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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 06-29-05, 05:15 PM   #1
Roody
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Ever Wish You Had a Car?

I so rarely wish I had a car, but once in a great while. . . .

Sadly, my roommate Tony's grandmother died at about 5:00 this morning. Tony badly needed a ride to the hospital to meet his family and say good-bye to his grandmother, and he too is carfree. I felt so bad that I couldn't help him. It took precious minutes to phone some friends at that hour, and wait for them to pick Tony up.

Are there ever times, sad or happy, when you wish you had a car? Do you have contingency plans for emergencies that most people would say require an auto?
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Old 06-29-05, 05:41 PM   #2
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I guess my contingency plans don't cover every possible situation but here they are.

Emergencies: call 911. I think if a true emergency exists it's important to get paramedics on the scene with skills and equipment as soon as possible.

Sudden need for a car: I carry taxi numbers in my wallet.

Occasional need for a car: Rental. I get all the insurance options even though it doubles the cost. I don't have a personal auto policy any more.
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Old 06-29-05, 05:51 PM   #3
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Got a BMW, sits in the driveway -no insurance..little to no use.
Might be into a truck to haul bikes to remote locations though.
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Old 06-29-05, 06:05 PM   #4
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I got a call Monday afternoon that my 18-year-old son had been in an accident on his bike (fell, hit his head, taken in ambulance to hospital) and I was at home with just my bike. I started to get on the bike to ride to the hospital--it was a only ten-minute ride away--but then I doubted there would be a place to lock it up and I figured I would need a way to get my son home assuming he was released later (he was, 9 stitches in his head and lots of road rash and bruises, and NOW he is going to wear a helmet, he says, but I digress) so I called my daughter who wasn't far away and she brought me her car.

Otherwise, I'd not have hesitated to ask one of my neighbors to give me a ride--in fact, while I was outside waiting for my daughter one of them offered. Taxi would be absolutely last resort, but I'd use one if I had to.

If I needed to go out of town, I'd rent a car, or take a train or bus.

I very rarely wish I had a car. I occasionally wouldn't mind having one to borrow and use for some one-time purpose, but I've no desire whatsoever to own one again.
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Old 06-29-05, 10:44 PM   #5
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Same here, I have a couple of neighbors I could hit up and Enterprise Rent-A-Car "They'll Pick You Up" not too far away. And using "their" insurance is something like $12 or $13 a day, it's not a biggie. Plus cabs, and there's often a cab lurking around the supermarket about 100 yds. away.

I used to really wish I had a car when I didn't have one, and they are nice at times but you REALLY have to watch out for how much they can be money pits.
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Old 06-30-05, 05:55 AM   #6
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I wish I had a car all the time - I love driving.

But sadly my principles are more important. Yes, I love cycling, thank god. But I really miss driving.

I'm renting a van this weekend to move some stuff - I can't wait! Any valid excuse to drive one is welcomed. But at least I'm honest enough with myself to know what a genuine reason is. Most people don't (not a dig at you).
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Old 06-30-05, 06:36 AM   #7
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No, I never wish I had a car. I wouldn't mind a motorcyle rental agency around the corner though.
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Old 06-30-05, 08:57 AM   #8
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Though it conceivably could, it hasn't happened yet. So I'd say no.
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Old 06-30-05, 09:40 AM   #9
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Quite often, when I want to go to last minute events outside of town.

But what I wish more is that we would had a very good train system instead, where I could take my bike, then bike the last 20-40 km once I get off the train.
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Old 06-30-05, 04:59 PM   #10
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What if a train loaded with chemicals derailed, or a hurricane was headed your way, and they ordered everyone to evacuate the town? The bike would be a poor choice then! I know they would have bus transportation, but the drawback would be that you would have to go wherever the bus took you--no choices like going to a friend's house or something? Has this ever happened to anybody? It must be fairly common, especially in Florida. I know that an entire town was evacuated here for a train derailment, chlorine gas or something (Potterville, MI).
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Old 06-30-05, 06:33 PM   #11
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Well I live in SoFl and have experienced hurricane force winds but luckily avoided the worst last fall.For hurricanes, they typically evacuate the areas near the shore where storm surge could be a problem and send them a few miles inland ,where I actually live,to ride out the winds in a secure structure(ie. not a trailer,etc.).They don't encourage long cross state or out of state travel as that just encourages chaos on the roads and given the inexact science of forcasting may just move you into the path of the hurricane you were attempting to avoid.

During the heightened post 911 concerns I was actually glad I did all my travels relatively close to home by foot or bike, as travel to distant areas by plane or bus seemed risky ,to me, at the time.For other disasters ,I don't really focus on remote what ifs but know there are many transportation options in a pinch.Heck on this forum alone I have learned more ways to utilize a car than I ever though possible(j/k sort of).
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Old 06-30-05, 07:57 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roody
What if a train loaded with chemicals derailed, or a hurricane was headed your way, and they ordered everyone to evacuate the town? The bike would be a poor choice then! I know they would have bus transportation, but the drawback would be that you would have to go wherever the bus took you--no choices like going to a friend's house or something? Has this ever happened to anybody? It must be fairly common, especially in Florida. I know that an entire town was evacuated here for a train derailment, chlorine gas or something (Potterville, MI).
It depends how far away I have to be and for how long. I rode to Milwaukee (about 80 miles) with a change of clothes in a messenger bag last December, and that wasn't overly tough. I don't have panniers or a rack, and didn't have a trailer at the time, not that I'd want to take it so far, but hauling supplies for a more extended stay might be difficult for me. Chances are though, in that situation, I could tag along with someone else. Failing that, there's always car rental.
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Old 07-01-05, 01:11 AM   #13
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Um, every time they order everyone to evacuate anyplace in the US with anything less than like a week lead time, the roads get JAMMED and a bike travels at light speed compared to that. Even when there is lots of lead time, the roads get jammed up.
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Old 07-01-05, 11:35 AM   #14
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living near several car dealerships, every now and then i think about maybe its time to pick up another car....

then i take a spin around town and see the bumper2bumper maddness.....

notice how the bike path is clear for miles, while traffic is at a standstill...
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Old 07-01-05, 10:16 PM   #15
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A couple of years ago, I went to a car show. I went with my wife who does plan to buy a car in the future, but I admit to some curiosity. I sat in one car and got the new car smell. But I was cured when I left the building.

I ride by a BMW dealership everyday. Sometimes I think one of those would be nice, but I ride by the side where the repair shop is and there is usually a bike parked beside the door of the repair garage, so I wonder if one of their repair guys commutes to work on a bicycle.
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Old 07-21-05, 09:40 AM   #16
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I have lived car free my entire life, as I have yet to learn to drive. Only been behind the wheel a few times, and frankly it scares me. (I am also young, 21, and have had luck in finding work within cycling distance).

However, there are times I wish I had some means of transportation into the mountains for hiking, since I love to backpack. I frequently do not have the time to bike to the trailheads, as it would take a few days at least.

Never really have explored public transit to trailheads in America. Have been in Germany and Switzerland for about two months and you can get to damn near anywhere on public transit, even remote mountain passess.

On the same token, I cannot imagine my life with a car. It would totally change who I am, I feel. I would not want to deal with the mechanics of a car. I would not want to deal with paymaints. I feel more free without a cage, even though I to get major rides from friends about twice a year.

I also play classical gutiar, and lack of a covered vehicle has kept me from an 8 mile one way trip to a great guitar teacher, but not from about a two mile one. I think when I get back to the States next year I shall take up that 8 mile ride.

My goal is to remain carefree as long as possible, hopefully my entire life. Since I plan to enter graduate school in mathematics soon, and then head to a professorship, I probably can make this a reality as long as I live within about 20 miles of work.
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Old 07-21-05, 12:23 PM   #17
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I've truely never wished I had a car since I have been carfree.In fact, the longer I am carfree the more repulsive even riding in one seems.When I'm in a particularly good mood riding by a crowded car dealership or gas station I will ,occasionally, snicker and make some comment like "overpriced" or "too much" lol.

I've heard a lot of backpackers mention they need a car to get to the trailhead.I'm lucky enough to live w/i biking distance of vast backcountry areas to backpack.But can't you just rent a car or alternatively hire a shuttle service(30cents/mi.or so) which solves other logistical concerns as well?Heck chauffeured limousine service to and from the trailhead would be cheaper than owning a car if that is all you need it for.
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Old 07-21-05, 12:41 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicodemus
I wish I had a car all the time - I love driving.

But sadly my principles are more important. Yes, I love cycling, thank god. But I really miss driving.

I'm renting a van this weekend to move some stuff - I can't wait! Any valid excuse to drive one is welcomed. But at least I'm honest enough with myself to know what a genuine reason is. Most people don't (not a dig at you).
I feel the same way.

I wish I could afford a car but the cost is incredible. I couldn't save any money at all with a car and was making the auto machanic rich. (In fact, he was rich!) I've been car free for 5 years and traveled more than I ever did in my life. I do like driving in the winter during cold months (no snow) and it's a pleasent experience at 6:00 on a Sunday morning to just cruise downtown. These short happy moments do not justify me buying a car and spending 15-25 percent of my income on transportation.

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Old 07-21-05, 12:45 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by RWTD
During the heightened post 911 concerns I was actually glad I did all my travels relatively close to home by foot or bike, as travel to distant areas by plane or bus seemed risky ,to me, at the time.
During the 911 disaster, I wish I had a bicycle because it would have been easy to get out of the city. I was stuck for hours waiting for a ferry. You would be surprised how fast I could excape with bus service out of town.
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Old 07-21-05, 12:48 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karmical
living near several car dealerships, every now and then i think about maybe its time to pick up another car....

then i take a spin around town and see the bumper2bumper maddness.....

notice how the bike path is clear for miles, while traffic is at a standstill...
Good one.

I hope the other cars don't notice your empty bike path because that could easily be converted to an HOV lane!
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Old 07-21-05, 12:59 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RWTD
I'm in a particularly good mood riding by a crowded car dealership or gas station I will ,occasionally, snicker and make some comment like "overpriced" or "too much" lol.
I was at Sears the other day and wandered into the auto repair section. I remember going to them years ago as my car seemed to be there every week! Needless to say, I was alarmed at how these folks were shelling out loads of money for repairs. Furthermore, all the cars in the shop looked new but yet they needed major repairs! It was like a dentist office because no one was smiling when it was time to take out the plastic.

Man, I remember that feeling
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Old 07-21-05, 05:17 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Roody
Are there ever times, sad or happy, when you wish you had a car?
No.
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Old 07-21-05, 08:17 PM   #23
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I couldn't save any money at all with a car and was making the auto machanic rich. (In fact, he was rich!)
Only if he was also the owner. I worked as an auto mechanic for quite a while and I can promise you that no one who works for someone else as a mechanic is rich. Whatever you're paying at the shop per labor hour, if the tech is lucky he's getting a fourth of it.
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Old 07-21-05, 11:09 PM   #24
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Funny enough, I only wish I had a beater bike, and I think I'm going to fix that conundrum soon. I just moved to NorCal, and I didn't bring my whole stable with me.

My only current available bike (only vehicle at all out here) is too nice for me to leave unsupervised for very long periods of time.

Otherwise, I don't miss my car at all. Not one bit. And I feel really great about myself since I made the switch to car-free.

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Old 07-24-05, 09:49 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roody
Sadly, my roommate Tony's grandmother died at about 5:00 this morning. Tony badly needed a ride to the hospital to meet his family and say good-bye to his grandmother, and he too is carfree. I felt so bad that I couldn't help him.
All you had to do was call a taxi. Problem solved. In another emergency I'd call an ambulance and leave a professional to take care of trying to rush to the hospital. It's gotta be easier than trying to cut through the gridlock without a siren.

Quote:
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Are there ever times, sad or happy, when you wish you had a car? Do you have contingency plans for emergencies that most people would say require an auto?
Not really. I always find a way around it. Of course, it helps that I think nothing of getting on my bike and going for a 250km ride. Even so, car free doesn't necessarily have to mean car less. One or two taxi fares a year doesn't break the bank. Overall, you still come out well in front.
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