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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 05-09-14, 03:37 PM   #1576
Smallwheels
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I'm affraid I just own too much to join this thread. I admit I live too complicated.
How Simply Do You Live? is really a question. If it were a command like "You Must Live Simply" then it would be different, more like a challenge.

It seems that you are getting rid of things you don't need, like the books. You are perhaps saving money and improving your health by growing your food. Only you can decide if what you are doing is right for you. If you want to do more, and it is right for you, then do it. This isn't a fad to be joined. People do it because they try it and some of them like having less stuff around, which contributes in some ways to a simpler lifestyle.

Your goals and mine are probably different. Since you've read this thread you have many ideas about what you would like to try. What comes across to me in this thread is an overall vibe of people realizing they don't need all of the stuff they've accumulated. Getting rid of some of it is beneficial for many reasons. The things we shed go to others who can use them now instead of them sitting around in our lives unused. By doing that we save money for others and sometimes take in a little bit of money. It allows others to have things that they might have had to pay full price for new ones. It saves the environment a bit by keeping things out of landfills.

Every thing I own holds a tiny bit of my attention. I must think about how to preserve it, store it, and to keep it secure. Every thing I give away or sell leaves my space and no longer requires any of my attention. In addition to giving me more physical space it gives me more mental space. For everything I let go I recover a tiny bit of my attention to be used for other purposes. This is why my long term goal is to own very few items.
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Old 05-11-14, 05:13 AM   #1577
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I'm affraid I just own too much to join this thread. I admit I live too complicated.

I just have too much hobbies that require tons of material: photography (collection of cameras most of them are cheap second hand stuff but anyway... ), guitars & music (cd's, dvd's), computer stuff, books (lots of unnecessary ones I carry back to second hand shops), ...

Did almost 2 years without television, but since 2 months ago I have a big one in my bedroom.

I ride my bike, go by foot or take public transit. Don't have a car, but my wife has a company car.... so all my efforts of living car-free are worthless.
I grow my own vegetables in the garden, though.

Want to live more ecologically. But it really isn't working out.
Just happened to discover this thread. I'm learning a lot of you guys, picking up some nice ideas.
To each their own, and it is a step by step process.

I have been cleaning up our old farm, hauling scrapped equipment off to the recyclers, and doing general purging. I will probably never get down to the level of my daughter. Everything she owns fits in the back of her Subaru hatchback. She currently lives on the edge of the grid in western MA. My son has more stuff, but lives car free in Boston.

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Old 05-11-14, 07:50 AM   #1578
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i make a good living, so it's tempting to spend the money on stuff, but i don't. I save it. The exception to this is the wonderful bicycle i am currently building up and my steinway grand piano.

I definitely live more simply than most though.

-i don't eat out, ever. I cook every meal myself, and i daresay i do a better job of it than most restaurant chefs i've run into.
-i am car-free.
-i live in a small cottage.
-during winter, i resist the urge to warm my home with the furnace, prefering to put on extra layers.
-i hand-wash all my clothes with a 1940's clothes plunger, and hang them to dry outside.
-i grow my own. :groucho eyebrows:
-i hate forms, credit cards, insurance companies, attorneys, etcetera. I try to avoid these things as much as possible.
-my favorite activity is camping by bicycle in summertime.
wow!
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Old 05-11-14, 08:02 AM   #1579
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Back in 1977 I could pack everything I own in 2 saddle bags. Then I got married.
Then in 2010 the economy got so bad the company I worked for cut my salary, no one else was hiring, so I had no choice, I had to start my own company.
So add 2 vans, a parts storage building and a shop full of tools to my list. Oh and an office with computers and filing cabinets, and 3 grand kids,,,,,,,,,,
-i hate forms, credit cards, insurance companies, attorneys, etcetera. I try to avoid these things as much as possible.
-my favorite activity is camping by bicycle in summertime. (These comments stolen)
If I ever get to retire, I will sell the company, load up my Long Haul Trucker and Bob trailer and head south, until I die.
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Old 05-11-14, 07:10 PM   #1580
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Somebody left this link in a comment at a blog I regularly visit. It is a few images of a man who lives in a small earthen shelter in Oregon. What Choosing Poverty Looks Like - NBC News

He rides a recumbent tricycle or walks everywhere. He doesn't have many expenses so his $5000 per year income is enough for him. He rents the land where he built his house for $100 per year. There is no explanation about his electricity but the images show lights and an electric hot-plate.

Would anybody here like living as he does?
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Old 05-11-14, 07:28 PM   #1581
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Somebody left this link in a comment at a blog I regularly visit. It is a few images of a man who lives in a small earthen shelter in Oregon. What Choosing Poverty Looks Like - NBC News

He rides a recumbent tricycle or walks everywhere. He doesn't have many expenses so his $5000 per year income is enough for him. He rents the land where he built his house for $100 per year. There is no explanation about his electricity but the images show lights and an electric hot-plate.

Would anybody here like living as he does?
It would work for me... but not my wife.

That isn't too far off how I was living when I was in the pickup camper in the woods. I did have a regular job that was weather driven, so I only worked an average of 30 hours a week, quite often getting 2-3 weeks off at a time in the winter. I admire him for sticking with it and making it work for him.

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Old 05-12-14, 03:02 AM   #1582
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It would work for me... but not my wife.
.....
I admire him for sticking with it and making it work for him.
Indeed, all respect for his way of life. But I can't at the moment. I largely can pick up a few things he does and adjust it in my life.
I'm too fixed in this society where we live a different way.

I also have a child, and a second one coming soon. And they have certain needs.
And if you have a wife, you both have to live the same way, otherwise it just does not work.

But still yes, we live too wealthy... but other generations before us fought to gain this wealth for us.
I can live with less, and see my neighbours live in luxury, and could be even more happy. But you only live once and you can leave a lot... but not everything.
When I work, the money I get is not to consume, I try to save a lot. And the savings are not only for when I am old, but mostly for my children. I guess the world where they're going to live in, will be a hard word, when sources of raw materials will get scarse.

I don't know what family situation the guy in this article has, ... does he have children or a wife to look for?
Does he really live alone, or has he other people to rely on.
I'm just wondering because, in the situation where he breaks a leg or aging problems where he just can't live this same life anymore as he does right now... He can get into problems sooner or later.
As he said he can't pay his hospital bill, it will get worse when he needs more care later on.

A quote from this man:
Quote:
. "People get this real high when they buy something. That's why they buy stuff all the time. I'm the opposite. When I buy something I get this depressed feeling."
That's totally true.
I get this same high feeling, admitted... Need to change this setting in my head when possible.
The thing is that I consciously buy things. For important things, I mostly set up an excel to compare brands, on price, durability, where it is fabricated, ... And when that's done, I realize wether it is necessary to buy the product or not.
Nowadays, for most products I'm already satisfied when I know it's a durable or ecological product with the least footprint.
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Old 05-12-14, 03:11 AM   #1583
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Somebody left this link in a comment at a blog I regularly visit. It is a few images of a man who lives in a small earthen shelter in Oregon. What Choosing Poverty Looks Like - NBC News

He rides a recumbent tricycle or walks everywhere. He doesn't have many expenses so his $5000 per year income is enough for him. He rents the land where he built his house for $100 per year. There is no explanation about his electricity but the images show lights and an electric hot-plate.

Would anybody here like living as he does?
Rowan and I lived in a situation similar to that for a year.
In our situation, a year was enough.
If we were to do it again, there would be several changes.
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Old 05-12-14, 09:25 AM   #1584
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Rowan and I lived in a situation similar to that for a year.
In our situation, a year was enough.
If we were to do it again, there would be several changes.
I'd love to hear your thoughts and your changes!
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Old 05-13-14, 02:28 AM   #1585
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Rowan and I lived in a situation similar to that for a year.
In our situation, a year was enough.
If we were to do it again, there would be several changes.
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I'd love to hear your thoughts and your changes!
For one thing ... we'd own the place. That would probably be the main thing.

Do you know the story of our "rustic year"?
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Old 05-16-14, 07:52 AM   #1586
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Would anybody here like living as he does?
That's kind of where I'm headed... except in a van, not a hole in the ground. Biggest impediment to me about that is the non-mobility, and the need for either a chunk of land or an excellent relationship with an understanding landlord. If the right situation presented itself, I wouldn't hesitate to go that way.

Part of the reason why is not even a main part of the story, but living simply allowed him to take a cool job he loved doing for meager pay. Not too many other lifestyles would allow for that.

There's also stuff like this to consider: coroplast homeless shelter. Bet something like that could be modded as a bike trailer pretty easy...

I'd not expect to be able to do this with any other person, let alone with kids. I'm at a uniquely unattached point in my life -- grown kid, no partner -- so I plan to take advantage of it.

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That's totally true.
I get this same high feeling, admitted... Need to change this setting in my head when possible.
I'm a compulsive spender. One way I've tried to turn that around a bit is to get into buying silver bullion. I'm not some gold bug, not some "funny munny" Fed-Reserve-is-a-scam economic apocalypse prepper or anything, but I have a numismatic streak from way, way back, and when times were tough a few years ago, sold silver when it was at $40+/oz.

It's also part of a "pay yourself first" program, where I save a bit of cash, buy a bit of silver before paying bills, buying groceries or gas. It really satisfies the urge to buy -- something, anything -- without tossing it away on consumer goods or perishable luxuries.
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Old 05-16-14, 08:03 AM   #1587
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For one thing ... we'd own the place. That would probably be the main thing.

Do you know the story of our "rustic year"?
No, is there a link by chance?
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Old 05-16-14, 08:18 AM   #1588
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No, is there a link by chance?
I talk about it a little bit here, in these two links:

Charlene Barach (Machka) - 2009 Cycling Adventures
Charlene Barach (Machka) - 2010 Cycling Adventures

Photos here:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/machka...7619719051119/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/machka...7623277367498/
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Old 05-16-14, 09:36 PM   #1589
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If you want to live simply, you can emigrate to India, Africa, or any part of the world where people have to get by on $2 or less per day. You can scratch a living as best you can, your excess belongings won't be a burden because you will barely make enough money to buy the basic necessities. Your life will be somewhat shorter, as medical care is expensive, and not very good.

Cars are of course out of the question, unless you are part of the top 5 percent and can afford a run-down beater of a car with more miles on it than the space shuttle, or the new cars that the top tenth of the top one percent can only afford.

Part of the reason you can enjoy the option of owning a car, or seeing a dentist twice a year, or being able to afford a bicycle which cost more that what an average person in the third world earns over the course of a year, is that the people around you refuse to live simply. They like to buy things, and these things have to be made by other people, who are paid to make them. The makers have to pay other for the materials, while others are paid for supplying the energy, the transportation, the marketing, the advertising, and delivering of these things.

You should be thankful that there are enough people who refuse to live simply, otherwise your lifestyle would be no different than those who eke out an existence in the third world.
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Old 05-17-14, 12:02 AM   #1590
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If you want to live simply, you can emigrate to India, Africa, or any part of the world where people have to get by on $2 or less per day. You can scratch a living as best you can, your excess belongings won't be a burden because you will barely make enough money to buy the basic necessities. Your life will be somewhat shorter, as medical care is expensive, and not very good.

Cars are of course out of the question, unless you are part of the top 5 percent and can afford a run-down beater of a car with more miles on it than the space shuttle, or the new cars that the top tenth of the top one percent can only afford.

Part of the reason you can enjoy the option of owning a car, or seeing a dentist twice a year, or being able to afford a bicycle which cost more that what an average person in the third world earns over the course of a year, is that the people around you refuse to live simply. They like to buy things, and these things have to be made by other people, who are paid to make them. The makers have to pay other for the materials, while others are paid for supplying the energy, the transportation, the marketing, the advertising, and delivering of these things.

You should be thankful that there are enough people who refuse to live simply, otherwise your lifestyle would be no different than those who eke out an existence in the third world.
Um, thank you?
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Old 05-19-14, 04:53 AM   #1591
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If you want to live simply, you can emigrate to India, Africa, or any part of the world where people have to get by on $2 or less per day. You can scratch a living as best you can, your excess belongings won't be a burden because you will barely make enough money to buy the basic necessities. Your life will be somewhat shorter, as medical care is expensive, and not very good.

Cars are of course out of the question, unless you are part of the top 5 percent and can afford a run-down beater of a car with more miles on it than the space shuttle, or the new cars that the top tenth of the top one percent can only afford.

Part of the reason you can enjoy the option of owning a car, or seeing a dentist twice a year, or being able to afford a bicycle which cost more that what an average person in the third world earns over the course of a year, is that the people around you refuse to live simply. They like to buy things, and these things have to be made by other people, who are paid to make them. The makers have to pay other for the materials, while others are paid for supplying the energy, the transportation, the marketing, the advertising, and delivering of these things.

You should be thankful that there are enough people who refuse to live simply, otherwise your lifestyle would be no different than those who eke out an existence in the third world.
Is there no happy medium in your world? I watched an interview with Josť Mujica, the simple-living president of Uruguay, on Spanish television last night. He gives away most of his salary, lives on a ramshackle farm instead of the presidential palace and drives an old VW Bug.

BBC News - Jose Mujica: The world's 'poorest' president

I don't think our only two choices are living on $2.00 a day or choosing a life of conspicuous consumption.

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Old 05-19-14, 05:12 AM   #1592
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Is there no happy medium in your world? I watched an interview with Josť Mujica, the simple-living president of Uruguay, on Spanish television last night. He gives away most of his salary, lives on a ramshackle farm instead of the presidential palace and drives an old VW Bug.

BBC News - Jose Mujica: The world's 'poorest' president

I don't think our only two choices are living on $2.00 a day or choosing a life of consumerism and conspicuous consumption.
I absolutely agree. That's a main point of this thread, really, that people can live more happily by reining in their lifestyles.

I also think it's fascinating that Uruguay, of all countries, is leading the world into the 21st century.
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Old 05-19-14, 08:33 PM   #1593
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I don't think our only two choices are living on $2.00 a day or choosing a life of consumerism and conspicuous consumption.
I agree. For some reason I keep thinking of Warren Buffett.
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Old 05-21-14, 12:00 PM   #1594
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No television/internet at home. My taxes pay for the public library---so I utilize the public library.

I sleep on the floor--pets have ruined over priced bedding and I refuse to purchase another mattress.


I use my bicycle and public transportation (purchase a discounted pass).

My 3rd job involves teaching for a state college...I love it but the college is 45 minutes away and public transportation does not travel West so...I have to drive my car.
I have tried in vain to find alternative modes but it would take MUCH longer.

I stopped buying premium dog and cat food. I am certain it is all made in the same factory. Working on debt....it is a struggle.
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Old 05-21-14, 08:19 PM   #1595
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Sounds crazy all of this, I know, but the idea is to be able to keep all of my belongings (minus the guitar and washboard) in a small duffle bag. I want to be able to(if need be, or the mood strikes me) just get in my car and travel for awhile without having anything holding me back. Also, the feeling of freedom that comes with owning so little is just awesome. My life no longer revolves around the things I wish I had, or the things I own and need to maintain and clean, or spending 10 minutes figuring out what to wear and ironing. I just wake up, put on any combination of the few clothes I have, get on my bike and enjoy the day. If I decide I want to take a little road trip or even if I decide to just move somewhere else, I can just get in the car and go and know there's no packing to do. I use the library alot more(I rarely use the kindle but will never get rid of it, it has free 3g for life), I spend more time outdoors and experiencing new things. I get alot of enjoyment now out of speaking with people and building relationship instead of watching tv or youtube and shopping for the latest and greatest. I feel like a free man. More free than I ever have. No bills except rent/gas/food. Any stress I have isn't related to material things. I wish more people would wake up and realize they don't need all the crap they have.(most people that is, not everyone of course)
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Old 05-21-14, 11:48 PM   #1596
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No television/internet at home. My taxes pay for the public library---so I utilize the public library.

I sleep on the floor--pets have ruined over priced bedding and I refuse to purchase another mattress.

I use my bicycle and public transportation (purchase a discounted pass).

Working on debt....it is a struggle.
One of the most comfortable beds I've ever had was a canvas cot. With just a sheet covering the canvas it wasn't so great. With a thin foam pad from an outdoor lounge chair and a comforter doubled over on top of that, the cot was amazing. I would prefer it to the bed I'm using now. Unfortunately the room I'm renting came with the bed and it can't be removed.

Cots are very light. When you are away from home it could be laid on its side so the pets couldn't jump on it and ruin it. They fold very easily and can be moved from one residence to another. A couple of long bungee cords could be used to wrap around your sheets and pillows to hold everything in place while it is on its side or leaned against a wall vertically.

Later this year I'll be debt free again. I miss that freedom.
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Old 05-21-14, 11:53 PM   #1597
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Jacoblighter my current signature file shows my goal:
"Take my stuff, please. I have way too much. My current goal is to have all of my possessions fit onto a large bicycle trailer. Really."

I totally get what you're going for. Now that the weather is getting warmer in Montana I'll begin visiting my storage unit to sell more stuff. In June I'll have access to a pickup truck and a lot of stuff will be trucked to Goodwill.
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Old 05-22-14, 09:10 AM   #1598
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One of the most comfortable beds I've ever had was a canvas cot.
I'm currently sleeping in a hammock, slung diagonally across the cargo area of a van. Never would have believed it, but I'm sleeping better, with less waking up in the middle of the night, less aches and pains, than when I sleep on a traditional mattress. Lighter, weighs less, packs smaller than a cot... just that you need two uprights to support it.

Large bicycle trailer? If that's how I was leaning, I'd definitely give this coroplast shelter construction some thought... (hammock wouldn't work in this, either...)
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Old 05-23-14, 12:06 AM   #1599
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Originally Posted by mconlonx View Post
I'm currently sleeping in a hammock, slung diagonally across the cargo area of a van. Never would have believed it, but I'm sleeping better, with less waking up in the middle of the night, less aches and pains, than when I sleep on a traditional mattress. Lighter, weighs less, packs smaller than a cot... just that you need two uprights to support it.

Large bicycle trailer? If that's how I was leaning, I'd definitely give this coroplast shelter construction some thought... (hammock wouldn't work in this, either...)
I have communicated with Paul about this shelter. It looks great. He was featured in a video by Kirsten Dirksen of Faircompanies.com explaining that it isn't very good long term because mold grows inside. There isn't enough ventilation in it. I like his flat folding tipi too. It can be set up in less than two minutes. When I said I wanted all of my stuff to fit into a small trailer I didn't mean I wanted to live in something that small. Although if the weather were good most of the time I would like to try living in a big tent. Unfortunately I'm too worried that any time I left it my stuff would be stolen. There isn't really anything to stop a thief from breaking into a tent.

This is the video of Paul Elkins by Kirsten Dirksen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1tV-ovGPyc

Look at some of the shelters he has designed. If anybody could live in one of these they would be the king of simple living. The video also shows other designs for bicycles, motorized bicycles, and tiny boats. His tree house looked interesting in that ancient tree.

Last edited by Smallwheels; 05-23-14 at 01:19 AM.
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Old 05-26-14, 06:27 PM   #1600
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I've never been a big spender or accumulator so I have spent most of my 31 years of life fairly simply. I definitely have more possessions than I need, but still less than most others. I make a pretty decent salary, but refuse to have any debt other than hoping to buy a house in the next year or so. One area that I do have trouble with though is thinning out the bike heard and keeping it that way. It seems like I always have an excuse to keep a bike around, where as with other things, I am usually looking for an excuse to get rid of it. They are not expensive or nice bikes, and I probably have way less than $1,000 tied up in them combined. They just take up a lot of space in my living room.

My current "fleet" of bikes is listed below along with my excuse for keeping it around. What is everyone else's bike count, and how do you keep from adding the proverbial n+1?

- Dahon Folder (Stays in the trunk of my car. I call it my "break down on the side of the road plan". Also good for trips out of town.)
- Old school Dyno Air BMX bike (I rode a different Dyno Air as a kid. It is what started all this bike madness for me)
- Vista vintage lugged single speed beater bike. (I live in the hood. It's nice to have a $50 bike that I can lock up at the store, but can still haul a$$)
- 1990s Raleigh mountain bike, turned commuter with drops, fenders, racks, trailer hitch, etc. (This bike gets 90% of my miles both commuting and neighborhood cruises with my son in the trailer)
- Newer Windsor fixed gear (only ridden ~3 times a year, but its my only pretty bike and it is FAST. It will fit up to 50mm tires, and has rack and fender mounts so I have thought about keeping it, gearing it down, and commuting on it)
-Nishiki Modulus vintage road bike (This bike gets the second most miles, and does get commuted on once in a while. It does make for a quick ride when I feel like dodging gravel and every small bump on my 10 mile commute to work.)
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