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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 06-21-05, 05:52 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by koffee brown
I have access to a car when I need one. I belong to a car sharing network, and I know I may need it from time to time. I've used it once, but that was about it.

I do know that even if I use the car, I'll have to have my folding bike too, since I'll have to ride my bike to get to the nearest car and ride my bike to get back home once I've dropped the car off.

I don't think anyone here means car free means being totally free of a car, living in the woods, eating nuts and berries, etc. We're just talking about not being dependent on having a car.

Koffee
I've been car-free for one month today since my car was totalled and I decided to not replace it. I went on an organized ride last weekend and used a Flexcar for the first time. I rode my bike down to where the car was and took off the wheels (quick release of course) and put them in the floor of the back seat and then put the frame in the trunk. Then I was able to take a regular road bike to the event. The car was a tiny honda civic so I had to turn the handlebars just right to get it in. Incidentally, this weekend for the first time I used a Burley trailer to get groceries, which I hooked up my old mass market "mountain" bike which I call my "SUV". (It doesn't fit on my road bike due to the shape of the chainstays.)
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Old 06-21-05, 10:29 PM   #27
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Flexcar is wonderful. I nearly giggled as I got approved for their car sharing network. I mean- my brother had to give me a verbal lesson before I went out to drive. But since I never had a ticket or a bad driving record, I was considered a desireable driver. And I love that it has full insurance on it. I never have to worry about what might happen to the car again.

Just in case others need to know, it's www.flexcar.com.

Oh, and if you decide to sign up, pm me. I get referral points!

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Old 06-21-05, 10:36 PM   #28
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I see they only have Flexcar in civilized areas, not here in the wilds of Michigan. I heard you can rent a pickup truck from U-Haul much cheaper than renting a car, but I have not tried it.
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Old 06-21-05, 10:41 PM   #29
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Flexcar is looking to expand, and aggressively. You should check with them about getting cars in your area. And once you get one location in, they just keep popping up all over the place.

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Old 06-21-05, 10:46 PM   #30
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For me, "carfree" means "Car Free". No car. I hate cars like the Big Bopper should have hated planes. Any distance is biking distance.
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Old 06-21-05, 11:00 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by becnal
For me, "carfree" means "Car Free". No car. I hate cars like the Big Bopper should have hated planes. Any distance is biking distance.
I very much admire your purity, but in many locations it really is hard to be totally car free due to the infrastructure and design of the city. My role model here is the Amish. They never own cars, but in certain circumstrances they will pay a neighbor for a ride. We have had Amish patients in my hospital, and their families came in cars to visit them. When my own sons were both in the hospital, I had no qualms about getting rides with friends and neighbors, although I usually rode my bike to the hospital. When friends are going to a store, they will invite me and I often accept. Tomorrow my friend will pick me up at the Greyhound bus station so I don't have to lug a heavy suitcase home on the city bus.

For me, car free living is a chosen lifestyle, not a moral imperative.
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Old 06-22-05, 04:36 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by becnal
For me, "carfree" means "Car Free". No car. I hate cars like the Big Bopper should have hated planes. Any distance is biking distance.
Well, how did you get to Germany, man?

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Old 06-22-05, 09:43 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by koffee brown
Well, how did you get to Germany, man?

Koffee
I dont' know, but I doubt it was in a car.
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Old 06-23-05, 10:42 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by koffee brown
Flexcar is wonderful. I nearly giggled as I got approved for their car sharing network. I mean- my brother had to give me a verbal lesson before I went out to drive. But since I never had a ticket or a bad driving record, I was considered a desireable driver. And I love that it has full insurance on it. I never have to worry about what might happen to the car again.

Just in case others need to know, it's www.flexcar.com.

Oh, and if you decide to sign up, pm me. I get referral points!

Koffee

maybe this would make a good sticky....there are many cities that have these type programs....we just signed up for this one out here in the bay area.. but have yet to use it yet.....

http://www.citycarshare.org/

oh yeah....car free for some time now, but we do like to get away every now and then and have rented cars to take trips in.....and for moving and stuff we have to pick up that is too heavy to strap to your back and ride with..
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Old 06-23-05, 11:01 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by koffee brown
Flexcar is wonderful. I nearly giggled as I got approved for their car sharing network. I mean- my brother had to give me a verbal lesson before I went out to drive. But since I never had a ticket or a bad driving record, I was considered a desireable driver. And I love that it has full insurance on it. I never have to worry about what might happen to the car again.

Just in case others need to know, it's www.flexcar.com.

Oh, and if you decide to sign up, pm me. I get referral points!

Koffee
Quote:
Originally Posted by flexcar.com
A personal Flexcar membership costs only $40 a year. Rates are $7-$10 per hour and $35 - $90 per day. These rates include full insurance, gas, maintenance, cleaning, parking and 24-hour emergency service.
Other than having hourly rates and a yearly membership requirement, how is this different from an ordinary car rental like Hertz?
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Old 06-23-05, 11:19 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by supcom
Other than having hourly rates and a yearly membership requirement, how is this different from an ordinary car rental like Hertz?
Here in SE Portland, there are about 5 pickup locations within a 5 minute ride, reservations take only a minute online - no paperwork - and the choice of vehicles is broad, with no extra charges for hybrids, vans, pickups, etc. The hourly rates are a big money saver over daily rentals. It does remain more economical to rent for multi-day use, at least in many cases.
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Old 06-23-05, 02:30 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by supcom
Other than having hourly rates and a yearly membership requirement, how is this different from an ordinary car rental like Hertz?
Normally, car rental is per day. Then you add in insurance, gas, etc. Carsharing is geared for people who want short term car useage, not full day or multiple day useage. That's what makes it different from ordinary car rentals.

If I want a car for 2 hours so I can run out to Home Depot and get a few heavy things, I just jump online and go to the cars at the locations I live closest to, block out the time I want, then go get the car at my allotted time. Afterwards, I return the car to the same location and I'm good. I don't have to worry about gas and insurance every time I go get the car. There's very little hassle involved. And at the end of the month, I get my bill in the mail summarizing my useage and the amount they're going to charge my card. Plus... no security deposit to cover the car rental. Yay!

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Old 06-24-05, 10:42 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by Stor Mand
I now many here are car-free. I was wondering how many here are car-free and have children? If so, how do you make it work, assuming you live in a climate where the temperature can swing 50 degrees a day, rain and snow, etc.?
Just decide to do it, announce it, plan, and get rid of the car. I think your real question is... "if it rains, will I get wet?"
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Old 06-27-05, 07:54 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by SecretSatellite
has anyone asked themselves what economically disadvantaged families do without cars? they get along fine raising kids.
I presume they stay economically disadvantaged and don't go anywhere beyond the limits of public transportation if it even exists in their vicinity; which I doubt that most of them consider getting along fine.
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Old 06-27-05, 08:11 AM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tfahrner
Car-free always, 2 cats, 1 dog, 1 toddler son, and wouldn't have it any other way. My wife has never even had a driver's license. We've lived in 4 major US cities. We're 39, and the cumulative savings have helped us pay off the house. We don't take transit more than a couple times a year, either. Have had up to 12 bikes in service at a time; these days the Xtracycle and the Brompton folder see the most use.

Putting an electric assist motor on the Xtracycle has made car-free camping in steep country and other "car-like" trips with my son easy: http://todd.cleverchimp.com/bike/cp/
You may be considering another way when your son discovers that Mom and Dad are not the source of all knowledge, and Mom and Dad discover that school age son has new peer groups and may no longer consider them the center of his universe. The possibility of considering having it other ways may be even stronger if son gets a sibling; or in the unfortunate possibility that someone in the family, (or dependent on this family) develops a serious health problem.
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Old 06-27-05, 09:28 AM   #41
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Those are good points for discussion, I-Like-To-Bike:

(1) What are the economic advantages and disadvantages of not owning a car?

(2) What do children think of carfree parents?

(3) What are the resources available to carfree people who have health problems?
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Old 06-27-05, 11:23 AM   #42
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Originally Posted by Platy
Those are good points for discussion, I-Like-To-Bike:

(1) What are the economic advantages and disadvantages of not owning a car?

(2) What do children think of carfree parents?

(3) What are the resources available to carfree people who have health problems?

Related considerations for those interested are:
1 What negative lifestyle modifications have to made to accomodate the decision, regardless of economic advantage? A diet of macaroni and cheese or the social life of a monk may have economic advantages but there are other considerations for many people.

2. Are the best interests of the child(ren) or other family members taken into serious consideration when their school, travel and social activities are limited to those supportable by a voluntary car free decision of the parent(s).


None of these considerations are meant to disparage those who choose to live car-free. Just food for though for those who do not understand why "everybody" else doesn't think a bicycle can replace a motorized vehicle as the single source for meeting transportation needs for a family in large parts of the modern US environment.

Last comment on this thread: just as car-free people are free to live their lives to suit themselves without explaining themselves or their decisions to strangers, those bicyclists who do not choose the car-free lifestyle have no need to make any "excuses" or answer mocking questions from self-righteous car-hating bicyclists about personal lifestyle choices.

If the answer from an adult living in the US is "none", I suspect either a student on a college campus or a single person/childless couple who live in a city
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Old 06-27-05, 11:38 AM   #43
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
You may be considering another way when your son discovers that Mom and Dad are not the source of all knowledge [snip]
This is the second time you have suggested that our car-free ways are fleeting, irresponsible, anomalous, or otherwise less than a viable model for other grown-ups. Would seeing our lives change and accepting car dependency assuage your own regrets or console you in some misfortune? Is it envy? Sour grapes? It's presumptuous in any case.
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Old 06-27-05, 12:11 PM   #44
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Originally Posted by tfahrner
This is the second time you have suggested that our car-free ways are fleeting, irresponsible, anomalous, or otherwise less than a viable model for other grown-ups. Would seeing our lives change and accepting car dependency assuage your own regrets or console you in some misfortune? Is it envy? Sour grapes? It's presumptuous in any case.
No wouldn't bother me at all to read of such success stories; I would like to read the comments of ANY car free bicyclists who have voluntarily imposed their lifestyle decision on schoolage children or dependent adults; even more interesting might be the comments from those dependents. Just so happens I cannot recall any such success stories posted in BF or anywhere else. I am pointing out that there may be a good reason.


Fleeting? irresponsible, etc? I neither said nor suggested any such thing. Only that people with children and more specifically school age children or other dependents, may have transportation requirements far more difficult to satisfy by exclusive use of bicycles and occasional use of (if available) public transportation.

The presumptuousness tag is on those who bask in their sense of virtue about their unique lifestyle choices permitted by their own individual circumstances, and extrapolate their opinion on the subjectinto a moral imperative for all other bicylists to follow (or apologize for if not seeking), no matter what the circumstances.

Car free cyclists would be doing themselves soom good to share their useful tips with each other and leave out the claims of moral superiority over other cyclists who don't share their lifestyle priorities.
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Old 06-27-05, 12:41 PM   #45
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I lived my childhood carfree... And I never felt impeded by that situation. I went to all sorts of activities, most of them were in my neighborhood. We chose areas where things were accessible by walk, public transit and biking... If we needed to go farther, there was always greyhound.

BECAUSE we were car free, we chose places that were car free friendly. Had we lived in an area where a car was necessary, I would've felt impeded as a kid because I would've had to keep waiting for my mom to take me places. It's all about where we chose to live.

I'm not claiming moral superiority, nor am I asking you to apologize for your use of a car.

I wonder what your motives are to come here defending the car, when this is a car-free board. I believe this was created so that we could discuss the car-free lifestyle that we chose.

Last edited by BenyBen; 06-27-05 at 12:53 PM.
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Old 06-27-05, 12:57 PM   #46
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I think one reason us carfree folks are so enthusiastic about this new forum is that we are in an extreme minority. I hope people who are curious about our unusual lifestyle will look in and feel welcome to talk about it with us. But I think most of us already get plenty of well intentioned car advocacy from our real life family, friends and neighbors.
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Old 06-27-05, 01:27 PM   #47
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I wonder what your motives are to come here defending the car, when this is a car-free board. I believe this was created so that we could discuss the car-free lifestyle that we chose.
I don't recall defending the car; again I am curious if there are any success stories to be told about people who live in a typical middle class family environment and can maintain that lifestyle after replacing all motorized vehicles with bicycles. In case you forgot that was the question of the OP for this thread:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stor Mand
I now many here are car-free. I was wondering how many here are car-free and have children? If so, how do you make it work, assuming you live in a climate where the temperature can swing 50 degrees a day, rain and snow, etc.?

In a related context is there any advice to be given about achieving success at replacing ALL motorized personal transportation with bicycles more practical than "just do it" by downgrading your family's current living standards?
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Old 06-27-05, 01:35 PM   #48
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I would like to read the comments of ANY car free bicyclists who have voluntarily imposed their lifestyle decision on schoolage children or dependent adults; even more interesting might be the comments from those dependents. Just so happens I cannot recall any such success stories posted in BF or anywhere else.
Have you read the thread? People did in fact post success stories, and from both sides.
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Old 06-27-05, 02:24 PM   #49
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Again, I was thinking that this forum was not intended to be an argument about the benefits and alleged disbenefits of carfree living. My impression is that the Car Free Living Forum was to be a forum for people who have already decided that they want to be carfree. I love these off topic arguments, but sould prefer if this was one of the few places on the internet where we don't have to explain or justify ourselves to people like I-like-to-bike, who is a great BF member, but clearly anti-carfree.
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Old 06-27-05, 02:33 PM   #50
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Originally Posted by Erick L
Have you read the thread? People did in fact post success stories, and from both sides.
Yes, I have read this thread (and similar discussion elsewhere) and must have missed any reference to families with school age children having long term (or even short term) success in replacing ALL motor vehicles with bicycles, or any example/tips of how such families practically handle situations that involved transporting a non-bicyclist anywhere unless it was a toddler.

Personally I don't find fond reminiscing of simpler childhood times back in the old neighborhood long ago as a convincing argument (or source of useful tips) for the ease of conversion to car-free lifestyles for contemporary families.

I believe the relevance of bicycle only/car-free lifestyles for contemporary families is an issue that child free (or at least school age children free) people may choose to ignore or pooh-pooh, but few other mature adults will.
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