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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 01-29-06, 04:11 PM   #1
sbhikes
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What about injury?

About 3 weeks ago I went for a ride and hurt myself a little bit in the muscles on the back side of my knee. No big deal. Figured I was just sore from the ride and it would go away in a few days. 3 weeks later now and it hurts as much as ever. I'm thinking I will have to not ride for a week and see if that makes the pain go away.

Have you car free folks dealt with anything like that? What do you do when you can't ride? What if there's no public transportation available?

I swear this is all about getting older. One little thing and I end up waiting weeks and weeks until I feel better when even just a few years ago I was invincible.

Also, I notice that all this bike commuting really doesn't do anything for my fitness anymore. It's like it's just become the norm. Now if I do anything unusual--like the bike ride that hurt the back of my knee which was a big 3000' climb, or like the hike I went on yesterday--I end up feeling all sore as if I was somebody who never gets any exercise.
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Old 01-29-06, 04:25 PM   #2
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Well, think how much less fit you'd be if you didn't ride. But it is true that the body becomes more fit only when it is forced to adapt to new challenges. If you rode 100 miles every day you would be very fit. But you wouldn't get more fit unless you rode 101 miles.

On topic, I fell off my bike riding fast and broke my wrist and a bunch of other stuff in August 2004. I was off work and off the bike for 5 months. What did I do? I walked a lot, both to maintain fitness and to get places. I took the bus some. Friends gave me rides some. And I'll admit that I drove some while I was recuperating up north at my dad's house.

Getting hurt is part of life. It's hard to cope with whether you have a car or not. My stepson crashed a car and was in a coma for a long time. He still can't work, one year later. He says his best rehab has been riding bikes with me. As for aging, my dad has friend who's 76. He still does the DALMAC ride (> 300 miles) and several other long rides every year. there's no guarantee we'll be doing that, but our odds are better if we keep riding, aren't they?

Diane, didn't you say you ride with a group of people in their 60s? Do they inspire you or reassure you about aging?
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Old 01-29-06, 04:34 PM   #3
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All these older people I hike and bike with are inspiring, especially the older they are. Nevertheless, they do remind me that when you get older things get harder to do, harder to heal from, the little aches start to become permanent. So yeah, it's inspiring that at 80 you can still climb big mountains and do crazy bushwhacking adventures or ride a bike for 100 miles, but it's not inspiring that you get all stiff and creaky and slower.
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Old 01-29-06, 04:36 PM   #4
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Sometimes I think your mind slows down to match your body. I'm way too slow for my stepson, but it doesn't bother me. My dad's too slow for me, but he doesn't get impatient with himself.
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Old 01-29-06, 04:51 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by sbhikes
Have you car free folks dealt with anything like that? What do you do when you can't ride? What if there's no public transportation available?
Im lucky in that when I decided to go car free I had moved to a location that gives me a very convienient public transportation backup. I think it is asking quite a lot to rely soley on a bike 100% of the time. Bikes are very reliable - we aren't

If 72 hours of ibproffen haven't healed you I'm afraid the damage may be worse than simple muscle strain. Have you checked in with the (sports) doc?

Can you beg, borrow, or steal a car for awhile? Maybe a dealer will give you a loaner on an "extended test drive"
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Old 01-29-06, 05:42 PM   #6
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Like Roody when I got hurt, I walked and took the bus a lot. I've also slowed down and become
more timid. I can't remember the last time I drafted a car. The timidity comes from remembering
that if I crash, I might not be able to bike and I'll take longer to heal than when I was a teenager.
Also, I no longer greatly increase my mileage without working up to it. If I'm going to ride more than 3x
my base mileage in a day, I gradually work up to the ride rather than just going like I used to. For example, if I'm planning a long weekend trip then I add miles to my daily commute during the week before so I'm ready. If I'm planning a long bike vacation, I start adding miles and put bricks in the panniers a full month before departure so I'm in shape. When I was in college I'd just load the tent and stuff on the bike and go and not feel a thing. Nowadays I'd rather stay on the healthy pain free side so I can keep at it.
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Old 01-29-06, 09:38 PM   #7
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Here's a different perspective coming from my recent adventure. Although I had been "car lite" for several years, until a few months ago I still drove around my 5-speed pick-up truck for the occasional times when I didn't feel like biking (such as in the rain)....

Well, about 4 months ago I had a rude awakening....I broke my femur on a mountain-bike-ride one night, and was treated to: Two week hospital stay, and then 10 weeks of no weight bearing, no biking, and NO DRIVING.

During those 10 weeks, I discovered the public transportation system in my area, and truly realized I could be car free, with or without a bike. I realized that if I could get around w/out the car while on crutches, having a bike and being able to walk would be even easier! After I got "back on my feet" I sold my truck. These days I still take the bus when I don't feel like biking, but most of the time I do ride. If there were no STA, I'm not sure the decision to sell the truck would have been so easy...
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Old 01-29-06, 10:58 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by sbhikes
Have you car free folks dealt with anything like that? What do you do when you can't ride? What if there's no public transportation available?
I live in an urban area with public transit. I would feel uncomfortable living in a place where I don't have a non-car transport alternative.


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Also, I notice that all this bike commuting really doesn't do anything for my fitness anymore. It's like it's just become the norm. Now if I do anything unusual--like the bike ride that hurt the back of my knee which was a big 3000' climb, or like the hike I went on yesterday--I end up feeling all sore as if I was somebody who never gets any exercise.
I don't think this is true, moderate exercise is supposed to become a part of your life to a point you don't even notice it. You don't need to ever be sore or push yourself too much for exercise to be good for you. It is doing great things for your health.
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Old 01-30-06, 12:13 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mtn Mike
Here's a different perspective coming from my recent adventure. Although I had been "car lite" for several years, until a few months ago I still drove around my 5-speed pick-up truck for the occasional times when I didn't feel like biking (such as in the rain)....

Well, about 4 months ago I had a rude awakening....I broke my femur on a mountain-bike-ride one night, and was treated to: Two week hospital stay, and then 10 weeks of no weight bearing, no biking, and NO DRIVING.

During those 10 weeks, I discovered the public transportation system in my area, and truly realized I could be car free, with or without a bike. I realized that if I could get around w/out the car while on crutches, having a bike and being able to walk would be even easier! After I got "back on my feet" I sold my truck. These days I still take the bus when I don't feel like biking, but most of the time I do ride. If there were no STA, I'm not sure the decision to sell the truck would have been so easy
...
Damn that must have been a bad accident to break the femur, one of the strongest bones in the body. Usually it takes getting hit by a car to get hurt that badly. Have you recovered well?

I think your point is good that injuries can leave motorists without usable transportation also. A lot of injuries that make it impossible to ride leave you incapable of driving too. It isn't a bad idea to familiarize yourself with public transport options "just in case."
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Old 01-30-06, 10:09 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Roody
Damn that must have been a bad accident to break the femur, one of the strongest bones in the body. Usually it takes getting hit by a car to get hurt that badly. Have you recovered well?

I think your point is good that injuries can leave motorists without usable transportation also. A lot of injuries that make it impossible to ride leave you incapable of driving too. It isn't a bad idea to familiarize yourself with public transport options "just in case."
I have to admit that until a few months ago, I was completely ignorant about public transit. I mean, I don't think I had ever even used a city bus in my life. There is a certain stigma attached to public transit, a la Homer Simpson's view; "Public Transportation is for Losers". I am over that now...
What a great resource, if one need's it.

Yeah, it wasn’t easy to break a femur. I had to ram my knee into a large boulder at about 20mph…pretty much a freak accident actually. I just counted the months up on my fingers, and it's been 4 months almost to the day. I'm doing great. The bone is still healing, but the surgeon says the bone is already up to full strength, and I was okay’d for cycling again last month. I'm at about 65%, strength wise on that leg, which is fine for the light winter biking and commuting that I do, and is getting better all the time... and thanks for asking
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Old 01-31-06, 10:45 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Mtn Mike
I have to admit that until a few months ago, I was completely ignorant about public transit. I mean, I don't think I had ever even used a city bus in my life. There is a certain stigma attached to public transit, a la Homer Simpson's view; "Public Transportation is for Losers". I am over that now...
I really think we need to educate people on how to use public transit. My mother-in-law, for example, thinks "bus" is a "three letter word" best left out of polite conversation. Given her experiences, I'm not surprised! Once a year or so she would walk up to a bus stop, never checking the schedule or checking for route changes, and just expect a bus to be there in a few minutes.

We have a great new tool now on our transit company's web site: you tell it your origin and destination points, as well as desired arrival or departure time, and you get a printer-friendly set of instructions. You can opt for "least walking", "fewest transfers", or "fastest trip" as well. I know our transit system pretty well, but the trip planner still surprises me sometimes by shaving 10-15 minutes off my planned trip.

By and large I find the people who complain that our transit system is bad either never use it, or don't know how to use it effectively.
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Old 01-31-06, 10:27 PM   #12
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I really think we need to educate people on how to use public transit.
That's a great idea. I grew up in a smallish town in the middle of nowhere and thus had no experience with public transit. Even when I lived in St Louis for a few years, I only rode the MetroLink (light rail) a couple of times, and never was on a bus. I recently was in Denver and Boulder and used the bus system to travel between the two, as well as around Denver a bit. It took a bit of studying of maps and schedules to do it.


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We have a great new tool now on our transit company's web site: you tell it your origin and destination points, as well as desired arrival or departure time, and you get a printer-friendly set of instructions.
I used this for my trip from Denver to Boulder, and fortunately did not end up following the intructions I got. They had me walking a few blocks, getting on a bus, riding a few blocks, getting off the bus, walking a few blocks, and getting on the bus to Boulder. In essence that's what I ended up doing, but I used the free Mall Ride rather than pay fare on a regular city bus. Hopefully RTD will continue to improve their tool to become as useful as yours sounds to be.
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