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  1. #1
    N_C
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    How do you do it?

    First is there anyone here who is totally car free & owns or you are buying your own home? If there are, how do you do it? As a home owner there are times that I have to do a project & if I were car free I have no idea how I'd accomplish it. Especially when it comes to hauling something home that I could not take on a bus or a taxi with me. I don't have the money, & not because I have a motorized vehicle, to hire it done.

    A good example of what I am talking about is when my wife & redid our bath room. There is no way I could have hauled the new vanity home on my bike & we could not afford to hire it done or the cost of having it shipped to us.

    So for those that are home owners & have no car at all, just a bicycle or you use public transit, how do you do it? Or are there no home owners here who are car free?

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    I'm not car free right now (though I'm trying), but when I lived in Boston I was. Whenever I needed to buy something big (tools or plywood, etc.), I would rent a cargo van. It worked fine, and was MUCH cheaper than my car insurance is every month right now (and my insurance is pretty cheap).


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    del dot
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    Quote Originally Posted by N_C
    First is there anyone here who is totally car free & owns or you are buying your own home? If there are, how do you do it? As a home owner there are times that I have to do a project & if I were car free I have no idea how I'd accomplish it. Especially when it comes to hauling something home that I could not take on a bus or a taxi with me. I don't have the money, & not because I have a motorized vehicle, to hire it done.

    A good example of what I am talking about is when my wife & redid our bath room. There is no way I could have hauled the new vanity home on my bike & we could not afford to hire it done or the cost of having it shipped to us.

    So for those that are home owners & have no car at all, just a bicycle or you use public transit, how do you do it? Or are there no home owners here who are car free?
    Sure you could have afforded to pay someone to deliver that vanity, for a small fraction of what you would be saving by not owning a car.

    Or you could have rented a truck for a weekend, and used it to haul everything you need for that bathroom project. Again, far less expensive than owning a car, and you get to rent exactly the right vehicle for the project at hand, rather than having to use the same car for every task.

    I mean, hell, there are times when what I really need is air transport...but I don't buy my own plane, I get an airline to rent me a seat on one.

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    jim anchower jamesdenver's Avatar
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    The biggest issue is planning, not delivery. Even WITH a car, many Saturdays have time eaten away by going to Home Depot and back for things you didn't plan on. I've retiled my bathroom, drywalled, built cabinets, and always find myself forgetting one small thing, (drill bit, adhesive, etc). I'm lucky to have an Ace Hardware right around the corner which has most small things I need, but I've learned to really make a checklist before starting a project. Oh and I try to visit Home Depot (or whatever store) on weekday evenings, rather than Sat/Sun. It's always packed, and trucks to rent aren't always available.

    Oh and to answer, as above states: Rent truck from home depot, borrow friends truck and take them out for drinks, or rent truck for weekend. For bringing home concreted board and other messy stuff I wouldn't even want it in my car.

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    N_C
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    That answers those questions, thank you.

    Now for some more. How many of you are married with or with our children? Is your spouse a cyclist too? Are your kids involved in activities after school when public transit does not operate? How far apart does you & your wife from one another? Does public transit run every where you want to go?

    I'm married for 15 years now, no children. My wife does not ride. From my home to my office is 14 miles, to my wifes it is about 3 or 4 miles. So our places of work are about 17 miles apart. Public transit does not go toward either place & it would cost about $80.00 a day for us both to take a taxi to work & home again. I can only imagine what it would cost if we had kids who were involved in after school sports & practice & games on a weekly basis. Also what if we were one of the team parents, responsible for getting the kids to & from the practices, games, etc?

    So for those of you who are married & your spouse is not a cyclist & if you have kids involved in activities maybe they don't ride or you don't want them our riding with out you & your maybe a team parent & you're car free how do you do it? Do you have enough money to rent a car every weekend or take a taxi all the time or does public transit run everywhere you need them to & has later hours?

  6. #6
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    We lived within walking distance of most of the kids activities. We chose to live in a smaller older home in an older neighborhood. My daughter is in college now and still remembers riding to school with dad and having grandpa meet her at school and ride home with her. From our house to the school was about a mile and a half, the YMCA/Rec Center where both children played soccer was about 1/2 mile past the school. Spouse did not ride, current one does casually and wants to ride more. I bike commuted pretty much on a daily basis from 1982-1997. Then the company I worked for went bankrupt and to maintain my salary level I had to get different job that required travel. In the ensuing years I went thru a divorce and remarried and am working my way back to being able to cycle commute again. Unfortunately the days of being able to work at the same company for a lifetime are gone, and at least in my area the more stable jobs are the lowest paying ones We have had industry after industry leave the area and most of the jobs that are left are low paying retail/service industry jobs. Not particularly what I want to do for the rest of my life.

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  7. #7
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    Well, as of this year, I'm not married. But when I was, much of the time, we were a one car family. My ex-wifes job required that she be well dressed and made up when she arrived, and she was not a cyclist anyway. That said, all it took was a little planning to coordinate things for the times when I needed it, like for when I would be doing volunteer work as the Soap Box Derby technical director. No kids, so I can't answer that one.

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    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    The infrastructure in most communities is not set up for easy carfree living. Most people agree that suburban sprawl and rural areas present the most difficult challenges. Central cities and older inner suburbs work better when you don't have a car.

    Quote Originally Posted by N_C
    Are your kids involved in activities after school when public transit does not operate?
    One of my biggest gripes has to do with the organization and location of schools. In many communities, neighborhood schools are being closed down and centralized. Consequently, many children are no longer able to walk or ride their bikes to school. Even worse, centrally located high schools are being closed in many cities, and their replacements are being built many miles outside the city limits. This encourages sprawl and practically forces young teens to own cars and drive them (not too safely) to school. School districts think they are saving money, but on different levels, it's a false economy.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

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    Dubito ergo sum. patc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by N_C
    First is there anyone here who is totally car free & owns or you are buying your own home? If there are, how do you do it? As a home owner there are times that I have to do a project & if I were car free I have no idea how I'd accomplish it. Especially when it comes to hauling something home that I could not take on a bus or a taxi with me. I don't have the money, & not because I have a motorized vehicle, to hire it done.
    Anything can be delivered, usually for a fairly nominal fee. If you can't afford that fee, you can't afford to own a home. We're car-free, and managed to renovate the bathroom, re-paint, and do a lot of other work around the house. Improvements aside, with a house you're never off the hook: from plumbing repairs to furnace or hot-water tank replacements, plan to spend big money every 5-7 years.

  10. #10
    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by N_C
    A good example of what I am talking about is when my wife & redid our bath room. There is no way I could have hauled the new vanity home on my bike & we could not afford to hire it done or the cost of having it shipped to us.
    Owning a car doesn't always help in this situation. That vanity might not fit in a car, unless it was a large car. Most of the large hardware stores in my area will let you rent one of their pickup trucks for about $20 for two hours. That's how I move most large items. Earlier this year I rented a large pickup truck to move a mattress and some other items. Cost $75 but it was a lot cheaper than having that pickup permanently in the driveway.

  11. #11
    del dot
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    Quote Originally Posted by N_C
    Also what if we were one of the team parents, responsible for getting the kids to & from the practices, games, etc?
    If the team's parents are arranging a carpool rota, I might make a deal with them: I don't take a turn as carpool driver, but I donate my time and resources to the team in other ways. I might serve as assistant coach, help haul equipment around (on a bike trailer, of course), bring food to the games, or host a pre- or post-season party for the team.

    More generally, though, if I were going to raise kids, I would make damned sure not to do it in some suburban hell where the only way for the kids to get anywhere is by car. I would expect them to be able to get to most of their activities on foot or on a bike, and to almost all the rest by public transit. For the rare exceptions, I would rent or borrow a car, or use a car-sharing network; if the exceptions were not rare, I would know I had made some poor choices along the way.

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    Dubito ergo sum. patc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by divergence
    More generally, though, if I were going to raise kids, I would make damned sure not to do it in some suburban hell where the only way for the kids to get anywhere is by car. I would expect them to be able to get to most of their activities on foot or on a bike, and to almost all the rest by public transit. For the rare exceptions, I would rent or borrow a car, or use a car-sharing network; if the exceptions were not rare, I would know I had made some poor choices along the way.
    I grew up in a single-parent household, and most of my childhood with no car. If an activity wasn't at school, I had to be able to get myself there and back. It taught me self-reliance and responsibility.

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    del dot
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    Quote Originally Posted by patc
    I grew up in a single-parent household, and most of my childhood with no car. If an activity wasn't at school, I had to be able to get myself there and back. It taught me self-reliance and responsibility.
    My thoughts exactly.

  14. #14
    put our Heads Together cerewa's Avatar
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    There is no way I could have hauled the new vanity home on my bike & we could not afford to hire it done or the cost of having it shipped to us.
    You live in a city that may not have this option available, but it works for many people: Use the local car-sharing company's vehicle.

    Car-share organizations are indeed affordable to use a couple times a week.
    Some awesome folks who are working to give Haitians the ability to manage their safety and their lives:
    Haiti Partners

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    Dubito ergo sum. patc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gerv
    Earlier this year I rented a large pickup truck to move a mattress and some other items. Cost $75 but it was a lot cheaper than having that pickup permanently in the driveway.
    I felt this was worth repeating. I so often hear car-owners say they could not afford a delivery fee. Yet compare that to the cost of car-ownership!

    Local grocery store: $7 flat-rate delivery. We get a few 20lb cat litter bags, 12lbs dog food bags, large boxes and cans of non-perishables, and we can be set for a month or more. Works fine in winter, with a few bike trips for perishables. In summer the bike+trailer does the job. (The $7 does not go to the grocery chain, but directly to a self-employed guy who does the deliveries in his van).

    Hardware store: $50 for local delivery. We got a whole bathroom, carpet for the basement, and supplies delivered a few years ago. I learned the hard way to start all projects in the morning, that way I could bike down to the hardware store that afternoon for whatever I forgot.

    Business supply store: Free delivery for orders over $50. I got all my office furniture and supplies delivered free, next-day. Plus I did most of my shopping on-line (just went in person to try out chairs) so I saved time and money. Took me all day to assemble the damn things, but that's another issue!

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    Lifelong car-free homeowner here, (2nd home, this one paid for), with child and spouse who's never had a driver's license. 14 years ago we were 2 liberal arts grads with $50K of debt, and we didn't inherit anything in the interim. We fly maybe once a year, take public transportation about 3 times a year, a carshare car maybe 5, and bike or walk everywhere else. Our home is in a quiet leafy neighborhood laid out in 1910, when bicycles were the fastest thing on the streets (they still are, often). They've torn up the streetcars but the bicycle technology has gotten better and there's this internet thing. We've lived in 7 cities together over the last 20 years without much trouble. We would simply never consider living anyplace designed with automotive transport as a norm in mind, nor take a job we couldn't get to without a car. We're self-employed now so it's even easier; the smugness is just unbearable. Getting out of the trap once you're in it is surely harder. Xtracycles are great for hauling family, groceries, construction supplies etc. It's all been said before. It's more a sociological and psychological challenge than a logistical one.

  17. #17
    The Legitimiser Sammyboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by N_C
    From my home to my office is 14 miles, to my wifes it is about 3 or 4 miles. So our places of work are about 17 miles apart. Public transit does not go toward either place & it would cost about $80.00 a day for us both to take a taxi to work & home again.
    14 miles presents no obstacle to car freedom - that's less than an hours ride if you're in shape. Take a look in the commuting forum, and you'll find people who ride plenty more. If your wife doesn't ride, that does make it harder. Perhaps you could persuade her? 3 miles is really easy.

  18. #18
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tfahrner
    Lifelong car-free homeowner here, (2nd home, this one paid for), with child and spouse who's never had a driver's license. 14 years ago we were 2 liberal arts grads with $50K of debt, and we didn't inherit anything in the interim. We fly maybe once a year, take public transportation about 3 times a year, a carshare car maybe 5, and bike or walk everywhere else. Our home is in a quiet leafy neighborhood laid out in 1910, when bicycles were the fastest thing on the streets (they still are, often). They've torn up the streetcars but the bicycle technology has gotten better and there's this internet thing. We've lived in 7 cities together over the last 20 years without much trouble. We would simply never consider living anyplace designed with automotive transport as a norm in mind, nor take a job we couldn't get to without a car. We're self-employed now so it's even easier; the smugness is just unbearable. Getting out of the trap once you're in it is surely harder. Xtracycles are great for hauling family, groceries, construction supplies etc. It's all been said before. It's more a sociological and psychological challenge than a logistical one.
    You're doing it right!

    Very well put--especially the last sentence. That's pretty much what I mean by my sig line: "Think outside the cage." As soon as you bend your mind around it, and stop worrying about what the neighbors will think, carfree living becomes possible for a lot of people. Location is also important, as others have noted, but so often the main stumbling blocks are mental and cultural.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  19. #19
    Crankenstein bmclaughlin807's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by N_C
    I'm married for 15 years now, no children. My wife does not ride. From my home to my office is 14 miles, to my wifes it is about 3 or 4 miles. So our places of work are about 17 miles apart. Public transit does not go toward either place & it would cost about $80.00 a day for us both to take a taxi to work & home again.
    I bike to work... 14 miles each way. You may want to look into a split commute, taking the bike partway and public transit the rest.

    If I ride each way, I spend 2 hrs a day on the bike. If I take the bus and bike, it takes the about the same time, and I ride 5 miles each way. If I opted to take the bus the entire trip, it takes three hours a day of travel time, and two transfers each direction.

    If I drove, it would take me about an hour a day, cost me more money, and I wouldn't be getting any exercise.

    As far as being 'team parent' I'm PRETTY sure they don't beat you over the head and brand you 'Team Parent' while you're unconscious.
    "There is no greater wonder than the way the face and character of a woman fit so perfectly in a man's mind, and stay there, and he could never tell you why. It just seems it was the thing he most wanted." Robert Louis Stevenson

  20. #20
    Senior Member endless's Avatar
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    man i give credit to you car-free guys, boycot gas! lol i think thats awesome. almost all my jobs have been a pretty good commute. right now my job is 30 miles from my home. although its not impossible to ride the road bike to work, i'm just not ready to ride that much before AND after work. not too mention theres not many sidewalks on the way there......or across the long bridge i have to cross lol. my dream is to one day work close enough to my home that i could ride. i might not ever be completely car-free, but i would defintaly ride more than drive.

  21. #21
    Crankenstein bmclaughlin807's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by patc
    I grew up in a single-parent household, and most of my childhood with no car. If an activity wasn't at school, I had to be able to get myself there and back. It taught me self-reliance and responsibility.
    Same here. I grew up in a small town in the mountains, and constantly amazed people with the places I'd show up on my bike.

    I got myself to school and back, as well as to 95%+ of any activities I wanted to attend. I also used my bike to get back and forth to my full time job.

    My senior year of high school the ONLY thing my parents paid for was food and housing. I bought my own clothes, paid for ALL of my activities, worked a full time job. I got myself up for school every morning and had a fire going before anyone else woke up.

    I attended all the fund raisers for the activities I was interested in participating in, getting credit for my time, and paid for a ski club trip from Arizona to Lake Tahoe. I also paid for 2 weeks in Mexico with the Spanish club.

    I accomplished all this with no car, and VERY rarely asking for a ride anywhere. I currently own a truck, but haven't driven it in almost a year. I've taken care of everything necessary without asking for rides, and only occasionally accepting an offered ride from someone else.

    Of the 15 years I've lived on my own, 8 have been with no vehicle. Bicycle and public transportation can be a very powerful combination, and the occasional taxi ride covers ALMOST all your transportation needs. Once in a great while you might need something that you can't handle in those situations, but then... if you couldn't take it in a cab, you probably couldn't fit it in a normal size car, anyway. Do you really need to buy a 4x4 dually pickup truck for that one trip a year??? That's what delivery services are for, or truck rentals.

    I find that my costs have gone down dramatically since I stopped driving the truck. I'm not paying for gas, insurance, maintenance, and I also spend a LOT less at the store, because shopping by bicycle really makes you think about what you need, vs. what is just 'extra'.
    "There is no greater wonder than the way the face and character of a woman fit so perfectly in a man's mind, and stay there, and he could never tell you why. It just seems it was the thing he most wanted." Robert Louis Stevenson

  22. #22
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by endless
    .... right now my job is 30 miles from my home. [....] my dream is to one day work close enough to my home that i could ride. i might not ever be completely car-free, but i would defintaly ride more than drive.
    Well the other way to look at it is that yor home is 30 miles from your job. It would probably be worthwhile to move closer to work. The money you save from dumping your car would allow you to buy or rent a much nicer home. That's what I do with a lot of the money I save by being carfree. I live in a beautiful home just 4 miles from work. Best move I ever made! The extra $300/month I pay for housing is easily paid by not having a car.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  23. #23
    N_C
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sammyboy
    14 miles presents no obstacle to car freedom - that's less than an hours ride if you're in shape. Take a look in the commuting forum, and you'll find people who ride plenty more. If your wife doesn't ride, that does make it harder. Perhaps you could persuade her? 3 miles is really easy.
    I do commute by bike, but only in the spring & summer. This year I will be able to ride to & from instead of just home from work, my hours changed to allow me to do that.

    I am also going to use the commuting mileage as a deduction on my taxes this year. My commuting mileage was only a measly: 559.8 I commuted a measly 37 times out of 65 total rides for 2006.

  24. #24
    Crankenstein bmclaughlin807's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by endless
    not too mention theres not many sidewalks on the way there......or across the long bridge i have to cross
    I won't say you should never ride on sidewalks, but as a rule you really should avoid it. You're something like 4x as likely to be involved in an accident on the sidewalk as you are riding properly in the street.

    SideWALKs are made for WALKING, hence the name. People pull across them all the time before looking for cross traffic. 80% of my encounters where I came into contact with a car were on the sidewalk, before I learned that it's safer in the street.
    "There is no greater wonder than the way the face and character of a woman fit so perfectly in a man's mind, and stay there, and he could never tell you why. It just seems it was the thing he most wanted." Robert Louis Stevenson

  25. #25
    gwd
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    Quote Originally Posted by patc
    I grew up in a single-parent household, and most of my childhood with no car. If an activity wasn't at school, I had to be able to get myself there and back. It taught me self-reliance and responsibility.
    I grew up in a nuclear family with a car. Whether or not an activity was at school, i had to get myself there and back. For one or two field trip type activities where the class returned late at night my parents came to pick me up but for everything else it was walk or bike myself. I also grew up in a suburban type detached housing development but could bike or walk to the school or rec center. My elementary school was just under two miles away and we didn't mind waliking but sometimes we'd bike.

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