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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 09-19-07, 07:50 AM   #1
bragi
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another family goes car-free

Full story: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/htm...rgobike19.html

I'm not sure I'd get a $3000 cargo bike myself, but it's probably still a lot more economical than buying and maintaining a car. I do like the idea of two-car families getting rid of one car completely and only using the remaining car for longer trips; that's an idea that might actually catch on with most families some day.
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Old 09-19-07, 08:03 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by bragi View Post
Full story: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/htm...rgobike19.html

I'm not sure I'd get a $3000 cargo bike myself, but it's probably still a lot more economical than buying and maintaining a car. I do like the idea of two-car families getting rid of one car completely and only using the remaining car for longer trips; that's an idea that might actually catch on with most families some day.
Here's another story about a family trying to reduce their impact. They seem to
be doing it because of a book contract.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/7000991.stm
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Old 09-19-07, 09:17 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by bragi View Post
Full story: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/htm...rgobike19.html

I'm not sure I'd get a $3000 cargo bike myself, but it's probably still a lot more economical than buying and maintaining a car. I do like the idea of two-car families getting rid of one car completely and only using the remaining car for longer trips; that's an idea that might actually catch on with most families some day.
To me this concept is just the wheel of time going back to pre-1960's America. I'm 61 now
and can well remember the days of one car that was kept forever due to low wages and
hi prices (then) for new cars (easy credit didn't exist then either).

In the 1950's it was the norm to have one car that was for work (if a carpool ride wasn't
available) as well as all home duties. The kids could get involved with as much activity
as they wanted just don't look for a soccer mom to haul your butt around. You either
rode a bike or walked or bummed a ride. If a kid had a car it was an old junker he had
to rebuild to keep on the road and he did ALL the repair work.

Yes, the wheel is almost back to square one.

It's so nice.........
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Originally Posted by krazygluon
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 09-19-07, 08:16 PM   #4
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To me this concept is just the wheel of time going back to pre-1960's America. I'm 61 now
and can well remember the days of one car that was kept forever due to low wages and
hi prices (then) for new cars (easy credit didn't exist then either).

In the 1950's it was the norm to have one car that was for work (if a carpool ride wasn't
available) as well as all home duties. The kids could get involved with as much activity
as they wanted just don't look for a soccer mom to haul your butt around. You either
rode a bike or walked or bummed a ride. If a kid had a car it was an old junker he had
to rebuild to keep on the road and he did ALL the repair work.

Yes, the wheel is almost back to square one.

It's so nice
.........
People forget how recently only one car was the norm and "two car garage" was a flaunting of real prosperity. When My mom needed a car to take the kids to a doctor appt. or whatever, she had to drive my dad to work and pick him up if he couldn't get a ride.

Today, there are actually more registered cars than licensed drivers in the US. What kind of sense does that make?
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Old 09-22-07, 08:19 AM   #5
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History has an interesting way of repeating itself with a few twists along the way I grew up in a one car family, and from what I recall most if not all of those cars were used ones at that. Quite often my dad rode his trusty 1962 Raleigh Sports to the college where he taught. At one point my mom didn't drive, we took buses and cabs to and from the places we needed to go...imagine that!

In many situations I could see the cargo bike as a very viable substitute for a second car and it would pay for itself very quickly. The soccer mom phenomenon is an outgrowth of the auto-centric society we live in. I also think it is fairly unique to the US. If we can ever get back to the old neighborhood way of doing things it will benefit everybody in many ways.


Aaron
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Aluminum: barely a hundred
Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
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Old 09-22-07, 09:53 AM   #6
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I've been almost car-free for two weeks now. In the area I've moved up to (Renton, WA), I find it's not needed. My uncle claims that it's INCONVENIENT, but I'm not finding that yet. Oh well, maybe when I find a job and start taking the bus to work, I'll see. But until then, it's just so easy to go anywhere on the slow county metro buses. Downtown Seattle? Just take the bus to the local transit center and switch to the route 101 or 106, sit back, fall asleep, wake up and get off when the bus driver announces that we're in Downtown Seattle

Seattle has FlexCar, but seeing as how most of the cars are in Downtown Seattle, I think I'd pass on that unless I really needed a car. Even then, I have another uncle who lets people borrow his pickup truck. I'd rather be on foot or bicycle if I ever find myself over there with the way the streets are set up

The more I think about the operating expenses of owning a car, especially in this hilly & wet terrain, the more willing I am to accept the "inconveniences" of going around by foot, bicycle, and public transportation
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Old 09-22-07, 01:37 PM   #7
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From the article:

PORTLAND — When Ty and Brooke O'Steen gave up their Toyota Prius in favor of a cargo bike, most people felt sorry for them.<<<<<

This is what happens the moment you give up the car, people feel sorry for you. The automatic assumption is that you've fallen on hard times and become practically improvished. I think it's this image of poverty that's keeping millions living in debt trying to afford a motorcar lifestyle.

I've never had more money the day I became car free.
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Old 09-22-07, 01:52 PM   #8
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I've never had more money the day I became car free.
What?
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Old 09-23-07, 06:56 AM   #9
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What?
In other words, I never had any decretionary income after paying all my motoring bills.
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Old 09-23-07, 12:15 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
In many situations I could see the cargo bike as a very viable substitute for a second car and it would pay for itself very quickly. The soccer mom phenomenon is an outgrowth of the auto-centric society we live in. I also think it is fairly unique to the US. If we can ever get back to the old neighborhood way of doing things it will benefit everybody in many ways.


Aaron
Aaron, Since my famility has a squandron of bikes in the garage, we have discovered we don't need a second car and I have been trying to convince them (not too successfully actually...) that we really only need about 1/2 car [a concept that I would like develop...]

However, because of the way many communities are laid out... and I'm thinking of suburbs here... a utility bike is still too far away from the things it can carry.

To get back to the "old neighbourhood way of doing things", more people are going to have to move back to the old neighbourhood.
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Old 09-23-07, 05:16 PM   #11
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Aaron, Since my famility has a squandron of bikes in the garage, we have discovered we don't need a second car and I have been trying to convince them (not too successfully actually...) that we really only need about 1/2 car [a concept that I would like develop...]

However, because of the way many communities are laid out... and I'm thinking of suburbs here... a utility bike is still too far away from the things it can carry.

To get back to the "old neighbourhood way of doing things", more people are going to have to move back to the old neighbourhood.
That is the hard part of the equation. My parents still live in the same neighborhood that we lived in from the time I was in 7th grade. It has actually gotten nicer in some ways. But! the old corner drug store is gone, the corner grocery is gone, and the corner bakery is gone. Replaced by a big name oil company stop and rob, the neighborhood fought it but as in many cases somewhere along the way money was passed around and they were able to shove it through. There is a large chain grocery store 3-4 miles away, so it isn't as bad as in some cases. I see some areas where the stores are still in the neighborhoods and it gives me hope. I think as gas prices rise people may be more prone to spending their money closer to home, but it is going to take someone with a serious interest to reopen the corner grocery store, and people are going to have to be willing to do without things like choosing from 50 different kinds of barbecue sauce, or 100 different styles of chips. I shop at a local owned grocery in our town. I actually have met and talked with the owner and can anytime I want to. I asked about his carrying a particular product, his response...we will get a couple of cases and see how it does. Some things he has added to the store inventory, others didn't do as well but he will special order me a case if I am willing to take the whole case. Works for me. FWIW he actually owns a small chain of IGA's. IIRC there are 7 store in his chain. He thrives on personal service and giving back to the community, not something you are prone to see from too many big box stores. What is interesting to me is that there is a WalMart Super Center on the edge of town and another large grocery chain with a distribution center in the same town. He said he noticed a dip in his sales with the super center opened but they recovered to normal levels in less than 6 months. I think among other reasons is because they custom cut your meat, their vegetables are straight from the truck farms in the same county, their customer service is outstanding and he will make deliveries for people that really need it. I ALWAYS frequent my local owned businesses in hopes that I can keep them viable.


Aaron
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Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

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!"
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"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 09-23-07, 05:33 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Tightwad View Post
In the 1950's it was the norm to have one car that was for work (if a carpool ride wasn't
available) as well as all home duties. The kids could get involved with as much activity
as they wanted just don't look for a soccer mom to haul your butt around. You either
rode a bike or walked or bummed a ride. If a kid had a car it was an old junker he had
to rebuild to keep on the road and he did ALL the repair work.

Yes, the wheel is almost back to square one.

It's so nice.........
You practically described my own childhood, and that was in the 1970's.

And I had a friend who bought a used clunker, a Chevy Nova that had been beaten half to death at the dragstrip. I'm really not sure if I ever saw it run, though.

I've only owned three cars in 17 years, too (would've been just two if the first hadn't been destroyed by a driver running a red light).
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Old 09-23-07, 06:18 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
That is the hard part of the equation. My parents still live in the same neighborhood that we lived in from the time I was in 7th grade. It has actually gotten nicer in some ways. But! the old corner drug store is gone, the corner grocery is gone, and the corner bakery is gone. Replaced by a big name oil company stop and rob, the neighborhood fought it but as in many cases somewhere along the way money was passed around and they were able to shove it through. There is a large chain grocery store 3-4 miles away, so it isn't as bad as in some cases. I see some areas where the stores are still in the neighborhoods and it gives me hope. I think as gas prices rise people may be more prone to spending their money closer to home, but it is going to take someone with a serious interest to reopen the corner grocery store, and people are going to have to be willing to do without things like choosing from 50 different kinds of barbecue sauce, or 100 different styles of chips. I shop at a local owned grocery in our town. I actually have met and talked with the owner and can anytime I want to. I asked about his carrying a particular product, his response...we will get a couple of cases and see how it does. Some things he has added to the store inventory, others didn't do as well but he will special order me a case if I am willing to take the whole case. Works for me. FWIW he actually owns a small chain of IGA's. IIRC there are 7 store in his chain. He thrives on personal service and giving back to the community, not something you are prone to see from too many big box stores. What is interesting to me is that there is a WalMart Super Center on the edge of town and another large grocery chain with a distribution center in the same town. He said he noticed a dip in his sales with the super center opened but they recovered to normal levels in less than 6 months. I think among other reasons is because they custom cut your meat, their vegetables are straight from the truck farms in the same county, their customer service is outstanding and he will make deliveries for people that really need it. I ALWAYS frequent my local owned businesses in hopes that I can keep them viable.


Aaron
You make some good points here and I admit it would be impossible to roll back history. But, I live in a neighbourhood that sounds a lot like you describe. The houses don't yet look like large garages with people living in back. Some people still walk around the neighbourhood (not many, but they could if they wanted to...), grocery and other stores are still a bike-able distance, if not a walk-able one. I admit there are the same stores that you call "shop and rob" with their combination of gasoline, alcohol, tobacco and twinkies

Most of these facts about the geography of the neighbourhood make it possible for me to say my family can survive on less than two cars. That was the plan when the place was built, since my bike hangar was originally built with one car in mind.

This type of neighbourhood is certainly not ideal, but a <b>great</b> improvement over the housing I see in remote suburbs. If you life there, your only hope to go carfree/carlite (or even to have a relatively healthy lifestyle that includes walking) is to MOVE!
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Old 09-23-07, 06:57 PM   #14
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You make some good points here and I admit it would be impossible to roll back history. But, I live in a neighbourhood that sounds a lot like you describe. The houses don't yet look like large garages with people living in back. Some people still walk around the neighbourhood (not many, but they could if they wanted to...), grocery and other stores are still a bike-able distance, if not a walk-able one. I admit there are the same stores that you call "shop and rob" with their combination of gasoline, alcohol, tobacco and twinkies

Most of these facts about the geography of the neighbourhood make it possible for me to say my family can survive on less than two cars. That was the plan when the place was built, since my bike hangar was originally built with one car in mind.

This type of neighbourhood is certainly not ideal, but a <b>great</b> improvement over the housing I see in remote suburbs. If you life there, your only hope to go carfree/carlite (or even to have a relatively healthy lifestyle that includes walking) is to MOVE!
And MOVE is what I am working on...along with a substantial career change! We currently live in what used to be the sticks...10 years ago it is fast becoming a suburban hell, they are building subdivisions but not upgrading the road infrastructure at all. My wife owns a Bridal Salon in a nearby small town, we are long range planning to have me take over the day to day management of it. When that happens we are going to look at getting a house in town. The town is small ~10k or so, pretty flat and easy to cycle to and from anywhere in town. There are several nice older neighborhoods that are suitable for our needs and of course the stupid suburbs, the good part is that the suburbs are only about 5 miles out from the center of town. We have toyed with the idea of staying where we are at on our 40 acres of family farm and try to make a go at organic veggies, goats and chickens. (We already have the chickens and some fruits and veggies going) However with the amount of regulation and zoning we are having to deal with, it may be a losing proposition, only time and the economy will tell. Don't plan to give up the land anytime soon if we can help it. But what really irks me is that the local county leaders are fawning over the possibility of being able to build new shopping centers and possibly a mall on this end of the county because "the population base will support it" Their idea of nirvana is to have a Best Buy and Super Walmart ah the short sightedness The main issue is that there is a monster military base that drives the local economy and because of the BRAC this area is expecting an influx of over 35,000 people over the next 3-5 years.

Aaron
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Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
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