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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 09-13-07, 12:28 PM   #1
zoltani
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Becoming one of those "bicycle people"

Yesterday i was having a conversation with someone who had just moved to town and was considering his transit options (does not own a car). When i mentioned a bicycle he told me he doesn't want to become one of those "bicycle people". When i asked what he meant by that he told me that he did not want to become one of those people whose life revolves around the bike, can only talk about bikes, only hang out with bikers, etc.

My response was that when you choose to ride a bike and not have a car it becomes a lifestyle simply because of the culture in this country. If this country was not so car oriented then maybe choosing the bicycle would be such a lifestyle choice, it would just simply be a way to get to where you are going. I love bikes and i love to talk about bike (that's why we are here right?), so maybe i am one of those "bicycle people" who can only speak and think about bikes!

Another thread raised a good question:

Does your attitude towards transport affect your attitudes towards other things in life?
Does it affect your choice of friends or people you hang out with?
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Old 09-13-07, 12:31 PM   #2
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I am a bike person... and a car person.......LOL
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Old 09-13-07, 01:23 PM   #3
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If this country was not so car oriented then maybe choosing the bicycle would be such a lifestyle choice, it would just simply be a way to get to where you are going.
+1

People make WAY to big a deal about being car free. Not just people who are not car free but even some on this forum make it out to be a much bigger deal than it really is. Quite simply it's just my method of transportation, nothing more nothing less.
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Old 09-13-07, 03:02 PM   #4
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When i asked what he meant by that he told me that he did not want to become one of those people whose life revolves around the bike, can only talk about bikes, only hang out with bikers, etc.
I was at a Chamber of Commerce mixer last night, representing the Bicycle Advocacy of Central Arkansas. I had a chance to talk with a little old lady who had just moved from Denmark a few days before. She was very pro-bicycle and talked about Copenhagen and it's bicycle facilities. She hoped that bicycling could become more popular in Little Rock, i.e. to become a normal method of transportation.

The company she was with had just expanded to the U.S. to make windmill blades. Sounds cool to me.
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Old 09-13-07, 06:19 PM   #5
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I think one of the "problems" if you will, is that the bicycle in the US has been looked upon as a toy or a piece of sports equipment for so long that when it is approached as a transportation alternative/lifestyle it has a tendency to become the center piece of the lives of those involved. I think also many people use bicycles not only as a form of transportation but also as a hobby. I know that is my case. I have been involved with some form of cycling for over 40 years. Whether cruising the neighborhood, racing, wrenching, or touring the across the USA. I also accumulate bicycles and enjoy riding them for the pure enjoyment of self powered transportation. I have a friends scattered around the world. Some enjoy their bikes as much as I do, for others it is just another form of transportation that makes more sense than car in their situation.

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Old 09-13-07, 06:53 PM   #6
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+1

People make WAY to big a deal about being car free. Not just people who are not car free but even some on this forum make it out to be a much bigger deal than it really is. Quite simply it's just my method of transportation, nothing more nothing less.
I agree as well. Sure, there are some challenges to living car-free, but there are also many hassles to owning a car. Actually, in my case at least, being car-free seems easier than owing a car.
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Old 09-13-07, 08:40 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by DavidLee View Post
+1

People make WAY to big a deal about being car free. Not just people who are not car free but even some on this forum make it out to be a much bigger deal than it really is. Quite simply it's just my method of transportation, nothing more nothing less.


+ 1 !!!!!
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Old 09-13-07, 08:44 PM   #8
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Only one thing worse than becoming one of those bicycle people. That's becoming one of those bikeforums people.

Erm... I mean...
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Old 09-13-07, 09:10 PM   #9
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+1

People make WAY to big a deal about being car free. Not just people who are not car free but even some on this forum make it out to be a much bigger deal than it really is. Quite simply it's just my method of transportation, nothing more nothing less.
Beautifully put. I've often said that the people who call themselves cycling "advocates" frequently do more harm than good to their cause by trying to politicise the simple act of riding a bike.
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Old 09-13-07, 09:55 PM   #10
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Does your attitude towards transport affect your attitudes towards other things in life?
Does it affect your choice of friends or people you hang out with?
Respectively - yes and sometimes.
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Old 09-13-07, 10:05 PM   #11
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Does your attitude towards transport affect your attitudes towards other things in life?
Yeah. I like getting myself there quickly, so I don't like it when I see lots of new housing developments go up. More houses mean more people, which means more traffic that I have to deal with.
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Does it affect your choice of friends or people you hang out with?
I don't choose friends based on how they choose to get around. I'd honestly be surprised if someone decided not to hang out with me because of my transportation choices. I'd hope that being a decent person would matter more than my wheels.
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Old 09-14-07, 07:18 AM   #12
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This can be paralleled to talking about civil rights, female equality, etc.. As a white guy, I don't find myself needing to talk about this stuff (though I do!) because realistically I'm in the majority and these issues don't effect me as much as the people without their rights. Riding my bike in lieu of driving only becomes a "bike thing" because it isn't driving not because it is biking.

If you do something against the grain, per se, it becomes a thing. Nature of the beast I suppose.
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Old 09-14-07, 09:20 AM   #13
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My lifestyle choice does not affect my friends. If it did I would have few since biking is an Alien Concept where I live. I don't make a big deal of it in the office but everyone else does, the fact that I live car free os the converstiaon starter of choice when people talk to me.
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Old 09-14-07, 09:58 AM   #14
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My lifestyle choice does not affect my friends. If it did I would have few since biking is an Alien Concept where I live. I don't make a big deal of it in the office but everyone else does, the fact that I live car free os the converstiaon starter of choice when people talk to me.
We haven't done a good job of explaining our motivations in terms that Joe & Sally Sixpack can relate to.

There's something about being carfree that intrigues most people. It often expresses itself as humor or disdain, but underneath all that there is a fascination of some kind.
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Old 09-14-07, 10:56 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by DavidLee View Post
+1

People make WAY to big a deal about being car free. Not just people who are not car free but even some on this forum make it out to be a much bigger deal than it really is. Quite simply it's just my method of transportation, nothing more nothing less.
That was certainly true of me until I got married, and I never thought about it in terms like car-free. Now that I have 8- and 10- year old kids, I could be car-free, but it be challenging and would involve compromises. I have no problem with compromises; but these would not be compromises I make on my own behalf; they'd be compromises I'd make on behalf of my whole family. And that's where the "bicycle people" thing comes into play. Kids seem to want to grow up in a 'normal' family with a 'normal' lifestyle... taking them car-free would involve what I consider compromises, and what society as a whole would regard as unnecessary hardships. It becomes very difficult to say "I don't care what people say" when kids are involved. The bottom line is, I'm not car-free, and I have so far been quite unsuccessful in becoming car-lite, and until my kids are off to college, I can't imagine how I could ever be car-free.
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Old 09-14-07, 12:29 PM   #16
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That was certainly true of me until I got married, and I never thought about it in terms like car-free. Now that I have 8- and 10- year old kids, I could be car-free, but it be challenging and would involve compromises. I have no problem with compromises; but these would not be compromises I make on my own behalf; they'd be compromises I'd make on behalf of my whole family. And that's where the "bicycle people" thing comes into play. Kids seem to want to grow up in a 'normal' family with a 'normal' lifestyle... taking them car-free would involve what I consider compromises, and what society as a whole would regard as unnecessary hardships. It becomes very difficult to say "I don't care what people say" when kids are involved. The bottom line is, I'm not car-free, and I have so far been quite unsuccessful in becoming car-lite, and until my kids are off to college, I can't imagine how I could ever be car-free.
Owning motor vehicles for what ever purpose is perfectly fine with me. You need one to properly take care of your family, nothing wrong with that at all. Even if you decided to have a car just for the sake of having one that's all good as well. Each individual or family has their own set of needs & goals. Owning an automobile to meet those needs & goals shouldn't make anyone feel "guilty". I'm more in favor of "car-lite" rather than "car-free". Use a bike/walk when you can if you want, otherwise use your car & enjoy your family & life.

As for me I've been car-free since March '06 but will buy a car this November & still be car-lite as much as possible. Not for some esoteric reasons or needs but simply because I enjoy the hell out of cycling. I learned the hard way last Winter that being car-free with Maryland's unpredictable Winter weather is not safe for me or motorist for that matter. Having a 2 ton snow plow coming at you with nowhere to go but grab your bike & run off the road isn't a pleasant feeling. There are other reasons, yes reasons I once again need a vehicle but as stated I will remain as car-lite as I can be.

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Old 09-14-07, 12:50 PM   #17
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...do more harm than good to their cause by trying to politicise the simple act of riding a bike.
I wholeheartedly agree. I was on my commute home one evening, when a dude pulled up next to me and started chatting about all the evils of cars and global warming, etc. Now, I agreed with every word he was saying; but I realized that riding my bike is not a statement I'm trying to make. It's just me trying to "be the change I want to see in the world." I realized it because I was out there enjoying my ride and I didn't want to talk to him about all of that stuff. I just wanted to delight in the nice, warm day and enjoy the fact that I was on mile 38 of my 1.6-mile route home. Yes, it's political for me, too. But, if you ask me why I ride my bike to work and other places (I'm car-lite, not free), I'm not going to get into politics with you about it. I just enjoy it.
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Old 09-14-07, 07:21 PM   #18
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Upon reading the title of this thread, I was immediately compelled to go watch Monkey Dust's "The Cyclists" video.
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Old 09-14-07, 07:28 PM   #19
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I'm a bike person, a car person, a motorcycle person, a train person, and/or an airplane person depending on what I happen to be doing at the time!
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Old 09-14-07, 07:31 PM   #20
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Personally, I'm an animal person. What does that have to do with anything?
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Old 09-14-07, 09:14 PM   #21
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When i mentioned a bicycle he told me he doesn't want to become one of those "bicycle people". When i asked what he meant by that he told me that he did not want to become one of those people whose life revolves around the bike, can only talk about bikes, only hang out with bikers, etc.
lots of people own cars without getting 20" spinners and a chrome tip for their exhaust pipe. your pal can certainly ride a bike without hooking up with black label. right?

disclaimer: i don't really know what '20" spinners' means... but i hear people say it a lot. forgive me if i sound like a jackass.
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Old 09-14-07, 10:33 PM   #22
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disclaimer: i don't really know what '20" spinners' means... but i hear people say it a lot. forgive me if i sound like a jackass.
It means 20" wheels (which are big for your average car) that have a "spinner" which continues to spin when the car is stopped. These wheels have very low profile tires so the chrome wheel fills as much of the wheel well as possible. These are often items seen on cars owned by gangster wannabe types.
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Old 09-15-07, 12:57 AM   #23
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At the company I just left, the owners son got a company truck... BIG 4x4 dodge with 20" wheels. (No spinners, though...)

The overall effect is to make it look like a life-size HotWheels truck. Dorky as all hell.
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Old 09-15-07, 02:01 AM   #24
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[QUOTE=zoltani;5264570]Yesterday i was having a conversation with someone who had just moved to town and was considering his transit options (does not own a car). When i mentioned a bicycle he told me he doesn't want to become one of those "bicycle people". When i asked what he meant by that he told me that he did not want to become one of those people whose life revolves around the bike, can only talk about bikes, only hang out with bikers, etc.

QUOTE]

It's up to him how "into" biking he wants to get. No one should be forcing any topic of conversation on the guy, nor is anyone likely to.
A bike is a highly visible interest. The great thing is that any person can get as into it as they want, or not. It's a very customizable thing. I think it's perfectly natural to gravitate towards other people who share a common interest, whatever that may be. I also like to ride in the rain, so take my opinion for what it's worth.
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Old 09-15-07, 02:09 AM   #25
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I find myself constantly talking about bike stuff. I'm the only one I know that's major mode of transport is a bike. I eat a huge dinner and they'll be like "You eat this week?" and I'll say "I had a big breakfast and a medium pizza for lunch." and they just laugh and remind me to use the cute hand signals and little blinkie.
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