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  1. #1
    Fatties Fit Fine carless's Avatar
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    Philosophy of car free

    I have had great success without a car, I would like to pass along some helpful ideas.
    I used to be mad when cars did their deal - speeding, turning into me, pulling out in front, etc.... I now take responsibility and act accordingly. I consider every driver unsafe and act on that premise. I know they will do these things and I expect it. I have strategies for most situations and feel no outrage when confronted with outrageous behavior. To accomplish this I have a small library of cycling books, I do research into equipment, plot and dry run most commutes, and have made myself a student of urban cycling.

    I used to be mad when trains, airplanes, light rail, buses, and taxi's added hours to a trip, cost alot $, and were inconvient. I was comparing these transportation options to a car. A car is almost always quicker and cheaper in the short run. I now budget my time accordingly, it will take longer most of the time.

    I used to be mad at the bicycle shop - no commuter clothes, bikes, or accessories. No practical stuff just be Lance or ride at the beach. No touring stuff, and no advice. Turns out there is not a demand for the stuff I need, or they don't think so. I was under the impression "I ride a bike so serve me". I now think of my LBS as a car dealer, creating needs and desires in the masses. They are not interested in my lifestyle or bikes, just profit, so I expect it.

    I used to be mad when the road system was inadequate for my bike. Bike lanes 12" wide carved out of turn lane that is now too narrow, broken glass, no shoulder, no sight lines, buckled seams, drainage whatevers, cars in the bike lane, bike lane that ends at an intersection then starts again, the list is endless. It's comical, and qualifies for funding to do the whole road. I now expect crap for roads and plan for it. I use wide tires with liners, I go slow, I stop and wait for traffic or take the lane, but I'm not outraged, it's not realistic to expect anything designed for you.

    I used to be mad at the American River Bike Trail, a 30 mile multi use path bisecting Sacramento, along the river. I would see unleashed dogs, homeless people, fitness people with headphones, 30 mile an hour pace lines, baby strollers blocking the middle, it's crowded in the summer. I carry a frame pump for dogs, say hello to the homeless, ring my kiddie bell for headphones or yell as I pass, take the lane on pace lines, do the bell for mom's with strollers. But I'm not pissed, I use a recreation trail for transportation, all of these people are not evil, some are under informed. The trail was not designed for my quick trip at a steady cadence to work, it was designed for people with a car to enjoy.

    I'd like to see a discussion concerning attitudes of cyclist who are successful and employ philosophical underpinnings not just mechanical strategies.

  2. #2
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carless
    I have had great success without a car, I would like to pass along some helpful ideas.
    I used to be mad when cars did their deal - speeding, turning into me, pulling out in front, etc.... I now take responsibility and act accordingly. I consider every driver unsafe and act on that premise. I know they will do these things and I expect it. I have strategies for most situations and feel no outrage when confronted with outrageous behavior. To accomplish this I have a small library of cycling books, I do research into equipment, plot and dry run most commutes, and have made myself a student of urban cycling.
    I agree with most of the above, but replace the word "unsafe" with the word "stupid". In short, I prepare myself for the fact that drivers will do "stupid" things, not necessarily motivated by aggression, just a basic lack of intelligence. I, too, budget for this, I ride in a fashion that gives me the space I need to deal with the situation. I also find that this is less of a problem on more heavily trafficked routes, so I seek these out.

    Quote Originally Posted by carless
    I used to be mad when trains, airplanes, light rail, buses, and taxi's added hours to a trip, cost alot $, and were inconvient. I was comparing these transportation options to a car. A car is almost always quicker and cheaper in the short run. I now budget my time accordingly, it will take longer most of the time.
    I've never noticed this. I budget my time according to how long I feel I'll need. I've never been interested in making comparisons with others.

    Quote Originally Posted by carless
    I used to be mad at the bicycle shop - no commuter clothes, bikes, or accessories. No practical stuff just be Lance or ride at the beach. No touring stuff, and no advice.
    I just found another shop. In all seriousness, there are products out there that serve our purposes, we just have to find them. Given the number of bike shops out there, and the ability to use the WWW, there is no need to limit one's self to a particular shop if it doesn't serve your needs.

    Quote Originally Posted by carless
    I used to be mad when the road system was inadequate for my bike. Bike lanes 12" wide carved out of turn lane that is now too narrow, broken glass, no shoulder, no sight lines, buckled seams, drainage whatevers, cars in the bike lane, bike lane that ends at an intersection then starts again, the list is endless. It's comical, and qualifies for funding to do the whole road. I now expect crap for roads and plan for it. I use wide tires with liners, I go slow, I stop and wait for traffic or take the lane, but I'm not outraged, it's not realistic to expect anything designed for you.
    I simply do not rely on "facilities". Again, there is no need for me to limit my transportation options to things that do not serve my needs. I just use the road, the busier the better.

    Quote Originally Posted by carless
    I used to be mad at the American River Bike Trail, a 30 mile multi use path bisecting Sacramento, along the river. I would see unleashed dogs, homeless people, fitness people with headphones, 30 mile an hour pace lines, baby strollers blocking the middle, it's crowded in the summer. I carry a frame pump for dogs, say hello to the homeless, ring my kiddie bell for headphones or yell as I pass, take the lane on pace lines, do the bell for mom's with strollers. But I'm not pissed, I use a recreation trail for transportation, all of these people are not evil, some are under informed. The trail was not designed for my quick trip at a steady cadence to work, it was designed for people with a car to enjoy.

    Again, if a facility doesn't serve my purposes, I'll find another one that does the job better, and that virtually always means using the road rather than the path. So be it.
    "I am never going to flirt with idleness again" - Roy Keane
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  3. #3
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    Using a bike for transportation is just one way I have simplified my life over time.By that I mean eliminating unnecessary stresses and consumption and enjoying life more.I agree with your philosophy of not getting mad at the trivial and unavoidably annoyances encountered while cycling,or everyday life for that matter.My strategy is to enjoy myself every time I am on the bike and I have gotten to the point I actually enjoy and feed off the interaction with traffic and frankly it seems to rub off on the drivers as well because in general they treat me as part of the flow of traffic and better than when I am upset or being antagonistic.

    I also find it challenging ,in a positive way, to use a bicycle for all my transportation needs, including weekend getaways and backpacking trips.The longer I am carfee the less I want to even get in a car.For some reason the idea just seems repulsive to me now sort of like cigarettes after you have kicked the habit for good.

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    [QUOTE=
    I used to be mad when trains, airplanes, light rail, buses, and taxi's added hours to a trip, cost alot $, and were inconvient. I was comparing these transportation options to a car. A car is almost always quicker and cheaper in the short run. I now budget my time accordingly, it will take longer most of the time.
    [/QUOTE]

    I don't know about a car being cheaper in the short run.

    Traveling 300 miles by car will set me back about 40-60 dollars in gas, tolls and maintenance while the same trip by train will cost aound 12-16 dollars. If it's a short trip about 10 miles or less, than a train would not be needed and the cost is minimal for the cyclist. The car will be quicker but not by any significant amount of time.

    I no longer get made at the commuter trains because the alternative is simply more costly. In fact, I've studied the train schedules and plan my trips according to them and it works out fine. What is there to get mad about when your transportation costs are subsidized by the state instead of your pocket. These services are available to anyone but few use them during the weekend so it's often like having my own rail line just for me and my bicycle.

    In fact, if you time it right, trains runing limited lines are actually faster than a car during the summer months when traffic at the beaches gridlocks while we on the train pass them at 60 mph! Furthermore, there's no stress in traveling inside a train so what's there to be angry about???

  5. #5
    Fatties Fit Fine carless's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Dahon.Steve]
    Quote Originally Posted by
    I used to be mad when trains, airplanes, light rail, buses, and taxi's added hours to a trip, cost alot $, and were inconvient. I was comparing these transportation options to a car. A car is almost always quicker and cheaper in the short run. I now budget my time accordingly, it will take longer most of the time.
    [/QUOTE

    I don't know about a car being cheaper in the short run.

    Traveling 300 miles by car will set me back about 40-60 dollars in gas, tolls and maintenance while the same trip by train will cost aound 12-16 dollars. If it's a short trip about 10 miles or less, than a train would not be needed and the cost is minimal for the cyclist. The car will be quicker but not by any significant amount of time.

    I no longer get made at the commuter trains because the alternative is simply more costly. In fact, I've studied the train schedules and plan my trips according to them and it works out fine. What is there to get mad about when your transportation costs are subsidized by the state instead of your pocket. These services are available to anyone but few use them during the weekend so it's often like having my own rail line just for me and my bicycle.

    In fact, if you time it right, trains runing limited lines are actually faster than a car during the summer months when traffic at the beaches gridlocks while we on the train pass them at 60 mph! Furthermore, there's no stress in traveling inside a train so what's there to be angry about???
    On the West Coast we have no tradition of rail. In Sacramento, the historic center of rail, to go north you leave at midnight only. To Portland, OR for example it's $90 and 16 hrs. Greyhound is $63 and 13 hrs. Driving is $45 and 10 hrs. A bike is on Amtrak is $15 dollars boxed, Greyhound is about the same. These are not commuter trains, these are recreation trains. To reinforce that they call it the Coast Starlight, will only sell you a pass if you don't repeat two destinations, and frequently are late.
    Steve, I would hate to start a West Coast-East Coast rivalry by rapp'n about who has the worst transportation system. Word. HAHA.

  6. #6
    Fatties Fit Fine carless's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RWTD
    I also find it challenging ,in a positive way, to use a bicycle for all my transportation needs, including weekend getaways and backpacking trips.The longer I am carfee the less I want to even get in a car.For some reason the idea just seems repulsive to me now sort of like cigarettes after you have kicked the habit for good.
    I enjoy the challenge, the logistics, and a real satisfaction when I arrive someplace. I used a shuttle limo, airplane, light rail, walked a few, and a bus to get to the Oregon Coast.
    Nice about the cigg's, I feel the same way.

  7. #7
    Banned. folder fanatic's Avatar
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    There is something that is mostly overlooked by the biking commuting crowd-independance from a schedule. Trains, buses, car pools, and other means of mass transit (concentrate on mass true meaning-majority rules!) cannot match the ability to come and go at one's will that a private ownership of a car or a bike grants it's user/owner to do. This the one feature that attracts me to cycling anyplace the most rather than drive or even use public transit. It's simply dependable, reliable, and in most ways, faster than most other transportation options.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by carless
    On the West Coast we have no tradition of rail. In Sacramento, the historic center of rail, to go north you leave at midnight only. To Portland, OR for example it's $90 and 16 hrs. Greyhound is $63 and 13 hrs. Driving is $45 and 10 hrs. A bike is on Amtrak is $15 dollars boxed, Greyhound is about the same. These are not commuter trains, these are recreation trains. To reinforce that they call it the Coast Starlight, will only sell you a pass if you don't repeat two destinations, and frequently are late.
    Steve, I would hate to start a West Coast-East Coast rivalry by rapp'n about who has the worst transportation system. Word. HAHA.
    I keep forgetting how horrible rail trainsit is on the west coast. It's incredible how late you have to catch those trains and no wonder they run empty. Unbelievable.

    I still think you unestimated the cost of the vehicle. The cost of motor transport is more than just the gas alone.

  9. #9
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    At least you have rail. I spent a week in New York City last fall and LOVED their rail system, down here in New Orleans all we have is the broken RTA bus system.

  10. #10
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    For me, carfree living is just one (important) part of my attempts to conduct my life in a simplified, localized, ethical and self-reliant manner. I center myself with my home, and I extend myself with my bike. It all works marvelously well most of the time.

  11. #11
    Zee
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    Just Say No! (to gas) =0P Zee's Avatar
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    I like the way you describe it, Roody. I've wanted for a long time to live just outside town (well, I do now, but on the OTHER side of town, lol) on a small farm where we could grow/raise alot of our own food, if not all of it (chickens and eggs, a cow for milking, an herb and vegetable garden); far enough out to be separate but close enough to bike into town when it's necessary, for work, etc.

    The way I see it is, the more self-reliant I am, the more time I will have for the better things in life; after all, if I cut way back on car use, if not getting rid of it completely, and become more self-sustaining, I can also cut down on hours spent away from home working.

    I've also had a long-standing interest in things like solar energy, wind energy, NON-gas furnaces, etc. -- I need to get another subscription to Mother Earth News! I love that magazine...

    There's nothing quite like standing back and looking at something you've done yourself, made yourself, or grown yourself, and feeling the pride and satisfaction that come along with it.

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