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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 02-23-07, 12:47 PM   #1
thebankman
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Recent car trouble forces bike commute

Normally I drive my Scion xB car to work as there's always a parking space, work is early, and I'm too lazy to wake up earlier to get there on bike. Well today I had to bring my car into the dealership due to premature rusting of the body (5 month old car, makes me want to dump it already) and dropped it off half an hour before work. Pulled my bike out of the back of the car and took off to work. It was quite enjoyable (a mile or two less than the commute from my house) and went without a hitch.

It's ironic that my first bike commute since moving to a new apartment comes as my car develops a major flaw. To top off my recent sour life experiences, my girlfriend absolutely gawked at the notion that I might sell the car and go car-free for at least a short while due to my complete disgust with the new car and cars in general. IMHO, she's just pissed she would have to ride on a motorcycle if she got rides from me (or god forbid, commute on her new Townie more than twice a week).

In addition, when asked if I could drive the family truck if my car ended up being sold, my father, who drives a beautiful new Corvette, stubbornly told me that no, the truck is his and he won't let me use it. The truck is a piece of junk that I've kept running with self-made oil changes and a bit of backyard mechanics, with rust, a hole where the stereo was stolen, and absolutely zero amenities compared to the convertible my father has as his daily driver. It's ridiculous that I should have to buy a new car when he has two, and one is an enjoyable, luxury muscle car and the other is soon to fall apart due to age.

If Toyota refuses to fix the car, I'm probably going to sell it and do without. I've got motorcycles and bicycles to get me around and that's going to be it. Enough with these cars...they are making my life difficult, giving me road rage, and starting to create problems in my familiy.
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Old 02-23-07, 03:39 PM   #2
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Uh, congratulations?

I hope you find bike commuting practical and fun.
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Old 02-23-07, 04:09 PM   #3
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When we moved, I gave up my bike commute to work in favor of using a car due to the increased distance. Toyota just told me a few minutes ago over the phone that the rust (or as they are calling it, particles) came from industrial fallout (basically pollution). The car is parked directly underneath a freeway five days a week, 9 hours a day...so the problem of the car rusting is...OTHER CARS! Big time bummer...that's the only place in the area to park a car. The solution to the problem is to either ride one of my motorcycles or bicycles to work and leave the car at home, quite frankly I can't wait to start shedding the winter fat with some bike commuting!! But will miss the morning coffee.
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Old 02-23-07, 04:23 PM   #4
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I'd be cautious parking a motorcycle or a bicycle there either. If the pollution is bad enough to rust a new car in 5 months...
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Old 02-23-07, 04:29 PM   #5
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Luckily I can bring my bicycle inside our office and park a motorcycle two blocks away from the freeway. No more car commutes.
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Old 02-23-07, 11:50 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thebankman
To top off my recent sour life experiences, my girlfriend absolutely gawked at the notion that I might sell the car and go car-free for at least a short while due to my complete disgust with the new car and cars in general. IMHO, she's just pissed she would have to ride on a motorcycle if she got rides from me (or god forbid, commute on her new Townie more than twice a week).

In addition, when asked if I could drive the family truck if my car ended up being sold, my father, who drives a beautiful new Corvette, stubbornly told me that no, the truck is his and he won't let me use it.
Be strong! If being car-free is transporting you towards a happier life don't let other's carping dissuade you. I got some of that when I first went car-free. Thankfully it ended after awhile.

To be willingly car-free in this society is to be non-conventional. And all non-conventional people have to have the courage of their convictions to withstand the peer pressure to conform.
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Old 02-24-07, 12:55 AM   #7
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I came to the same realization. I was car free until 25, then switched over under pressure to "grow up." For the next decade my life got more stressful, more troublesome and no matter how much money I made it all seemed to vanish. I gained 150 lbs and got more and more unhealthy, with tons of fast food. The peak of insanity was a 190 mile per day commute across icy Alaska highways. After two years of that, hit a patch of ice and rolled the truck. That's when I bagged it and limped back to my bike. I've been totally car free since last May. Nobody mouches off me anymore. Even the homeless let me pass with a nod. The cops don't bug me. I've lost a bunch of weight. I recover from injuries many times faster. Heart rate down. BP down, etc. etc. Best of all I feel strong again.

I don't hate cars per se, but the lifestyle they encourage is as lethal and self-destructive as any drug.
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Old 02-24-07, 10:20 AM   #8
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Uh, congratulations?
Ok, that cracked me up! Thanks for the laugh
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Old 02-24-07, 10:24 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by thebankman
But will miss the morning coffee.
I do not function without my morning cup of java. Going without? Puhleeze! Not going to happen.

Go to Nashbar.com and get one of those handlebar mounted thingies that will allow you to mount a water bottle cage. Then trek yourself to Target or some such store and get yourself one of those nice, vacuum thermos jobs. Mine has a flip-top lid that opens via a little button to reveal a short straw (be careful - coffee is HOT!). Now I take my morning coffee with me all the time and as a bonus, I get to watch the car drivers as their jaws drop in surprise as they witness me enjoying my coffee on my bike. Heaven!

editing to include link to handlebar thingie: http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...d%3A%20Minoura

and thermos: http://www.target.com/gp/detail.html...sin=B000FDN234

Last edited by ellenDSD; 02-24-07 at 10:29 AM.
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Old 02-24-07, 10:54 AM   #10
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I guess the decision to go carfree is entirely yours, but my advice would be to become free of that car. If it has rust after 5 months, what will it look like after 5 years?
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Old 02-24-07, 11:32 AM   #11
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The Toyota dealership fixed the car under warranty (they agree with me that it's probably from parking under the freeway 45 hours a week...there's really no other cause for it). Despite the nice new clean car, I've decided to begin bike commuting to work on monday ...plus that freeway pollution is just not cool, can't believe homeless people live right near where I used to park. But before then, I put in about ten miles friday to get back to the toy dealership and then to bike from home to my girlfriend's work to "drive" her home. In time, I'll ween her off car rides (she has no license thank goodness), but for now she's lazy and overweight like me, and we'll remain car-lite.
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Old 02-24-07, 06:41 PM   #12
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Your story emphasizes an interesting point: If someone is highly dependent on their car, and something goes wrong with it, they can be screwed in the short or long-term. The tranmission on a car of afriend of mine just went out. He's screwed because: 1) He'll now have difficult with transportation (he lives outside the city) and 2) He doesn't have the many to have it repaired right now.

Before you consider selling your car, I suggest you pretend you don't have a car for a few weeks just to see what it's like; use the bike for the daily commute and everything else. It might be that you decide to bike for your daily commute, and keep the car errands. But by all means, don't be afraid to lose the car if you can get by fine without it.
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Old 02-25-07, 12:43 PM   #13
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My car broke down right after I was diagnosed with diabetes 2. I was wondering outloud ( I was really praying) how was I gonna get my health under control> I have been car free ever since. Also my diabetes is under control.

Gas, the price of a can of beans.
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Old 02-25-07, 12:59 PM   #14
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You'll kick yourself if you don't at least try it for a while.
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"Think Outside the Cage"
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Old 02-25-07, 01:01 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by AlanK
Your story emphasizes an interesting point: If someone is highly dependent on their car, and something goes wrong with it, they can be screwed in the short or long-term. The tranmission on a car of afriend of mine just went out. He's screwed because: 1) He'll now have difficult with transportation (he lives outside the city) and 2) He doesn't have the many to have it repaired right now.
that's exactly why you own 2 or more cars.
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Old 03-01-07, 01:30 AM   #16
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that's exactly why you own 2 or more cars.

Nah, I've got .... 5, 6. No, wait, I just got the Schwinn Tepmo- 7 running bikes. That's enough, surely....
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Old 03-01-07, 02:03 AM   #17
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that's exactly why you own 2 or more cars.
And that's when cars really start to get expensive. The insurance alone is probably enough to cut your retirement fund in half.
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Old 03-05-07, 09:57 AM   #18
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Well, gosh golly gee (I'm trying not to swear openly here), my car's body is rusting AGAIN after the dealership claimed they removed the rust and I coated the sucker in a full coat of wax. This problem will probably persist until the car is completely stripped of its paint and completely painted and clearcoated again. The car goes back to the dealership this week for yet another round of head-scratching on the part of the Toyota rep. This is a big bummer. But in looking on the lighter side of things, I've been travelling more miles on my bicycles than in the car. So at least my life is going well if the car's life is not
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