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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 163 16.50%
Car free less than 1 year 92 9.31%
Car light less than 5 years 133 13.46%
Car free less than 5 years 113 11.44%
Car light more than 5 years 82 8.30%
Car free more than 5 years 204 20.65%
Contemplating a car light or car free change 177 17.91%
Not interested in becoming car light or car free 24 2.43%
Voters: 988. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 07-15-11, 08:11 AM   #426
Denelle
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I sold my minivan in February with the intentions of our family becoming car-light. My husband still has a car, but we don't drive it all that much (and I rarely drive it). So far, I'm really super happy with the decision so far. We're finally getting used to things and it's becoming second nature to jump on the bikes instead of jump in the car. It also makes trips a lot more fun. My littles don't necessarily like their carseats, but they get very excited when I pull the helmets out and they know they are going for a ride! We do live in Wisconsin where winter will pose a challenge, but we are planning a move to an area with a more moderate temperature to help that in the future
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Old 07-15-11, 04:03 PM   #427
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I sold my minivan in February with the intentions of our family becoming car-light. My husband still has a car, but we don't drive it all that much (and I rarely drive it). So far, I'm really super happy with the decision so far. We're finally getting used to things and it's becoming second nature to jump on the bikes instead of jump in the car. It also makes trips a lot more fun. My littles don't necessarily like their carseats, but they get very excited when I pull the helmets out and they know they are going for a ride! We do live in Wisconsin where winter will pose a challenge, but we are planning a move to an area with a more moderate temperature to help that in the future
Welcome, Denelle. It's great to have yet another member with experience being carlight with family and kids. How cool that they are already preferring the bikes to the car!
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Old 07-20-11, 12:16 PM   #428
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Stoked to be car-free again. We bought a car to help us through infant stage with our daughter and have since dropped the car and loving it again!
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Old 07-23-11, 06:56 AM   #429
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Stoked to be car-free again. We bought a car to help us through infant stage with our daughter and have since dropped the car and loving it again!
Hi newsun, good to have you here!

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I haven't gotten a car. Personally,I prefer riding the bike.I think it is healthy and good to our life.
Welcome to the living car free forum, lilybay. What kind of bike do you prefer?
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Old 07-28-11, 04:59 PM   #430
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I just started becoming car light a little over two months ago. In the past 60-65 days I've only had to spend $45 on gas, so basically $20-25 a month now compared to per week.

I'm only going to be a fair-weather commuter so I'll be using my bike during late Spring through Autumn. About 7-8 months out of the year. I'm still a novice rider so I don't think I could ride on snow yet.
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Old 07-28-11, 06:38 PM   #431
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Welcome here, Headphones. Car light is cool. Winter cycling isn't that bad, but there's no problem giving yourself time to work up to it.
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Old 07-29-11, 04:04 PM   #432
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Thanks for the welcome, Newspaperguy. Maybe not this upcoming winter but the next one after that. I'm still new to cycling/commuting and more importantly I'm still learning about bicycles themselves.
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Old 07-29-11, 04:18 PM   #433
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Thanks for the welcome, Newspaperguy. Maybe not this upcoming winter but the next one after that. I'm still new to cycling/commuting and more importantly I'm still learning about bicycles themselves.
My first winter of cycling, I kind of slipped into it. In the late fall, I would tell myself, "Just one more day on the bike, then I'll put it up for the winter." The next day I said the same thing, and the next day, and so on. Finally it was mid-December and I had survived the first big snow storm. At that point I said, "I made it this far, I might as well keep going all winter." And I did!

There aren't many activities I can think of that are more fun than riding a bike on a fresh winter day.
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Old 07-29-11, 05:11 PM   #434
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I just started becoming car light a little over two months ago. In the past 60-65 days I've only had to spend $45 on gas, so basically $20-25 a month now compared to per week.

I'm only going to be a fair-weather commuter so I'll be using my bike during late Spring through Autumn. About 7-8 months out of the year. I'm still a novice rider so I don't think I could ride on snow yet.
Snow is fun if you are set up for it...and this coming from a guy that lives in the Deep South

How far west are you in MA? My daughter did a 10 month stint with Americorps/SCA in the Hawley/Savoy area and loved every minute of it.

Aaron
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Old 07-29-11, 06:21 PM   #435
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My first winter of cycling, I kind of slipped into it. In the late fall, I would tell myself, "Just one more day on the bike, then I'll put it up for the winter." The next day I said the same thing, and the next day, and so on. Finally it was mid-December and I had survived the first big snow storm. At that point I said, "I made it this far, I might as well keep going all winter." And I did!

There aren't many activities I can think of that are more fun than riding a bike on a fresh winter day.
I'm not going to lie, I'm somewhat in love with my bike. Much much more than my Toyota. So there's a good chance I'll change my mind by December and continue to ride my bike through the snow.
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Snow is fun if you are set up for it...and this coming from a guy that lives in the Deep South

How far west are you in MA? My daughter did a 10 month stint with Americorps/SCA in the Hawley/Savoy area and loved every minute of it.

Aaron
Way out west, about 10 minutes from New York border. I'm about 20 minute drive from Savoy. They're part of the Mohawk Trails; out in the middle of nowhere but there's a lot of camp grounds.
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Old 07-29-11, 07:08 PM   #436
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I'm not going to lie, I'm somewhat in love with my bike. Much much more than my Toyota. So there's a good chance I'll change my mind by December and continue to ride my bike through the snow.

Way out west, about 10 minutes from New York border. I'm about 20 minute drive from Savoy. They're part of the Mohawk Trails; out in the middle of nowhere but there's a lot of camp grounds.
They were based at the camp at Kenneth Dubuque State Forest. They were doing heavy trail maintenance all over that end of the state. She is currently in the Seattle area but will be back in NH this fall for grad school. FWIW she and her brother both live car free. He is based in Boston.

Good luck with the winter stuff, but once you get a handle on it you should be good to go. There are all kinds of great things out there, like studded snow tires. They are expensive up front but will last several years. I have actually seen them at Walmart when I was working up near Columbus, OH.


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Old 07-30-11, 08:43 AM   #437
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They were based at the camp at Kenneth Dubuque State Forest. They were doing heavy trail maintenance all over that end of the state. She is currently in the Seattle area but will be back in NH this fall for grad school. FWIW she and her brother both live car free. He is based in Boston.

Good luck with the winter stuff, but once you get a handle on it you should be good to go. There are all kinds of great things out there, like studded snow tires. They are expensive up front but will last several years. I have actually seen them at Walmart when I was working up near Columbus, OH.


Aaron
Studded tires add a lot to winter cycling. You can ride in anything with a good set. But you can ride in almost anything with normal bike tires, too. I recommend them if you are heavily dependent on your bike in winter, or if you just enjoy more extreme things like ice biking (ricing on frozen lakes and rivers) as I do.

I got my first set of studs as a gift from a BF member. He gave them to me because they had a lot of wear, and he had bought a new set. But I used them for three winters, and I could still use them even though the studs are pretty much worn down.
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Old 08-01-11, 07:28 PM   #438
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Just put $20 into my car this evening, it should last me until September. A grand total of $65 spent on gas for the summer is pretty freakin' awesome.
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Old 08-11-11, 02:25 PM   #439
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I've been car free off and on. I used to live in Toronto for a while, which was a city that truly did not need cars! It was a real change from the small midwestern city I grew up in (USA). I didn't drive at all in TO. I didn't even have a car.

It's a challenge now that I'm back in the midwest, because as much as I love it here, it's not as bike-friendly as Toronto. In fact, right now, I don't even have a bike. I sold my last one when I moved down here and I'm going crazy looking for a good bike at a good price. I chose a place to live that was close to my workplace, library, gym, grocery store, church, hardware store...all the things that I knew I'd need. So, I can walk everywhere right now, and I do. But can't wait till I find my bike...!

I always found cars to be constraining somehow. I didn't like how I had to keep constantly spending money to have them. It felt more like a bad investment, one that didn't return money, just sucked it away.

Granted, I don't think a car-free lifestyle isn't one that everyone CAN have. Truly, I am lucky to be able to live where I do, where everything is near me. I don't have any medical needs or care-giving needs that would make me need a car. Now, when I get a bike again, I will be able to see a little bit more of the world than where my own two feet and the bus can take me.
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Old 08-14-11, 09:08 PM   #440
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We've been car-free since the kids were four, so nine years now. I love not having a car. It's so much cheaper, and no car-claustrophobia. Of course I'm lucky to live close to my job, in a bike friendly city (Minneapolis) etc.
That said, I tend to walk or bus in the winter. I've fallen on the ice too many times.
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Old 08-22-11, 05:25 AM   #441
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We're officially beginning a car-light experiment this week. After kicking the idea around in my head for quite a while, a $900 repair estimate on my husband's truck spurred us to try life as a one-car family for a while. We had worked this summer getting all our bikes ready to handle errand trips, just so we could become less dependent driving the two cars, so when the garage guy called and said we needed all that work, it seemed like the Universe was telling us something. DH will take the car to work every day, leaving the kids and me with our bikes and our feet. We live in a town that isn't totally bike-friendly, but is small enough to be able to plan out longer-but-safer routes to most places we need to go. Like the others, winter scares me a little (and next spring when the two kids have different baseball/softball schedules), but we'll take that as it comes.
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Old 08-22-11, 09:31 AM   #442
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We're officially beginning a car-light experiment this week. After kicking the idea around in my head for quite a while, a $900 repair estimate on my husband's truck spurred us to try life as a one-car family for a while. We had worked this summer getting all our bikes ready to handle errand trips, just so we could become less dependent driving the two cars, so when the garage guy called and said we needed all that work, it seemed like the Universe was telling us something. DH will take the car to work every day, leaving the kids and me with our bikes and our feet. We live in a town that isn't totally bike-friendly, but is small enough to be able to plan out longer-but-safer routes to most places we need to go. Like the others, winter scares me a little (and next spring when the two kids have different baseball/softball schedules), but we'll take that as it comes.
Welcome! It's great to have another carfree family with kids on the forum. It sounds like you and your family have a good attitude to face any challenges that come up with the changing seasons.

I also love your user name. Very clever!
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Old 08-22-11, 09:34 AM   #443
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We've been car-free since the kids were four, so nine years now. I love not having a car. It's so much cheaper, and no car-claustrophobia. Of course I'm lucky to live close to my job, in a bike friendly city (Minneapolis) etc.
That said, I tend to walk or bus in the winter. I've fallen on the ice too many times.
Another carfree family with kids! And some posters have said there's no such thing!

Have you ever tried studded snow tires for your bike? You shouldn't fall much with a good set of studs on your bike.
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Old 08-22-11, 10:28 AM   #444
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And some posters have said there's no such thing!
You keep posting that factoid in order to knock it down; WHO said that, besides Mr. Roody?
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Old 08-22-11, 10:49 AM   #445
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Well, I voted "car light less than a year", but it's quickly approaching that.

I own one car, but since my "experiment" started, I've cut my gasoline bill by about 75%. Still use the van for shopping, but we pile many stops into a single trip. So, the van sits until shopping day, or the sporadic "need to leave work early, for something important" (My bus schedules suck).

I am working up to doing my commute by bike, however, and carrying $8 for emergency bus fare.
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Old 08-22-11, 07:54 PM   #446
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Hi all -- I'm new to the forums and have been carfree for about seven years. My wife and I have two young kids (2 and 5). We have an xtracycle to haul kids and stuff as well as a couple of other bikes that can haul kids around. We're looking at some other options for biking with kids lately for a wide variety of reasons (I'm very short and would love a step through frame which we don't have on our xtra, we'll be doing more riding this winter due to the start of kindergarten for our oldest and after school care, we want our oldest pedaling rather than sitting, etc). We also do lots of walking and transit for transportation. So happy to see other carfree families with kids here
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Old 08-24-11, 12:49 AM   #447
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I have only been car lite for only 3 months now. We (wife, 4 year old, and 6 month) use to drive every where. In May I brought a folding bike and started taking the train to work/school because the gas price back then was inching towards $4/gal and it hit me one day when I paid $57 to fill up my tank (got a small compact sedan). After commuting for a couple of weeks I realized that it is very psychologically liberating not having to worry about traffic, parking, and raising gas prices that I started to wonder if we could go car-free, but I was still very skeptical because the car seem like a safety net that I could always use if the kids ever got into an accident at daycare or if we needed to make a midnight run to the emergency room. But after 1 month we realized a saving of $300 because we only put around 40 miles on the car in that first month. I then picked up a used Big Dummy from someone moving back to Seattle and didn't want ship it with him and felt the practicality of it. Now we are waiting for a CETMA cargo bike to arrive so we can go riding as a family-the kids in the cargo bike and their gear on the BD.

On a side note, I just recently started working in a different location. Its 14 miles from home one way. I could either take public transit or ride. Since the subway lines from Queens doesn't go directly to Brooklyn it will take around 75 minutes and this is during the normal hours. I rode the commute for 2 days now on the BD and it took around 1 hour 40 minutes. Do you think I should electrify the BD with a stokemonkey electric assist motor or get a lighter bike? I was leaning more towards the eletric motor since it will increase the utility of the bike and I can still get home in time for dinner no matter if I was up to the commute or not.
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Old 08-24-11, 09:36 AM   #448
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I have only been car lite for only 3 months now. We (wife, 4 year old, and 6 month) use to drive every where. In May I brought a folding bike and started taking the train to work/school because the gas price back then was inching towards $4/gal and it hit me one day when I paid $57 to fill up my tank (got a small compact sedan). After commuting for a couple of weeks I realized that it is very psychologically liberating not having to worry about traffic, parking, and raising gas prices that I started to wonder if we could go car-free, but I was still very skeptical because the car seem like a safety net that I could always use if the kids ever got into an accident at daycare or if we needed to make a midnight run to the emergency room. But after 1 month we realized a saving of $300 because we only put around 40 miles on the car in that first month. I then picked up a used Big Dummy from someone moving back to Seattle and didn't want ship it with him and felt the practicality of it. Now we are waiting for a CETMA cargo bike to arrive so we can go riding as a family-the kids in the cargo bike and their gear on the BD.

On a side note, I just recently started working in a different location. Its 14 miles from home one way. I could either take public transit or ride. Since the subway lines from Queens doesn't go directly to Brooklyn it will take around 75 minutes and this is during the normal hours. I rode the commute for 2 days now on the BD and it took around 1 hour 40 minutes. Do you think I should electrify the BD with a stokemonkey electric assist motor or get a lighter bike? I was leaning more towards the eletric motor since it will increase the utility of the bike and I can still get home in time for dinner no matter if I was up to the commute or not.
Welcome to the forum, bigdummy! (from your writing skills I can tell that your user name refers to the bike, not your intellect. ) Yet another noob with family and kids....you folks really do exist!

Your question about e-assist versus a lighter bike is interesting. I think you should start a new thread to ask about it.
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Old 08-24-11, 09:43 AM   #449
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Hi all -- I'm new to the forums and have been carfree for about seven years. My wife and I have two young kids (2 and 5). We have an xtracycle to haul kids and stuff as well as a couple of other bikes that can haul kids around. We're looking at some other options for biking with kids lately for a wide variety of reasons (I'm very short and would love a step through frame which we don't have on our xtra, we'll be doing more riding this winter due to the start of kindergarten for our oldest and after school care, we want our oldest pedaling rather than sitting, etc). We also do lots of walking and transit for transportation. So happy to see other carfree families with kids here
Welcome to another person with kids on the forum! Thanks for the interesting messages you've already posted on other threads.


I'm really interested in the new members with families. The reason is that I have a "new" family. My son, his fiance, her mother and my 12 year old grandson just moved in with me this summer. It's been interesting and fun--especially having two good riders (son & grandson) in the household with me. People on this forum were a big help with their advice on riding with a kid in the city.
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Old 08-26-11, 12:31 PM   #450
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I'm still making my way through this thread but you guys are an inspiration. 2 points by way of an intro. (1) I just joined the forum, and (2) I have not bought gas for my car since May and I still have a quarter tank. I've driven it maybe 7 or 8 times since then. I average about 150 miles a week on my bike.

And I've been talking myself into just riding for the rest of my life. "Life on 2 wheels", as I call it. I have lots of questions about living car free, about simplifying my life. But I will post them at some later date and perhaps in their own threads.

But as a heads-up I will say this: I spend a lot of time thinking about how to ride through the winter. And what kind of trailer to get. Everytime I have to bag my groceries into 2 or 4 panniers, I tell myself I need a trailer.

I'm glad I found this thread!

Cheers!
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