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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 08-28-07, 10:02 PM   #1
zephyr
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fav bike + public transportation cities

What are some of your favorite places that have decent bike riding conditions around the city / area with decent public transportation too? I know there are a few well known places like Eugene or Portland, OR but there's sure to be others we don't hear much about. Would be interesting to hear about places that allow one to get along without a car, and still have use of a bike.
I live in Orange County, CA, which is no doubt one of the car meccas of the world. However we have pretty good bike riding conditions around most of the cities in the county. I can travel in almost any direction on streets that have a reasonably safe bike lane on the shoulder, or a good wide paved shoulder. Lots of bus routes in the county too, although nothing that gets you places very fast. Some trains run up and down the coast.
In the 90s I lived in NJ, and it's probably a surprise to many that Jersey is loaded with towns that have good public transportation and also have decent bike riding conditions.
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Old 08-28-07, 11:56 PM   #2
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St. Louis, MO. Actually I'm joking, but it wasn't too bad when I visited. The Metrolink is nice, but limited in it's destinations. The bus service covers the city and the close in Counties, but there isn't much service at all to the distant counties.

They let me bring my folding bicycle right on the Metro and the Buses, providing I used the cover.
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Old 08-29-07, 01:46 AM   #3
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Easily Tokyo. No bike lanes and very few bicyclists means that you can ride pretty much whereever and however you want. Right side just as good as left side, and you are welcome to use the sidewalks, on either side. Compared to Sweden you also get the distinct advantage that drivers expect you to behave sensibly, so you may pass less than a foot away from them without causing panic.

Streets are smooth and the city is huge and varied, so you can ride in the same direction at top speed for hours without entering suburbia or becoming bored.

Taxi drivers are friendly and helpful, I never carry a map, just roll up and ask a cabbie. "turn left at the ninth traffic light, go straight for 5 blocks and then turn left again, then ask". if you are really lost you can look in at any police box, they have all the maps you need.
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Old 08-29-07, 09:17 AM   #4
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Minneapolis--nice and flat, drivers who are used to cyclists, lots of LBS options, good public transit. Lots of beautiful bike trails in and around the city, too.
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Old 08-29-07, 09:52 AM   #5
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Munich, Germany.
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Old 08-29-07, 01:29 PM   #6
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Albuquerque is pretty reasonable. Although it is more spread out than it should be for a city with its population, thus making exclusively biking somewhat difficult, there are tons of bike lanes/MUPs/shared roads and the drivers are generally very courteous and they give wide berths almost always. I've been offered rides during downpours as well as when I have had a flat with no spares left. Tons of LBS as well.
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Old 08-29-07, 01:50 PM   #7
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Toronto, Ont is great for getting around, and we have decent (though many people may not agree with me, it is good compared to many other cities) public transit, and a lot of cyclists downtown.

The suburbs are not as bike friendly, however.

Calgary, Alta. can be a good cycling city if you get an apartment close to one of the bike paths - they are awesome, cleared of snow in winter, and lead right downtown with no stoplights or other impediments. Another bonus is that they are removing the pulse requirement for jobs due to the labour shortage
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Old 08-29-07, 02:39 PM   #8
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I grew up in Simi Valley and Thousand Oaks, CA. Lots of cars, and the cities have grown, but pretty much every street has bike lanes and sidewalks. As a teenager, I went all over the place on my bike, no traffic worries. Schweet.
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Old 08-29-07, 08:13 PM   #9
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Easily Tokyo. No bike lanes and very few bicyclists means that you can ride pretty much whereever and however you want. Right side just as good as left side, and you are welcome to use the sidewalks, on either side. Compared to Sweden you also get the distinct advantage that drivers expect you to behave sensibly, so you may pass less than a foot away from them without causing panic.

Streets are smooth and the city is huge and varied, so you can ride in the same direction at top speed for hours without entering suburbia or becoming bored.

Taxi drivers are friendly and helpful, I never carry a map, just roll up and ask a cabbie. "turn left at the ninth traffic light, go straight for 5 blocks and then turn left again, then ask". if you are really lost you can look in at any police box, they have all the maps you need.
Great comments Gustavo, I've visited Tokyo, never imagined it as a bike riding city in the way you describe. Obviously you have spent a long time there and have explored the area. Most outsider's image of Tokyo would be a traffic clogged place that a cyclist would barely be able to navigate through. Somehow I think a person would need a decent knowledge of Japanese to roll up and ask a cabbie for directions, or look at maps in any police box (or even to find said police box).
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Old 08-29-07, 11:44 PM   #10
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Victoria, B.C. should rate highly. It has a good system of bike paths and trails, considerate motorists, a strong cycling community and a mild climate for year-round cycling. Vancouver Island communities tend to have a relaxed pace of life. This also benefits cyclists.

Kelowna, B.C. appears to be working to become more cycle friendly. Over the last few years, there have been some initiatives to encourage people to replace older vehicles with less polluting ones or to ditch their cars for bikes and other clean forms of transportation. I've seen initiatives there from time to time which offer rebates to people getting rid of older cars to buy bicycles. The biggest drawback in Kelowna is the design of the city itself. A lot of businesses are along Harvey Avenue, which is also the main highway. It's long, fast-moving and can get congested. The side streets however are quite pleasant for cycling.
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Old 08-30-07, 02:11 AM   #11
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Olympia, WA is my vote. Bike lanes/paths everywhere. Best city around to bike date

Evidence here and here
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Old 08-30-07, 01:31 PM   #12
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Didn't we just do this one?

What is the best city to live car-free?

I still think it's clear that, in the United States, there are many, many cities vying for second place but that New York is unchallenged for the top spot.
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Old 08-30-07, 02:41 PM   #13
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Frankfurt, Germany
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Old 08-30-07, 05:32 PM   #14
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I know I don't live in the greatest carfree city in the world, but it does have a few things going for it.

My local bus company (CATA in Lansing, MI) was named number one in the US by the American Public Transportation Association. I don't use the buses much, but they're nice to have as a backup.

I love riding in this city. There's a grid pattern providing many alternative routes. It's flat as hell, which a lot of riders like, even though I would prefer a few hills. The weather is good all year round, as it's never too hot in the winter or too cold in the summer.
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Old 09-20-07, 01:25 PM   #15
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And let's not forget the worst bicycle city in the world: Moscow

This is where I am right now, and just slowly riding around on the sidewalk scares me. Did a few short runs, and was almost killed (well, not quite) by running into an almost invisible chain between two poles, a foot above ground.

It is true that the many policemen of different kinds you see around the city won't bother you no matter where or how you ride, but motorists drive like maniacs on acid, zig-zagging between lanes at 100 mph on city roads. Streets often have 4 lanes or more in each direction, even in the very centre, and every time you hit one of the numerous highway like roads that cover the city, you need to use the underground passes.
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Old 09-20-07, 02:10 PM   #16
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Toronto, Ont is great for getting around, and we have decent (though many people may not agree with me, it is good compared to many other cities) public transit, and a lot of cyclists downtown.
I was going to say Toronto, but then I thought about all of the street car tracks in the middle of the streets. I remember being there and thinking how I'd be dead in three days if I rode there. Therefore, I'd have to give it to Montreal, although they seem to have an ABSOLUTE MESS of freeways in the central city.
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Old 09-20-07, 03:45 PM   #17
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I was going to say Toronto, but then I thought about all of the street car tracks in the middle of the streets. I remember being there and thinking how I'd be dead in three days if I rode there. Therefore, I'd have to give it to Montreal, although they seem to have an ABSOLUTE MESS of freeways in the central city.
They may be a mess from the motorist's perspective, but they're fairly harmless if you don't use them.
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Old 09-20-07, 04:08 PM   #18
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They may be a mess from the motorist's perspective, but they're fairly harmless if you don't use them.
I don't know they seem to disconnect a lot of neighborhoods from one another.
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Old 09-20-07, 06:02 PM   #19
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And let's not forget the worst bicycle city in the world: Moscow
I concur. Among the worst to drive in too.
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Old 09-20-07, 06:03 PM   #20
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I was going to say Toronto, but then I thought about all of the street car tracks in the middle of the streets.
Streetcar tracks build character. Sorta.

They also add character.
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Old 09-22-07, 06:51 AM   #21
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Freiburg, Germany.

Amsterdam.

And of course, Copenhagen.
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Old 09-23-07, 01:33 PM   #22
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And let's not forget the worst bicycle city in the world: Moscow
This is where I am right now, and just slowly riding around on the sidewalk scares me.
How did you get from Tokyo to Moscow? Did you take the ferry from Japan to the port of Vladivostok and then the trans-siberian RR to Moscow? I made that trip many years ago in the USSR era. However at that time in Moscow, there were not very many cars on the streets. Most people generally did not have much money, private cars were scarce and bikes were seen fairly often. I guess that's one thing that has changed with the great Russian Oil and Gas boom in the last decade. Watch out there pedaling on the streets of Mocba, tovarisch.
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Old 09-24-07, 11:58 AM   #23
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How did you get from Tokyo to Moscow? Did you take the ferry from Japan to the port of Vladivostok and then the trans-siberian RR to Moscow? I made that trip many years ago in the USSR era. However at that time in Moscow, there were not very many cars on the streets. Most people generally did not have much money, private cars were scarce and bikes were seen fairly often. I guess that's one thing that has changed with the great Russian Oil and Gas boom in the last decade. Watch out there pedaling on the streets of Mocba, tovarisch.
I did that a couple of times, but lately I have been flying both to Tokyo and Moscow, uninterestingly enough. One of the many disadvantages of working is that there isn't much time to travel properly in a dignified manner, i.e. by train.
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Old 09-24-07, 10:50 PM   #24
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Albuquerque is pretty reasonable. Although it is more spread out than it should be for a city with its population, thus making exclusively biking somewhat difficult, there are tons of bike lanes/MUPs/shared roads and the drivers are generally very courteous and they give wide berths almost always. I've been offered rides during downpours as well as when I have had a flat with no spares left. Tons of LBS as well.
I live in Albuquerque, and I'd second this. New Mexico is fairly laid back, and it's not too bad to cycle here. The weather is almost always good for biking as well. The public transit here leaves much to be desired, though.
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Old 09-26-07, 09:00 AM   #25
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Toronto, Ont is great for getting around, and we have decent (though many people may not agree with me, it is good compared to many other cities) public transit, and a lot of cyclists downtown.

The suburbs are not as bike friendly, however.

Calgary, Alta. can be a good cycling city if you get an apartment close to one of the bike paths - they are awesome, cleared of snow in winter, and lead right downtown with no stoplights or other impediments. Another bonus is that they are removing the pulse requirement for jobs due to the labour shortage
Yes, Calgary is a fantastic Bicycle city with over 300 km of bike paths, however transit here is less that desireable for a city over one million. If they improve transit two fold, then I can definatelly go car free.
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