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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 03-12-07, 07:03 AM   #1
filtersweep
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One vehicle per family

After relocating, we downsized to one car (for a family of three). I bike to work, all year, and sort of consider myself to be semi-car free. My wife stays at home with our baby, and has the car-- although rarely uses it. We usually walk to buy groceries or to shop.

I am not much of an ideologue-- I bike because I love it (and have four of them). Gas costs $8 gallon, and there are all sorts of local toll roads, but I really don't feel much financial incentive to avoid using our car. Oddly, I dreaded the concept of downsizing to only one car, but the fear was worse than the pain. It really has been no big deal. Before, we had two cars-- and went through a tank of gas each week in each car. Now we are down to one tank once per month.

Am I kidding myself living in this half-car state of existence? In a marriage, with only one car, can either party claim to be living car free? Or does living car free as an individual extend to a family as well?

I don't really care one way or another--- and I have no interest in living completely car free as a family. Just wondering what other people think about the concept as it relates to a family.
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Old 03-12-07, 07:12 AM   #2
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filtersweep....works for me! at least you have drastically reduced the amount of pollution you were putting into the air and the environment! And you are probably healthier for it.

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Old 03-12-07, 07:22 AM   #3
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Owning and operating a car is not something to be ashamed of. Sounds to me like you're living a healthier lifestyle than most Americans, so the fact that you're (responsibly) motorized isn't a mark of being a bad person.
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Old 03-12-07, 07:44 AM   #4
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I see one car per family as being a very worthwhile and honorable goal.
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Old 03-12-07, 08:31 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Platy
I see one car per family as being a very worthwhile and honorable goal.
Absolutely! It's a huge step in the right direction.

Here, we'd be making progress if we could get it down to one car per licensed driver.
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Old 03-12-07, 08:34 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by filtersweep

I don't really care one way or another--- and I have no interest in living completely car free as a family. Just wondering what other people think about the concept as it relates to a family.
Well you practice car free living whenever you substitute bikeing or walking trips for car trips. Some of us began that way and when we saw how much it improved our lives we got rid of our cars.
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Old 03-12-07, 10:06 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by filtersweep
After relocating, we downsized to one car (for a family of three). I bike to work, all year, and sort of consider myself to be semi-car free. My wife stays at home with our baby, and has the car-- although rarely uses it. We usually walk to buy groceries or to shop.
A one car family worked for my ex-wife and I. It's a great compromise and a much better balance than most people have.
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Old 03-12-07, 10:20 AM   #8
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It works for the Duggar Family.

Jim Bob and fam cavort around town in a used airport shuttle bus.
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Old 03-12-07, 11:25 AM   #9
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Sometimes we call that carlite. I see it as a step forward, but only a step. When I was a kid, almost no families had more than one car.

The real savings, both money and pollution, come only when you go totally carfree. You mentioned the motoring infrastructure where you live--high gas prices and toll roads. What's the carfree infrastructure like there? How's the public transit? What about cycling facilities or conditions for cycling in traffic? Are there sidewalks for pedestrians? Do people tend to judge another person's value by the car they drive?
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Old 03-12-07, 08:01 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by filtersweep
After relocating, we downsized to one car (for a family of three). I bike to work, all year, and sort of consider myself to be semi-car free. My wife stays at home with our baby, and has the car-- although rarely uses it. We usually walk to buy groceries or to shop.

I am not much of an ideologue-- I bike because I love it (and have four of them). Gas costs $8 gallon, and there are all sorts of local toll roads, but I really don't feel much financial incentive to avoid using our car. Oddly, I dreaded the concept of downsizing to only one car, but the fear was worse than the pain. It really has been no big deal. Before, we had two cars-- and went through a tank of gas each week in each car. Now we are down to one tank once per month.

Am I kidding myself living in this half-car state of existence? In a marriage, with only one car, can either party claim to be living car free? Or does living car free as an individual extend to a family as well?

I don't really care one way or another--- and I have no interest in living completely car free as a family. Just wondering what other people think about the concept as it relates to a family.
If one car is considered car lite, my parents were car lite in the 1960's, in fact I don't remember ever having more then one car. Trying to get my wife on a bike, to reduce the miles, also looking for a new job that is either transit or cycling friendly.
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Old 03-12-07, 08:48 PM   #11
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We could define several kinds of people who might have varying degrees of interest in carfree living.

Some could be called car-optional if they have developed any workable alternatives to driving, even if they don't use those alternatives regularly. For example, people who take the time to learn to use a local public transit system. Or those who scout out a bike commuting route and ride it occasionally. These folks certainly understand what we're talking about with respect to infrastructure issues and other carfree challenges.

Others have simply become aware of the nature of car dependency and the existence of alternatives. They might not use any form of alternative transportation themselves, but they are an important part of our carfree support system (such as it is). They are the store managers who think to provide bike racks. They are the tolerant bosses and they are the drivers who pass us safely on the road. Edit to add: And thank goodness for those unknown heroes in the department of transportation and city planning meetings who speak up at critical times and ask, "But what about the bikes?"
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Old 03-12-07, 09:11 PM   #12
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My theory is that car-lite is a state of mind. If you had been driving 12K miles a year and suddenly the car hasn't moved from the driveway in a week, I would call that car-lite and give you a star. What you are doing is, as Platy says above, trying to break a nasty dependency.

My take on this business is that it's an evolution. It should eventually include some other things besides bicycles too. Did you turn off the lights? I always power off my PC when I leave work.
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Old 03-13-07, 05:19 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by gerv
My theory is that car-lite is a state of mind. If you had been driving 12K miles a year and suddenly the car hasn't moved from the driveway in a week, I would call that car-lite and give you a star. What you are doing is, as Platy says above, trying to break a nasty dependency.

My take on this business is that it's an evolution. It should eventually include some other things besides bicycles too. Did you turn off the lights? I always power off my PC when I leave work.
Swap out all those floodlights in my wife's store with fluorescent floods... I agree there are many, many things that come to mind. I have to work out of town, but that doesn't mean I have to drive everywhere once I get there. I have been taking a bike with me for a couple of years now, and use it for local trips when ever I can. I hope to get a better folder to take along with me in the near future.

Aaron
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ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

"Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
RIDE, YOU FOOL, RIDE!"
_Nicodemus

"Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred
Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
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Old 03-13-07, 06:26 AM   #14
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If everyone in the West reduced to one car per family, and reduced their usage of that car by 75%, as you have (and therefore your total usage by 175%) then nobody would need to worry about having a car-free lifestyle any more.
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Old 03-13-07, 11:35 AM   #15
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I do bet that if there were only half as many cars in this world, everybody would still manage to get to where they want to go.
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Old 03-13-07, 12:10 PM   #16
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I do bet that if there were only half as many cars in this world, everybody would still manage to get to where they want to go.
Given the average in the US I bet we could reduce by 2/3rds and still get where we wanted to go I know when I was growing up we had one car...period. My dad rode his bike to the university where he was teaching. The car only moved maybe twice a week, once for grocery shopping and once to go to and from church on Sundays. None of this running to the corner store for a Big 20 and a bag of chips....in fact IIRC the largest drink available was only 10 oz

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ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

"Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
RIDE, YOU FOOL, RIDE!"
_Nicodemus

"Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred
Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
_krazygluon
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Old 03-13-07, 12:39 PM   #17
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Good Morning Filtersweep,

Thank you for sharing your life choices. I find your story to be therapeutic and hope to have a reasonable facsimile thereof as I'm on my way to procreating.
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