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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, 08:51 PM   #1
Roody
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Hey all you new folks!!

First of all, WELCOME!

I've seen a lot of new names here on Living Carfree in the last couple weeks. We always need "fresh meat" to keep things interesting. I hope you'll introduce yourself on this thread, maybe tell us a little about your story. In case you haven't figured it out yet, you do NOT have to be carfree to post here--just interested in the subject.

You can write anything you want. If you're having trouble thinking of something, here's a couple ideas:
  • How did you find out about this subforum?
  • Do you already post in other BF subforums? Which ones?
  • What kinds of bikes, trailers, panniers, whatever do you use?
  • Where do you live? What makes it a good or bad area for cycling/carfree?
  • Or. like I said before, anything else you want to say.
(You can post a reply only if you are a member of bikeforums.net. It's free to join BF and it only takes a couple minutes, or less. You can post as soon as you join--no waiting or confirmation needed. So if you're a lurker--join up now!!)
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Old 03-24-07, 09:25 PM   #2
Platy
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Great idea, Roody! I've been seeing new names here, and there seem to be a fair number of new people just looking in as well.

Lately I've noticed that whenever I search for car free topics on Google, this forum often returns a hit or two in the top 50. I think we're making progress in car free awareness, slow as it may be.
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Old 03-25-07, 05:40 AM   #3
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Well, I suppose I am one of those new faces posting in these forums. I have lurked here for a year or 2 and posted a few times, but decided to get a little more active in my posting.

I live in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. Have been car free for 9 of the last 10 years, had this really strange desire for a car one year though. My city has a relatively small land mass that makes it pretty easy to get around, but I think that is one of the few positives to cycling here. On the negative side, the weather can be brutally cold in winter, -40 celsius.

I have a few bikes right now:
Jamis Durango sx
Norco CRD2
Supercycle (Raleigh) 20

None of my bikes are ideal for commuting on, but I deal with it. There are only so many bikes that my girlfriend will allow me to have in our small apartment, although I will be adding one more in the next month.

Well that is enough about me. And thanks for this forum!
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Old 03-25-07, 08:41 AM   #4
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For a long time, I lurked around Living Carfree. I had a car and felt you needed to be "pure" to join the community. Eventually, I discovered that many folks who post are "car-lite". Hopefully, at some time in the future, they can save some money and spare the atmosphere. In the meantime, this is a good place to learn that a car isn't the be-all or end-all of transportation...
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Old 03-25-07, 09:25 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oneredstar
Well, I suppose I am one of those new faces posting in these forums. I have lurked here for a year or 2 and posted a few times, but decided to get a little more active in my posting.

I live in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. Have been car free for 9 of the last 10 years, had this really strange desire for a car one year though. My city has a relatively small land mass that makes it pretty easy to get around, but I think that is one of the few positives to cycling here. On the negative side, the weather can be brutally cold in winter, -40 celsius.

I have a few bikes right now:
Jamis Durango sx
Norco CRD2
Supercycle (Raleigh) 20

None of my bikes are ideal for commuting on, but I deal with it. There are only so many bikes that my girlfriend will allow me to have in our small apartment, although I will be adding one more in the next month.

Well that is enough about me. And thanks for this forum
!
I've been enjoying your posts and I appreciate your "purist" approach -- even if I don't always agree or live up to it. Like your avatar suggests, you're kind of a Maoist among carfree folk.

Do you ride all winter in Saskatoon? If so, I'm looking forward to your tips on winter riding next fall. Meanwhile, it's spring -- on the calendar at least -- so we can forget about the travails of cold weather riding for a few months!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ogden Nash


It's spring!
It's spring!
The bird is on the wing.

My word!
Absurd!
The wing is on the bird.

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Old 03-25-07, 09:59 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by gerv
For a long time, I lurked around Living Carfree. I had a car and felt you needed to be "pure" to join the community. Eventually, I discovered that many folks who post are "car-lite". Hopefully, at some time in the future, they can save some money and spare the atmosphere. In the meantime, this is a good place to learn that a car isn't the be-all or end-all of transportation...
The you must have a car or your a schmuck ideology is an American invention, invented by Henry Ford so he could sell more Model T's

Some of us, have been car lite forever, take me for example, my wife and I have one car, it's old, it has a number of small issues, but if it breaks down, there are alternatives, it needed a battery one time, and sat for 3 weeks with a dead battery, because I couldn't be bothered to go get a battery. I plan to add a rack to my bike for the summer, and we are debating about getting a bike for my wife, so medium haul trips don't need the car either. I better define medium haul, those trips that are too far to walk, but not far enough to require mass transportation. It also depends though on where you live and work, in large cities with good transit, it's easier to be car free/car lite.
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Old 03-25-07, 11:08 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by gerv
For a long time, I lurked around Living Carfree. In the meantime, this is a good place to learn that a car isn't the be-all or end-all of transportation...
I'm the same way. I have learned quite a bit just following discussions here. I don't do much posting here, but I do like dropping in and taking a look around.

Oh, and to answer the questions:

I think I simply stumbled in one day.
I post in a lot of forums here at BF--Introductions, Classic & Vintage, BMX, a few in Alt Bikes, Commuting, 50+, General Cycling, and the Women's forum.
I've got a lot of bikes, but I do have one of my mixtes and my mountain bike set up for a commute trailer, which I got locally, from a member of BF (Pac-Mule).
See my avatar for residential information!
And, if you're a current lurker--do as Roody says, and join up. And then I want to see a proper post in Introductions .

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Old 03-25-07, 11:41 AM   #8
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Well, I stumbled into bikeforums one day. Being a bicycle nut, I wandered around all of the forums, but I got into the "car-free" thing because of Ken Kifer, whose website lead me to a whole bunch of car-free cyclists, and also after learning about this thing called "Peak Oil"

I only stumbled into bikeforums later on, and that was about the time that the car-free forum itself was new and had just opened. I followed the discussions on the board for a while, but felt the need to jump in and spew my own opinions on things at all of the forums I visit, and here I am. I already introduced myself a little in a previous thread, I believe. I'm the guy who's planning to move to Seattle, where I have a ton of aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.

I really want to get more of the "utility" aspect out of cycling, so I frequently visit the Commuting forum. I also visit the Touring forum because...that's what got me interested in cycling as an adult in the first place. I like to ride fast and far, so I also visit the Long Distance Cycling sub-forum. Lastly, I visit the Clydesdale forum because...well, just look at my username

I have absolutely no interest in racing, either on the road or on mountain trails, but I follow it a tiny bit in order to know who this Lance Armstrong guy is that everybody keeps talking about

Orange County isn't an easy place to be car-free, because the roads are clearly designed for cars around here. Even moreso than Los Angeles, the metropolis to the north of us. It doesn't help that the drivers think nothing of going 20+ MPH over the speed limit on residential streets.
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Old 03-25-07, 11:53 AM   #9
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Yea nothing wrong with car-lite we are all one big happy family.

With car prices made so cheap by our leaers it's no surprise 91 percent of the Americans own a car. However it is how you use that tool which counts.

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Old 03-25-07, 02:44 PM   #10
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Yea nothing wrong with car-lite we are all one big happy family.

With car prices made so cheap by our leaers it's no surprise 91 percent of the Americans own a car. However it is how you use that tool which counts.
The keyword here is Tool, I view my SUV as the same as the rest of the tools that I own. It may sit for weeks at a time, but it is there when a need for it arises, such as heavy load hauling. With no payments, and since it is an older SUV, so the license and insurance rates are low enough to warrant keeping it.
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Old 03-25-07, 08:29 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by dynodonn
The keyword here is Tool, I view my SUV as the same as the rest of the tools that I own. It may sit for weeks at a time, but it is there when a need for it arises, such as heavy load hauling. With no payments, and since it is an older SUV, so the license and insurance rates are low enough to warrant keeping it.
The big problem with being car-lite is, of course, that you have to carry all that insurance and registration cost. Also, there's annual maintenance. And, of course, it's a complete waste of resource to just have something just sitting in the driveway. Perhaps a good way to evolve would be to only use rental cars. I think many larger cities allow easy access to rentals (Flexcar on the West coast/ CommuneAuto in Montreal). If you don't use a car often, this would be a good way to go.
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Old 03-25-07, 09:45 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by gerv
I had a car and felt you needed to be "pure" to join the community. Eventually, I discovered that many folks who post are "car-lite".
It's not just that. There are plenty of us who are car-free who have nothing against car-lite nor even frequent car users who want to open their minds to what we're about. Every little bit helps some, if someone is cognizant enough even to consider minimizing to some extent the often egregious abuses of that wonderful invention that is the automobile - and it is truly wonderful; it has just become wonderful and terrible all mixed together, and I do hope more people realize the truth of that.

In the end, I don't want to be the arsehole who gives someone hell for enjoying a Sunday afternoon ride in their convertible just because it wasn't a utilitarian usage. It's not my place to do that, and it does more harm than good if our aim is to educate or promote change. It is the completely zealous attitude that will always keep us a minority that is seen as "crazies" by otherwise rational fellows - or at the least, people who don't feel "pure" as you put it won't feel welcome, and that would be a shame.

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Old 03-25-07, 09:50 PM   #13
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I have been away from riding for a few years (as long as I have been back in grad school) and I am starting to get back into it. I am a 4 year cancer survivor and while I do Tai Chi, run, hike and such I have not been using my bike as much as I used to. I am about 80% car independent but I do have a car and quite honestly I like my car as it gets me into the backcountry to hike and backpack. Its an old Subaru that I keep going by scavenging at junkyards. I typically walk or take the bus in town (I have a four year old that LOVES taking the bus). Now my son is starting to get interested in bikes so I am going to pick one up for him and we can ride together. I am lucky to live in a small city in Washington State that has many miles of bike trails and a good bit of really nice singletrack.

Within the next year we will all be moving up to Vancouver BC (my wife is in school there) and I will with some luck be starting a doctoral program at UBC. I want to go as close to car free as possible (both my wife and I have older parents that will be livign on the U.S. side of the border so we can't give up the cars entirely but while in town I want to keep the cars parked.

I have been riding a Klein Pinnacle with slicks. I like the bike but the frame is a bit too small for me and I am getting to the age where the aluminum frame is beating me up when I ride. I tried a Softride suspension beam bike (I used to work for them) but I could never get used to it. I am about to pick up an older steel MTB frame as a project bike and move all the components over from the Klein to make an urban commuter. I typicall ride with a messenger bag or a backpack (I go back and forth in search of the ultimate bag)and from time to time I use a rack.

I found the overall forum quite by accident looking for info on vintage frames and saw this living car free forum and thought I wanted to maybe participate in the conversations.

Oh yeah, I REALLY like riding a bike. Makes me feel like a kid again.
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Old 03-25-07, 10:09 PM   #14
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Good call Roody. (I never did really introduce myself here)

I'm a carfree college student, and when I build my post-college life, I hope I can make it carfree, or at least very car-lite. My reasons for not wanting a car are mostly personal and cultural, not environmental in the traditional sense of the word (although I certainly see the sense in most of those reasons).

I'm riding a BMX cruiser, but I'm buying a single-speed build in about a week, and I'll modify that quite a bit during the summer. My current bike is in my signature, and my new one will be there shortly, so check them out.

My city, Columbia Missouri, is absolutely great for going carfree. Especially since my university's campus butts right up to downtown. It's fun. I think when I graduate, I may live in Hot Springs Arkansas, which is equally good for the carfree. That's the only city that is also a National Park, and I love it there.
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Old 03-25-07, 10:14 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by gerv
The big problem with being car-lite is, of course, that you have to carry all that insurance and registration cost. Also, there's annual maintenance. And, of course, it's a complete waste of resource to just have something just sitting in the driveway. Perhaps a good way to evolve would be to only use rental cars. I think many larger cities allow easy access to rentals (Flexcar on the West coast/ CommuneAuto in Montreal). If you don't use a car often, this would be a good way to go.

There is no Flexcar type of program in my area, and if there were, I use my SUV just enough to not make it financially viable to deal with the added inconvenience in acquiring and retaining a vehicle, plus risk any additional fees in which they may impose.
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Old 03-26-07, 09:08 AM   #16
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Thank every contributer to CF. This forum is enlightening, informing, and civil with just the proper amount of politics to flavor the discussions. I've been a member for over a year--never hesistating to spew my opinion, but I don't believe that I've introduced myself.

I'm a car-lite married father of three; while my children share my passion for riding my wife seems to lack the bicycling gene. I washed up on the Mississippi Gulf coast region of the States about fifteen years ago, and seem to have laid down too many roots in the community to even imagine moving at this point. Unfortunately, I've been absent from the forum for a couple of months prior thanks to Katrina--whose accounts would fill a novel.

Moving to transportational cycling was a natural evolution in my cycling passion. Perhaps the war was the final straw, I don't really know how it happened. But one day I realized that I was riding 250+ miles a week on the bike for pure pleasure while the auto was lucky to get the same; so I decide to get serious about transportational cycling. While I would like to say I do it for altruistic reasons these alone would not account for my passion for eventually achieving a carfree existence.

The combination of children and living in a rural community brings a new set of challenges to avoiding the use of the car. My choice of residing within my city of 20K has proven the greatest advantage, but cycling in a rural community with looonnnnggg stretches from point A to B on narrow, two-lane, high-speed roads is a great challenge. Furthermore, there is no public transportation, and the culture is definitely automobile oriented to the extreme. The city has no bike shop; this is not a surprise because it is not uncommon to ride for weeks or even months without seeing another cyclist, and usually just a Lance wannabe. On the plus side, the citizens are polite and tolerant--a product of living in a religous, gun culture--and there are far fewer motorists to "share" the road with as a whole. A super Walmart has wiped out much of the small town charm within the last decade, but at least I live within two miles of the mega store with easy bike access.

Naturally, my quest for speed on these long stretches of natural splendor drove me to recumbents which are my passion--the perfect weapon for my terrain. More recently my attention has been focused on electric-assists as a much needed solution to my growing need to haul children, trailers, and supplies; my carfree capabilities continue to grow as I add new CF equipment to the stable so it is a constantly evolving project. The stable presently includes:

'03 Optima Baron
'02 Actionbent Jetstream USS (first gen)
'05 Dahon Piccolo
'89 Trek 1000 (recent SS with 72V Crystalyte electric conversion--my "work" bike)
?? HiTen Steel Tandem (I liberated off Ebay)
+ half a dozen or so bikes that I took in off the street like stray cats.

I gravitated toward this fascinating subforum soon after I discovered BF some time ago. It suddenly became the first subforum that I would check every evening. And hope that I can contribute a fraction of what I have gained over the months. Again, thanks to all that make this forum work.



Ben Council
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Old 03-26-07, 12:16 PM   #17
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landluger, Great post. Thanks!

Maybe someday you"ll start a new thread to tell us the chronicles of Katrina.
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Old 03-26-07, 01:04 PM   #18
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How did you find out about this subforum?
I just saw it there.

Do you already post in other BF subforums? Which ones
I infrequently post in the commuting forum.

What kinds of bikes, trailers, panniers, whatever do you use?
I have one bike, an English 3-speed, tough, comfortable, and many style points.

Where do you live? What makes it a good or bad area for cycling/carfree?
I live in Springfield/Eugene, OR. It is supposed to be a pretty good area for cycling, what with all the paths and stuff, but the paths rarely seem to get me where I need to go, although I suppose its good.

Or. like I said before, anything else you want to say.
Jurassic Park is awesome.
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Old 03-27-07, 06:03 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by dynodonn
There is no Flexcar type of program in my area, and if there were, I use my SUV just enough to not make it financially viable to deal with the added inconvenience in acquiring and retaining a vehicle, plus risk any additional fees in which they may impose.
I seem to be in roughly the same situation you are in. Public transportation to my job is poor, but I have seriously curtailed car use. Last week it was 4 miles.
You used an analogy about the car as tool and I thought it was a good one. And I still think that if you don't use a ladder or a power tool very often, better to rent than keep it depreciating on your property. If you can eventually get your annual mileage to somewhere like 1000, I figure this would be a good break-even point. There also seems to be a good savings on insurance when you get under 5000 miles but I'm not sure if it would be worthwhile to look at the rent/buy option at that level.
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Old 03-27-07, 11:45 AM   #20
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Maybe the problem with cars is that people look at them beyond being mere tools. But that's really what they are, and that sort of gravitated me toward a compact gas sipper way back in high school. I didn't need something large to carry things around back then.
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Old 03-27-07, 12:45 PM   #21
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I'm a "car light" person. We have to keep the car due to both if us having out of town doctors and making a 90 mile one way trip for my surgeon. Other than that, the van is used very rarely. I suppose we put 1500 - 2000 miles a year on it. My insurance is cheap enough that it's still cheaper to keep the van than to rent a car on need.
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Old 03-27-07, 04:53 PM   #22
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Very car-lite here. I am very fortunate to live within a half-mile of FIVE different bus routes (a new route was just added here the beginning of this year). Bus service here keeps improving a little each year due to increased ridership and of course all busses have bike racks on them so we don't really need a car all the time. Gasoline here is $2.59/gal as of this posting. Wife was raised in NYC and never did drive. I ride my bike seven miles one-way to work + errands. We do have an old minivan we bought last summer (we need the cargo space) but we are down to using it once a week for groceries and going to the home-improvement center for supplies that I can't carry on a bike.
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