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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.

View Poll Results: How long have you been car light or car free?
Car light less than 1 year 165 16.57%
Car free less than 1 year 93 9.34%
Car light less than 5 years 133 13.35%
Car free less than 5 years 114 11.45%
Car light more than 5 years 82 8.23%
Car free more than 5 years 207 20.78%
Contemplating a car light or car free change 178 17.87%
Not interested in becoming car light or car free 24 2.41%
Voters: 996. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 01-28-10, 07:03 PM   #276
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My wife and I had two vehicles, but we sold one last August. I now ride my commuter bike to work and my wife takes public transportation to school. We also have a tandem for groceries, her work, and most other outtings. It makes life simpler and cheaper (one car to maintain, have insurance, register, etc.)

The one on the left...
What's the red bike on the left? It looks like a very lovely commuter.
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Old 01-29-10, 04:39 AM   #277
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Welcome aboard, Evert!

I'm wondering how your recumbent works when you are heading off to a remote cinema or cafe. Do you need to carry a pretty good lock? Is bike theft a big issue in Belgium?
Thanks!

Bike theft is somewhat an issue in Belgium, especially in cities with loads of students (like Leuven). I always carry a lock (with numbers, not so safe thus) with me, to make sure the bike is somewhat connected to the earth. Sometimes it's just as simple as going trough my day rack, so anyone carrying some basic tools could easy steal my bike. I'm always scared when leaving it alone, but there is not much you can do about it i guess. Thieves are (imho) divided in to 2 categories: those who have tools and are 'professional', if they want your bike they get it. You an try heavy locks and so on, but i don't believe it will stop those. Second category I see are people just wanting to 'loan' a bike to get somewhere (often drunk people) and any simple lock will be enough for this.

I really hope nobody steals my bike, I'd be a total loss and so sad when that happens.

Some typical chit-chat conversation at my work when i arrive with my bike (and bike clothing):
1: Cool, you are here by bike, how far is it?
me: About 23.5km single ride, I love riding my bicycle.
1: Yeah, I've got a (race/mountain) bike worth 1000-3000, to expensive to put it away in the (locked!) bicycle area over here.
me: ???? confused ????

My recumbent bike wasn't cheap either, but what the hell are you with an expensive bike if you can't use it for commuting or any other job except some nice weather touring? I really don't get those people, but I might be to simple (hehe) for it.
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Old 01-31-10, 05:11 PM   #278
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Some typical chit-chat conversation at my work when i arrive with my bike (and bike clothing):
1: Cool, you are here by bike, how far is it?
me: About 23.5km single ride, I love riding my bicycle.
1: Yeah, I've got a (race/mountain) bike worth 1000-3000€, to expensive to put it away in the (locked!) bicycle area over here.
me: ???? confused ????

My recumbent bike wasn't cheap either, but what the hell are you with an expensive bike if you can't use it for commuting or any other job except some nice weather touring? I really don't get those people, but I might be to simple (hehe) for it.
We always hear how European commuters just wear their regular clothes on the bike. However, I'm guessing 23km is a bit too far to be wearing cotton undies... just a law of physics that's the same in North America as in Europe.
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Old 02-01-10, 04:48 PM   #279
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Tandem Commuter

This is my wife on our tandem after a grocery run.
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Old 02-08-10, 06:45 AM   #280
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^^^ Y'all need some panniers!
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Old 02-14-10, 01:18 PM   #281
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I've been car-free since summer 2004. However, living in Manhattan has to be the easiest way to do this so I must admit to that. I don't have a commuter bike due to theft concerns, but public transport (and walking!) is fine for me and I can rent a car for the handful of times I do need to travel out of the region.
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Old 02-15-10, 04:45 PM   #282
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Input request

I've actually been thinking about getting a trailer. Any advice on the pros/cons of panniers vs. trailer before I buy or build anything?


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^^^ Y'all need some panniers!
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Old 02-17-10, 02:26 AM   #283
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I am in my first year at college and I want to adhere to a car-free lifestyle for as long as possible. My friends are all amazed at how "self-sufficient" I am at getting around extensive distances via public transport but I grew up living with other people who were often less than willing to accommodate me with rides so I am quite a bit more experienced. Being car-free keeps you in touch with the world and people around you. I am always meeting different people and having experiences that I would never have from inside the box of a vehicle. People try to write you off as some sorta new age green-freak when you try to explain this, I have taken to explaining it as being an urban-explorer.
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Old 02-17-10, 01:27 PM   #284
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I am in my first year at college and I want to adhere to a car-free lifestyle for as long as possible. My friends are all amazed at how "self-sufficient" I am at getting around extensive distances via public transport but I grew up living with other people who were often less than willing to accommodate me with rides so I am quite a bit more experienced. Being car-free keeps you in touch with the world and people around you. I am always meeting different people and having experiences that I would never have from inside the box of a vehicle. People try to write you off as some sorta new age green-freak when you try to explain this, I have taken to explaining it as being an urban-explorer.
I too like the idea of being an urban explorer. I know places in my city that very few others are aware of.
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Old 03-05-10, 05:45 PM   #285
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Hi, my names Surf and I've not used a motor vehicle for just over four years.

{Group Claps with some hollars and nods of support from the other recovering addicts**

No seriously.....

Living in Glasgow, one one of THE most car dependent cities in Europe, I am greeted with:

1. General...How can you bring up a young family without a car? I just do. I'm just showing my kids that there's an alternative to pumping three tons of CO2 into the air every year.
2. At work...wow you cycle over 30 miles a day?!?!?!? Yep, and you can too. If you wanted.
3. At a party in Edinburgh...introduced as, 'Hi this is Surf and he cycled all the way here rom Glasgow!!! I ended up talking about cycling all night. I felt like a skipping CD and all I really wanted to do was PARTY!!!!
4. General...you must be really fit. Oh yes, but I eat enough for five. I'm the only guy that does over 200 miles a week (not including leisure rides) AND PUTS ON WEIGHT!!!!
5. General...How can do you cope with the rain? I just do. When did everyone become so 'wet' anyway (if you get my drift).
6. General...you aren't scared of the roads? Yes!! Out of my wits!! That's what keeps me really alert and therefore really alive.
7. General...you must save a lot of money. Maybe i do but it has cost me quite a bit to come up with a solution that is robust enough to do 9000+ miles a year, can be maintained totally by myself (except for wheel rebuilds) and can be maintained with reasonably priced, steel wearable components...and keep it going. I take great satisfaction in knowing I'm minimising the amount of tax I send to those crooks in Westminster though. Har Har!!
8. Work...you set a great example. Erm...why aren't YOU bloody cycling to work then?
9. Work...I'm too unfit to even try that. I too was once a 60 ciggys a day petrol head. Think of yourself as the 'Before' and me as the 'After'.

Etc...

With everyone saying that they care about the environment and very very few people actually doing anything about it, it gives me great pleasure to finally be in the company of like minded individuals who ditched\are ditching their cars. My helmet comes of to you all.

I used to feel so alone

Thanks, my name is Surf and I'm a recovering petrolhead
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Old 03-08-10, 09:34 AM   #286
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Hello Surf! Thanks for burning the midnight (chain) oil! Who'd have thunk that something so responsible could be so much fun?
Your comment about the rain made me think: I love riding in the rain. Some of my best rides have been in the rain.
I'm glad you're here. We understand!
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Old 03-08-10, 07:42 PM   #287
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Hi, after being a lurker for a couple months I figured I should finally make an intro post!

I'm 24 and have never had a driving license, therefor I've been car free my whole life. While all my friends rushed to get their license as soon as they turned 16 I simply wasn't interested. I do have a lot of driving anxiety, but that wasn't the only thing keeping me from driving. I hated how everyone I knew with a car was so lazy and used their car as a crutch in a way. I longed for a more organic, healthy type of lifestyle.

I've always been lucky enough to live in towns where most of our necessities are within a couple miles, so I've always walked everywhere or taken the bus. I thrive on feeling like my "way of life" is healthy and positive, even it means more time consuming. I come home from doing errands feeling accomplished and proud knowing that I did physical exercise and got outside in the fresh air in order to do them!

A few months ago it hit me how difficult it is to rely on walking places. It's slow and tedious and just not good for the long term. I was worried I'd be forced into driving for the sheer convenience of it, as much I hated the thought. Well, I did some searching online and came across, for the first time, information about "care free lifestyles". I didn't realize there were so many of us and that I wasn't the only crazy person around who doesn't drive by choice I then learned how many people ride bikes for transportation and how much faster they are than walking, and sometimes even driving. I immediately made the decision to save up for a bike and accessories. I haven't actually gotten my bike yet, but my heart is set on this one to start out with:
http://www.walmart.com/catalog/produ...ct_id=10256413

I'm so excited! And I have you fine people to thank for spreading the word about riding bikes for transportation!
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Old 03-10-10, 12:49 PM   #288
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Hi, after being a lurker for a couple months I figured I should finally make an intro post!

I'm 24 and have never had a driving license, therefor I've been car free my whole life. While all my friends rushed to get their license as soon as they turned 16 I simply wasn't interested. I do have a lot of driving anxiety, but that wasn't the only thing keeping me from driving. I hated how everyone I knew with a car was so lazy and used their car as a crutch in a way. I longed for a more organic, healthy type of lifestyle.

I've always been lucky enough to live in towns where most of our necessities are within a couple miles, so I've always walked everywhere or taken the bus. I thrive on feeling like my "way of life" is healthy and positive, even it means more time consuming. I come home from doing errands feeling accomplished and proud knowing that I did physical exercise and got outside in the fresh air in order to do them!

A few months ago it hit me how difficult it is to rely on walking places. It's slow and tedious and just not good for the long term. I was worried I'd be forced into driving for the sheer convenience of it, as much I hated the thought. Well, I did some searching online and came across, for the first time, information about "care free lifestyles". I didn't realize there were so many of us and that I wasn't the only crazy person around who doesn't drive by choice I then learned how many people ride bikes for transportation and how much faster they are than walking, and sometimes even driving. I immediately made the decision to save up for a bike and accessories. I haven't actually gotten my bike yet, but my heart is set on this one to start out with:
http://www.walmart.com/catalog/produ...ct_id=10256413

I'm so excited! And I have you fine people to thank for spreading the word about riding bikes for transportation!
Welcome to the LCF forum, WinterLights.

My experience was similar to yours. I used to walk everywhere, but one day it dawned on me that I could cover a lot more ground on a bike. I grew to love bikes--riding, the lore, hanging out with other riders, etc. I hope you enjoy the forum and that you'll be around for a long time!
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Old 03-11-10, 04:17 PM   #289
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Hi, after being a lurker for a couple months I figured I should finally make an intro post!

I'm 24 and have never had a driving license, therefor I've been car free my whole life. While all my friends rushed to get their license as soon as they turned 16 I simply wasn't interested. I do have a lot of driving anxiety, but that wasn't the only thing keeping me from driving. I hated how everyone I knew with a car was so lazy and used their car as a crutch in a way. I longed for a more organic, healthy type of lifestyle.
You're one in a million WinterLights. I see very very very few young men taking to their bike in my city. It seems that everyone under the age of 30 has been honed and conditioned for a lifetime of car use. A majority of the cyclists I see in glasgow are men in their mid to late thirties and probably, and I may only be speaking for myself here, doing the 'midlife crises, ****e I'm nearly forty better try and rectify a lifetime of poor quality living' type thing.

I totally believe that society has lost perspective on many levels. But there's always hope. It seems your perspective is totally intact and I'm sure it will serve you well as your individual nature will enable you to separate the wheat from the chaff.

We make a choice.....We choose not to run a motor vehicle. That makes us quite unique in todays 'modern' society. I'm proud of my stance, you should be to, mate.
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Old 03-15-10, 11:44 AM   #290
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I understand the perspective thing. Around my school and particularly with my girl friends riding a bike seems to be regarded almost as child's play and the idea of actually going places, running errands via bicycle is just plain taboo/ bizarre. Trying to change that, thinking of rolling up to one of the house parties via bicycle pretty soon
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Old 03-15-10, 03:57 PM   #291
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Trying to change that, thinking of rolling up to one of the house parties via bicycle pretty soon
Rolling up with a 12-pack will help.
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Old 03-19-10, 08:05 AM   #292
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Lots of motivational stores here.

Here's my scoop. I have a home and a family of 4 in Albany, NY; nice city and the roads are moderately friendly. Despite having a family we are the only ones in our circle of friends that have 1 car, we've had one car for almost 4 years now. I just got our family into bikes this year and hope to commute with them soon ( 2 miles one way including dropping the kids off at daycare ). My wife is thinking of commuting as well ( 4 miles each way for the scenic route off the main road ). It really feels good to be back in motion. In bad weather or the winter we will probably still drive the kids, but we hope to use the bikes for more family time out at the numerous parks within biking distance.

Some other "odd behavior" by our family. We have no cable ( except internet ); an antenna actually pulls in more HD content than we could ever possibly watch. Up until I splurged on an iPhone we had no cell contract. I actually cook and we eat as a family the vast majority of the time. I'm 36 and my wife is 30 and we could be 100% debt free in a year or two. It's amazing how far a little frugality can go to improving your situation in life.

It will be interesting when we start leaving the car at home for our daily commute, people will really start to think we are strange.
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Old 03-19-10, 12:46 PM   #293
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Lots of motivational stores here.

Here's my scoop. I have a home and a family of 4 in Albany, NY; nice city and the roads are moderately friendly. Despite having a family we are the only ones in our circle of friends that have 1 car, we've had one car for almost 4 years now. I just got our family into bikes this year and hope to commute with them soon ( 2 miles one way including dropping the kids off at daycare ). My wife is thinking of commuting as well ( 4 miles each way for the scenic route off the main road ). It really feels good to be back in motion. In bad weather or the winter we will probably still drive the kids, but we hope to use the bikes for more family time out at the numerous parks within biking distance.

Some other "odd behavior" by our family. We have no cable ( except internet ); an antenna actually pulls in more HD content than we could ever possibly watch. Up until I splurged on an iPhone we had no cell contract. I actually cook and we eat as a family the vast majority of the time. I'm 36 and my wife is 30 and we could be 100% debt free in a year or two. It's amazing how far a little frugality can go to improving your situation in life.

It will be interesting when we start leaving the car at home for our daily commute, people will really start to think we are strange.
Welcome! It sounds like you and your entire family have made some smart decisions. How old are your kids? Do they say anything about the "abnomal" carlight lifestyle?
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Old 03-19-10, 06:46 PM   #294
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Welcome! It sounds like you and your entire family have made some smart decisions. How old are your kids? Do they say anything about the "abnomal" carlight lifestyle?
Taking them to daycare should have been a hint that they are young. 3 and 1 to be exact, they really don't know any better at this point. That may change once they are in school, but for now I'm glad they don't get commercial programming and get to see some good role models for the future.

Clocked 16 miles over 2 days with our new bikes. My wife and I excited about commuting.
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Old 03-24-10, 06:21 AM   #295
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Hi, I'm new here. My partner and I both commute to work by bike in Philadelphia. We use our car mostly on the weekends for big shopping trips, or when it's snowing out or otherwise unsafe to ride. We've put not quite 30k miles on the car in 6 years. Even so, the car has cost us A LOT of money. Insurance is $1300 per year in the city, and we can't seem to go a full year without a $1,000+ repair. By my estimate, it costs between $2000-$3000 to maintain the car which is now worth (at most) $3500. In 6 years, the car has been broken into, stolen, hit by a drunk driver while parked, vandalized x 4, and backed into on both sides while parked. It's this kind of BS that makes me HATE owning a car here.

Since we have a decent public transit system here and live within one block of two car share company cars (Zipcar and Philly Car Share), we are seriously considering ditching the car in favor of a cargo bike and car share membership. I have a Brompton, she has a Surly Steamroller fixie, and we'd share the cargo bike for errands. Right now, we're leaning towards a Kona Ute and will be test-riding the Ute and Big Dummy this weekend. We're also planning to find a used Jamis or something as a back-up to our commuter bikes.

Though I'm excited about the prospect of living without a car, I do have some concerns/hesitations. This would be the very first time in my life that I've been without a car. There are days when I'm tired, sore, sick, hungover (let's be honest!), or just plain lazy, and those days it's really hard to get on the bike. I've been commuting on my bike for a year, but I'm still a newbie when it comes to maintenance--I just learned how to change my own flat last month! So...there's a lot to think about.

Anyway, I'm really looking forward to reading more and participating in this forum as we try to live as car-lite as possible in anticipation of a car-free existence.
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Old 03-24-10, 08:49 AM   #296
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Hi, I'm new here. My partner and I both commute to work by bike in Philadelphia. We use our car mostly on the weekends for big shopping trips, or when it's snowing out or otherwise unsafe to ride. We've put not quite 30k miles on the car in 6 years. Even so, the car has cost us A LOT of money. Insurance is $1300 per year in the city, and we can't seem to go a full year without a $1,000+ repair. By my estimate, it costs between $2000-$3000 to maintain the car which is now worth (at most) $3500. In 6 years, the car has been broken into, stolen, hit by a drunk driver while parked, vandalized x 4, and backed into on both sides while parked. It's this kind of BS that makes me HATE owning a car here.

Since we have a decent public transit system here and live within one block of two car share company cars (Zipcar and Philly Car Share), we are seriously considering ditching the car in favor of a cargo bike and car share membership. I have a Brompton, she has a Surly Steamroller fixie, and we'd share the cargo bike for errands. Right now, we're leaning towards a Kona Ute and will be test-riding the Ute and Big Dummy this weekend. We're also planning to find a used Jamis or something as a back-up to our commuter bikes.

Though I'm excited about the prospect of living without a car, I do have some concerns/hesitations. This would be the very first time in my life that I've been without a car. There are days when I'm tired, sore, sick, hungover (let's be honest!), or just plain lazy, and those days it's really hard to get on the bike. I've been commuting on my bike for a year, but I'm still a newbie when it comes to maintenance--I just learned how to change my own flat last month! So...there's a lot to think about.

Anyway, I'm really looking forward to reading more and participating in this forum as we try to live as car-lite as possible in anticipation of a car-free existence.
Welcome! It sounds like you have a nearly ideal situation to be carfree; you're already carlight, an urban resident, already a cyclist, and you have alternatives readily available in car share and public transit. Plus you hate cars and like bikes.

The only thing standing in your way is the attitude of car dependence (addiction) that's so common in the world today. How can I possibly live without the car? Well, you'll find on this forum that you can live without it, and furthermore you will probably live better without it!

Sure, like you I have days when I don't feel like getting on the bike. Hell, there are days when I don't feel like getting out of bed. But I do it, and you will too. Once I get going, I soon get my energy back and start to enjoy the ride.
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Old 03-24-10, 10:33 AM   #297
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
Welcome! It sounds like you have a nearly ideal situation to be carfree; you're already carlight, an urban resident, already a cyclist, and you have alternatives readily available in car share and public transit. Plus you hate cars and like bikes.

The only thing standing in your way is the attitude of car dependence (addiction) that's so common in the world today. How can I possibly live without the car? Well, you'll find on this forum that you can live without it, and furthermore you will probably live better without it!

Sure, like you I have days when I don't feel like getting on the bike. Hell, there are days when I don't feel like getting out of bed. But I do it, and you will too. Once I get going, I soon get my energy back and start to enjoy the ride.
Thanks for the encouragement, Roody. I agree, and I think once the option of getting into the car is gone, it will be that much easier to get on my bike. After all, the alternative is waiting for a bus or walking, and I'd much rather ride.

One thing my partner and I were discussing is that we'll need to plan ahead much better than we currently do for things like groceries and trips to Target (or whatever). Rather than running out the door without much of a plan, we'll need to keep accurate lists and think further ahead. That's definitely not a bad thing.
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Old 03-26-10, 11:57 PM   #298
mr geeker
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i owned a car for about 4 months. damn things are far more expensive than riding my bike. bicycle fuel is so much cheaper. but that was about 7-8 years ago. now if i need use of a car i get a ride from someone who owns one (no licence by choice). not sure how many miles i ride a year; not something i deem important enough to keep track of, but i'd say at least 1500.
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Old 04-10-10, 11:26 AM   #299
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Good friends and ZipCar come in really handy when I feel the need to get away, but I can't imagine buying a car so long as I live where I do.
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Old 04-18-10, 01:38 PM   #300
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Hi my name is Brad I sold my car on thursday morning. My first ride to work was later that afternoon and I got very sick just after I sold my car I still made my 30 mile round trip to work and back even though I felt horrible that day. And the next day (friday as well). But luckily I have had the weekend to rest up and get ready for it all again Monday. I only have 1 bike, a 2010 Raleigh Rush Hour. I only like fixed gear/single speed bikes. I've had several bikes with gears and they just make me not want to ride. Anyways I'm loving it so far even though I was under the weather. I just know once I'm better I'm going to being enjoying this so much more

If your wondering since the Rush Hour cant have racks or fenders or water bottles or anything else, I prefer a nice big backpack anyways. For some reason it feels weirds to me to ride my bike with no backpack lol. Maybe ill create some ghetto fenders that attach to the frame some how for really rainy days.
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