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Thread: Why Car Free?

  1. #1
    Senior Member mjwarner's Avatar
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    Why Car Free?

    It seems like different people have different reasons to go car free. Some for political reasons, other social, and some just to save some cash.

    Personally, I'm planning on going car-lite ASAP. (I'm trying to sell my car, my wife is going to keep hers.)

    But the only reason I'm going car-lite is to save $$$.

    I'd like to hear the motivation behind your decisions to go car-less and car-lite.

    Looking forward to hearing from you, thanks.

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    After I stopped watching television, there really wasn't a need to purchase a car anymore. You'll find the television set is what's programming millions to spend their entire savings on motor transport because this is part of the brain washing. American consumers don't know of an alternate lifestyle because they watch hundreds of hours of "happy people" driving motorcars each month on television. I choose to be car free because I refuse to remain programmed anymore. I became carfree once my mind was free.
    Last edited by Dahon.Steve; 08-31-06 at 11:13 AM.

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    Geosynchronous Falconeer recursive's Avatar
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    money and lack of parking.

    I guess you can get parking for money, so... money.
    Bring the pain.

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    We're car-lite.

    We could afford a second car, and sometimes a 4x4, 4 door, pick-up would be mighty handy for our lifestyle. Sometimes I see somebody else's truck and think, "Oooh, nice truck"........and then realize I don't want one. As much as I enjoy utility cycling I can't justify the expense of a second car that would just take up space in the driveway most of the time.

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    Senior Member Lamplight's Avatar
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    In the past two weeks I have become very 'car lite'. My biggest reason is because I hate driving around here. I get far more hostility driving the speed limit than I do riding my bike well below the limit. After all, in most cases the maniacs can get around me on my bike, but not when I'm driving a car. I'm also doing this for exercise and to save a little money. If exercising isn't fun, then I won't do it. If it weren't for biking I would be (was) in horrible shape.

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    Senior Member cranky's Avatar
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    I'm car-lite. I do it for multiple reasons...

    - Simplicity. People in cars always seem to be in a hurry. They rush to their jobs, to the store, to their homes, and everyone else on the road is in their way. I'm not in a hurry when I ride my bike, and don't feel like I'm in the race. I'm not in a hurry to get to my job to earn money to pay for all the stuff that I need to rush to the store to get.

    - Feels natural. Being outdoors just feels right. When I ride I realize that the human body was not meant to stay indoors or be shuttled around in a vehicle all the time. It feels good to be outside and to move around.

    - Be part of the world. The people in this country(U.S.) seem to be partitioning themselves from everything. Getting huge fortress houses. Moving further away from everyone else. Driving big SUVs to protect yourself. Everything seems geared to removing yourself as much as possible. Riding a bike allows me to experience the world and be a part of it. I get to smile and wave to strangers everyday.

    - The enviroment.

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    Senior Citizen lyeinyoureye's Avatar
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    Depending on my living situation I try to bike commute since it keeps me in shape. Something posting on BF definitely doesn't do! I don't think I'll ever go completely car free because my insurance adds an extra $30k(?) of uninsured motorist coverage in the event I get clocked on my bike. Where I am now also isn't conducive to bike commuting since the job I hope to start in about a month will be ~100 miles RT, but back when I didn't live in podunk USA, knocking down ~8-15 miles per day on my bike wasn't too bad, and every day I rode I saved myself almost three bucks! $60 a month is nice to have, it's like someone's paying me for a gym membership. At least until I got my beater econobox, then it dropped to under a dollar, which was still nice, but the financial incentive wasn't nearly as large.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cranky
    I'm car-lite. I do it for multiple reasons...

    - Simplicity. People in cars always seem to be in a hurry. They rush to their jobs, to the store, to their homes, and everyone else on the road is in their way. I'm not in a hurry when I ride my bike, and don't feel like I'm in the race. I'm not in a hurry to get to my job to earn money to pay for all the stuff that I need to rush to the store to get.

    - Feels natural. Being outdoors just feels right. When I ride I realize that the human body was not meant to stay indoors or be shuttled around in a vehicle all the time. It feels good to be outside and to move around.

    - Be part of the world. The people in this country(U.S.) seem to be partitioning themselves from everything. Getting huge fortress houses. Moving further away from everyone else. Driving big SUVs to protect yourself. Everything seems geared to removing yourself as much as possible. Riding a bike allows me to experience the world and be a part of it. I get to smile and wave to strangers everyday.

    - The enviroment.
    This about sums it up for me. I began riding the bus ~30 miles downtown to school about a year ago when gas hit $3 a gallon. I kept riding, even after gas prices went down because I enjoyed it and it kept me on a nice schedule. I would get to school early and stay later than I wanted to, and as a result I spent a lot more time studying instead of sleeping or something else less productive.

    Starting this spring I began riding my bike to the bus stop because it seemed stupid to start my car for 1 mile of driving. I realized that my morning 1 mile ride was the best part of my day. It wakes me up, clears my head, and I get to see the sunrise and enjoy the weather. I've begun riding anywhere within about 5 miles and haven't bought gas in weeks.

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    My Reasons are just about everything you can think of.

    Well, here is the deal. I live in nebraska, FARMERS and Trucks rule the roads. Anyway, I have a few reasons on going Semi-Car Light.

    I have 2 cars we only drive 1 car at a time. We have done this for about 3 to 4 months now and we have saved some money.

    Anyway, My reasons are as follows.

    1. Money, I can offord it but it feels like I am thowing away money.
    2. Exercise, I do not run as much anymore because of Knee pain, so now I am getting paid to exercise.

    3. I hate Gas Prices, politics and having to pay the man everytime I turn Around.
    Basically, the goverment taxes everything from cars to boats. I feel as if I am totally being taken advantage of. Most folks I talk to say the same thing. The only difference is that I am actually doing something about it and most workers have been very supportive of me.

    4. Environment. When a Replican Native Nebraska Hunter says we are trashing the planet, maybe somebody stop and listen. Because from the midwest, tree huggers are not that common.

    I just bought a Kyak and got rid of my 2 man bass boat. I use to have a large 18foot bass boat and sold it a few years back. The boat costs $500.00 a year just to keep it going. The smaller 2 man bass boat costs about 50-100 a year plus license.

    Now my kyak is bone free, no stickers, no license fees extra.

    Hope this helps.

    jay

  10. #10
    i am batman gregtheripper's Avatar
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    right now i am car free because of circumstance, but i hope to maintain it. then again i only really want to live in major cities for as long as i can. the only reason i would want a car would be to transport myself to far away bike races. then again, i could find other people who do that or get a zipcar account.

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    I am very inspired to see this articulated so well. I have these same observations as well.
    Isnt it odd how such an unnatural lifestyle is so accepted as the norm?

    Quote Originally Posted by cranky
    I'm car-lite. I do it for multiple reasons...

    - Simplicity. People in cars always seem to be in a hurry. They rush to their jobs, to the store, to their homes, and everyone else on the road is in their way. I'm not in a hurry when I ride my bike, and don't feel like I'm in the race. I'm not in a hurry to get to my job to earn money to pay for all the stuff that I need to rush to the store to get.

    - Feels natural. Being outdoors just feels right. When I ride I realize that the human body was not meant to stay indoors or be shuttled around in a vehicle all the time. It feels good to be outside and to move around.

    - Be part of the world. The people in this country(U.S.) seem to be partitioning themselves from everything. Getting huge fortress houses. Moving further away from everyone else. Driving big SUVs to protect yourself. Everything seems geared to removing yourself as much as possible. Riding a bike allows me to experience the world and be a part of it. I get to smile and wave to strangers everyday.

    - The enviroment.

  12. #12
    Traffic Frogger Dave951's Avatar
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    Currently I am car-free.... sorta. I choose to garage my well tuned car in New Jersey while I live in Philadelphia. This is mostly due to lack of parking, adverse driving conditions (Potholes...etc) and the fact that I would never have any peace of mind thinking that someone was trying to steal it all night and day. The one downside is sometimes I just cant carry everything what I want with me on my bike but I guess thats what friends w/cars are for. Overall the car free city experence is pretty sweet with the occasional "I wish I had a car" moments.

  13. #13
    Formerly Known as Newbie Juha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjwarner
    Why Car Free?
    Why not?

    --J
    To err is human. To moo is bovine.

    Who is this General Failure anyway, and why is he reading my drive?


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  14. #14
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    I'm car-lite, my wife still drives but I try to ride when I can. I do it because:

    - it saves money
    - it's good for the environment
    - I don't really like driving anymore
    - exercise
    - to prove a point
    www.rebel-cycles.com

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    I'm car lite. I have an 88 corolla that get 30mpg, but its illeagal. I have no licence, its not registered or insured, the inspection is obviously bogus being from my last car and affixed to a smashed, not craked or chipped, windshield. My headlights are out of two different cars, ones held in with the chiken wire grill, and the other's held in by the smashed fender clamping it to the bumper. The corner lights and windshield are duct taped on. The windshield's duct tape has to be changed like bandages. The taillights don't work. I haven't cleaned it out since the active, festival-attending, hippie gave it to me. It used to be a pizza delivery car, so every cop in the valley recognizes it.

    The bus is expensive and crowded with people upset that: you don't have money to give them, you won't give them your money, you won't give them enough money, or simply because they don't take too kindly to caucasians.

    My bike is a 1981 bent-women's-frame, JC Penney-sold, single-speed, coasterbrake, covered in rust (which actually keeps people from asking me for money)

    I choose the lesser of the evils.

  16. #16
    Member anitra's Avatar
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    When we moved closer to my job, I knew months ahead of time that I would buy a bike and start commuting. At that point, I was thinking of it mostly in terms of losing a couple pounds and saving a few bucks; maybe doing my little bit for the environment.

    Now I do it primarily for health reasons - physical and mental. I had forgotten just how FUN riding is, even on a beater. The first time that I rode home for 10 minutes instead of my (former) 45-minute drive, I felt so peaceful! If I have a bad day at work, the stress tends to evaporate by the time I get home. Formerly, I would sit in my car and stew the whole way home.

    Once I started biking to and from work, I wanted more - so now I do about 1/2 my grocery trips by bike, as well; and I'm looking for more opportunities to replace car use with my bike.

    On the flip side, using my car only on the weekends has made me enjoy driving it again. And it's nice to fill up only once a month, instead of every 4 days.

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    Dubito ergo sum. patc's Avatar
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    The biggest item on our municipal budget (and I'm told most others) is road construction and maintenance. Our schools are closing special programs, our hospitals are over-crowded, our festivals are going bankrupt, and our social services get cut back every year... yet we spend most of our money on pavement. That's just sick. If anything summed up to me the importance of being car-free and reducing car use in urban centers, it is seeing a kid with a learning disability lose his only chance at a full education, while we still find money to pay for an extra lane on a highway.

    I bike for fun and health. I am car-free because I find anything else morally reprehensible.

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    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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    I'm old enough to remember the pre-suburb days when folk's did everything
    on a more local basis that required only one (or no) cars. Cars then were a
    real luxury that was kept forever (almost).

    Since that time both gov't,big oil & the big three set about to convince us all that
    we "need" more cars & we"need" big houses in suburbia all while making sure
    that no one spilled the beans about an oil supply that would NOT last forever.

    Those of us who have the courage to say "enough" to these lies and adjust our
    lives back to a more sustainable calmer lifestyle will be better for it.
    My preferred bicycle brand is.......WORKSMAN CYCLES
    I dislike clipless pedals on any city bike since I feel they are unsafe.

    Originally Posted by krazygluon
    Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
    Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?

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    Five E's

    Five "E's" in order:
    1. Exercise
    2. Environment
    3. Economical
    4. Enjoyment
    5. Efficiency

  20. #20
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    I've been carfree for more than half of my life (I'm 51), in different stages. The initial reason, in the early 1970s was environmental, plus a desire to be less beholden to large corporations. Simplicity was another big reason. I found that I could work fewer hours to support a carfree lifestyle, leaving more time for other important pursuits. My main inspiration, philosophically, was Henry David Thoreau.

    Bikes came in a little later. I had a heart attack six years ago. This was the culmination of a (physically) lazy and somewhat gluttonous lifestyle. I decided to get back in shape, both to stay alive longer, and to enjoy whatever time I have left here. I started by walking everywhere. That was satisfactory, except that I wanted to cover a little more ground. Then I "discovered" bikes. Now I ride everywhere--for transportation, exercise, economy, and enjoyment. uni_bi_cycler--That makes three E's and a T. Not as elegant as your 5 E's, but I don't know a word for transportation that starts with E.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by patc
    The biggest item on our municipal budget (and I'm told most others) is road construction and maintenance. Our schools are closing special programs, our hospitals are over-crowded, our festivals are going bankrupt, and our social services get cut back every year... yet we spend most of our money on pavement. That's just sick. If anything summed up to me the importance of being car-free and reducing car use in urban centers, it is seeing a kid with a learning disability lose his only chance at a full education, while we still find money to pay for an extra lane on a highway.

    I bike for fun and health. I am car-free because I find anything else morally reprehensible.
    I am from Ottawa too and I am not car free. Although the City of Ottawa is quite "bicycle friendly" it simply is not applicable for a majority of residents to depend on bicycle (or even OC Transpo) for everyday transportation.

    First of all the vast distances that have to be covered - the city is not a small city (by area). You may be able to take your bike to shop or visit friends within, say, Bells Corner. But if you live in Orleans and want to see a Hockey Game in Scotia Place some 50 km away, well, cycling becomes an impossible task.

    Secondly, the local transit system (OC Transpo) seemed to be just geared to take fat-cat civil servants from the suburbs to downtown, during rush hours, and on weekdays. Weekend services? Well, going for a Saturday shopping trip is still OK, but Sunday trip to a Church is a joke. The city council recently approved a $100m LRT project going from Barrhaven to the two Universities and Downtown, to be completed by 2008. Is it worth it? We will have to see.

    BUT to be fair, biking in Ottawa is very enjoyable. Each level of Government (Federal, Ontario and Municipal) have their own bicycle paths under their own jurisdictions. Bicycle lanes are clearly marked on many major roads and are reserved (ie, no other vehicles allowed and no parking) for bicycles, just like bus lanes. These bike lanes are quite thoughtfully painted, so that cyclists who go straight, for example, willl not interfere with motorists who wants to turn right. On many major controlled intersections, there are actually left turn bicycle lanes reserved for cyclists who want to turn left. Motorists are quite bicycle friendly and seldom squeeze you out of the way, probably because there are uniformed police officers patroling the streets on bicycles. And almost all OC Transpo Buses are equipped with bike racks, free of charge for cyclists who want to take his bike along on a bus ride.

  22. #22
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yuhoo
    I am from Ottawa too and I am not car free. Although the City of Ottawa is quite "bicycle friendly" it simply is not applicable for a majority of residents to depend on bicycle (or even OC Transpo) for everyday transportation.

    First of all the vast distances that have to be covered - the city is not a small city (by area). You may be able to take your bike to shop or visit friends within, say, Bells Corner. But if you live in Orleans and want to see a Hockey Game in Scotia Place some 50 km away, well, cycling becomes an impossible task.

    Secondly, the local transit system (OC Transpo) seemed to be just geared to take fat-cat civil servants from the suburbs to downtown, during rush hours, and on weekdays. Weekend services? Well, going for a Saturday shopping trip is still OK, but Sunday trip to a Church is a joke. The city council recently approved a $100m LRT project going from Barrhaven to the two Universities and Downtown, to be completed by 2008. Is it worth it? We will have to see.

    BUT to be fair, biking in Ottawa is very enjoyable. Each level of Government (Federal, Ontario and Municipal) have their own bicycle paths under their own jurisdictions. Bicycle lanes are clearly marked on many major roads and are reserved (ie, no other vehicles allowed and no parking) for bicycles, just like bus lanes. These bike lanes are quite thoughtfully painted, so that cyclists who go straight, for example, willl not interfere with motorists who wants to turn right. On many major controlled intersections, there are actually left turn bicycle lanes reserved for cyclists who want to turn left. Motorists are quite bicycle friendly and seldom squeeze you out of the way, probably because there are uniformed police officers patroling the streets on bicycles. And almost all OC Transpo Buses are equipped with bike racks, free of charge for cyclists who want to take his bike along on a bus ride
    .
    Everything you say makes it sound like bike and bus trasportation is very practical where you live! I hope patc answers you, as he not only lives carfree in Ottawa, but runs a successful business without a car. You're in for some big surprises if you keep reading on this forum! I hope we inspire you to use your car a lot less, if not actually give it up.

    BTW--most churches have their own buses, or help arrange carpooling. Also, most churches allow you to dress casually, in clothing that would be appropriate for cycling or walking to church. Also, around here, local pubs often charter buses to take people to sporting events. I guess that's a lot of fun, because they also include snacks and a keg of beer on the bus! (I don't drink and I'm not much of a sports fan, but i do remember this from a previous life.)


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  23. #23
    Dubito ergo sum. patc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yuhoo
    I am from Ottawa too and I am not car free. Although the City of Ottawa is quite "bicycle friendly" it simply is not applicable for a majority of residents to depend on bicycle (or even OC Transpo) for everyday transportation.
    I disagree completely. While the % of trips by bike vs. public transit would vary greatly from person to person, it is possible for almost anyone within urban and sub-urban Ottawa to be car-free.

    Quote Originally Posted by yuhoo
    First of all the vast distances that have to be covered - the city is not a small city (by area).
    Actually Ottawa is fairly small. I live in the south-east (South Keys area). Last week I biked out to Greenbank/West Hunt Club to meet a client, a nice 45min. ride. I could have made it a combined bike-bus trip, but preferred getting the exercise.

    The urban core (area within the greenbelt) is only about 30km wide. The sub-urban area is about 50km or so. Obviously Ottawa is only truly huge is you include the rural areas.


    Quote Originally Posted by yuhoo
    But if you live in Orleans and want to see a Hockey Game in Scotia Place some 50 km away, well, cycling becomes an impossible task.
    A mere 40km as the crow flies. Hardly impossible, though probably out of reach to many. So what? Use the OC Transpo trip planner on their web site, it will tell you that the 95 will get you from Orleans bus station to the west end, where you can get a 400 series "special event" bus to Scotiabank Place. 400 series busses run for several hours before and after every Senators game and most other events held there.

    If you don't live near Orleans or another bus station, ride your bike to the station, they all have bike parking (sometimes covered). I do that a great deal in winter when I don't feel up to cycling all the way downtown. It's only 10km from home to downtown, but that can be a long 10km during a snow storm!

    Quote Originally Posted by yuhoo
    Secondly, the local transit system (OC Transpo) seemed to be just geared to take fat-cat civil servants from the suburbs to downtown, during rush hours, and on weekdays. Weekend services? Well, going for a Saturday shopping trip is still OK, but Sunday trip to a Church is a joke.
    You are correct that planning from the 1970's, when just about everyone worked downtown, has left us with a somewhat dysfunctional transit system, hence the two LRT project in the near future. That being said, we still have an excellent transit system. I will be 35 in December, and until a few years ago I used public transit exclusively. While not a perfect system, it is very good.


    Quote Originally Posted by yuhoo
    BUT to be fair, biking in Ottawa is very enjoyable. Each level of Government (Federal, Ontario and Municipal) have their own bicycle paths under their own jurisdictions.
    I am not aware of any provincial bike paths within municipal limits. Most of the longer ones are owned by the NCC, the short connector types usually by the city. You are correct that the cycling infrastructure is excellent, one of the reasons that Ottawa has one of the highest rates of cycling commuters in North America, despite our winters.

    If living in the former city of Orleans and wanting to attend a game at Scotiabank Place (remember when it was called the Palladium?) is the only thing keeping a person from being car-free, I think it proves the point of how feasible car-freedom really is here!

  24. #24
    Traffic Frogger Dave951's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by uni_bi_cycler
    Five "E's" in order:
    1. Exercise
    2. Environment
    3. Economical
    4. Enjoyment
    5. Efficiency
    Is this like the five "D's" of dodgeball?
    1.Dodge
    2.Duck
    3.Dive
    4.Dip
    5.Dodge

  25. #25
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    Sorry for my mistake. The Sun reports that Ottawa is not connected to any Ontario Government bike paths. The city is however well connected to bike paths on Quebec side. However, I did not ride that far yet.

    Anyway, it is not possible for me to junk my car altogether. My clients spread all over Eastern Ontario, from Smiths Falls to Hawkesbury to Arnprior (I am an Accountant) . It is not possible to meet all of them by bicycle every month to do my work.

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