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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 01-22-06, 08:10 PM   #1
nateted4
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Turn off, Tune In, Drop out of the Petrol Cycle

The old lady crashed up our Elantra. I have been trying to decide what car, if any, to get her. I shied away from going car free at first do to a feeling that it might not work out. What if it turns out we spend more on car rentals and taxi service than we did on cars? What if CK doesn't like it, what if I find out I need a car too often? How will I get my bubble tea from the other side of the west hills? So I spent a couple days shopping for cars, which I hate more than anything. I hate car salesmen, dealerships, dealing with the goverment to register a new car, dealing with insurance agents to insure them. It's all a giant expensive hassle.
Then I had a mini-epiphany. We are already car free. I don't own a personal automobile right now. If I find out I need a car then I'll go through the hassle of getting one. Until then I'll see if I can handle life without one. What I'm saying is I don't need to be in a rush to get a car.
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Old 01-22-06, 08:25 PM   #2
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Mmm. Bubble tea...
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Old 01-22-06, 09:06 PM   #3
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I love epiphanies! My theory is that they are ideas that were well thought out in the unconscious mind, that suddenly come to light. It'll probably work out great for you.

BTW, I don't think we have bubble tea around here, but we do have tapioca puddin' that's pretty good.
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Old 01-22-06, 09:16 PM   #4
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It's a west coast thing. I first saw it in LA, thought it would be nasty. I tried some and now can't get through my week without it.
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Old 01-22-06, 09:31 PM   #5
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That was actually how "car free" started for me when I was 16. Now, almost 13+1/2 years later, I'm still there.
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Old 01-22-06, 09:33 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nateted4
It's a west coast thing.
Not really, they have it in St Louis, and apparently there's something similar here in Colorado that's called bobas.

Granted I only tried one once, but I wasn't that impressed. Then again, it was at a mall, so maybe the quality wasn't so great.

But back on topic, that's great! I'm in a similar situation - didn't wreck my car, but quit using it for a couple of different reasons, and realized that I don't really need it. I'm now debating whether to sell it. I think I will.
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Old 01-22-06, 09:39 PM   #7
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That's another thing. I grew up in Chicago, our family didn't have a car. I moved to AL at 16 to go to school, were I think Ken Kifer was the only person in the state without a car. I then joined the Navy, where I bought a car almost as soon as I got out of boot. I couldn't even afford gas after making the payment and insurance, and I shudder to think of all the time I've spent cursing the car repair gods in the last decade. It seems I got unneccesarily caught up in America's car culture after being raised car free.
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Old 01-22-06, 09:43 PM   #8
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I never really got bubble tea. I mean, it's fun, I guess, but is it really worth a second or third try?
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Old 01-22-06, 10:28 PM   #9
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A West coast thing huh? Maybe that's why I'm starting to see as many Bubble Tea stands as Starbucks here in Western Washington. I'll have to try it, any suggestions on flavors?

As for the car thing, good job! Despite the hassle, it would be much easier doing what you're doing now than to buy the car, decide you don't need it, than end up selling it should you decide to go car-free. Besides, you can use that extra money to buy LOTS of bubble tea, and even more cause you'll need the energy to ride those hills!
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Old 01-22-06, 11:11 PM   #10
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A West coast thing huh? Maybe that's why I'm starting to see as many Bubble Tea stands as Starbucks here in Western Washington. I'll have to try it, any suggestions on flavors?
Honeydew seems to be extremely popular, and is my personal favorite.
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Old 01-25-06, 12:26 PM   #11
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That rocks. I often wonder what I would do if a similar thing happened to me. I loathe dealing with car salesmen and all the trappings associated with owning a motorized vehicle. I purchased a new bike trailer in September (http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=167119), and I love it. I can haul groceries, equipment, tools, my art supplies, everything with it. The only problem is that I live in Iowa, where it gets profanity-inducing cold in the winter, and there are some days where I frankly don't feel like riding. However, if I suddenly had no car the decision would already be made for me, wouldn't it? Looks like I need to take that leap myself.
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Old 01-25-06, 01:21 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nateted4
The old lady crashed up our Elantra. I have been trying to decide what car, if any, to get her. I shied away from going car free at first do to a feeling that it might not work out. What if it turns out we spend more on car rentals and taxi service than we did on cars? What if CK doesn't like it, what if I find out I need a car too often? How will I get my bubble tea from the other side of the west hills? So I spent a couple days shopping for cars, which I hate more than anything. I hate car salesmen, dealerships, dealing with the goverment to register a new car, dealing with insurance agents to insure them. It's all a giant expensive hassle.
Then I had a mini-epiphany. We are already car free. I don't own a personal automobile right now. If I find out I need a car then I'll go through the hassle of getting one. Until then I'll see if I can handle life without one. What I'm saying is I don't need to be in a rush to get a car.
congrats - let us know how it goes!! no shame in renting a car from time to time. if you do need a car for life's duties, schedule your "big" things: home depot, sam's club, ski day, etc. all in a weekend, or 2-3 days.

i bike during the day, evening, usually cab or bus (or bike) for social things at night.

find a local budget or enterprise near your house and set up an account. usually it's only $25 - $30 a day, and sometimes weekly rate incentives too.

i've already made the decision i'll never BUY a car again. should i have a temporary job or free lance where a car is a must. i'll just rent for that time. renting an economy car may be $500 a month, but for most people they spend that in car payments, insurance, registration, etc. and i can give back the rental car anytime.

make sure you're somehow insured, via credit card, or their insurance tho.
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Old 01-25-06, 04:21 PM   #13
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My epiphany was simply that my car was sitting in the back yard, being driven maybe once a month, yet I was paying insurance on it, and it still required maintenance (oil changes and brake work from rusting). Then I thought about the registration being due at the end of the year, and I says to myself "This is crazy!" So it's gone. Probably I would have done it sooner if it hadn't at least been paid off.

Personally, I don't care for bubble tea, but tapioca pudding rocks!
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Old 01-25-06, 06:27 PM   #14
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please enlighten me.....bubble tea??
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Old 01-25-06, 08:01 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nateted4
If I find out I need a car then I'll go through the hassle of getting one. Until then I'll see if I can handle life without one.
Try a car-sharing service for the occasional times you simply must have 4 wheels!

http://www.flexcar.com/portland/default.asp
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Old 01-26-06, 11:51 AM   #16
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Is the bubble tea you speak of large tapioca balls in various "shakes"? they have them _only_ in Chinatown in Philly.....pretty good...I like the banana or mango. It's like a onnce ina while treat for myself
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Old 01-26-06, 01:04 PM   #17
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Bubble Tea is almost as good as being car free
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Old 01-27-06, 08:37 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgilman
please enlighten me.....bubble tea??
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bubble_tea

Car sharing seems to bee much too expensive, but the enterprise is right up the street. I Have a feeling that going car free is more a mental hurdle than anything else. All the problems are solvable, if one is willing to give it a go.
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Old 01-28-06, 08:45 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nateted4
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bubble_tea

Car sharing seems to bee much too expensive, but the enterprise is right up the street. I Have a feeling that going car free is more a mental hurdle than anything else. All the problems are solvable, if one is willing to give it a go.
I have a question. Is the "problem" owning a motor vehicle or using one at all? In other words, are miles run up on a rental or borrowed car somehow better than if done with a motor vehicle the cyclist owns and uses when necessary?

Most of these various threads on this forum give me the impression that "car-free" for most posters means car-ownership-free. The economic advantages of not owning (and renting/borrowing) can be demonstrated in some cases, especially for those living a very simple lifestyle in a location with good public transportation to every worthwhile destination.

Besides this economic advantage (in some cases) what other positive points are assumed to be earned/gained for the ownership free?
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Old 01-28-06, 11:28 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nateted4
Car sharing seems to bee much too expensive, but the enterprise is right up the street.
If you're mistakenly comparing car-sharing as a one-for-one replacement to how most people use a private automobile (e.g., drive it to work, let it sit 8 hours, drive it home, let it sit overnight -next day do it all over again) then, no, it is not cost effective. That is why it is car-sharing. You share the car and you share the expenses!

Car-sharing is meant to be one part of an alternative transportion solution to the idea of 1 driver = 1 car.

A starting point to using car-sharing is to find a way for you to commute to/from work other than driving alone. Maybe it is car pooling, using public transportation, or even, dare I say, bike commuting. With the primary need to have a car removed lets look at the secondary uses - shopping, visting friends, going out to dinner, etc. How often do you do these activities? Do you always need a car for them? Can they be combined into one trip?

Even if you decided to use a car for most of your travel outside of commuting I can almost guarantee that car-sharing beats car owning. But don't take my word for it - visit your nearby car-sharing company and talk to them.

Why don't you give it a try? It costs nothing/very little to join and if it doesn't work out you can always then replace your car knowing, for you, it is more of a necessity than a luxury. In the meantime think about all the money you are saving by not having a car payment or insurance!!!
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Old 01-28-06, 11:40 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
...Besides this economic advantage (in some cases) what other positive points are assumed to be earned/gained for the ownership free...
From a practical standpoint there are only varying degrees of car dependence. For some people though, non-ownership of a car is a bright line. When you cross it you send the message "Carfree, and I mean it!"

I was concerned about my young adult children. They had swallowed the consumer lifestyle hook, line & sinker. I felt they were sleepwalking into trouble because their lust for material things wasn't matched by any understanding of what it takes to afford them. I wanted to wake them up.
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Old 01-28-06, 12:04 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
I have a question. Is the "problem" owning a motor vehicle or using one at all? In other words, are miles run up on a rental or borrowed car somehow better than if done with a motor vehicle the cyclist owns and uses when necessary?
On a mile for mile basis probably not. If your goal is to secure the cheapest personal automobile transportation then buy an inexpensive priced economy car, reasonably maintain it, and drive it into the ground over the next 15 - 20 years.

As I mentioned in my other reply car-sharing is just one component in replacing a personal automobile. In those cities where they exist I think most people will find the following equation true:

cost of car-sharing + public transporation + taxis + etc. < cost of car owning + insurance + parking + maintenance + etc.


Quote:
Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
Besides this economic advantage (in some cases) what other positive points are assumed to be earned/gained for the ownership free?
You are unaware of the environmental impact millions of cars make? Global warming? How about the geo-political ramifications of oil dependancy? Terrorism funded by petrol dollars? Cardiovascular health and the growing obesity problem?

All of these problems are fueled (hey I made a pun! ) by overuse of the automobile.
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Old 01-28-06, 01:04 PM   #23
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All of these problems are fueled (hey I made a pun! ) by overuse of the automobile.
How does renting and borrowing a vehicle as needed, instead of owning it, reduce any of these problems one iota?
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Old 01-28-06, 04:24 PM   #24
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How does renting and borrowing a vehicle as needed, instead of owning it, reduce any of these problems one iota?
Because you rent the car only occasionally - most of the time you are using other means. Less overall auto usage. Car sharing can be thought of as the crutch to enable people who already have a predilection towards not owning a car, like our friend nateted4, accomplish it.
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Old 01-28-06, 05:24 PM   #25
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Because you rent the car only occasionally - most of the time you are using other means. Less overall auto usage.
You happen to have need and usage requirements backwards and transposed. Need/desire determines usage, not ownership. There will be less overall usage when there is less need/desire; Ownership does not determine or create need. Eliminate need through simple living, avoiding family responsibilities, ascetic spiritualism, voluntary deprivation/inconvenience, whatever; there is your reduction in usage. There are no special environmental or moral brownie points just for burning automobile registration papers. And you can stop fooling yourself if you think eliminating ownership of an automobile is "dropping out of the Petrol Cycle."
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