the tops of them are flush withthe top of my rack so i have triple the space on top to carry stuff
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Old 06-04-05, 09:49 PM   #11
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Yep the panniers etc add to the flat or flattish place on top. This is why I don't see a bike trailer in my future right now, mess. bag, panniers, etc and for the post office trips just walk a couple of blocks with a wagon.

What's funny is, I'll probably get all kinds of interesting comments on my "fall into poverty!"
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Old 06-04-05, 10:13 PM   #12
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It's going great here! 2 months of no car, and my biggest problem is when I lose tools at work, the closest tool store is about 5 miles away on really busy roads, so I just need to learn to be more careful.
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Old 06-05-05, 12:01 AM   #13
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Kevink you can always get extras of the ones you lose a lot and then just try not to lose them - but you'll have backups if you do.
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Old 06-05-05, 05:01 PM   #14
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I'm car-free and it's going ok for now. I'm facing a very slight challenge right now. Yesterday, I think I sprained my ankle playing soccer. It doesn't feel as bad as it did yesterday so I'm debating whether I need to go to the doctor. In any case, although I managed to cycle the 1/2 mile home with no problem, I'm going to try to stay off the ankle at least one more day, so that means I'll probably be taking public transit to work tomorrow instead of my bike as usual. This little ankle injury really does show me how much my choice of lifestyle can be vulnerable to injury. I walk or bike almost everywhere and a more severe leg or ankle inury could limit my mobility significantly or force me to spend a lot more money on taxies or car-sharing. But I suppose the same could happen even if I owned a car if I injured both legs or even one or the wrong leg. When I owned a car, I had a manual shift anyhow.

Regarding laundry, for a few months, I walked about 1/2 mile to the laundromat. I also used one of those folding rolling baskets that you can take to the grocery or wherever around the neighborhood. I put my laundry in large trash bags and put those in the basket and walked to the laundry.
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Old 06-06-05, 12:09 PM   #15
SecretSatellite
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sorry about your pain.
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Old 06-06-05, 01:00 PM   #16
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our car died back in December. Good thing we live in Queens. heh.
Really, we only used the car for two things
1) getting heavy stuff from the grocery store, such as cat litter and cat food. But we do that by bike now, so it's okay.

2) getting home to PA to visit family and such: so THIS is a much bigger pain. We can take the bus, but it costs about $95 or so for two round trip tickets. A rental car is also an option, but its like $60-$100... much cheaper than OWNING a car, but still a pain.

I think we'd LIKE to have a car, just to get home to the parents quicker and stuff (some of my wifes family is in poor health, sooo), but we have just one income right now, and we're being forced to move... sooo.... buying a car for a few grand wouldn't help matters.... pooey
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Old 06-06-05, 02:29 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spider-man
It's going GREAT here. Four groceries stores within walking distance (two miles); the dogs and cats go to the vet four blocks away; I have an arsenal of bikes to choose from, as well as spare wheels ready to go; weather's great. I have washer and dryer at home, but if I didn't I'd probably walk to the laundromat. (It's close enough.)

The only part I have yet to solve is getting the canoe to the bayou. I guess I need a trailer.
Here's a solution from Wike: http://www.wicycle.com/kit.htm
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Old 06-06-05, 02:32 PM   #18
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Here is a post I placed on the commuting page. It seems appropriate here as well.

Being car-free does not mean being independent of motor vehicles. What it means is a willingness to forsake the costly convenience of owning one. I, for instance, live 25 miles from my job. But I have a good option for bus transportation. I commute two miles to the nearest bus stop, load my bike on the front rack and take the bus to my job. No traffic and parking hassles. The bus fare I pay each year is less than the amount of a single month's car payment and parking fees. Does this mean I'm cheap? Not exactly, it means I choose to spend my money on higher priorities.....like living in an upscale neighborhood, going to Europe twice a year and routinely eating out at nice restaurants....things I could never do if I was saddled with the expense of motor vehicle ownership. Without a doubt, one of the smartest things I ever did in my life was abandon the car. It has made me more free and independent and I can not imagine ever going back. If people view me with a social stigma because I don't own a car, I really don't care and in fact relish the idea that I am showing it can be done.
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Old 06-06-05, 02:33 PM   #19
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I don't have a car, but my wife does. It's a bit of a pain when one of our two kids needs to be someplace across town at the same time as the other, etc....
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Old 06-06-05, 02:51 PM   #20
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Darn right on the not being "cheap" part, I could get into the whole "frugal living" thing but it looks tiring. Heck I like my sushi, $3 coffees, etc. But, getting rid of the car means I can save as much as if I were dining on pigeons and dandelions and digging the Goodwill dumpster for clothes, and I can still live in a fun way too.
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Old 06-06-05, 02:59 PM   #21
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that canoe kit is freakin sweet!
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Old 06-06-05, 03:10 PM   #22
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The biggest problem I've found is getting my golf fix. Other then that, I've been so happy for the last, wow, 9 months with out a car. It dosen't seem like it's been that long. I have a long commute to my morning job at a commumity college in Auburn, then back to Renton for my full time job at a cafe. I admit I've been riding the bus alot lately, but I'm moving too a new full time job at a restaurant in Aubrn so I can move my residence out that way as well.

I do have the odd moment where I think "Gosh, it would be awful handy to own a car right now" but those are few and far between, and getting less frequent.
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Old 06-06-05, 03:45 PM   #23
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When a horse stepped on my foot and broke my big toe, I was in a cast for quite a while. I bought an old zap motor from a friend and put it on my 70's adult trike that I restored. It alowed me to go anywhere, and I could pedal a little at first if I wanted then use the motor if I had done too much. I dicovered that the carrying capacity of that thing is HUGE. You can hang baskets all over the rear, the front, the sides. even go straight up. I paid $80 for the trike a few years ago, $60 for the motor and had a battery already. It will go 16 mph for an hour approximately. I have had it for a few years. The cost to run it is pennys. Now that my foot is OK I could take the motor off and still carry huge amounts of cargo if I need to.
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Old 06-06-05, 05:09 PM   #24
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I am very comfortable with no car. My apartment building has an Asian supermarket (Uwajimaya) on the ground floor, so I don't have to walk very far for basic groceries. My apartment has it's own washer and dryer so that's not a problem. If I want non-Asian food, there is a Trader Joe's about a mile away, right next door to an organic food co-op. There are dozens of excellent restaraunts within a few minutes walk. My job is only 1/2 mile away. Right across the street is one of the main bus stops in Seattle - I can get a bus to practically anywhere in three counties right on my doorstep. The Amtrak station is three blocks away.
I don't plan on ever owning a car again. It's just too easy to get along without one of those white elephants.
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Old 06-06-05, 05:46 PM   #25
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http://www.bikesatwork.com/bike-trailers/

Possible solutions for both laundry and canoe transport.

And golf too.
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