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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 08-09-05, 08:27 AM   #1
turkdc
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Does riding/owning only a motorcycle or scooter make you car free?

Well, does it???
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Old 08-09-05, 09:14 AM   #2
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Yeah... but... this is a bicycle forum.
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Old 08-09-05, 09:15 AM   #3
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Sure, why not?

Motorcycles are like cars in some ways. They can keep up with traffic and there are insurance issues to deal with. They are unlike cars with respect to visibility, exposure to weather conditions, and passenger/cargo capacity. With respect to resource consumption they are in between cars and bikes.
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Old 08-09-05, 09:17 AM   #4
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it depends on how you define "car free"... if you're using a scooter or motorcycle (instead of a bike) in place of a car then i think that, by our definition, it DOESN'T make you car free. we think of car free as non-motorized-vehicle (IMHO).

if you're using a bike as a primary mode of transportation but you have and use a motorcycle/scooter then i think you could be considered, at least partially, car free. many of the people here fall into that category.
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Old 08-09-05, 09:21 AM   #5
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Owning a scooter or motorcycle doesn't make you car free in the sense that your optimizing your contributions to your personal and environmental health...

but...

A scooter that's built for one person (and can carry more) that gets 80+ mpg is a major improvement over a car that's built for 5+ people (but almost always carries one person) and gets less than 25 mpg...
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Old 08-09-05, 09:24 AM   #6
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Someone on another forum made a good point. "Car free" is just the topic of discussion here. It's not a requirement that posters be car free themselves (however you define it).
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Old 08-09-05, 09:37 AM   #7
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A scooter that's built for one person (and can carry more) that gets 80+ mpg is a major improvement over a car that's built for 5+ people (but almost always carries one person) and gets less than 25 mpg...
devil's advocate:
wouldn't it be safe to say then that someone owning a mini-cooper today is car free as compared to a person owning a woody-wagon in 1972?

not bashing your logic... just pickin' brains.
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Old 08-09-05, 09:43 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by EJFan
devil's advocate:
wouldn't it be safe to say then that someone owning a mini-cooper today is car free as compared to a person owning a woody-wagon in 1972?

not bashing your logic... just pickin' brains.
Nah. Mini Cooper is a car. And you can expect it to only get 28 mpg.

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Old 08-09-05, 09:43 PM   #9
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I dunno, I've been struggling with this in my head (and quickly dismissing it as I could really care-less), but I would say no. I have a motorcycle as my only motorized vehicle -- a 500cc sportbike that gets about 55mpg which I might use about 2 to 3 times a week. I still say that I am not totally car-free, because I still have to deal with all the crap (albeit at a MUCH more reduced expense) as a 4 wheeled car i.e. gas, insurance, routine maintenance, state registration, etc (not to mention the intial cost I incured on expensive safety equipment).

It's still more practical (at least for me) to have a cheap motorcylce that costs a fraction of a car due to the fact that I sometimes have to get out to places w/o adequate access to public transit and way to far for my bicycle.
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Old 08-10-05, 06:52 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by lauren
I'm going to have to start doing 60 to 80 mile round trips weekly, possible more or less. I've been considering the motorcycle option. Considering the cost of Zipcar it doesn't seem like a motorcycle would be much more, and then I would have it if I needed it.

No public transit options.
If you do go the motorcycle route, be sure to take the MSF (Motorcycle Safety Foundation) class -- it helps tremendously, lets you skip the driving portion at the DMV, and usually gets you a discount on insurance.

Bicycle. See, I kept it relevant .
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Old 08-10-05, 11:06 AM   #11
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I highly recommend the MSF course as well. I took it this summer, and learned so much! I felt truly much more confident in my abilities after taking it.

That is my plan sometday - to own a motorcycle, and a bike. I'm still going to love riding motorcycles, and figure they are cheaper than a car.

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Old 08-10-05, 05:42 PM   #12
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My father never owned a bike period. But he looked upon his motorcycle as an alternative to the car and rode one until the last one was stolen fifty years ago! He felt that it was not a car subsitute.
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Old 08-10-05, 10:52 PM   #13
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I read some where on one of the enviromental websites that the cleanest new motorcycle, mile for mile, pollutes eight to nine times much as the dirtiest new car. And a scooter such as a Vespa or other two-stroke engine pollutes as much as THREE Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

Motorcycles/scooters only as car-free? You decide!
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Old 08-10-05, 11:52 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by turkdc
Well, does it???
If you don't own a car, then yes, you have met the technical criteria for being referred to as car free.

Is it in the spirit of the BikeForums "Living Car Free" forum? You'd have to ask those who were instrumental in this forum's creation.

Will you be viewed by this forum's regular visitors and contributors as being what they think of as car free? That would be up to each individual to decide.

For me the answer is no. From the standpoint of resource usage, pollution, infrastructure requirements and effect on the users general health, a motorcycle or scooter is not significantly different from a car.
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Old 08-11-05, 12:07 AM   #15
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I think BMW is starting to make bikes with catalytic convertors and I think honda has sold a few models with them, and fuel injection has been available for a while, which makes a difference, 2 strokes are bad but alot of scooters are available in 4 stroke and also with fuel injection, the data the environmentalists are using is probably old, eco groups have a broad range of credibility and many spread misinformation to further their own agenda, imagine that.

many enviromnmentalists are reaching for pie in the sky solutions (electric cars) and when something already exists (motorcycles/bicycles) they will knock them with false data, the best way to compare is the total energy consumed over the lifespan of a product from beginning to end, since fossil fuel are used in every step we need to keep track of the product from nuts and bolts to the finished vehicle past it's usefull service life and how readily the materials are recycled, aside from heavy use by a racer a good bicycle trumps all other forms of transportation in that analysis and I would bet a motorcycle or scooter would come in second, scooters tend to be more cheaply made so a shorter usefull life may affect them.

also no one ever takes into acount the pollution cause by fixing road surfaces because of damage cause by cars and trucks, if everyone road a motorcycle our roads would last forever with minimal repairs, a perfect example would be a racetrack that has both a MC and auto track like pocono in PA the road course for the cars is all torn up while the special MC track is still very smooth,
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Old 08-11-05, 01:19 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smurfy
I read some where on one of the enviromental websites that the cleanest new motorcycle, mile for mile, pollutes eight to nine times much as the dirtiest new car. And a scooter such as a Vespa or other two-stroke engine pollutes as much as THREE Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

Motorcycles/scooters only as car-free? You decide!
Source?
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Old 08-11-05, 10:52 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Lt.Gustl
I think BMW is starting to make bikes with catalytic convertors and I think honda has sold a few models with them, and fuel injection has been available for a while, which makes a difference, 2 strokes are bad but alot of scooters are available in 4 stroke and also with fuel injection, the data the environmentalists are using is probably old, eco groups have a broad range of credibility and many spread misinformation to further their own agenda, imagine that.

many enviromnmentalists are reaching for pie in the sky solutions (electric cars) and when something already exists (motorcycles/bicycles) they will knock them with false data, the best way to compare is the total energy consumed over the lifespan of a product from beginning to end, since fossil fuel are used in every step we need to keep track of the product from nuts and bolts to the finished vehicle past it's usefull service life and how readily the materials are recycled, aside from heavy use by a racer a good bicycle trumps all other forms of transportation in that analysis and I would bet a motorcycle or scooter would come in second, scooters tend to be more cheaply made so a shorter usefull life may affect them.

also no one ever takes into acount the pollution cause by fixing road surfaces because of damage cause by cars and trucks, if everyone road a motorcycle our roads would last forever with minimal repairs, a perfect example would be a racetrack that has both a MC and auto track like pocono in PA the road course for the cars is all torn up while the special MC track is still very smooth,
True indeed.
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Old 08-11-05, 11:10 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by smurfy
Motorcycles/scooters only as car-free? You decide!
As I mentioned earlier, I don't consider myself fully living the "carfree" life since I have a motorcycle as my only form of motorized transport. However, my reasons for that basically boil down to the fact that I am still a slave to big oil corporations and the State (basically one in the same) with that machine even though I don't feel the sting as much as those in the cage.

My main methods of getting around are my bicycle, my own two feet, public transportation, and a motorcycle (in that order) -- I would actually love to get rid of the motorcycle, but there are certain parts of the area that I need to get to in a timely fashion that are not accessible except by auto (thanks to half a century of horrible city planning and rampant consumerism). The motorcyle provides an economically feasible solution to that dilemma.
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Old 08-11-05, 06:58 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Joe Gardner
Source?
Honestly, I don't remember exactly, but I think it's Grist magazine, the Ask Umbra column.
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Old 08-11-05, 08:09 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smurfy
I read some where on one of the enviromental websites that the cleanest new motorcycle, mile for mile, pollutes eight to nine times much as the dirtiest new car. And a scooter such as a Vespa or other two-stroke engine pollutes as much as THREE Harley-Davidson motorcycles.
Hmmm... the landstander is skeptical.
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Old 08-11-05, 08:12 PM   #21
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Isn't this group about relying on yourself for the transportation? I have a motorcycle and when I ride it I feel lame. I cruse past cyclist and want to say "but but but it's not like it seems here, I'm one of you guys". When I'm on the motorcycle I'm NOT one of them; you can't have it both ways, pain and simple. This year maybe one out of 12 days I ride the Honda, the bike is only a year old and I will probably sell it this comming spring; should have never bought it. (new lite wheel set for my road bike with what is left over!) oh yeah,,,,,
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Old 08-11-05, 09:10 PM   #22
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Isn't this group about relying on yourself for the transportation? I have a motorcycle and when I ride it I feel lame. I cruse past cyclist and want to say "but but but it's not like it seems here, I'm one of you guys". When I'm on the motorcycle I'm NOT one of them; you can't have it both ways, pain and simple. This year maybe one out of 12 days I ride the Honda, the bike is only a year old and I will probably sell it this comming spring; should have never bought it. (new lite wheel set for my road bike with what is left over!) oh yeah,,,,,

Yeah, sounds like you got yours for "sport" and not to actually commute to somewhere inaccessible by bicycle or public transport. I feel the exact same way as you though when riding by a cyclist, like I'm a traitor LOL.
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Old 08-12-05, 10:13 AM   #23
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Modern scooters and motorcycles can do very well on the environmental standpoint. BMW's lines are very good, and my Aprilia scooter is a fuel injected two stroke, and it meets all the agressive Euro emissions guidelines through 2010. It produces no visible smoke, and only uses a liter of oil every 2000 miles.

I suppose in the end you can't draw a clear line between people who use 'too much' resources, and people who don't. Does the guy who walks everywhere he goes get to claim that cyclists aren't really 'car free' because they had to be transported by car, built in factories, etc? What about the barefoot lady, does she get to claim that the walker's shoes are a waste of resources? I'm not sure.. The point is that people should do what they can to limit their uses and make the best use of what you have.

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Old 08-12-05, 02:46 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by ___
Yeah, sounds like you got yours for "sport" and not to actually commute to somewhere inaccessible by bicycle or public transport. I feel the exact same way as you though when riding by a cyclist, like I'm a traitor LOL.
oh yeah your 100% right, and Im not one that is car free I just came in to check out this group and I think it is a wonderfull goal. Got the motorcycle and like to show the cagers that I dont think there is a car out there that I can't waste with my bike. Blow every one of 'em away, like sweet two wheeled revenge, a payback for the times I'm helpless against them on my bicycles... I live in the city and have a bike with a rack and saddle bags I take to the store, ride as much as I can on my road bike, winter its the mountain bike if there is snow. My car is an '04 and just sits; have service truck for my job.
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Old 08-12-05, 09:40 PM   #25
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BMW motorcycles have had cats for years. The converter on my 2000 BMW R1100S is bigger than many you'd see on cars. They don't advertise it but BMW is an eviro minded company. They were producing ULEV vehicles long ago and have been working on hydrogen powered cars since the 50's.

Nobody pressures them to make the cleanest burning motorbikes in the world. I value this and vote with my wallet.

In a year or so I hope to only own a car for occasional use and a BMW designed Mini would be a pretty good choice. They get alot better than 28mpg, in response to whoever stated that it was what you should expect.

Back to motorcycles. There's a lot more to riding a motorcycle than most people imagine. My wife went through the MSF course and did great. She could never get comfortable with riding in traffic however. Looking out for yourself on a motorcycle is a lot of work and full time. She had a lot of cofidence going into this since she's a great bicycle handler and ex-racer in road and mountain biking. I'll be selling all her riding gear and BMW F650.

The biggest detracter to motorcycle operation is the tires. Having to replace tires every 5-10K miles in bothersome. That's easily six motorcycle tires in the time that a small car would wear out four. And, if you get a nail in a motorcycle tire, it's often advisable to replace it rather than repair it.

The way I see it, a relatively clean burning small car that gets 50mpg is better in some ways than a motorcycle. I just hate replacing tires, even on my bicycles.


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