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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 01-16-07, 09:03 AM   #1
littledog
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Real urban bikers

I live in a town where the stereotypical urban biker is the norm. No license-no job-living at the Rescue Mission/Red Cross shelter. Or the are the cans/rag pickers. They are the real cyclists who ride year round-even in the Northern Illinois winters.

The bikes they ride are vintage Salvation Army/thrift store things. The working class people in this " Olde" part of town don't ride bikes as that would stigmatize them as being one of the "losers". The rare exceptions are viewed as eccentric at best. Joe or Josephine six-pack also can't relate to the Yuppie cyclists with their spandex and shiny new bikes that cost more than their jalopies do.

In the " Good side of Towne" the stereotypical yuppie suburban biker is the norm. A bike rack hangs on the back of the big SUV which takes them to their destination where they can unload the bike and ride on a country road far away from the suburban sprawl. Which is getting to be a longer drive all the time.

And never the twain shall meet.

It is discouraging in a way to see the two groups being so far apart because both groups are avid cyclists. Yes it's true that the poor and dispossessed ride bicycles for recreation as well as transportation and it being a means of their livelihood. I just wish the more well off cyclists could see this.
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Old 01-16-07, 10:48 AM   #2
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"And never the twain shall meet."

Not never. That's not true. If you're a commuter, you end up riding with whoever is out on the road. I ride to work with some probably undocumented Mexican workers. 'Cuz I speak Spanish, we chit-chat a bit. Nice bit of community building.
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Old 01-16-07, 11:27 AM   #3
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I wish I knew some spanish... I share part of my commute with some "probably undocumented Mexican workers". Every once and a while I end up meeting up with this one group of landscapers on their way to work, and they are as strong of riders as I've ever seen. They ride decent bikes and they (the bikes)always appear to be in good working order.

For the +/- 2 mile stretch of road we ride on together, it's obvious that we push each other to ride just a little bit harder. We have nothing in common other than the fact we ride to work...so it's yet another example of the twain having met.
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Old 01-16-07, 11:42 AM   #4
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At least you have all types in your town. Personally I think the "RUB"s will get burnt by high fuel prices sooner or later and either quit riding at all or come around to a utility way of thinking In our town there are only 4-5 cycle commuters, quite a few "urban" cyclists, and 2 ecentrics (I am one ) that I am aware of. I ride my Raleigh Supreme all over town every weekend. The other guy is riding a newer Schwinn Cruiser We actually rode together for a bit yesterday. As far as I know we don't have any Lycra types in town. Personally I don't know why so many people insist on driving around our town it is only about 3 miles x 4 miles. I can get from one end to the the other in less than 15 minutes using the back roads. I keep quite a stock of old parts and if I see one of the regular urban guys needing a part I will offer it to them, and offer to help put it on. There is one old guy that claims to be 80 that rides over 50 miles a day, picking up cans. His current ride is an old Western Flyer with mismatched rims. Still has the original coaster brake rear wheel. Said he used to ride a "fancy" bike (multispeed mtb) but it kept breaking down so he went back to the WF

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Old 01-16-07, 12:55 PM   #5
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The RUBs predominate in my area. They think my bike is beautiful and pricey, whereas most people on this forum would think it's a cheap POS bike. So I guess I'm a MUD--a midway urban biker--caught halfway between two worlds.
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Old 01-16-07, 07:52 PM   #6
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Spanish is a nice language, easy to learn, and who knows, someday you might meet Penelope Cruz on a commute and need to speak to her in Spanish!!!




Quote:
Originally Posted by SwollenYak
I wish I knew some spanish... I share part of my commute with some "probably undocumented Mexican workers". Every once and a while I end up meeting up with this one group of landscapers on their way to work, and they are as strong of riders as I've ever seen. They ride decent bikes and they (the bikes)always appear to be in good working order.

For the +/- 2 mile stretch of road we ride on together, it's obvious that we push each other to ride just a little bit harder. We have nothing in common other than the fact we ride to work...so it's yet another example of the twain having met.
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Old 01-16-07, 08:34 PM   #7
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poor people ride bikes because they can't afford a car, or lost their license for some reason...when do they ride for recreation?
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Old 01-16-07, 08:35 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kf5nd
Spanish is a nice language, easy to learn, and who knows, someday you might meet Penelope Cruz on a commute and need to speak to her in Spanish!!!

The language of love is universal
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Old 01-16-07, 09:04 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twochins
poor people ride bikes because they can't afford a car, or lost their license for some reason...when do they ride for recreation?
When I was poor I rode recreationally. I went on dates and explored and took multi day trips for fun. When? When I had some free time and felt like it. Those two conditions coincided maybe twice a month back then. I made some very good memories on those bike rides.
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Old 01-17-07, 04:41 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by gwd
When I was poor I rode recreationally. I went on dates and explored and took multi day trips for fun. When? When I had some free time and felt like it. Those two conditions coincided maybe twice a month back then. I made some very good memories on those bike rides.
+1!

Ditto! Bicycle has always equated freedom for me

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Old 01-17-07, 01:25 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twochins
poor people ride bikes because they can't afford a car, or lost their license for some reason...when do they ride for recreation?
It's dangerous to generalize, since sometimes I do see poor people utility riding--with a big ol' grin on their faces.
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Old 01-17-07, 04:08 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twochins
poor people ride bikes because they can't afford a car, or lost their license for some reason...when do they ride for recreation?
When I first lost my job and had no income I rode a lot. I ran into a number of people in the same boat. Lots of time on their hands so they enjoyed it by bike riding and fishing. The working poor that I know are often working 2 or 3 part time jobs so they don't have the time to ride for just recreation. Yet if they commute to their jobs a lot of them have told me they love the bike ride far more than thier jobs.
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Old 01-17-07, 04:47 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by littledog


And never the twain shall meet.

It is discouraging in a way to see the two groups being so far apart because both groups are avid cyclists. Yes it's true that the poor and dispossessed ride bicycles for recreation as well as transportation and it being a means of their livelihood. I just wish the more well off cyclists could see this.
In a general sense I agree with that, and it can be quite comical when they do meet:

Little incident from about 2 weeks ago, I went downtown and picked up the bike path that runs north to worthington about 12 miles up. It was a Saturday, I was just riding around enjoying the freakish warm weather, no particular place to go, just riding. Not being on to really just toodle around I was cruising along at my normal pace on my newest fixed gear, which is around 22-23mph, passing a few folks here and there as I got near OSU campus, nice day, lots of people out and about. Anyway, the path takes a little detour onto some city streets before you cross into a park, you have to do a dog leg right then left with 2 traffic lights. Some rec rider in the typical roadie rec rider gear pulls up next to me at the second light and looks at my bike, and exclaims in disbelief, "dude, where are your brakes and how do you stop?!!", before I could even answer him, "and you only have one gear"..........then he notices im trackstanding, the expression on his face was priceless. This guy had never seen a messenger, a track bike, or even knew these things could be done. He rode with me for a bit and I answered his questions, showed, yes I can skid and stop quite fine thank you, and my one gear doesnt seem to keep me from keeping pace with you when you have 20. In the end, I think he may have learned a few things, but I dont he grasped any of it really. Probably thought I was a freak and this just doesnt happen much.


while im not exactly poor, by most yuppie or roadie forum standards im destitute, absolutely overtrained, and quite lucky to be alive
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Old 01-17-07, 07:16 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by littledog
Yet if they commute to their jobs a lot of them have told me they love the bike ride far more than thier jobs.
Yes I've had kitchen workers swap routing information with me. Their enthusiasm for their bike riding came through their broken English. The public transport didn't run late enough for them so they commuted by cheap bike. I really can't tell if bikers I see are poor or if they're recreating or transporting themselves unless I get a chance to chat with them.
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Old 01-17-07, 09:00 PM   #15
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Yet if they commute to their jobs a lot of them have told me they love the bike ride far more than thier jobs.
[sarcasm]high praise indeed. We know how much everybody covets (or finds fulfilling) those low wage jobs.[/sarcasm]

Mind you, bike riding is actually fun, even if you don't compare it to a job.
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Old 01-25-07, 01:57 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twochins
poor people ride bikes because they can't afford a car, or lost their license for some reason...when do they ride for recreation?
on their day off! pack a lunch, ride to a nice grassy spot, ride home post-picnic. same as anybody else.
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Old 01-27-07, 08:50 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twochins
poor people ride bikes because they can't afford a car, or lost their license for some reason...when do they ride for recreation?
Asking that question is just silly. I don't have a car, and I do mostly utility cycling, but on a nice day I still like to pedal around just for the heck of it; why should a person who can't actually afford a car (bad idea anyway) be any different? Are you saying that poor people don't like to have fun, or that fun always requires money?
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Old 01-27-07, 09:11 PM   #18
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+1 When they are in the mood for recreating, they ride recreationally.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roody
It's dangerous to generalize, since sometimes I do see poor people utility riding--with a big ol' grin on their faces.
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Old 01-27-07, 09:23 PM   #19
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I think it goes beyond silly. It's narrow-minded and pathetic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bragi
Asking that question is just silly. I don't have a car, and I do mostly utility cycling, but on a nice day I still like to pedal around just for the heck of it; why should a person who can't actually afford a car (bad idea anyway) be any different? Are you saying that poor people don't like to have fun, or that fun always requires money?
Want silly? Here you go: http://www.sillywalksgenerator.com/ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IqhlQfXUk7w
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Old 01-27-07, 11:42 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by littledog
It is discouraging in a way to see the two groups being so far apart because both groups are avid cyclists. Yes it's true that the poor and dispossessed ride bicycles for recreation as well as transportation and it being a means of their livelihood. I just wish the more well off cyclists could see this.
Look at it this way. If it weren't for the bicycle, those poor cyclists would be forced to pay for expensive bus transport. That would make their situation even worse than before! The bicycle for these people is their motorcar.
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Old 01-28-07, 12:28 AM   #21
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When I was poor I rode recreationally. I went on dates and explored and took multi day trips for fun. When? When I had some free time and felt like it. Those two conditions coincided maybe twice a month back then. I made some very good memories on those bike rides.
I'm poor and I ride my bike everyday. The fresh air and the exercise keeps those nasty colds, flus and other bugs away. Especially since I'm poor to begin with and can't afford that magic "health insurance".

Riding my bike is my health insurance.

Whenever I did have a job, riding my bike there and bike was honestly the best part of my day. Even if it was soaking wet and humid beyond belief.
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Old 01-28-07, 05:51 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve
Look at it this way. If it weren't for the bicycle, those poor cyclists would be forced to pay for expensive bus transport. That would make their situation even worse than before! The bicycle for these people is their motorcar.
Or may live in a town where cycling is the only option...like some of the ones around me. My town now is about 8-9k and no mass transit (don't really need it) Mass transit outside of major metropolitan areas is hit and miss at best. In one town of about 70-80k near me the bus runs M-F and a partial schedule on Saturday, no Sunday service. It is very, very limited in where it goes, and shuts down quite early. I used to live there and attempted to use the bus. I was working on the outskirts of town at the time in a retail job, the bus made it's last run at 8:30pm the mall closed at 9:00. What with transfers, and roundabout routes it took the bus over an hour and half to go the distance I could go on my bike in less than 30 minutes. No brainer there.

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Old 01-28-07, 01:52 PM   #23
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Simple conversational Spanish isn't too difficult. I've been taking lessons one night a week with a small (three other people) group for about a year, but within six months I could converse, or at least express my ideas and thoughts to a person that only spoke Spanish or very limited English. Many words easily translate (like "ion" words), and once learning the basic conjugations it's not too difficult to extend that to different tenses.

It's a fun hobby that isn't extrememly time consuming (2 hour class and some self study/homework), keeps my mind sharp, and is extremely beneficial for travel and future employment opportunities.

Unfortunately I find Argentine/Spain spanish much much easier to understand than Mexican spanish.
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Old 01-29-07, 12:55 PM   #24
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Unfortunately I find Argentine/Spain spanish much much easier to understand than Mexican spanish.
Mexican spanish has probably diverged more from formal spanish (the kind they usually teach in classes) and proper written spanish than Spain spanish has.
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Old 01-29-07, 01:15 PM   #25
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Mexican spanish has probably diverged more from formal spanish (the kind they usually teach in classes) and proper written spanish than Spain spanish has.
+1
According to my son who is fluent in Spanish most of the Spanish we hear spoken in this country is what he calls redneck Spanish it is the language of the uneducated worker, similar to how English would have been spoken at a manufacturing plant 50-60 years ago. Not the grammatically correct language of a formally educated person. We have a fairly large Hispanic work force and what is fun is trying to keep the translations straight. Many of the day to day words are idiomatic and unique to the particular region the person comes from. We currently have Honduran, Mexican, Ecuadoran and Costa Ricans on our crews, they can converse but there are many words that are different. Similar I suppose to someone from Australia, Great Britain and the USA all speak English and have a fairly decent understanding of what the other is saying.

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