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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 03-24-07, 06:06 PM   #1
DavidLee
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1 year car free, what I've learned.

  • Some people be it friends, family & or co-workers will never ever agree with your decision, just let it go. On the flip side others will be curious & ask geniune questions. Personally, I don't proselytize being car-free. If someone is interested I'll speak about it otherwise its no big deal, its just part of my life like anything else.
  • On the first few trips to the grocery store with your new grocery panniers, trailer etc etc buy a little & get a good feel for what you can safely carry.
  • Always shop on a FULL stomach. He he, once I really don't know how my grocery panniers or rack did not break. I was WAYYYYYY overloaded & had to shove a couple of items in my jacket.
  • Stop fretting over the BIG items, that's what the Internet is for.
  • There is no shame in calling a cab from time to time, car free doesn't have to mean anti-car!
  • There will be days when you will say, damn if I only had a car (see above). Work around it or buy a car.
  • Money, yes let's talk of money. I've saved a ton of money, been banking a great deal of what would have went to a car.
  • I feel more connected with my community, along with meeting new people I see new things every day that I would have missed being in my truck.
  • Have more than 1 bike if possible. I now have 3 bikes & will probably be up to 6 by the end of the year. Yep, I got addicted. Regardless, it's great to have a back-up in case something goes wrong with your other bike. With a grin I offer 1 of my bikes to friends, family or co-workers when they say they're having car trouble & I'm actually serious.
  • Bike maintenance, learn the simple repairs or as much as you want but know how to maintain your bike.

    Its hard to believe that it's been 1 year since I first found my way to this sub-forum. I have to say that it really is something that I should have done years ago. Yeah there are some downsides but the upsides are much greater. So cheers to another year and a few more bikes.









Last edited by DavidLee; 03-24-07 at 06:39 PM.
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Old 03-24-07, 06:31 PM   #2
gwd
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidLee
I have to say that it really is something that I should have done years ago.
Yes, that is how I feel. Its been more than 6.5 years for me but I could easily have gone
car free for most of my life. Car/motorcycle ownership was pretty much a waste of time
health and money. I missed out on years of fun by driving too much. I was sooo stupid to
buy into that car culture fraud.
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Old 03-24-07, 07:43 PM   #3
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I missed out on years of fun by driving too much.
Sounds exactly like the last decade of my life. Well, until the last six months.
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Old 03-24-07, 07:50 PM   #4
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About a year ago my son cracked open his head and let me tell you I was VERY glad to have a car available to get him to the emergency room. I am 90% car free but I keep a 20 year old paid for subaru wagon (that I keep going through junkyard visits and doing the work myself) on hand in case I need it. It also gets me out to backcountry!

That being said, my wife, son and I will likely be relocating to Vancover BC in a few months and I am going to trying to go 100% car free. Kudos to all of you that have done it.
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Old 03-24-07, 08:10 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidLee
  • Have more than 1 bike if possible. I now have 3 bikes & will probably be up to 6 by the end of the year. Yep, I got addicted. Regardless, it's great to have a back-up in case something goes wrong with your other bike. With a grin I offer 1 of my bikes to friends, family or co-workers when they say they're having car trouble & I'm actually serious.
  • Bike maintenance, learn the simple repairs or as much as you want but know how to maintain your bike.
If you have only 1 bike, you end up taking the bus on nice days when the LBS is replacing a chain or whatever. I am able to do some repairs, but if there's a problem I can't handle -- especially if it's in the busy season like July -- I'll be waiting 4-5 days for repairs. Then it's nice to have a second bike.
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Old 03-24-07, 08:17 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidLee
  • Money, yes let's talk of money. I've saved a ton of money, been banking a great deal of what would have went to a car
You'll find that no matter how much money you save, those around you will think you're down to your last dime because you own no vehicle.
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Old 03-24-07, 09:00 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve
You'll find that no matter how much money you save, those around you will think you're down to your last dime because you own no vehicle.
Sorta like the old lady who ate cat food, then when she died they found a million bucks in her mattress.

Actually, for a lot of reasons, it's a good thing if people think you're poorer than you really are.
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Old 03-24-07, 09:38 PM   #8
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Sorta like the old lady who ate cat food, then when she died they found a million bucks in her mattress.

Actually, for a lot of reasons, it's a good thing if people think you're poorer than you really are.

Good idea to not let your ride look to spiffy as well. I am a big fan of equipmnt that looks beat to h*ll when it in fact is in good working order.
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Old 03-24-07, 09:57 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve
You'll find that no matter how much money you save, those around you will think you're down to your last dime because you own no vehicle.
In most places, legally you do own a vehicle, it just doesn't have a motor
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Old 03-24-07, 11:01 PM   #10
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Grats

Where in MD by the way? Just curious

-D
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Old 03-24-07, 11:41 PM   #11
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Cheers, and congrats, I have 4 more months to go, woot!
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Old 03-25-07, 05:45 AM   #12
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thanks david for sharing..
I agree about not pushing carfree lifestyle..there will plenty of conversation, about it anyhow.
I approach my one year in may!
I also agree with having a backup bike..
ideally I like to have my "car" hybird, a good moutian bike, a beater, a crusier, a road bike, a foldable bike, and a electric moped!
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Old 03-25-07, 07:50 AM   #13
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good work on your one year car free. ive been car free since october. start my car free life during a wisconsin winter, great idea - at least it got me conditioned REAL quick.
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Old 03-25-07, 08:43 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dixeyk
About a year ago my son cracked open his head and let me tell you I was VERY glad to have a car available to get him to the emergency room. I am 90% car free but I keep a 20 year old paid for subaru wagon (that I keep going through junkyard visits and doing the work myself) on hand in case I need it. It also gets me out to backcountry!

That being said, my wife, son and I will likely be relocating to Vancover BC in a few months and I am going to trying to go 100% car free. Kudos to all of you that have done it.
That sums up the two reasons I would get a car - emergency (you could get an ambulance I guess) and to get to further than you can ride. I have 8 acres up north, but don't get there too often because it is 500km away. We have taken the bus, but that was a lot of hassle.

Anyway, at least you have a paid off car that you don't use all the time.

Oh, and I have been car-free for 10 years now (borrowed my parents car for the three years I had a licence and I still lived near them.)
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Old 03-25-07, 09:17 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve
You'll find that no matter how much money you save, those around you will think you're down to your last dime because you own no vehicle.
Yeah, I once had a lady ask me if I was poor because I rode my bike back and forth to school to escort my son (who has since graduated to biking to school on his own - I am SO proud!). I had to laugh at her because 1) her question was so inappropriate to me that I was taken aback and 2) I told her I wasn't poor until I filled my garage with bikes. People are silly
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Old 03-25-07, 06:52 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by derath
Grats

Where in MD by the way? Just curious

-D
"Gangland" Harford County
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Old 03-26-07, 12:49 AM   #17
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A few other observations:

1. When it comes to weather gear (panniers, racks, jackets, pants, even shoes), do not be a miser; you will pay in a multitude of ways if you are.

2. Pay a lot of attention to your tires and rims.

3. Do not develop a confrontational attitude towards motorists, despite the obnoxious things that some of them do. The second law of motion (F=MA) does not favor bikes, and you may as well accept this.

4. A high-end bike isn't necessary for successful car-free life, but a really crappy bike isn't going to help, either.

5. Obey traffic laws. If you don't, you make it worse for everyone else.
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