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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 10-03-07, 08:27 PM   #26
Shaverda
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*Sigh.* I wish I could say the same, kjohnnytarr. I often am asked why in God's name I ride my bike everywhere, and try hard as I may to explain it, nobody else seems to understand. Or they don't care.

Okay, rant over.
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Old 10-04-07, 11:59 PM   #27
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Too bad you can't pick up your hot date on a bike. This is a serious consideration, if you're into that sort of thing.
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Old 10-05-07, 12:05 AM   #28
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Old 10-05-07, 12:27 AM   #29
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Too bad you can't pick up your hot date on a bike. This is a serious consideration, if you're into that sort of thing.
Huh... That's funny... I've been on many dates on bikes. Had some REALLY great times.

We used to take the ferry across the Sound to Seattle and ride around... Well, one night we were going to go watch fireworks on the waterfront in Seattle... well, we got out of the house late, and missed the ferry we wanted.... so we caught the next one, but knew we weren't going to get across in time... so we went up on deck to watch the start of the fireworks from the ferry. Then the ferry stopped in the middle of the sound for the entire show!!! We had NO idea that they were going to do that, but it was SO awesome!

Hrmm... a few months ago, we went downtown, ate at a nice little Greek restaurant, then rode the Cherry Creek trail for a couple hours... visited REI Sporting Goods, then grabbed the bus home. ANOTHER awesome day!


Just today, we went out to lunch, then rode down to the light rail, went over by DU and went riding around the neighborhood's to check it out (We're getting ready to move and found a possible place over there...) It was awesome! Then we took the train back to downtown Denver, and hung out for a while. Stopped and had milkshakes and fries... visited the book store, then headed home.


So... tell me... Do you REALLY want to go out with someone who has no interest at all in biking???
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Old 10-05-07, 08:45 AM   #30
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I have to admit once i got a GF that and the encroaching winter made me buy a car, i dont drive it yet, but it was half the reason i got one. and my GF cycles,
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Old 10-07-07, 01:19 PM   #31
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Well my name is Timothy, and I've been a car free tenager since the summer before my junior year in high school (I'm currently a senior). I live in NYC and have the luxury of very developed and expansive transit systems that help me out when I cant ride somewhere. I commute to school (about 6 miles one way, over a hilly route) just about everyday and have even convinced one of my friends to join me in this bike commuting. At various times I've gotten different people to join me but only one person rides somewhat steadilly with me. Many people at the school where I go are very surprised by the fact that I ride there and cant believe that I do it every day. I generally only have a problem with the weather limiting me from riding as it can get brutally cold in the winter and I get very cold/numb easily, as well as going thorugh very rainy spells. Many problems I've had with riding come from my parents who believe that riding my bicycle is a poor and unsophisticated method of transport, so if there is anything that they consider important they wont want me to ride due to the sweat produced from riding (never mind the fact that I always bring extra shirts so that I can change when I get to my destination). My parents are also extremely fearful of my bicycle commuting always positing that I'll get hit by a car while riding at night (even though my bike is equipped with front/back lights and reflectors) and while riding in the rain/snow. My parents have basically banned me from riding in the rain or snow (even with fenders) since they think cars will lose control and hit me and while I can sometimes get away with sneaking out in light rain the snow usually presents an impasse for me. I have found that I really dont need a car for much of anything and I would gladly go without one for my whole life. I am still trying to convince more people that I know that going car free really is doable and the way to go but even in high school there are tons of students who dont believe this is possible; many also dont think they are in good enough shape to do such a thing and are not convinced with the logic and personal example of the fact that you do get in better shape the more you do it. Many people ask me why I ride everywhere and I tell them that I love the feeling of transporting myself, that I enjoy feeling the wind in my hair, that I enjoy the sense of independence it affords me, and the many health benefits that I get from it. In the meantime I'll just keep riding away, hoping to convert more to the cause. The main point, ride often, and stay car free.
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Old 10-07-07, 02:08 PM   #32
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Have you considered studded tires for bad weather, Timothy?
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Old 10-07-07, 03:15 PM   #33
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no I haven't. My parents havent been extremely flexible when it came to riding in snow. even if it was only very light snow. Seeing white precipitates just freak them out.
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Old 10-07-07, 03:40 PM   #34
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Car free teenager? I'm not a teenager anymore, haven't been for 2 years now. Even still, the experience is there. My mother developed a brain tumor back in 2001, I was 15. Her driving was suspended due to medical concerns and never reinstated. She wanted me to get a license, which in retrospect I should've. Would've made things a lot easier for her. Would've made those trips to Waterton easier. Would've helped get groceries and heavy objects home.

Never did get that license. Even to this day, all I have is a learners. I got the learners with the intent to get the drivers, to help get her around and take care of things around the house. She ended up in a nursing home before that ever happened though, and she's in a hospice to this day. That would be the sad side of the story. Wish that we could've gone out to the mountains a few more times, that I could've helped her do the things she wanted to do. These are things no bike can offer. You simply can't pack a terminally ill woman on the back of a bike and take her out for a tour of her favourite mountains. If there was a chance to go back and choose all over again, I would've had the car, even just for that.

For the good side of the story?

I used to cycle to school everyday. Knew this girl who was 30 seconds from the bus stop, and i'd still beat her to school. Coming into class in the morning feeling awake and exercised is great, and when i'd get the paycheque from the record store, $350 really meant $350, not $350 - 150 for your car. Many teens will ridicule you for anything they find different, but I did a little test once. Stopped riding the alley bike to school, and rode the full suspension rig for a few weeks. Yeah, ridicule stops fast. Apparently you're instantly transformed. A little stupid, but thats the nature of teenagers sometimes
I'd lock up well though. Lots of little twerps would love to have that bike instead of you.

Now to this day, this is still how I view the car: You may need to be able to help people out sometimes, there are things in life that no bike can drag, and places that no bike can travel in a short timespan. As a teenager, if you can live without these things, there's no need to even consider one. All it will do is drain you of your wallet, your physique, and your spirit. You'll find that you can spend more of what little money you have on enjoying yourself, or saving for your future. Now i'm 21, my fiancee and I are living in the house with 2 good friends of ours we went to school with. One car. Four bikes. Good balance.
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Old 10-07-07, 03:44 PM   #35
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Your parents are right in that the risks in bad conditions are considerable, regardless of how much it is denied in the bicycling community--and the consequences of a bike/vehicle collision are often pretty bad.

However, at some point you become old enough to be responsible for weighing the risk yourself, and that point is probably coming fairly soon for you. If this parental constraint bothers you, your best tactic is to prove to your parents (and yourself) that you are plenty mature enough on your on to deal with the risk, by appreciating the danger, and taking appropriate mitigating measures.

Besides special tires and fenders, which were mentioned, are you using a helmet and gloves? Do you have brakes which are safe in the rain? (Ceramic rims or all-weather disc brakes or coaster brake or something like that.)

Another point on your parents is to be realistic. Regardless of what various utility bikers might say, showing up to a job interview sweaty is quite unprofessional--even if you've brought a change of clothes. If you're going to win over your parents, you need to be realistic about these problems; don't just deny them. Accept compromises, try to find a real solution, etc.
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Old 10-07-07, 04:09 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by TalkativeT0912 View Post
Many people ask me why I ride everywhere and I tell them that I love the feeling of transporting myself, that I enjoy feeling the wind in my hair, that I enjoy the sense of independence it affords me, and the many health benefits that I get from it. In the meantime I'll just keep riding away, hoping to convert more to the cause. The main point, ride often, and stay car free.
This is EXACTLY how I feel, Timothy, and I'm 52 years old.
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Old 10-08-07, 03:44 AM   #37
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BF australia

my name is dan from Australia, am 18, and car free. i just ride in cars owned by my friends, and talk garbage about cars like them, and seem to fit in just fine. i am currently able to save half my pay $400 pw even though i live alone, mainly because i don't have car expenses. i nearly bought a car, but them backed out because i knew i didn't really need it. damn peer pressure. hold tight, and watch the money pile up
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Old 10-09-07, 02:09 AM   #38
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I have my license and a car but really I only use it when I can't use my bike for whatever reason. if i can go on my bike then why put wear on the car sit in traffic and waste gas when I could just use my bike.
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Old 10-09-07, 12:28 PM   #39
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I am getting my permit soon by way of my parents. I'm 17. They think its a helpful thing because I can pick up groceries, shuffle my little sisters and overall help out. I don't think it's such a terrible thing, you can still be car free without being anti car. I suppose it just depends on the situation and person though.
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Old 10-09-07, 04:40 PM   #40
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There is so much more a young person can do with their money besides blowing it on auto expenses. It's such a waste. I was car free in my teens and early 20's, and I am cycling again now. Feels really good. Those car drivers just get older and fatter. I will be in good shape again in no time!
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Old 10-09-07, 11:22 PM   #41
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I live in a city where it is cost prohibitive to own a car (our car and house costs shot our living costs ranking above that of New York's). A very average car, like a Kia or Hyundai, would run you in the region of S$70,000 (US$45,000), a Chinese-made Chery or Geely would be around S$30,000, a Merc E-class would probably be, I don't know, S$110,000. Road tax also increases by 10% every year after the tenth year, up to a maximum of 150%, and cars older than 10 years have to have a maintenance check every year (I think), so most people get a new car every seven or eight years. It's absurd.

Just a quick calculation tells me that if I buy a new car every eight years, not counting road tax, starting from the age of 21, until I'm 60 (which, I think is the age where you have to renew your license every year), I'll have spent between S$150,000 to S$550,000, not including inflation - money that, with compound interest of 0.25% a year, would have net me between S$220,570 and S$808,760. If I retire at 60 and live to the age of 85, I'll have saved enough just from car costs to live comfortably on S$1,700 a month.

A little perspective - my bike is not a high-end bike by any means, but it has cost me all of S$122.

We have an excellent public transport system, and a nationwide network of park connectors that serve as bike lanes or MUPs that are kind of like bicycle highways (see http://www.nparks.gov.sg/park_connectors.asp if anyone's interested), and it's apparently legal to cycle on the sidewalk in my town, so commuting in Singapore is actually very safe (no PC or VC crap here unless you want to find out more about how cyclists handle themselves here). We also have very good air and a lot of greenery, plus sunny weather all year round, bar two major monsoon seasons. Consider all these factors, and add it to the health benefit, and I really don't see why I should drive a car in a city with notoriously high car costs. I will probably get a license, but I intend to be car free.

The only concession I might make is getting a van (around S$35,000), because I play the drums, guitar and I do film work, plus, as I mentioned earlier, there are monsoon seasons during which there's rain heavy enough to make it almost impossible to ride. But I'm trying to find a way to get that equipment around on a bike and seriously minimise my car/van time.

I'm going to college Fall '09 (I'm 18 this year, but intend to take a year off to teach, do volunteer work and make a few short films), and I'm currently looking at going to Austin (ah can you see why - music, films, bikes!), so - not stopping the biking anytime soon!
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Old 10-12-07, 08:36 PM   #42
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Hmmm... Just noticed this thread.

I recently turned 20 and I have been car-free for a year. I live in Gainesville, FL and most young people here ride bikes to some extent (it's fashionable here ) so socializing by bike is very easy, although few are dedicated commuters or utilitarian cyclists.

Unfortunately, I plan to buy another car next week so I can visit my folks on the East coast more easily. Periodic day trips to the beach will make life here much more endurable - I haven't surfed in over a year, and every time I ride home I can't find the time to get to the beach.
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Old 10-18-07, 03:22 PM   #43
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Trying to keep this short and useful:

Living car-free in a city is much different than the suburbs. Without public transport, it's either riding your bike, bumming a ride, or borrowing a car (parents'?). It can be tough, but not impossible. Living in a city, I don't see any reason one can't easily live without a car, providing a moderate amount of planning in advance (home location with respect to work/school)

Here are my thoughts:
1) when in social situations, you can generally ride with a friend. I used to be the one with a car, and I often drove around friends of mine without cars. And these were kids without bikes.
2) - depending on the situation, borrowing the parents' car is probably useful for those "special circumstances" (dates, going to the hardware store, traveling distances)
3) - Tandems. Dates. I think they were made for each other, provided the weather is pleasant. If not, see #2, or get a girl who bikes. I don't think I could see myself with someone who refuses to bike, but that's just me. Spending $500 on a used tandem bike is like two months of car insurance. But you can keep it forever.
4) - When you head to school, it should be simple to live on-campus without a car. A lot of schools don't let you have one. If school is a long way from home and you want to visit for the holiday or a weekend, see if there's anyone else who's going the same way at that time. At my school, we had a "ride board" where people posted if they were driving somewhere or looking for a ride. It works out for everyone, because gas money can be split.
5) - Consider "carsharing" services. I'm not sure what cities they're in. I've only lived in two cities myself: Boston, MA and Sydney, Australia. Both had car-sharing companies that basically let you borrow a car/van for a couple of hours for an hourly rate. It fits perfectly with a cycling lifestyle. (Google "GoGet carshare" or "zipcar")

If i could redo my younger years, I would not have bought a car at 16. I would have borrowed dad's minivan (like I did when my car inevitably broke down) when I needed it, and biked. I would have stayed healthier, and had a lot more money to spend on things more fun than gas and insurance and repair parts....


Okay, I'm done.
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Old 10-24-07, 09:57 PM   #44
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I just bought a car yesterday - an '85 Camry with 185,000 miles. This is my first car with a manual transmission; Sure is a pain in traffic. My goal is to drive it less than 1,000 miles this year.
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Old 10-24-07, 11:11 PM   #45
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Don't bother with a car. I didn't buy my first car until I was 24. I never had any problems with dates or friends. You'll find most people think it's cool and are quietly envious of you for doing it your way. Besides people with cars will always be offering you rides. most people can't imagine living without their cars! present company excluded of course.
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Old 10-25-07, 12:59 PM   #46
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I'll be the first to admit that I'm a bit "strange"...

But I too was car free as a teen. I "tried" to explain to my daughter when SHE was a teen: "Why do you want to go get a job so you can afford a car so you can drive to work? It doesn't make any sense.". Of course she didn't grok that, working 20+ hours a week to support her car. Whatever...

I lived out in the sticks, and got to school/work just fine. School had a perfectly good bus, and I could ride into work with my mother who would drop me off and pick me up on her way to/from her job. Why would I want a car?

My parents offered several times to buy me car insurance: "Save your money" I told them - "I don't need to drive, where would I need to drive to?"

To this day my idea of ultimate freedom would be to live somewhere where I could be car free again. As it is, I'm able to bike to work - for the first time in my life!

There was even a time, when I could beat the school bus home by a good 45 minutes by WALKING the 4 miles. All the kids in my neighborhood did it, even those of us with large band instruments. We'd just trade instruments, the different weight balances of the various instruments would make them seem "light" for about 1/2 mile - then we'd trade back.
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Old 10-29-07, 09:33 AM   #47
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I remember when I was teaching high school, some of my students were complaining about their after school/weekend jobs.

"Why do you have to work so many hours?"
"To pay for my car. I pay for the gas, insurance, taxes, etc."
"What do you need the car for?"
"To get to work."

Hmmmm.
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Old 10-29-07, 09:37 AM   #48
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Yeah, that is about right for me too. Not one other person rides a bicycle to my school. I am considered weird but eh, I don't really care.
There are some school systems that don't allow students to cycle to school, can you believe?
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Old 10-29-07, 09:43 AM   #49
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Try doing this worksheet; be sure you get good figures.

http://www.bikesatwork.com/carfree/c...ownership.html
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Old 11-04-07, 05:29 PM   #50
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I am 17 and attempting to go car free. All I really need is a good, BRIGHT light for my bike for those early morning rides to school and those late night rides after play practice. Unfortunately, I have ran into a rather massive brick wall in my quest to go car free. My parents.

I bought a good road bike about 2 months ago in my desperation to get away from the gas burners. But, unfortunately, my parents are not that supportive of me. I try to ride everywhere, but my parents always insist that I take their spare minivan. I hate it. I'm always filling up with gas and burning a ton of money that I could be saving for my bike light.

I think it is time to offer my parents a choice. Either let me ride my bike everywhere or pay for the gas. That may convince them, but I bet not. Hmmm..... What if I crash the minivan? Nah. They'd make me pay for it.

Any suggestions?
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