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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 03-12-11, 10:25 PM   #276
zakiuz
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Lot of inspiring stories here. I'm almost 17 years old and every person of my age I know owns a licence. I live in Quebec and just for the preparation class before the licence test, it costs 1000$ ! I was about to start the class and was very unsure of doind it or not. Then I discovered fg bikes, I felt in love with it. The more I think about cars the less I want one, my parents keeps on telling me someday I'll have to get one I hope they're wrong! Now I'm always commuting on my bike. Even though it's raining or shining outside I ride my bike. I'm pretty much the only one at school at my age to come on bike, all the student wait an hour or 2 for their parents to come and pick them with the car. So here's my contribution Happy riding !
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Old 04-21-11, 04:39 PM   #277
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Update! It's been a few years since I made this thread. I inherited my dad's pickup after he passed almost two years ago, yet I use my bicycles as much as possible because the truck is very expensive to fill up (2008 Sierra V8). I work full time and ride my bicycle to work and could afford to drive everywhere, yet I see it as such a waste of money.

I do drive the truck to and from school two nights a week, even though the 30mile round trip is doable on a bike. I would have to pass through a bad neighborhood. I'm not taking any summer classes, so I will be able to skip the high summer gas prices.

My girlfriend drives a Chevy Cavalier which gets almost triple the gas mileage that my truck does. Whenever we go out, I drive her car and buy her gas. She doesn't mind! The gas goes a whole lot further in her car, so I don't complain.

Higher gas prices reminds me how much of a waste driving really is.
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Old 05-01-11, 02:28 PM   #278
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Here's a question for anyone who can answer. I'm trying to be more car-free. When I was a teen I'd drive out to the boondocks and make out with girls. Now if you cycle you can't really bike 20mi just for a make out session. What do you guys do if neither your place or his/her place is a welcoming environment for that kind of pda? Has being without a car affected the romance/sex in your lives?
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Old 05-02-11, 06:33 AM   #279
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Here's a question for anyone who can answer. I'm trying to be more car-free. When I was a teen I'd drive out to the boondocks and make out with girls. Now if you cycle you can't really bike 20mi just for a make out session. What do you guys do if neither your place or his/her place is a welcoming environment for that kind of pda? Has being without a car affected the romance/sex in your lives?
Hah, it's funny that you ask. I started biking my sophomore year of high school, since then no girlfriend, no friends, no parties. I think its more of how cycling and racing became my obsession and passion rather then the in-ability to drive that led me to abandon all contact with non-cyclists. Sure not owning a car made it much more difficult to take girls out on dates and drive to places to make out, and I guess I regret not being able to do all of that to some extent. I think that if I really wanted to engage in any sort of relationship I would have made it happen, even if that meant biking 20 miles to the girls house and having to take a shower before I even kissed her lol

A lot of us car -free people are truly "simple" people (atleast I think so) hence if you find a simple girl (whether she's into cycling or not) you shouldn't have a problem, you might just have to try a bit harder.
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Old 06-02-11, 11:23 PM   #280
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I like being car free but it is becoming obselete for kids not to drive around here. My friends and I cant even go a week without someone letting the air out of our tires while at school.
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Old 06-03-11, 08:06 AM   #281
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Bless this thread

To all young people, you are the future and this thread decreases my despair for the human race. I'm a 30-yr old who rides his ridiculous track bike or RB-1 to work. Never bought into car culture, never owned a car but realize cars can be useful. I'd like to do some pros and cons and preface this with saying I live in a very car-centric city that is slowly coming along with some new bike lanes.

Pros:
The more people see you out there riding safely, the more they will consider riding too.
Horse legs, Iron Lungs, 28" waist. On the weekend rides, I tear **** up.
Cheap, fun, healthy, only good emissions (positive vibes, not VOC's).
Exchanging smiles and interacting with people on your commute (even glances).
Helps fight office/cubicle-fatigue.
After a while, it becomes routine... you can just enjoy the ride.
Promotes retaking public space from cars.
Slows down this ridiculous race.

Cons:
Poor roadway infrastructure (no protection), it can be a drag to fear for your safety.
Car drivers texting.
Frustrated, overweight office workers who would like to run you down (Texas).
Summer heat
You might need to go to the grocery store more often
When you get older and do it everyday, you might need to look into Yoga (or slow down).
Tanlines (con?).
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Old 07-01-11, 06:14 PM   #282
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Hi all,

I'm 15 years old, and I bike for the environment and for fun. I live in a rural-suburban town, with heavily wooded areas, narrow roads, and very aggressive drivers. The high school here lets Seniors drive to school (I will only be a junior this upcoming school year), but 99% of 16 year olds + have their permits (and then eventually licenses) and their parents go out and buy them an audi or some ridiculous ****.

School is 2 miles away, however most of it is on a busy NARROW major road (especially in the morning, most kids are getting driven to school by their parents in some mercedes benz SUV). The farthest I will have to go generally will probably be 9 miles, once or twice a week and the ride is mostly private bike path.

My brother and sister will be away at college/moving out, so I will be the only kid home, and I will eventually have to run errands for my parents (go to the grocery store, etc...) And most of the roads connecting those general places (grocery stores, post office, train station...) are very narrow (no shoulders...), and with the obnoxious drivers here, where practically no one bikes on roads, makes these roads very dangerous. However, there are lots of bike trails here that get utilized, but the bike trail is roughly 5 miles from my house, by very hilly, narrow, and busy roads.

So, now that there's some context, my question is how can I stay car free? Is there any hope for people like me with very narrow roads laden with rude motorists? Will I just have to stick it out until I get to college, and am living in a city?

I know that probably most people feel this way, and its a very broad question but I figured maybe some people could steer me in the right direction. (no pun intended ) Will I maybe just have to drive my car (eventually) to the bike path and then bike from there to get to where I need to go? That just seems so lame to me...

Thanks!
(I read other posts in this thread to get ideas, just wanted to make sure y'all know I'm not just barging in )

edit - Also, I doubt I will be able to get to friends houses by bike as most roads are again, very narrow, and also I don't know how I will deal with new york winters by bike? as no bike paths are getting plowed of snow...

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Old 07-02-11, 12:06 PM   #283
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Thanks!
(I read other posts in this thread to get ideas, just wanted to make sure y'all know I'm not just barging in )
...
I don't usually comment on this thread since I'm no longer a teenager. But I want to encourage you to join in the discussion on other threads. Your age doesn't matter. You express yourself better than I do, or many other older members. So feel free to jump in whenever you want to!

Also, please start new threads when you have questions/comments like the ones in your posts. If something is a concern or interest to you, chances are good that other people will also feel that it's valuable.
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Old 07-11-11, 04:00 PM   #284
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I'm 20 and I ride my bike to work, school everywhere. My boss thinks its great. I even have a place at work to put my bike and I can shower. I ride almost 7 miles so I need to shower. I have been car free. I don't have my dls and don't plan on getting hem. I rode my bike last winter for the first time and it was a blast I had so much fun!!! I saved a crap load of money. My bike is worth 500 dollars everything was paid for by me also. It has paid for itself in a few months. Thats with everything included to tubes, fenders bike pump, computer, lights and helmet also wear a helmet if your going to ride be smart and wear a helmet. I see some people not wearing helmets and everytime I see one I want to say wear and helmet. one time a lady on a bike was trying to cross a highway couple days ago. She was in the middle of the highway stopped on her bike. I was sure she was going to get hit when so decided to cross when the light was red. that is such a death wish she had to of been mental and didnt know better. There really is no reason for that kind of ride anyways you will see those people to. I enjoy every ride I have been on and could tell you a ton of storys. thats was a little off topic. enjoy rideing.
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Old 07-16-11, 02:15 PM   #285
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Hi,
I study in Budapest University of Technology and Economics. I have a six-month project and i have to design a cycling infrastructure. So i would like to asset in the first round the opinion of the patterns, insights and something like that.
Thank you very much

The link

Jankuci, I teach at www.poli.hu we have many kids who cycle to shcool fro all over Pest in good weather and I and A co worker cycle from Kispest to near klinikak year round, regardless of weather... I will answer your survey if it is not too late and if you do it in Hungarian and send it to me at robiKUKACpoliPONThu I will get th kids to as well come the start of next school year... vagy akar most email/ illetve faceboookon el intezem.

robi
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Old 07-30-11, 10:39 AM   #286
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At 23 I'm no longer a teenager, but I don't have a driving licence and am not interested in getting one. (I'll be getting one in the spring since the line of work I want to get into requires me to have one, and I'm hoping to be able to start as a trainee next autumn.)

I've been reading through the thread and I confess I don't understand how big a deal being car-free is to some people. Ok, so I gather that most of you are Americans and that there is a car culture in America that is very different from car culture in Europe, and also I live in a country where it's considered the most normal thing in the world (and is therefore never questioned) to commute via bicycle.
It really doesn't have to be difficult to be car-free. If the main issue is safe roads (as it seems to be), I'm afraid it is difficult, but if you live in an area with safe roads and even bike paths, it's not.

In Denmark, and especially in Copenhagen and larger cities, it's common for entire families to be car free. Petrol, parking, insurance, the cost of the car (Denmark is one of the most expensive countries to purchase a car in...) far outweighs the cons of riding bikes. For many people it's more about economy than a healthy lifestyle. It's quite common here for families with small children to have child trailers for their bikes or ride in Christiania bikes (http://www.christianiabikes.com). Many people have baby seats on the back of their bikes, or on the steer. Parents whose children ride their own bikes accompany them to their playschool or school on their own bikes, until the children are big enough to commute on their own (usually around age 8-10).
Getting groceries isn't a big deal on a bike either - sometimes you have to go more often, but carrying the groceries isn't a problem. Put them in the Christiania bike or the child trailer or the basket in front of your bike.
I live alone and usually go grocery shopping once or twice per week and I carry my groceries on the luggage rack.

I suppose my point is that I've never really acknowledged the privilege it is to be able to live a car free lifestyle. I don't know anyone (apart from my parents and parents of friends) that have cars as the rest of us all commute via bicycle or public transport if the distance from home to university/work is too great (and even then, they do own a bike and use it for local commuting).
Promoting a car free lifestyle in this country is a little bit like 'preaching to the choir', but not quite. There's still a lot of status in having a car and many people get one when they get a job after finishing their education or when they start a family, but there's just as many people that stick to their bikes.

Where living a car free lifestyle can sometimes be a hassle... just a few weeks ago, I went looking for plates. I was thinking about getting maybe 4 nice dining plates, of the sort you find in second hand shops. Well, I found a whole set of dining plates, soup bowls, serving dishes and potato dishes and cups and saucers for the same amount I'd planned on spending on just 4 plates. I bought the whole set.

I then immediately ran into the problem of transporting the whole set home. 6 plates, 6 bowls, 3 dishes of various shapes, plus 9 cups and 9 saucers... uhm, good luck fitting that onto a bike? dun dun dun. The lady in the shop packed the china for me wrapped in newspapers and in three sturdy plastic bags. I fit a bag onto the luggage rack and one into the basket in front and the remaining bag (and by far the lightest of the load since it held the cups and saucers), I let hang from a handlebar. I still couldn't bike anywhere with it since I didn't want to risk rattling my new awesome china and chip it or break it, or losing the bag that I'd balanced on the luggage rack. I was roughly 10km from home. What I ended up having to do was walk to the nearest metro station (about 500m), take the metro as close to home as possible (about 200m) and walk the rest of the way. And I made it and my china was intact.

Another time I'd made 25 cupcakes for a summer party and with no means of transporting them but on my bike. I ended up very creatively packing them in shoeboxes and stacking them on the luggage rack and strapping them to the bike with twine to avoid them falling off.

So while it's sometimes more cumbersome to live a car free lifestyle, it can also be incredibly rewarding when you manage to get round an obstacle. You pretty much feel like the King of the World and a Genius.
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Old 08-01-11, 04:33 AM   #287
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I'll suggest velomobiles as an excellent all-year-round replacement for all the daily commuting/shopping/going-to-clubs needs. Besides looking cool, velomobiles give you a speed advantage, cargo advantage, and weather advantage.

True, they tend to be more expensive - in the $3000-$6000 range usually - but you'll re-coup that investment within a year, and the cost of maintenance (cycle parts) is far less than the comparable needs of a car. Fuel? Goes in your tummy, not your tank!


I've been car-free for over 10 years. The only time I needed to drive a motor-vehicle was when moving large furniture from one location to another.
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Old 08-08-11, 09:21 AM   #288
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Evering morning, I take bus to school.It's so crowded and stuffy. So I am going to buy a bike and ride it to school. This will save my time and benifit to my body.Actually, I am a little carsick.
You won't regret your decision to bike-commute to school. Actually, in time, you'll realize just how great of a decision it was.

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Old 11-20-11, 08:28 AM   #289
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I'm 16. Just bought (100% my money; i've been saving for a while) a second hand Trek 6300 MTB. I love it, and have had basic bikes always in the past. I've always used a bike a lot.
I think i'm a very natural person, interested in geography and natural photography etc. And I don't like cars. Being trapped in a metal cage... Not my idea of fun.

So I don't want to own a car. Although a drivers license is probably wise. I'd rather a motorbike, but that's quite dangerous. So I don't know. I'd definitely get a motorbike over a car though. My main method of transport is going to preferably be bike. It's my favourite hobby, along with drumming, and I could easily make it a lifestyle, I think.

I cycle two miles for my paper round and 4 miles to school and back each day. It's a lame journey, but better than car.

I also like being quite handy etc and I'm interested in how things work. I can already do some basic stuff with a bike. But I now know how to change a spoke, by watching someone do it. I'd like to be completely independant, know a lot about my bike, able to fix most things, and know that I can depend on it.

This thread is inspiring!
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Old 12-28-11, 03:18 PM   #290
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I didn't have a car or a license until I was 18. But I also WANTED those things. For a long time though, I chose to walk (with the occasional bike ride, wasn't into cycling at that point). I live within a few miles of two locally owned grocery stores, a Wal-Mart and K Mart, and numerous fast food joints (one of which I worked at for two years). School was too far to wake up that early and walk, and the bus came around anyway. I would walk home from school on occasion, though.

Since I got my license, I've been driving most of the time, but I have two bikes and I'd like to utilize them more...even though I'm paying off a car loan. I could still save some money on gas, I'm sure. IMO, the car is still good to have in case cycling x amount of miles is unrealistic, or the weather is horrendous. One thing I hate is having to bug people for a ride.
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Old 03-06-12, 11:31 AM   #291
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Anyway, that was about that 6 months ago that I developed plantar fasciitis (PF). I became inactive obviously; after all, I couldn't even walk half a mile at age sixteen.... not because of fitness, but because of the pain. I tried all sorts of treatments for it and it got a little better in maybe five months. I can walk about fifteen or twenty minutes now without crying. Still can't run at all.
You need to check out this book. If it's not at your library and you don't want to buy it: don't wear shoes. or sandals. or any footwear, except maybe some Vibram FiveFingers. If you want to learn, google "barefoot running," or something like that.

The guy who wrote Born to Run was in the same situation as you are. He had PF, tried everything, and was unsuccessful. Until, of course, he went back to basics and tried walking and running without shoes.

FTR, even if you don't have PF, barefoot running is still awesome. It's the running equivalent of riding a fixie.
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Old 04-12-12, 12:11 PM   #292
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I would love a car but given the fuel and insurance prices in the u.k it's not going to happen just yet I use my bike to travel everywhere if its too far I take it on the train I ride day/night. at least 10 miles a day.
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Old 05-02-12, 07:03 PM   #293
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I am excited this thread even exists.
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Old 07-22-12, 03:26 PM   #294
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Hi I am in my early/mid twenties (somewher in there ) and I have never owned my own car. In the past I have had access to boyfriend's cars and whatnot, but its always terrible to become reliant on somebody else for transport (or anything!). I've got to say, I love not having a car. It saves me at least $300 a month, if not 400 or 500. To the young people contemplating getting their driver's licence all together, I say, definitely get one.. it's always good to be able to drive if you are in a situation where you need to (maybe your friends have been drinking and need a driver or something? It's just good to have a licence..) but getting the actual car? Not worth it! If you live in the suburbs or something, maybe it's necessary for some.. but in the city... walking is great, cycling is great, trains and busses are not so great, but not the worst thing in the world.. and will often be very cheap if you attend a college or university (I belive? Thats how it is here anyway..) I don't plan on having a car in the next 10 years.. Hope to own an apartment before I ever drop money on a silly vehicle!

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Old 08-07-12, 09:20 PM   #295
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I'm no longer a teenager (just turned 21! Woohoo!) but here's my two cents.

I've never owned a car, and I don't see myself owning one in the near future. So far bicycling, public transit and the occasional lift from friends has been all I've needed. This is including a period where I had to bike eight miles uphill to get to school. Not kidding. Going home was a blast though. Part of my decision to eschew automobiles is because I like the simplicity, benefits to the environment, and boost to my health. Part of it's because I flat-out can't afford a car. I never felt at all hampered by the biking lifestyle as a teenager, and only rarely do today. If there was something friends or family wanted to do that was far away, I'd just hitch a ride with them. Everything else was close enough it didn't matter.

At this stage of life there are very few reasons you might need to drive. Obviously it depends on your situation, but here's my wish-I-had-a-car things:
- Moving heavy/cumbersome/bulky objects, especially furniture. I recently had to move across town and ended up taking boxes one-by-one on the bus. Ick. Not a problem if you have local friends with cars.
-My cat. She is NOT okay with a bike, and can't go on public transit. If she got badly hurt I'm not sure how I'd get her to the vet quickly.
-When you get hurt, how will you get around? Everyone sprains an ankle eventually, and if you rely on bicycling it sucks even worse when you do.

And for balance, my really-glad-I-dont-have-a-car things:
-SO CHEAP! I have auto insurance, but it's super cheap since I don't have a car. Most people I know spend more on gas/insurance/maintenance each month than my bike cost to buy!
-Super fun excercise, especially in nice weather. Can't beat that fresh air and being active makes me feel so good.
-Low stress. If you have a car, you come to rely on it. So you constantly worry about it breaking down. If my bike breaks down I can fix it for under fifty bucks no matter what's wrong, and get it done by tomorrow.
-Saves space and time. I never have to worry about finding a parking space, and my bike fits in a dinky little apartment.
-Easier to change. I can sell a used bike for about what I bought it for, and then go get another one for the same price. This makes a huge difference at my stage of life, when I'm moving around a lot. It's a huge hassle to sell your car if you want to move across the country, and not easy to take it with you.

You'll notice I said I don't have a car, not that I don't drive. That's because I do have a license and do drive. I highly recommend that everyone get a license before moving out on their own. It's not hard to get, and it means if you are in a car and need to take the wheel for whatever reason, you'll be able too. Even if you don't expect it, be prepared. You never know when your friend might get sick or something. Not to mention a lot of jobs require driving... I make my living driving a van.

Have fun, be safe, and enjoy your teenage years car free!
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Old 10-08-12, 09:06 PM   #296
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What's a good bike you guys would recommend for getting around and whatnot? Theft basically really never happens at my school (really, the way it's set up, it'd be really hard to). It's approx 25 minute ride, and all concrete/sidewalk/paved road.

Thanks!
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Old 10-24-12, 12:58 PM   #297
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Hello, Im a newcomer here!

Im in the second year(Im 19) in Ljubljana university and for most of the time I used bus/train or sometimes my dad drove me there. I live in a town 25km away from Lj so you need an hour or so with train or bus(Sometimes even more). But now for a week or so Im using my bike only! I need a little less then an hour in one way I was afraid that the problem of sweat will be too big in lectures, but I only change my T-shirt and everything is ok!
I hope these last sunny days will last as long as possible!

Be good and safe!
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Old 11-15-12, 01:00 AM   #298
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I'm not a teenager anymore either, but back in high school, I used to ride the bike to and from school as well. It was a great experience as you get exercise and save up on gas.

When I got to university my parents decided to hand me down my older brother's car because he bought a new one, but I barely used it. I took it to the dorm along with my bike, but getting around the campus and the neighborhood, I still used my bike. I only use the car when I go home over the weekends, but I always take my bike with me.

Now if only my workplace isn't so far from my apartment, I would still use my bike.
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Old 01-03-13, 01:43 PM   #299
llamachikin
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I get my license next year and i have decided that i will stay car free. I live in a community where bikes aren't popular but i love to ride. I don't want to spend all my money on insurance and gas.
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Old 01-04-13, 06:44 PM   #300
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Where living a car free lifestyle can sometimes be a hassle... just a few weeks ago, I went looking for plates. I was thinking about getting maybe 4 nice dining plates, of the sort you find in second hand shops. Well, I found a whole set of dining plates, soup bowls, serving dishes and potato dishes and cups and saucers for the same amount I'd planned on spending on just 4 plates. I bought the whole set.

I then immediately ran into the problem of transporting the whole set home. 6 plates, 6 bowls, 3 dishes of various shapes, plus 9 cups and 9 saucers... uhm, good luck fitting that onto a bike? dun dun dun. The lady in the shop packed the china for me wrapped in newspapers and in three sturdy plastic bags. I fit a bag onto the luggage rack and one into the basket in front and the remaining bag (and by far the lightest of the load since it held the cups and saucers), I let hang from a handlebar. I still couldn't bike anywhere with it since I didn't want to risk rattling my new awesome china and chip it or break it, or losing the bag that I'd balanced on the luggage rack. I was roughly 10km from home. What I ended up having to do was walk to the nearest metro station (about 500m), take the metro as close to home as possible (about 200m) and walk the rest of the way. And I made it and my china was intact.

Another time I'd made 25 cupcakes for a summer party and with no means of transporting them but on my bike. I ended up very creatively packing them in shoeboxes and stacking them on the luggage rack and strapping them to the bike with twine to avoid them falling off.

So while it's sometimes more cumbersome to live a car free lifestyle, it can also be incredibly rewarding when you manage to get round an obstacle. You pretty much feel like the King of the World and a Genius.

Hello, is it possible for you to get a "trailer" for your bike? I've built a home made utility trailer out of a old "child carrier trailer", I can haul a lot of gear and 2 weeks worth of food, etc. Just a thought.
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