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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 10-19-07, 11:55 AM   #1
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Winter reading list

We had a reading list here. I was going to bump it but I can't find it. So let's start a new one.

Please post books you've read recently, or are planning to read this winter. Anything slightly relevant to carfree living is fine: Cycling books, environment, urban design, fiction with a carfree tie-in, whatever.
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Old 10-19-07, 12:03 PM   #2
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Kim Stanley Robinson's Science in the Capital trilogy is one of the finest sci-fi series I've read in years. The three books are titled, in order, Forty Signs of Rain, Fifty Degrees Below, and Sixty Days and Counting.

It's about many things, including global warming, abrupt climate change, spies, science, paleolithic living, treehouses, Tibetan Buddhism, Washington politics, and many other interesting topics. Here's a short review of the second title from the NY Times:

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There's no magic in Kim Stanley Robinson's FIFTY DEGREES BELOW (Bantam Spectra, $25), unless you count the way he invests the details of scientific and bureaucratic decision making with high drama.
The second volume of his trilogy on abrupt climatic change, "Fifty Degrees Below" stays close to Frank Vanderwal, who is in his second year as a consultant with the National Science Foundation in Washington. During his first year, a flood inundated the nation's capital, bringing home the problem of global warming to even the most blinkered politicians. (This is described in the trilogy's first volume, "Forty Signs of Rain.") Now the waters have receded, but a "shutdown" of the Gulf Stream threatens to lock the entire region into an Arctic-strength deep freeze.
While working with his colleagues to steer the government toward ameliorative action, Frank has problems of his own. Bumped from his rented apartment after the flood, he decides to live outdoors in a tree house of his own devising in Rock Creek Park. Here he bonds with his fellow creatures, who range from a band of resourceful homeless men to a roaming squad of Frisbee players to assorted animals, small and large, that have escaped from the National Zoo. As a 43-year old primate hungry for a mate, he becomes infatuated with a government spook whose marital and occupational commitments allow the couple only the briefest encounters. When the temperature drops below freezing and keeps dropping, Frank and all those around him are put to the kind of test few humans have faced since the last ice age.
For a writer who deals with world-class disasters, Robinson is incorrigibly optimistic. The most dire problems, he assures us, can be solved by the prompt application of scientific thinking and physical and moral courage. The catch comes in the word "prompt." Even when the remedies are clear, it's not easy to marshal sufficient resources in time. Robinson's impressive body of work - which includes the Mars trilogy (about the problematic terraforming of our planetary neighbor) and the California trilogy (about the dos and don'ts of constructing utopias) - offers sound guidance for scientifically informed social action. I'd feel better about our future if more people were familiar with his ingeniously plotted and gracefully written books.
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Old 10-19-07, 02:00 PM   #3
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Gotta recommend Bicycling Bliss by Portia Masterson. A good wholistic view of bicycling as a way to wellness.

I can also recommend "Cadillac Desert" by Marc Reisner. It's good as either a book or video. It gives a good explanation of how L.A. came to be what it is today.

And how about reading "Curious George Rides a Bike" to some kid.

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Old 10-19-07, 02:33 PM   #4
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I can also recommend "Cadillac Desert" by Marc Reisner. It's good as either a book or video. It gives a good explanation of how L.A. came to be what it is today.
I read that book during a month period when I was flying 2x a week from AZ to CA - when I wasn't reading I was peering down at the canal systems, irrigated desert, desiccated lands and always took note when we crossed the Colorado River.

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Old 10-19-07, 02:59 PM   #5
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Rolf Potts' book Vagabonding is a good one. Deals with issues of living a life that doesn't leave you tied down. My favorite bit of it is the concept of justifying your work, rather than rewarding it.
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Old 10-19-07, 06:26 PM   #6
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Lost Horizon by James Hilton
This 1933 novel isn't about cycling or car-free living but it discusses issues such as moderation and a sense of place.

The Great Explosion by Eric Frank Russell
This is a science fiction novel from 1962. One of the characters is a cyclist. Russell talks about issues such as conformity and bureaucracy in this novel and other works.
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Old 10-20-07, 01:39 PM   #7
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Ecotopia
I'm rereading Divorce your Car by Katie Alvord, looking for more in the genre (how to do it over why)
Any Ed Abbey: he hates roads and lazy drivers
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Old 10-20-07, 02:40 PM   #8
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Bicycle: The History, by David V. Herlihy, 2004

I just started this book. It covers the history of the bicycle from the very beginnings in the 18th century to the latest developlents in utility cycling. It's great that it has insights from Europe, America, Africa and Asia, so it's not too US-centric.
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Old 10-20-07, 03:33 PM   #9
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Ecotopia
I picked up a copy from the local thrift shop in spring and quite enjoyed it. The novel was written in 1975 and reflects a lot of hippie idealism of the time. Some of the things he depicts, especially about recycling and an approach to sport and recreation, have already been happening.
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Old 10-20-07, 05:10 PM   #10
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I've been reading Lolita by Nabokov. It's pretty bizarre, but I enjoy his writing style. I'd recommend it to open-minded readers.
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Old 10-20-07, 08:18 PM   #11
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For the long winter nights, I enjoy reading about bicycle touring. Adventure Cycle-Touring Handbook: A Worldwide Cycling Route & Planning Guide by Stephen Lord http://www.amazon.com/Adventure-Cycl.../dp/1873756895. For me, it's a fantasy. I get to mentally prepare the packing list, pack up my wheels for the flight, imagine myself unfurling the hammock as I stealth camp in Holland or Germany... that kind of thing...

Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail Or Succeed By Jared Diamond is a pretty long, thoughtful essay on how climate change (among other things) is likely affecting even your neighbourhood. I read some of it last summer on the recommendation of someone in this subforum and I hope to finish it later this Fall.

BTW, this is the thread that started this thread: Book nominations for Carfree Book Club--Post your suggestions here!
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Old 10-20-07, 10:16 PM   #12
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We had a reading list here. I was going to bump it but I can't find it. So let's start a new one.

Please post books you've read recently, or are planning to read this winter. Anything slightly relevant to carfree living is fine: Cycling books, environment, urban design, fiction with a carfree tie-in, whatever.
Over The Hills, David Lamb
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Old 10-21-07, 11:47 AM   #13
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Cycling's Greatest Misadventures - edited by Erich Schweikher.

We heard the editor and a couple of the authors reading selections a Powell's recently - and snapped up a copy. A great range of stories.

Great - I already don't get out on the bike enough and now I've got a longer list of books.....

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Old 10-21-07, 02:15 PM   #14
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A book that would be useful to new bicyclists would be "Cycling" by the Boy Scouts of America. it has good beginner-intermediate info on bike selection, fitting, maintenance, traffic skills, route selection, first aid, and much more.

And you can even get your merit badge.
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Old 10-21-07, 02:25 PM   #15
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Ecotopia
I read it almost 30 years ago, but I remember it so I guess it made an impression.
Another good futuristic vision of the west coast--three independant visions, actually--is the California Trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson (the author I mentioned in the post # 2). Three views of San Diego/Orange County in the future:

1. The Wild Shore. Only human-powered technology is allowed.
2. The Gold Coast. The car and highway lifestyle has totally taken over (a dystopia).
3. Pacific Edge. Environmental and socially responsible principles have totally taken over (a Utopia).
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Old 10-21-07, 02:52 PM   #16
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will check those out, roody. Thanks much.

anyone have a good cycling/car free as lifestyle recommendation?
I go through a LOT of books. (and the library is in my baby-steps riding zone)
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Old 12-07-07, 11:36 AM   #17
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All this talk about Dostoevsky and other literature on the T.V. free living thread has gotten me curious...has anyone gotten around to reading any of these books herein mentioned, or are we still not quite housebound enough yet?

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Old 12-07-07, 12:09 PM   #18
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most of my books are art/tattoo related but the few that do have cycling refrences"living the artist life" its sorta a guide to how to make your life easier as an artist. but it does mention cycling and carfree living as a easy way to cut cost living in a big cityalso "the world without us" is a enviromental book that decribes what would theoretically happen if humans stopped existing.I like to go by hastings and check all of the cycling magazines. I don't read much fiction so im limited there
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Old 12-07-07, 06:52 PM   #19
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This thread seems like a re-run, but here's a new one I'm reading:
Complete Walker IV, http://books.google.com/books?id=5cp...omplete+walker

"For the first time since 1984, we have a new edition of the classic book that Field & Stream called “the Hiker’s Bible.” For this version, the celebrated writer and hiker Colin Fletcher has taken on a coauthor, Chip Rawlins, himself an avid outdoorsman and a poet from Wyoming. Together, they have made this fourth edition of The Complete Walker the most informative, entertaining, and thorough version yet.The eighteen years since the publication of The Complete Walker III have seen revolutionary changes in hiking and camping equipment: developments in waterproofing technology, smaller and more durable stoves, lighter boots, more manageable tents, and a wider array of food options. The equipment recommendations are therefore not merely revised and tweaked, but completely revamped. During these two decades we have also seen a deepening of environmental consciousness. Not only has backpacking become more popular, but a whole ethic of responsible outdoorsmanship has emerged. In this book the authors confidently lead us through these technological, ethical, and spiritual changes."
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Old 12-07-07, 10:12 PM   #20
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All this talk about Dostoevsky and other literature on the T.V. free living thread has gotten me curious...has anyone gotten around to reading any of these books herein mentioned, or are we still not quite housebound enough yet?

East Hill
I've been reading a number of books on bike touring. Unfortunately, they've usually been self-published, and illustrate the point that people with half a mind to write a book usually do so. Wide Hips, Narrow Shoulders by Monte Lowrance is typical - an endless string of "did this, did that" tour recapping told in a non-stop stream of enthusiasm. The book doesn't end so much as stop, and by the end I was worn out from the excessive statements of "Yahoo!" in the text. I'd expect a cyclist to remember pacing is as important when writing as it is when pedaling.
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Old 12-08-07, 09:35 AM   #21
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About five months ago, I read Cold Beer and Crocodiles: A Bicycle Journey into Australia by Roff Smith which I thought was very good. The title pretty much tells you what it is about.

More recently I've read Thoreau's Walden (and Civil Disobedience), the first of which has been referred to as the "simple living bible".

Also, Hermits: The Insights of Solitude by Peter France was very interesting. He included many sayings, quotes, and writings of hermits throughout history from the Greek Cynics, Taoists, the Russian Startsy, on up to a modern day hermit living on Patmos today.

I live right next door to a library so all of these books I borrowed, which is great, but I find when I want to look through them again, well, I can't. I may need to get a good list going and then just buy the ones I really got something out of. One of the quotes in one of the books I've read recently said something along the lines of, when going into solitude, take just five books with you and reread them over and over again.

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Old 12-08-07, 09:37 AM   #22
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The book doesn't end so much as stop, and by the end I was worn out from the excessive statements of "Yahoo!" in the text. I'd expect a cyclist to remember pacing is as important when writing as it is when pedaling.
I've been guilty of over-enthusiasm, but only because I like to encourage new people to post.

I think that 'Yahoo!' might be a bit annoying after just a few pages, at least in book form.

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Old 12-08-07, 09:56 AM   #23
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I've been guilty of over-enthusiasm, but only because I like to encourage new people to post.

I think that 'Yahoo!' might be a bit annoying after just a few pages, at least in book form.

East Hill
It's different here on Bike Forums. This is a gray area between the black and white of 'formal' prose and the casualness of conversation. You welcomed me, and I thank you for it.

Yahoo was annoying, as was Lowrance's failure to put enough of himself into his book. By that I mean he told us what he did and sometimes how he felt in body and mind, but he neglected to tell us how he changed as a person. Often Lowrance's prose seemed cliche-bound or skirted importance because he didn't want to deal with the subject of himself. I expected more introspection from a person who named his ride the Bike of Peace.

A better written book is Brian Newhouse's A Crossing. Newhouse used his cross-country trip to focus on his troubled relationship with his father, his Christian faith, and his Christian fundimentalist girlfriend. I guess it took his mind off of the climbs in the Rockies. The author still follows the basic formula for travel writing: go places, see stuff, meet people, write about it. But he realizes that it's not just the landscape that changes on a bike ride, it's the rider changing too.
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Old 12-08-07, 10:56 AM   #24
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Yahoo was annoying, as was Lowrance's failure to put enough of himself into his book. By that I mean he told us what he did and sometimes how he felt in body and mind, but he neglected to tell us how he changed as a person. Often Lowrance's prose seemed cliche-bound or skirted importance because he didn't want to deal with the subject of himself. I expected more introspection from a person who named his ride the Bike of Peace.

A better written book is Brian Newhouse's A Crossing. Newhouse used his cross-country trip to focus on his troubled relationship with his father, his Christian faith, and his Christian fundimentalist girlfriend. I guess it took his mind off of the climbs in the Rockies. The author still follows the basic formula for travel writing: go places, see stuff, meet people, write about it. But he realizes that it's not just the landscape that changes on a bike ride, it's the rider changing too.

Clydes understand the importance of the rider changing far more than many other cyclists. It's not just about the ride, it's how the mind changes. You are an excellent example of the changing awareness of who you are. You challenged yourself to learn to ride, you are following up the challenge by riding across the United States, you have lost weight, gone through pain. You've also made peace with TS, which is something I admire greatly. You are a strong voice, and a strong presence, and I know I appreciate that.

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Old 12-08-07, 11:13 AM   #25
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Clydes understand the importance of the rider changing far more than many other cyclists. It's not just about the ride, it's how the mind changes. You are an excellent example of the changing awareness of who you are. You challenged yourself to learn to ride, you are following up the challenge by riding across the United States, you have lost weight, gone through pain. You've also made peace with TS, which is something I admire greatly. You are a strong voice, and a strong presence, and I know I appreciate that.

East Hill
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