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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 02-04-06, 06:16 AM   #1
damian_
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Fate has made me car-free. Now I have no excuse!

Hi Everyone,

Today, an odd thing happened.

I have been car-light for some time, and put in about 10 bicycle-kilometres for every 1 car-kilometre. I've also been talking about going car-free, but haven't yet rid myself of the beast. My usual journeys are about 30km round-trip to work, and 60km round-trip to my girlfriend's house. (That's 20 miles, and 40 miles if you need the conversion.) Thinking about going car-free and liking the idea is one thing, but actually doing it is another...

Which brings me to today.

My girlfriend and I were in her car today, and smoke started belching out of the steering column. It was unnerving to say the least (I don't think that would ever happen on a bike!), and looks like the repair bill will be hefty. We were just around the corner from my place, so we came back here and swapped cars over. I gladly handed over my keys. She has now got the car until she can sort hers out.

So now, fate has made me car-free! I am left with my 3 favourite means of transport (my road bike, hybrid bike, and beater bike), as well as the option to catch the bus or train. As a last resort I can always ask for my car back, but I like to think of this as an opportunity to live without it.


So that's about it. This is unchartered territory for me, and I'm hoping it all goes well. Fingers crossed!
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Old 02-04-06, 12:11 PM   #2
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This is your golden opportunity. How long do you think you should give it before you make your final decision?

(Of course, you never really have to make a "final decision." Any time you want, you can back out and get a car.)
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Old 02-04-06, 06:48 PM   #3
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seal the deal - break up with her and make sure she keeps your car.

seriously though, good luck
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Old 02-04-06, 08:38 PM   #4
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Best of all, since she is driving your car, she's never going to rag on you for not having a car.
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Old 02-05-06, 02:00 AM   #5
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Those are long commutes, which may take up an inordinate part of your day. You ought to consider moving closer to your destinations.
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Old 02-05-06, 06:41 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roody
This is your golden opportunity. How long do you think you should give it before you make your final decision?

(Of course, you never really have to make a "final decision." Any time you want, you can back out and get a car.)
Ahhh... its not a question of time, to me its a question of how many obstacles I need to overcome before I am confident to live car-free.

I need to know I can go to the beach and back, do my shopping, go out, do my own thing, and do it all without a car.

Today I overcame the first hurdle.

I was due to go out with the boys for a round of golf, and then off to the local brewery for lunch + beers. Problem was, this place was up in the hills, about 50km from home. That makes the round-trip a metric century - something I didn't even think was possible 6 months ago!

Well, I got up a little earlier (we were due to meet at 10), plotted my course and headed for the hills. With a slight tailwind, the sun shining and the local vinyards rustling in the breeze I had an incredibly enjoyable trip there. I feel that this was an experience I would have missed entirely going by car. And, although I got plenty of offers for I ride home, I hopped straight back on the bike and enjoyed the return trip just as much.

Perhaps this is nothing new for most car-free folk out there, and I know I can expect worse obstacles than today, but I am excited that I'm on the way to living car-free.

Damian
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Old 02-05-06, 08:56 AM   #7
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When my car was no longer road worthy that's when it had to go. I also afraid the police would pull me over an hand a massive ticket for the condition that wreck was in!
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Old 02-05-06, 01:00 PM   #8
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damian--I've been carfree a long time, and I still think your metric century is a great accomplishment!

For me, this story brings up three positives and a negative:
  • Positive # 1: The journey is as much fun as the destination.
  • Positive # 2: You get great exercise, much of it accomplished in the time when you would otherwise be sitting in a car.
  • Positive # 3: The pride of accomplishment when you acheive something you didn't even think was possible a while ago.
  • Negative # 1: This high level of exertion can tak a toll on our bodies. Most trainers and coaches stress the importance of rest from time to time.
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Old 02-05-06, 03:04 PM   #9
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Wow, funny odds. I just posted a new thread about how my girlfriend's car is out of commision (she has my car) so now I'm car-free as well. She only lives about 3 or 4 miles away and I live in town so my commutes aren't as bad. But now I have no excuse to drive to go rock climbing 10-20 miles away when I can just take the touring bike with my gear in it. Good luck to you as well in our similar circumstances!
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Old 02-06-06, 09:03 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Roody
This high level of exertion can tak a toll on our bodies. Most trainers and coaches stress the importance of rest from time to time.
Thanks Roody, that's some good advice.

Other than relatively large lifestyle changes (ie. moving job or house), how do you get around this?
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Old 02-06-06, 12:36 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by damian_
Thanks Roody, that's some good advice.

Other than relatively large lifestyle changes (ie. moving job or house), how do you get around this
?
It's pretty easy in my case, since my commute is only a little over 3 miles. So I'm probably not the right person to make suggestions. I'm usually working to do more cycling, not less! But if you have a real long commute, I do think you need to pay close attention to this issue.


there are some ideas from the fields of training and conditioning that can cross over into utility cycling. The core concept here would be overtraining, which can lead to declines in performance and health.

One idea that might help is crosstraining. For example, I try to walk to work about once a week for this purpose. Or take one weekend day totally off the bike , but hike, swim or row instead.

Another training idea would be active recovery. This means you continue to cycle, but with less volume or less intensity. For us, this might mean spinning in low gears and maybe taking your commute real slow. And on that active rest day, don't make any extra trips, like shopping or whatever.

Also, I try to take a complete rest day once a week or every two weeks, where I really don't exert myself physically at all.

And of course, the crux of it is to keep your body, mind and spirit all in good shape. Eat healthfully, sleep restfully, and pray or meditate. Be kind to yourself and others so your relationships stay healthy too.
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Old 02-06-06, 04:51 PM   #12
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At least you know where your car is.
My car was stolen.
I have a spare but it doesn't have plates and I don't drive that much anyway.

Enjoy
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