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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 10-07-06, 06:15 PM   #1
carless
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Car-Free Tips #1 - *Share Yours

I'd like to work this into a sticky to explain/help visitors to our little sub-forum. Our biggest audience isn't visitors to BF, but Google searchers, with that in mind here are some (non) logical guidlines.

Begin each post with a subject like...

Mechanical - (example) How to carry groceries/kids on a bike.
Physical - (example) How to do errands on a bike and live to tell.
Money - (example) How to find out what your car cost.
Motivation - (example) See Above.

I do enjoy oil rants, car-based society discussions, and the dating thing, but we have enough post's on those. What we do well (and different from the other forums) is use our bikes to for everyday transportation.
Nobody tours with a $15 rack and 2 free paint buckets (well, maybe Ken kifer). No road jerseys have a rear eggs/bread pocket. There is nobody thinking about divorcing their car who reads 46 pages of UDLLP (uber dynamic light lane positioning?). Nobody wants to live simply and read about hydraulic brakes under $400. Describe a unique or adaptable tip that is useful, thrifty and relevant to us.
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Old 10-07-06, 06:37 PM   #2
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Mechanical - How to get a business suit, dress, or casual clothes dry and wrinkle free to work.

The Garment Bag for Biking to Work
http://www.twowheelgear.com/features.php
Looks like a regular garment bag with attachments.

Briggs & Riley Baseline 45" Garment Cover
http://www.ebags.com/briggs_riley/ba...m?modelid=1621
45" x 22" x 3" open dimensions

Pack-It Full Length Folder
http://www.eaglecreek.com/accessorie.../?outfitresult
$40.00 I'll try this (new job).

Anybody tried these?
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Old 10-07-06, 07:01 PM   #3
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Cheap Panniers

Mechanical - bags that fit on the rear rack

You will need bags to carry stuff on your bike. It's hard to know how big or how much to spend. You can also look at messenger bags Chrome makes a (huge) one I own. If you do construction, have a large family, or play a large musical instrument, look at the xtracycle (numerous threads). If you have only one set to start I would go with the Oyster buckets.

Oyster buckets $80 per pair, $40 for one
http://www.cobbworks.com/index.htm

BF Thread
http://www.bikeforums.net/archive/index.php/t-60786

$3 DIY
http://www.makezine.com/blog/archive...for_bikes.html

Duct tape panniers
http://www.makezine.com/blog/archive..._panniers.html

Bulletproof, literally
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=17843

DIY Panniers
http://scicomp.ucsd.edu/~spav/play/panniers.html
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Old 10-07-06, 07:38 PM   #4
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Practicality

Personally I hate carrying locks around. I get around this by doing the following.

If you use a beater as a commuter buy a bunch of cheap locks and leave them on the bike racks that you lock to most.
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Old 10-07-06, 08:57 PM   #5
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Mechanical - how to build your own bike trailer out of EMT conduit
http://drumbent.com/trailer.html
or a really big bike trailer
http://drumbent.com/trailer_big.html

or out of bamboo
http://www.carryfreedom.com/bamboo.html
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Old 10-07-06, 09:20 PM   #6
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Physical--you will get tougher (and smarter). And it only takes a few weeks or months. Here are a couple tips for getting in shape for longer, harder rides, especially for older riders:
  • Just start out easy on your bike, and gradually add more time in the saddle, and more speed--as you feel ready for it. It doesn't take a special training program to ride like a champ. Just do what feels comfortable--then do just a little more. Every week, try to add about 5 to 10 % more time to your rides. For true carfree cycling, you'll probably want to be able to ride an hour or more, every day of the week. But it might take you a few months to get to that point.
  • Don't worry about increasing your speed until you're able to do that "hour a day." You get further if you ride slower, instead of riding too fast and bonking out. After you develop your basic endurance, you can work on speed, if you want to.
  • Make sure you eat good food and get adequate rest, too.
  • Try to get your weight down where it should be. This is good for your general health, and it will also make you a better rider. Cycling is excellent exercise for weight loss, but try not to start eating a lot more or you might actually gain weight. (I did, for a while.)
  • You will acclimate to the weather. I guarantee that in a few weeks, you will be little bothered by conditions that now seem too hot, too cold, too windy, or too wet.


(I know this works because I did it. Six years ago, I weighed 325 pounds and I had a heart attack. I couldn't ride around the block if the devil were chasing me. Now, I'm fit, strong and my weight is good. I can easily ride 40 miles, then turn around and ride 40 more the next day. And every day.)
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Old 10-07-06, 09:40 PM   #7
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Request: Mechanical: How to fit a rack and fenders on a bike with only 1 eyelet.

I'm guessing you have to get a longer mounting screw and somehow overlap both the fender and the rack. Anyone done this?
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Old 10-07-06, 09:58 PM   #8
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[QUOTE=carless]Mechanical - bags that fit on the rear rack

Last week I bought too much stuff at the grocery store and had no panniers. I tied the plastic grocery bags by the handles to the rear rack. I just used a square knot. Instant panniers. Price- $0.00. What's not to like?
My rear rack has several down struts so the bags don't go near the spokes. When I get home I just cut the bags off the rack. They're still useful as trash bags with cut handles.

It doesn't look pretty but if you get handy with knots, you can tie things to your luggage rack with twine or a mixture of twine and bungees.
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Old 10-08-06, 07:11 AM   #9
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Mechanical pick up a old steel road bike and single speed it if it gets lost in the wages of war you aren't out any money because the cost you saved in a tank of petrol will equal the amount the bike is worth although I am currently defeating my own rule because I am looking into profile bars and a new wheel set

I will punctuate later
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Old 10-08-06, 08:26 AM   #10
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Mechanical - In some cases, if you bring a load of groceries home in saddlebags, you can roll the bike right into the kitchen for unloading.
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Old 10-09-06, 08:01 AM   #11
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Practical:

1. Get fenders and a good, sturdy rack. And don't worry too much about how much they weigh; after you put groceries or books on the bike, 2 pounds one way or the other isn't that important.

2. If you're going to be away from home for more than a couple of hours, always take a light and rain gear with you.
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Old 10-09-06, 08:33 AM   #12
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Quote:
I'm guessing you have to get a longer mounting screw and somehow overlap both the fender and the rack. Anyone done this?
That's exactly what you do, and yes, I've done it. (in my situation the bolt was already long enough, though.)

This longer bolt will have less stress on it if the rack (rather than the fender) is mounted directly next to the bike's eyelet.

If the bolt comes loose, things that may help are a) using a washer between the head of the bolt and the fender's eyelet and, b) using a bolt long enough to through the eyelet and out the other end, and using a nut tightened on to the end of the bolt.

Last edited by cerewa; 10-09-06 at 08:44 AM.
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Old 10-09-06, 08:44 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krazygluon
Request: Mechanical: How to fit a rack and fenders on a bike with only 1 eyelet.

I'm guessing you have to get a longer mounting screw and somehow overlap both the fender and the rack. Anyone done this?
My solution is a hose clamp (see pic) also handy for a quick fix in touring.
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Old 10-09-06, 08:52 PM   #14
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[QUOTE=gwd]
Quote:
Originally Posted by carless
Mechanical - bags that fit on the rear rack

Last week I bought too much stuff at the grocery store and had no panniers. I tied the plastic grocery bags by the handles to the rear rack. I just used a square knot. Instant panniers. Price- $0.00. What's not to like?
My rear rack has several down struts so the bags don't go near the spokes. When I get home I just cut the bags off the rack. They're still useful as trash bags with cut handles.

It doesn't look pretty but if you get handy with knots, you can tie things to your luggage rack with twine or a mixture of twine and bungees.
I volunteer at a food bank/room and many homeless people get alotta food and no panniers, or even a milk cart. If you take a plastic shopping bag and twist it (think rope) you can secure almost anything to a rack. Make knots every 6 inches and connect them together.
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Old 10-11-06, 01:40 AM   #15
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Location

Your location will determine two things. One how hard your life will be. ( not a bad thing) Two how much time you spend on your bicycle. (again not a bad thing)

Move. You most likely have been planning trips on the premise you will motor there.

This is one excuse I hear about not going carfree (I live to far). I then tell them what I told you above.

If your flexible choose your city I am only familiar with the USA. I moved west from one coast to almost another. Pick smaller cities with good mass transit systems Minneapolis, Denver, Phoenix, Portland, and Tucson. Phoenix has a very low population density. These cities are more enjoyable cycling than say Chicago, NYC, or Houston in my opinion. In my own opinion I would suggest more Boston, Philly, and San Fran if I wanted compacted POP. Dense.

Here is a general list for me.
0. A bicycle route and mass transit.
1. Shopping -- you will be cycling to these places allot.
2. Services -- Do you want to haul that bicycle 10 miles to the LBS or come home from the dentist?
3. Work -- Five days a week about the only mileage you can keep constant.
4 Friends -- Meet in the middle.
0. I live at one of the bicycle and mass crossroads of Phoenix. I have a main north south route, an east route and a canal which is west and south east. All 2 blocks from my house. If I get tired I have 4 bus routes two are criss cross town routes (think gird)a block away, plus all the express routes a half mile.
1. I live with 2 miles all of my shopping. Essentials are within 6 blocks.
2. Again all within 2 miles the LBS is a quarter mile.
3. 40 a week or 160 a month see.
4. Live all over the valley and we meet all over the valley.

Phoenix is a good example of what makes a carfree life easier and well spending time on a bicycle is not a bad thing.

Warm weather all year round, never rains literally, bike on bus, Gird system, with wide residential streets (some don't even have sidewalks), An alternative transportation trip reduction program run by your employer >50 people, lots of bicycle shops, summer pool pass (all over the place) 20 bucks, every where is flat unless you head into the Mountains or a man made hill, 3 feet passing cyclist law, canals and also washes, 500mi. of bicycle lanes, 4,000 people pr sq mile in the center, and not very many people ride on the street which makes passage easy.

Last edited by wheel; 10-11-06 at 01:47 AM.
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Old 10-12-06, 10:31 PM   #16
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Mechanical
How to fix or mount fenders on the road.
Put zip ties in your handlebar ends and carry washers with you. If you put a zip tie loose around the frame you can cross through it with another. Alternately, you can loop a washer through a zip tie and connect to the frame. This is temporary, usually rattles and plastic can wear and rot. Of course with duct tape.....
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Old 10-12-06, 11:25 PM   #17
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Practical

If you plan to use public transit as a backup means of transportation, be sure to take a few practice trips.

Carry telephone numbers for a few taxi companies in your wallet.
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Old 10-13-06, 06:37 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Platy
Practical

If you plan to use public transit as a backup means of transportation, be sure to take a few practice trips.

Carry telephone numbers for a few taxi companies in your wallet.
Excellent tip! Also know the transit website, and buy the schedule (nominal/free). Maybe google earth too.
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Old 10-13-06, 07:14 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carless
Mechanical
How to fix or mount fenders on the road.
Put zip ties in your handlebar ends and carry washers with you. If you put a zip tie loose around the frame you can cross through it with another. Alternately, you can loop a washer through a zip tie and connect to the frame. This is temporary, usually rattles and plastic can wear and rot. Of course with duct tape.....
Ok I know this is not the best way to mount a fender but you do not have to carry anything with you to fix them.

One time my fender came unattached from the cross brace on my bottom bracket and came loose and rolled qound my tire. To re affix it I found a plastic gorcery bag that was left on the ground as litter. I tore a strip off of it and twisted it so it resembled a small diameter rope. I used that to affix the fender. The funny thing is it worked so well that I forgot it was there untill I took the bike apart to clean and maintain it.

Yes I know that I should have mounted the fender to the brake mounts as well and I would not have had my initial problem but it was a rush job to begin with to get to work in the rain.
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Old 10-13-06, 07:19 PM   #20
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Practical

In your seat bag carry a pair of disposable nitrile gloves, then when you have to do an all to frequent reapir on the road you do not get grease all over your hands and not have a way to clean them.

My commuter is a POS and I only do the minimum required maintenance.
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Old 10-14-06, 06:34 AM   #21
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Physical
How to keep your rear dry and not black (Brooks skid marks).
Baggies, preferably freezer bags- gallon size. If it's very hot wear bike shorts, plastic doesnt breathe.
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Old 10-14-06, 02:40 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by !!Comatoa$ted
Practicality

Personally I hate carrying locks around. I get around this by doing the following.

If you use a beater as a commuter buy a bunch of cheap locks and leave them on the bike racks that you lock to most.
This would actually be a smart idea if you're going to the same place everyday i.e. work People would see the locks and just think some chump got his stolen.
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Old 10-14-06, 02:55 PM   #23
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This would actually be a smart idea if you're going to the same place everyday i.e. work People would see the locks and just think some chump got his stolen.
I leave a lock at school, and at work.

I have another tip related to locks, and I have used it lots. Again, you need an inconspicuous bike.

If you need to lock you bike and are without a lock, find a locked bike with one of those coiled cable type locks. Stretch the excess from the locked up bike around part of your bike, it will coil around your bike and make it look like you bike is locked up to the other bike.
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Old 10-16-06, 12:40 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by !!Comatoa$ted
If you need to lock you bike and are without a lock, find a locked bike with one of those coiled cable type locks. Stretch the excess from the locked up bike around part of your bike, it will coil around your bike and make it look like you bike is locked up to the other bike.

Not cool. Somebody did this to me and his bike got all tangled up in my cables. I had to spend five minutes in the rain getting him unhooked. What a jerk. I wanted to cut his shifter cables but I didn't. I just left his bike upside down behind a bush.
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Old 10-17-06, 09:21 AM   #25
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Find Your Temp - No sweat

Physical
Find your tempature

keep in mind a $5 vest will convert your jacket to hi-viz.
http://www.allsafetyproducts.biz/sit...uct/SAS%206823
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/AS...l-20/ref=nosim

Conversion for celsius
http://www.wbuf.noaa.gov/tempfc.htm



If you constantly ride you acclimate quickly.

60 and above I can run errands in cotton, but bring jacket.
If it's 53 and possible rain, I'm in bike shorts and breathable shirt with a windbreaker carried. In the winter I always use smartwool socks and spd sandals.
If its 50 or below, my ears and legs have to be covered + gloves.
I minus 5 for windy or rain.
40 and below, head is covered with a baclava, summer socks under smartwool socks, insulated legs tights.

For routine commutes and very cold rides see the sub-forums.
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