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  1. #1
    Senior Member Newspaperguy's Avatar
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    Does cycling/car-free/car-light run in your family?

    When I was growing up in the 1970s, my dad often commuted to work by bike in the warmer months and on foot during the winter. I also remember him running errands by bike or on foot instead of using the car. He was one of just a handful of people his age who cycled regularly. My mom didn't have her driver's licence. Our family used the car quite a bit less than most others around us.

    Perhaps my parents' examples are part of the reason I'm car-light and almost car-free today.

    Does anyone else have a similar story?
    Life is good.

  2. #2
    Crankenstein bmclaughlin807's Avatar
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    No. My family had 2 or 3 vehicles all the time, despite only having one licensed driver.
    "There is no greater wonder than the way the face and character of a woman fit so perfectly in a man's mind, and stay there, and he could never tell you why. It just seems it was the thing he most wanted." Robert Louis Stevenson

  3. #3
    Lanky Lass East Hill's Avatar
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    My parents (and I) are/were from England. My parents grew up without an automobile. My mother's family still relied on horse powered vehicles (her mother was a greengrocer). My father's father walked to the factory where he worked, but he drove a lorry. Nonetheless, my father did not learn to drive a car until AFTER he learned to fly Spitfires. He used to ride his bicycle everywhere he went in Manchester. My mother either walked, or took trains/trams.

    My mother did not learn to drive a car until after we arrived in the US. The children in my family were expected to either walk, or take the bus. We did not expect or demand to be driven. When bikes were available, they were used as well.

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  4. #4
    tired donnamb's Avatar
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    Neither my brother nor I own cars. He's been car free for 6 years and I'm coming on 3 years. His fiancee doesn't have or want one, either. My bro and I have a third cousin in Boston who is car free. That's it as far as I am aware.

    My great great grandfather was a carpenter who helped build Henry Ford's first assembly lines. His son, grandson, and great grandson were all skilled tradesmen in Ford plants. Brother and I are considered very odd.
    "Real wars of words are harder to win. They require thought, insight, precision, articulation, knowledge, and experience. They require the humility to admit when you are wrong. They recognize that the dialectic is not about making us look at you, but about us all looking together for the truth."

  5. #5
    Senior Member dynodonn's Avatar
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    My grandparents on my mother's side never owned a car. Occasionally my grandparents would get rides, from family members who had cars, when they grew older.

  6. #6
    i like mud discosaurus's Avatar
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    Cycling runs in my blood; cycling for transportation does not.

  7. #7
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Growing up we had one car...period. My dad did cycle to work at several of the colleges he taught at. My mom didn't drive much after my sister was born in 1968. I don't recall her driving again until around 1978 or so. We used mass transit, walked, rode bikes or used cabs when necessary. Most of the neighborhoods we lived in were older first ring suburbs or right on the edge of a commercial area where most things were with in reasonable walking distance.

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  8. #8
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    We had one car as I grew up as well. This was mainly due to the fact that my youngest brother drowned at 2 years old. He was resuscitated after 30 min and lived the remaining 18 years as a permanent 9 month old. Even with the state's help the costs where tremendous. Not to mention the family strain.

    Oh and my father was a control freak. I am sure keeping my mother at home helped.
    Due to my father's spending habits this did little to alleviate our finances.

  9. #9
    Senior Member heywood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by donnamb View Post
    Neither my brother nor I own cars. He's been car free for 6 years and I'm coming on 3 years. His fiancee doesn't have or want one, either. My bro and I have a third cousin in Boston who is car free. That's it as far as I am aware.

    My great great grandfather was a carpenter who helped build Henry Ford's first assembly lines. His son, grandson, and great grandson were all skilled tradesmen in Ford plants. Brother and I are considered very odd.
    Isn't that ironic??

    My grandfather helped build the engines for those planes at the Royces aero-engine factory in Derby
    Whole family are gearheads & racers but not dumb enough to build our lives around the darned things. Our family has always gotten along fine without cars, trucks are more usefull & trains are better for transporting people and bikes are more efficient (fun!)..

    Cheers!

  10. #10
    Senior Member ajay677's Avatar
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    My maternal grandparents never owned a car. Ironically, my grandfather worked for Ford.

    My paternal grandparents owned one car. They used it mainly to grocery shop and run other errands. My paternal grandfather walked to work every day, regardless of weather (about 6km each way). After he retired he continued to do the same walk daily. He did his daily trek until he was in his early 80s when he had a serious health crisis (ruptured appendix). After his recovery, he continued to walk but only about half the distance he did previously. He continued his daily walks until his sudden death at age 90. I figure if my grandfather could walk like that every day for his entire adult life, I can certainly cycle about the same distance to work every day.

    My father has always owned multiple cars but, like his father, likes to walk everywhere. I think for my dad, cars have been a status type of thing. You know, show the neighbours how successful you are by getting a nice new car or two every few years. He needs a hip replacement so that is slowing his walking down, but he continues to walk daily. He just stoicly suffers with the pain while he waits for his turn for surgery (about nine months waiting now, surgery in May or June 2008).

  11. #11
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    My sister is 29 years old and probably hasn't driven more than 2 or 3 hours total in her entire life!

    But we live in Manhattan where living car free is the norm not the exception.

  12. #12
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Newspaperguy View Post
    Perhaps my parents' examples are part of the reason I'm car-light and almost car-free today.

    Does anyone else have a similar story?
    I'm just the opposite. My Dad started bicycle commuting because of my influence.

  13. #13
    gwd
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    No. I'm the only one now. My family is very much into car dependence. By todays standards my father and mother would be car lite. When we lived close enough my dad cycled to work in the 60s, but he might have two cars, but mom didn't drive until after I moved away. When I was young mom complained about dad wasting money on stupid cars. Now my parents are both too old to drive but my brother and sister seem to always have twice as many cars as licensed drivers in their households. They are into having different cars for different purposes, drive to work car is different from drive to go exercise car is different from drive for fun car is different from driving vacation car. One of their favorite driving vacations is to go to car races somewhere. They rent an RV and tow a their sports car behind it so when they get to the track they can drive around in a loud overpowered thing. They love that loud car and the way people look at them and wave. When I visit the relatives insist I use one of their cars. Last visit I found my brother's old bike in his attic. He had never ridden it. I pumped up the tires and left the loaner car sitting there in the driveway.

  14. #14
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    My dad worked for a company that sold nonferrous metals to the auto industry (among others). We owned one car, but that was the norm at that time. I think my mom was in her late 20s before she learned to drive.

    We lived in Highland Park, just a few blocks from both Chrysler World Headquarters and Ford's first assembly line (where Donnamb's grandfather worke, IIRC). Many of my friends' fathers worked for the auto companies and allied industries. My uncle was a bigwig in Fisher Body and later Olds. My dad took me to the big auto show most years as I was growing up. But he always bought "sensible" cars like a Studebaker Lark and a Rambler station wagon.


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  15. #15
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    I'm the first person in my family to ever try it (I'm only car-light, by the way). My wife's family has been car-free for more than 10 years, but that's due to some odd philosophies and poverty over preference.
    Honestly, I'm probably the most active member of my family. I'd say that over the last 2 generations that's true. I can't speak for those born before the car. We come from a long line of farmers. Thus, they probably had a more active life than the current generation.

  16. #16
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Both my parents cycled from the time they were children. The house was always full of cycling stuff, and we cycled for all sorts of reasons ... recreation, errands, transportation, etc. etc. They still cycle.

    My parents were also both great walkers, and we walked to places near at hand and also recreationally ... often up the sides of mountains. My mother doesn't walk as much anymore, but my father still does.

    However, my father has also always loved cars ... so we had them too. I remember pouring over Road and Track magazines growning up, and I learned to drive at 15.

  17. #17
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    Heck no, it was cars, trucks, vans, motorcycles. We had horses and I'd ride for transportation sometimes, but that was odd even for a rural west Texas town in the 70's and a grown person on a bike was unheard of. I was driving at 15 and never even thought of sitting on a bike for another 33 years.

  18. #18
    Senior Member MikeRides's Avatar
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    My mother didn't get her license until she was in her mid 20s, when she had her first born. Even after getting her license she would commute by bike though she hasn't rode much in the past decade that I know of. That's as far back as being car light/free I can recall.
    "Just ride it until the wheels fall off!"

  19. #19
    Senior Member enigmaT120's Avatar
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    Not my family. I was weird because I didn't' get my driver's license until I was about 22 (I need one for my job.) and never got a car until I was 25 or older, as I couldn't afford car insurance at the under-25 rates. I did get a motorcycle a little before that, though, as the insurance for them is much lower.
    Ed Miller
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  20. #20
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Artkansas View Post
    I'm just the opposite. My Dad started bicycle commuting because of my influence.
    My father got me into cycling ..... but I got him into Randonneuring.

  21. #21
    Senior Member wolfchild's Avatar
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    I am the only cyclist in my family. My parents always had cars. My grandparents who are from Europe never owned a vehicle and have been car-free all of their life, they walked and used trams and busses.
    Last edited by wolfchild; 07-14-14 at 07:42 PM.

  22. #22
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Nope.. supplied Ex GF's with decent bikes , but took tours solo ..

  23. #23
    Senior Member
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    I'm the only regular rider in my extended family, even the kids rarely ride if it's not a suggestion to join me. When I was a kid my friends and I lived in the city and used bikes and buses to extend our boundaries until we could drive. I still rode/bussed more than drove until after college. After college I didn't always have home/work locations conducive for commuting so mostly just cycling for outdoor adventure/exercise for many years. The last few years I've been looking for every opportunity to ride instead of driving again.

  24. #24
    Senior Member kookaburra1701's Avatar
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    Right now I am the only cyclist in my family, but I have a cousin who is carfree (in LA! But she walks everywhere) and an uncle who is an Ironman Triathlete. But cyclist definitely isn't his main thing.

    I thought I was an anomaly, but I remember my mom and dad taking me out on cycling trips, where my mom put me in this seat up front on her bike that she got from Denmark. (This was in the mid-80s, she had her brother who was stationed in Germany at the time send it to her.) Then I was going through some of my dad's old stuff (he died the summer before my freshman year of highschool) and found a little paperback called "Anybody's Bike Book" which was an old bicycle repair manual. Tucked inside was a brittle old mimeographed newsletter about bicycle advocacy in the Soquel/Santa Cruz area...from 1970! It even had handwritten notes in it from him about what to bring up in the local city commissioner meetings. Surprised the hell out of me, because he was very conservative - we used to get Christmas cards from the Ronald Reagan because of all of the work dad had put into his governors' campaign.
    2014 Specialized Dolce, 1987 Schwinn Tempo, 2012 Windsor Kensington 8

  25. #25
    Fixed Kitty wipekitty's Avatar
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    When my parents got married in the 70s, they went out to JC Penney and got matching bikes. My mom is probably the least outdoorsy person ever, so that didn't work out so well for them. Although we almost always used cars to go places growing up, my dad took me on bike rides. When we went to get ice cream or to his buddy's house for a beer, I realized that bikes could be used as transportation.

    My aunt and uncle did triathlons for a while, but swimming was really more their thing. There's a ton of athletes in my family, and a bunch of my cousins have been in college sports, but the dominant sport (for boys and girls!) seems to be wrestling.
    "There are no fast bikes - only fast people." - Some smart person

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