Haven't posted here for a while, but I thought I'd give you all an update after being car-free for 2 1/2 months. I sold my car soon after my last post, and have been living happily without it ever since! I also know there are a few lurkers on the forum who would like to be car-free, but haven't taken the plunge yet. This post contains some of the things I have learnt, which hopefully can help somebody else out.
Seriously. You will ride places where you don't want to be covered in muck, and there's no more "I'll just take the car instead". Two simple pieces of plastic are a small investment, but with a big payoff! Ditto for headlights, blinkies, mini-tool, puncture-resistant tyres and gloves.
Have a spare
I have 3 bikes, and many of the parts are interchangeable. In the last couple of months, I have needed a spare rear wheel, a spare bike and a spare tyre. I would recommend having 2 bikes, or at least spares of breakable components (ie. spare spokes, brake cables, ...)
People are willing to help
I've needed help to carry a toilet (don't ask) and people were more than happy to help me out. After selling my car, I have been offered more rides than ever before in my life. It has been a bit of an eye opener to me - people are far more willing to step in and lend a hand than I expected.
Learn bike maintenance
Or it will be forced upon you! Thanks to Murphy's law, my bike breaks down when I have no other transport options available. I've learnt to true a wheel, re-cable brakes and shifters, and fix all manner of other things. Its not hard, and its not expensive. Its also great fun!
Set your bike up for comfort
Since you are likely to be putting in some significant distances on your bike, its worth setting it up for comfort. Make sure your saddle height is right, that you bought the right sized frame, and lift your handlebars to the same height as your saddle or even further. You aren't out to break world records for aerodynamics here.
Previously, I would ride at full pelt, and always attempt to better my personal best time. This doesn't seem like such a good idea any more, as there is always going to be another ride in a few hours time. Its not so much fun being exhausted and knowing there is a big ride ahead. Just relax a bit - you'll only be slightly (and only slightly) slower.
Take care of yourself
Pretty self explanatory, really. Eat well, sleep well... gotta keep the engine in good order!
And my last piece of advice about going car-free...
Its easier than you think
Originally Posted by damian