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-   -   The car-free teenager thread (http://www.bikeforums.net/living-car-free/346346-car-free-teenager-thread.html)

DJ Shaun 01-05-13 08:06 PM

I'm glad to see that many teenagers and young adults today are looking into going car free.

When I was a teen (back in the '90s) I also went car free. I never bothered to get my licence at 16 which was rare (and a frequent source of ribbing from my buddies). The fact my parents were adamant that they weren't going to pay for my licence and car was a big factor. I couldn't afford car ownership back then. I rode the bike all summer and took the bus all winter. I biked to school. Then I biked to my summer & part-time jobs. Next thing you know I'm done college and I'm bike commuting to my full time job from spring to fall. Even though my dad taught me how to drive around the cottage back then it took a while before I got around to getting my licence. Now I bike commute year round and I rarely drive the family car. My wife does 99% of the driving.

SideviewSlammer 01-21-13 10:03 PM

I got my liscense several months ago and I have a car that I inherited. That being said, I've never taken it to school. Period. I only use it for trips with friends or similar excursions with the lady ;D
Everthing else (school, work, gym, parties, etc.) Ride!

TrebelC 01-30-13 10:30 PM

See, I agree with almost 100% of the things you guys are saying. I live in eastern Minnesota so the winters can be brutal. I would LOVE to go car free and buy a very nice bike to get me around the small town I live in as well as the surrounding single track trails. Although I could do that, but see I'm very involved in athletics. Not usually a problem, but see I play hockey as my main sport. With the sport includes a 5 foot long stick and a 5foot lingth wise and 2 feet tall 20 pound bag with equipment in it. Thats my problem. I have my permit and will be getting my license in September. My family is 100% behind me getting a car, but I'm not sure I really need one. I have a little money saved up from a summer job, but I have a part time job lined up. Help. What do I do. I need the best of both worlds.

Roody 01-30-13 11:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TrebelC (Post 15218549)
See, I agree with almost 100% of the things you guys are saying. I live in eastern Minnesota so the winters can be brutal. I would LOVE to go car free and buy a very nice bike to get me around the small town I live in as well as the surrounding single track trails. Although I could do that, but see I'm very involved in athletics. Not usually a problem, but see I play hockey as my main sport. With the sport includes a 5 foot long stick and a 5foot lingth wise and 2 feet tall 20 pound bag with equipment in it. Thats my problem. I have my permit and will be getting my license in September. My family is 100% behind me getting a car, but I'm not sure I really need one. I have a little money saved up from a summer job, but I have a part time job lined up. Help. What do I do. I need the best of both worlds.

It wouldn't be too difficult to haul your gear in a bike trailer or on a long tail bike like the surly big dummy.

jowilson 07-25-13 12:23 PM

I am turning 16 in a few days and I have have my learner's permit right now. In two weeks, I can get my actual license. After reading many of the posts on here I think I'll get the license but not drive very often. I bike just about everywhere; to work and the store occasionally. School starts back up for me in two weeks (:eek:) and I'll start commuting to and from there. I am a photographer for yearbook, and many (but not all) of the sporting events, club meetings and events will be on campus so I can ride to most of those events. But there are events that are off campus and rather far for a bike, so I'll either drive or get a ride. There are lots of other people that ride to school, none of which are as enthusiastic about bikes (both riding and wrenching) as me. I haven't told my parents about my plans to go car-lite but they are usually pretty encouraging about most of my choices. Not paying for gas, car repairs, etc. will be great. I don't have a job (yet) but I like knowing that I won't be spending all my checks on gas. Like many have said before, most people got a job to pay for a car, and drive their car to their job to pay for the car. It's an endless rolling ball that relies on a smooth road. I'll be glad to join the carfree/car-lite club.

digitalmouse 07-29-13 04:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Roody (Post 15218648)
It wouldn't be too difficult to haul your gear in a bike trailer or on a long tail bike like the surly big dummy.

Or on a recumbent trike or quad with appropriate rear rack and bags, which can later be upgraded to a velomobile so that you can ride all year 'round in greater comfort, speed, and cargo capacity. :)

sugarbot 08-05-13 06:52 AM

I'm seventeen, and because I'm English it has only just become available for me to start to learn to drive (I understand you guys in the US learn earlier) but I haven't yet bothered. My mum has offered to pay for my lessons, I have a provisional, but I still haven't been behind the wheel of a car and frankly I don't really care. I live in a different city to my parents, I'm about to move a further 250miles away from them and am only taking my bicycle for transport and I'm fine with that, I've been bikeonly for over a year now and apart from the longer journeys (80 miles plus, which I use a bus or coach for) I pretty much just ride.
I love it.
I do eventually intend on buying a car, it will be a tiny little two seater pickup. Just so I can go camping easier (I cycle tour now, which is ace but it can be tricky to GET somewhere to tour). Part from that, I intend to be totally carfree.

In short:
Go for it!

Artkansas 08-05-13 06:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sugarbot (Post 15926446)
I'm seventeen, and because I'm English it has only just become available for me to start to learn to drive (I understand you guys in the US learn earlier) but I haven't yet bothered. My mum has offered to pay for my lessons, I have a provisional, but I still haven't been behind the wheel of a car and frankly I don't really care. I live in a different city to my parents, I'm about to move a further 250miles away from them and am only taking my bicycle for transport and I'm fine with that, I've been bikeonly for over a year now and apart from the longer journeys (80 miles plus, which I use a bus or coach for) I pretty much just ride.
I love it.
I do eventually intend on buying a car, it will be a tiny little two seater pickup. Just so I can go camping easier (I cycle tour now, which is ace but it can be tricky to GET somewhere to tour). Part from that, I intend to be totally carfree.

In short:
Go for it!

Good for you. You are ahead of the curve. I didn't buy a car until I was 32.

Isaiahc72 12-02-13 01:37 AM

I'm 17 and have had my learners permit for my driver's license. However, my mom was always too busy to help me get practice so that eventually, I started biking places and ended up loving it. Never did get my license and really couldn't care less. Within my first year, I've learned so much about living car-free and really hope to be able to do it for a lifetime. It can definitely be challenging but in the end will be rewarding. And hey, I'm here in Northwest Arkansas where we're known for our hilly terrain.

I definitely feel peer pressure from people wanting me to get a car and my siblings are very unsupportive of my decision to be car-free. They laugh at me and say that I'm a failure and stuff for not having a car. They try and make me look like a loser almost everyday. But I guess that's just what siblings will do, right?

People at work and school however, have learned why to never tell me to get a car. When someone tells me to get a car, I start ranting about all the reasons why I don't need one and how much they cost and how much I'm saving. And not many people can listen to me rant for very long. And nowadays, it seems like my co-workers are actually pretty supportive of me being car-free. So I guess I won them over.

digitalmouse 12-02-13 04:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Isaiahc72 (Post 16293344)
They try and make me look like a loser almost everyday. But I guess that's just what siblings will do, right?

If being a loser means having more money in your pocket at the end of a pay period (not spending it on car things like gas and insurance and costly repairs), better health and higher chance of living longer, then "loser" should be the new "cool".

Cully_J 12-02-13 07:19 AM

I must let you know that your comment about being 17 AND being car-free is inspiring.

It's hard to believe that, in the age of astronomical gasoline prices, people's attitudes haven't become more disagreeable towards automobiles.

Without realizing it, I'm sure you're inspiring others to do the same thing.

Are any of you friend's driver's license free?

Godspeed,
Cullen Carter
Appleton, WI


Quote:

Originally Posted by Isaiahc72 (Post 16293344)
I'm 17 and have had my learners permit for my driver's license. However, my mom was always too busy to help me get practice so that eventually, I started biking places and ended up loving it. Never did get my license and really couldn't care less. Within my first year, I've learned so much about living car-free and really hope to be able to do it for a lifetime. It can definitely be challenging but in the end will be rewarding. And hey, I'm here in Northwest Arkansas where we're known for our hilly terrain.

I definitely feel peer pressure from people wanting me to get a car and my siblings are very unsupportive of my decision to be car-free. They laugh at me and say that I'm a failure and stuff for not having a car. They try and make me look like a loser almost everyday. But I guess that's just what siblings will do, right?

People at work and school however, have learned why to never tell me to get a car. When someone tells me to get a car, I start ranting about all the reasons why I don't need one and how much they cost and how much I'm saving. And not many people can listen to me rant for very long. And nowadays, it seems like my co-workers are actually pretty supportive of me being car-free. So I guess I won them over.


Isaiahc72 12-02-13 11:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by digitalmouse (Post 16293413)
If being a loser means having more money in your pocket at the end of a pay period (not spending it on car things like gas and insurance and costly repairs), better health and higher chance of living longer, then "loser" should be the new "cool".

Exactly

Isaiahc72 12-02-13 11:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cully_J (Post 16293540)
I must let you know that your comment about being 17 AND being car-free is inspiring.

It's hard to believe that, in the age of astronomical gasoline prices, people's attitudes haven't become more disagreeable towards automobiles.

Without realizing it, I'm sure you're inspiring others to do the same thing.

Are any of you friend's driver's license free?

Godspeed,
Cullen Carter
Appleton, WI

Thank you! Unfortunately, no one else I know will take on the challenge of being car-free.

CamelDane 12-10-13 08:15 PM

2 Attachment(s)
Long time browser of bikeforums and a 21 year old who has been car-free since birth! I was introduced to cycling at a young age by who father who used to take me mountain biking around the Santa Cruz County. At first it was just for fun, riding around on fire trails away from humans and those big ol' tin cans.
The realization of getting around on a bike progressively decreased once I hit middle school, riding bikes is lame right? it's for children! that mindset quickly changed several years later when I took a bike maintenance course for "easy credits". The way a individual could fix their shifting or brakes to improve the quality of your ride was exciting! After the first day I pulled out my bike and began to ride to school, and the mile radius grew and grew until I was riding from one end of town to the other. It opened my eyes to an entire culture that was unknown to me! It was a refreshing change from sitting in traffic (santa cruz is a tourist hellhole during summer) to riding passed those people in traffic.
I held onto the "car-free" well passed my high school and into college. Not once did "A car would make life so much easier" pop into my head. I ended up moving to Portland, OR one of the bicycle hubs of the United States, continuing to be car free. It is difficult at times, and recently been having thoughts of a car to move heavier items such as dressers or mattresses. Anything else is no problem! grocery shopping is a breeze with panniers and a B.O.B trailer. And hauling larger items will be just as easy when I save up the money(that isn't being spent on car expenses) and purchase an even larger cargo trailer! I still get a large smile on my face when I ride from point A to B. It's a hell of a lot better than sitting in a car! Instead of paying of car insurance and gas I get to deck out my ride with all the cool accessories!
http://bikeforums.net/attachment.php...hmentid=354657
http://bikeforums.net/attachment.php...hmentid=354658

Cute Boy Horse 01-13-14 10:09 AM

This thread is weird. You're all posting as if getting a car in your teenage years is the default.

Differing cultures, I suppose.

mconlonx 01-14-14 05:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cute Boy Horse (Post 16406733)
You're all posting as if getting a car in your teenage years is the default.

In some places, it is. Rural Maine USA comes to mind... as does nearly any rural location in the USA where public transport is all but non-existent and travel distances can be 20, 40, 100 mi to where you need to go. Peer pressure is still alive and relevant.

Not to mention USA car culture. Ref.: American Graffiti...

When I was 18 and went off to college, there was basically only one kid in my circle of acquaintances who didn't have a license -- he was from New York City and could get around just fine by public transport or bike. All his friends back home were in the same situation and thought getting a driver's license, let alone a car, was pretty pointless. That was eye-opening for me, he was definitely in the minority, but was also one of the most brilliant people I ever met, and was the first to open my eyes to the possibility of LCF.

digitalmouse 02-24-14 03:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Roody (Post 15218648)
It wouldn't be too difficult to haul your gear in a bike trailer or on a long tail bike like the surly big dummy.

Or save up for a velomobile. True, it's costly, but you can cycle in all sorts of bad weather (apart from deep snow on the road) comfortably, go considerably faster, and carry all sorts of extra cargo. I have a Norwegian acquaintance that drives an older Leitra velomobile *and* plays hockey. He has no trouble carting all his equipment to and from practice or to nearby (up to 100 km) games.

For myself, I enjoy being able to ride in the rain and near-zero temperatures while carting home 4 bags of groceries and my laptop - nice and dry.

wyvernofdawoods 03-20-14 02:38 PM

Man you should stay with your bike, no offense, but lazy people drive cars. Plus you have the satisfaction of getting everywhere by your own means and muscle fibers. I ride to Bodega bay from east P-town (approx. 55-60Miles) on a weekly basis. It'll be hard, but there are so many benefits:
-Don't pay for car gas, oil, repairs, and insurance.
-You get to work-out as you go somewhere (why pay for a treadmill if you have a car when you could walk or bike?)
-You get RIPPED. Its so easy just eat right and biking will take care of the rest.
-You are a pedestrian, so any accidents you get in with a car will not be your fault unless you deliberately smash into someone.
-BIKES ARE CHEAPER THEN CARS, its a fact not an opinion. Any casual road bike can get you as far as you want, and cost way less.
-You spend less time maintaining your bike. Power wash it and re-lube/ re-grease everything and there is no interior to wash.
-Your bike can be pimpin. Put a card in your spokes and some glow sticks as well, and carry around a stereo back pack. Then put a rear seat on for the ladies. LOL.
-You experience what most people never do nowadays. The wind on your face, fresh air, stress relief, you can look around at the scenery more then you could ever do in a car, and its addicting.
I LOVE biking and the choice you make about it has the potential to change you life for the better, and its better for the environment. Dude the car isn't worth it im telling you. 1/3 of paychecks gone just on the friggin car. Just get a bike overall you're saving yourself so much, and gaining even more.

joao_pimentel 04-29-14 10:04 AM

I just got this thread now, and I just read message #1 .

Being car free is possible, and that doesn't mean you're a freak or a hermit.

I pay my taxes, rent, electricity, water, heating, home gas, I have family and a respectable honest job, I'm simply car free.

On the beginning it might be strange because car is like a part of you, and when you think about a certain destination it just comes to your mind a certain specific road. To those who want to be, just put your car in the garage for a while and try not using it...

To be honest, I don't even understand the original post, the countries where I've lived, teens don't even have a car (in Europe you need to be 18 to have a driver license)

MikeRides 08-22-14 03:25 PM

Not my story, but my nephew is 16 and doesn't have a learner's permit/license and doesn't have any desire to get one. He has been working at Walmart part time for a couple years, he bought a 26" Schwinn a month after he started working to make it easier to get back and forth to work/school. Before the bike he would take the bus or beg his mom for a ride. His plan to work and attend school fell apart when he started getting offered extra shifts which he obviously accepted. Next thing he knew he had missed 25 of the 23 allowed absent days of school. He's actually smart enough to pass all his classes even with the missed time but due to the rules enforced by the school he's stuck repeating the whole grade level, so he dropped out. He had a big argument over it with his mother (single mom), whom as a result told him to get out - with all his belongings on his back, he took a week off work and took a self-sustained bike tour from Buffalo to Albany along the Erie Canalway, he found places to camp for free each night, ate cheap (cooked all his food purchased at grocery stores along the way), and bathed in public restrooms. When he returned from his trip he moved in with my daughter and I. Today, he's working at Walmart full time, and still has no desire to drive. Other than paying a fair share of the grocery/electricity bill, he's staying with me rent-free and I haven't seen him spend money on anything so I assume he's saving it all. I'm curious to see what he does in two weeks when he has a decision to make; to either go back to school and graduate or find a new place to live. His mom and I are hoping he makes the right decision and goes back to school, I'm bending over backward for him, going as far as offering him a job in my restaurant as long as he's going to school so he doesn't have to commute 30 miles everyday to Walmart, but he's very stubborn I think he'd rather live in his tent in the Walmart parking lot than finish school.

JamesEnglish111 09-26-14 03:48 AM

Hi- I'm new here

I am 16 and try to bike everywhere possible... but it's hard because my life is very busy. I transferred high schools, so my school is 10 miles from my house with almost 1,400 feet climbing each way, it usually takes me about 50 minutes to get there. My dad works very close to my school, so it was easy for him to drive me a lot of the time. But I have been trying to become more independent... over the summer I bought a used steel Bianchi road bike for the sole purpose of being able to ride to places and lock it outside. I am very uncomfortable with locking my carbon bike outside because someone might crack it on accident, and also the gearing on my Fixie is too high to make it over the hills. So far I have been able to ride to school 1-2 times a week but not consistently. It's also hard because a few of my teachers make us bring our book to class, so my bag gets really heavy. Sometimes I will also have too much homework/ extracurricular activities to get enough sleep, and then I can't wake up to ride.

I am also a competitive swimmer, my swim practice is about 15 miles from school. So if I bike to school on that day, I have to take two separate buses, which takes a little bit more then one hour (the bus has a bike rack) and then I ride back home from swim practice, 7 or 8 miles.

It's kind of obvious that my parents have to take me lots of places. Only within the last few months I've wanted to drive. On days that I don't have my bike at school, I often go with friends to their houses or to the local Starbucks, each of those places are about 1-1.5 miles from school. So I walk. Sometimes my other friends who do drive feel bad that I'm walking in the hot sun and pull over to pick me up and give me a ride to where I am going! So it would be nice sometimes to drive...

SB739 07-16-15 08:04 AM

I'm 19, Got my license here in Northern Ireland last September, have been driving a parents for almost a year now. But when I go to uni in England I won't be able to afford to run my own car so I decided to buy a hybrid. This, coupled with a bi-annual bus ticket should get me by for the next two years at least I hope - maybe more, maybe less!

I've experienced the expense of petrol, repairs, new tyres etc for a car and seen a few close friends wake up to find their cars having problems costing them hundreds in repairs .. I don't think I'll have the time in uni to work the amount of hours needed to run around after a car despite it being a great luxury to have.

Thankfully the forum has inspired me that a lot of people are making similar decisions and I shouldnt be so lost depending on a bicycle!

Roody 07-16-15 08:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SB739 (Post 17984492)
I'm 19, Got my license here in Northern Ireland last September, have been driving a parents for almost a year now. But when I go to uni in England I won't be able to afford to run my own car so I decided to buy a hybrid. This, coupled with a bi-annual bus ticket should get me by for the next two years at least I hope - maybe more, maybe less!

I've experienced the expense of petrol, repairs, new tyres etc for a car and seen a few close friends wake up to find their cars having problems costing them hundreds in repairs .. I don't think I'll have the time in uni to work the amount of hours needed to run around after a car despite it being a great luxury to have.

Thankfully the forum has inspired me that a lot of people are making similar decisions and I shouldnt be so lost depending on a bicycle!

I never feel comfortable posting here, since I'm far from a teenager. But anyhoo, best of luck in your new endeavor. I'm certain that such a sensible young person will go far in life!

joao_pimentel 07-16-15 11:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SB739 (Post 17984492)
I've experienced the expense of petrol, repairs, new tyres etc for a car and seen a few close friends wake up to find their cars having problems costing them hundreds in repairs .. I don't think I'll have the time in uni to work the amount of hours needed to run around after a car despite it being a great luxury to have.!

You have experienced what the majority of British motorists seems not to realise: autocosts.org.uk
Try yourself for your own car and don't get surprised by the final result.

Krieke 07-19-15 11:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cute Boy Horse (Post 16406733)
This thread is weird. You're all posting as if getting a car in your teenage years is the default.

Differing cultures, I suppose.

Differing cultures indeed.

In my country (Switzerland) you have to be 18 for a driving licence. Kids walk or cycle to school here, even to kindergarden. And increasingly when kids turn 18 they don't bother with getting a driving licence anymore. Only 60% of the 18 to 28 yo. have a licence, and that is dropping every year. You can't text while driving, but you can while travelling on public transport...


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