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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 16.48%
Car free less than 1 year 92 9.30%
Car light less than 5 years 133 13.45%
Car free less than 5 years 113 11.43%
Car light more than 5 years 82 8.29%
Car free more than 5 years 205 20.73%
Contemplating a car light or car free change 177 17.90%
Not interested in becoming car light or car free 24 2.43%
Voters: 989. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 08-26-11, 06:06 PM   #451
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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!
We'd love to hear from you... welcome to the forum.
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Old 10-01-11, 12:16 AM   #452
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My wife still has her car; but I sold mine this summer, built a bike trailer for hauling, and started commuting every day, instead of just now and then. I'm enjoying it so far, and I'm happily building some fenders for my bike and shopping for a rain jacket and waterproof bag. Going car free in SoCal is definately bucking the trend. I also just got into surfing, and the beach is 30 minutes away by car and 2 hours by bicycle. I guess I'm going car lite for the foreseeable future.

PS....I've also got a burley solo trailer for my four year old, which we both love.

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Old 10-01-11, 05:55 PM   #453
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We just realized this past week that we're spending over $700/month in insurance (expensive due to accident prone city), line of credit (used to buy car), maintenance, gas, depreciation and interest for our family car. Considering we're using it about once a week, it seems sensible to find alternatives to the family car on distances too far to walk to. It was a sudden moment of realization. We're just a little disturbed by the thought of not having a car in our garage.
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Old 10-01-11, 08:20 PM   #454
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We just realized this past week that we're spending over $700/month in insurance (expensive due to accident prone city), line of credit (used to buy car), maintenance, gas, depreciation and interest for our family car. Considering we're using it about once a week, it seems sensible to find alternatives to the family car on distances too far to walk to. It was a sudden moment of realization. We're just a little disturbed by the thought of not having a car in our garage.
Welcome to the forum. You're pretty smart--I actually walked for years before I had that sudden realization that a bike would extend my range nearly five-fold.
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Old 10-02-11, 11:25 PM   #455
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My family and I have been car-lite for 1 year, car-free for 2 months. My wife and I met in college, she was purposefully car-free and used public transportation or bike all the time. It was my influence that got her to buy a car, and we've been a 2 car family since we got married, until just recently. Like most everything else I had to eventually tell her, "Yep, you were right!" I guess I'm a little slow to catch on.
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Old 10-16-11, 12:26 AM   #456
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Going car-lite soon

Hello. I've only been car-lite once in my adult life,and that was due to having both the wife's car and mine broken down at the same time (last year),and we lived with a borrowed car. Back then,we lived in an area that...well,rural isn't the right word,maybe "way out in the sticks" would describe it better. No public transit to speak of,no taxi's,and a 20-60 minute drive to get "anywhere" (once we got to the highway,LOL). A housefire back in June saw to it we had to relocate,and we choce a medium sized city to come to.

Now,I've always had this love affair with cars/trucks...customizing,racing,etc,and until being forced out of work due to a "disability" back in 2008,I drove for a living (most of it long haul trucking,but more local gigs towards the end). Matter of fact,as little as 2 months ago,we owned four vehicles (lowered S10 and S-Blazer,Mustang GT Ragtop and Dodge Neon). The thing is,I LOVE all things bicycle,and mostly because of that love of bikes,I'd always day-dreamed about being car-lite-if not car free-and using the bike to get me around everywhere the majority of the time. Let me say this up front...at this point,I'm not planning to sell the Mustang (I kinda love it),and we really can't sell her Neon (family car,she doesn't bike,etc)...but that (selling mine) could change...

The plan has been since buying the Mustang that with the winter's first snowfall (even a dusting),to deactivate the tags and drop insurance on the 'Stang,because it just isn't a safe ride on wet/slick roads (I can't say none of them are,but this one,though it looks it,is far from stock),and to finally give utility\transportation cycling a go,and lately,I've been increasing my about-town and errand riding a bit each week (bearing in mind,with my spinal injuries\issues,sometimes I can barely stand,let alone pedal).

So anyways,I'm really digging this section of Bike Forums (as well as the commuting and utility sections ). No real point to this post,I suppose,LOL,but I wanted to join in ,and to say that I'm inspired by this thread in particular
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Old 10-16-11, 08:01 AM   #457
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My family and I have been car-lite for 1 year, car-free for 2 months. My wife and I met in college, she was purposefully car-free and used public transportation or bike all the time.
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So anyways,I'm really digging this section of Bike Forums (as well as the commuting and utility sections ). No real point to this post,I suppose,LOL,but I wanted to join in ,and to say that I'm inspired by this thread in particular
I guess there are many sources of inspiration. Nice if it's your wife who wants to take the bus or bike!

Whatever it is, I hope you both are inspired to do more traveling by bike. I'm sure you'll enjoy it.

And please join in the discussion. Don't be lurkers.
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Old 10-16-11, 08:39 AM   #458
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Gerv: Thanks,my friend

My wife is (and always has been) well aware of my day-dreaming of pedaling everywhere and going car-lite,but I didn't think I'd ever really talked about it to the kids. Brought it up to my daughter (14 year old) this morning as we drove (ugh) looking for a paper*,she said "I'm all for it...IF I can ride with you"

She and I will be riding to return a DVD and pick up some mild today

*In my defense,I'm usually down with the injuries the first few hours every morning,barely walking (and yes,we've tried several mattresses to see if that contributes),and it was 42 degrees-the problem there is,lost all my winter wardrobe (let alone winter riding gear) in the house fire back in June (I don't even own a coat yet),and while there was $1 there to rent from Redbox (DVD),until she finds a job in the new town,no $ to buy anything yet (well...we could drop the i-net,and and give up a few non-neededs,and make it happen,and we may have to yet,LOL)
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Old 10-19-11, 09:05 AM   #459
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I have been living car light the past 2 years but now due to rising insurance rates I am looking at parking my car 10-11months out of the year maybe 12 if I can find a cheep mountain bike
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Old 10-19-11, 09:21 AM   #460
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I have been living car light the past 2 years but now due to rising insurance rates I am looking at parking my car 10-11months out of the year maybe 12 if I can find a cheep mountain bike
Creeper, welcome to LCF!

I don't think you'll have a problem finding a cheap mountain bike (MTB), but prices in many regions have gone up in recent years. I strongly recommend 6hat you look at used MTBs. Don't know about Ontario prices, but in Michigan you will usually pay $150-$300 for a used MTB, depending on quality and condition. For a bike that's in good condition, it seems fair to pay about half of what it cost new.

Make sure you take an extensive test ride before you purchase!! If you don't know bikes at all, either take a friend with you, or buy one with a warranty.
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Old 11-09-11, 08:17 AM   #461
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I'm not sure of the demarcation points, but I've been driving less than 5000 miles per year since the early 2000s. (Does that qualify as car-light?) Going totally virtual at work two years ago helped a lot, but even before that, I worked from home 3 or more days a week. I'm now trying to cut that 5000 miles per year in half by using my bike for all trips of 10 miles or less that don't involve carting passengers (mostly my two teenagers) around. So the bike gets used for grocery shopping, going to the library, errands around town, riding down to Newark for the best fresh-baked Italian bread in the United States, ... :-)

I still use the car once or twice a month when I have to drive into the office (50 miles round trip), to schlep my kids around to activities or to/from their mom's with their stuff, and for social/musical activities that involve carting instruments and equipment. Also for trips that require hauling really heavy or unwieldy items. Some of the schemes I've seen posted here and on Utility for carrying the uncarryable are inspirational.
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Old 11-09-11, 09:43 AM   #462
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Greetings!

I've posted here on and off when I saw interesting threads pop up in the "new posts" list on bikeforums, but I've never really been car-free or car-light. I've cycled on-and-off for the past 6 years (mostly off), and that was only for recreation.

Last year I had a health scare with high blood pressure and decided it was finally time to get my health in check for real. Started off on an exercise bike, but that bored me to death. Winter came and I started cross-country skiing, and suddenly I discovered that I was able to exercise for 2-3 hours at a time and it didn't feel like a chore. Lost around 80 pounds by the time May of this year came around. I was now permanently addicted to the outdoors, and simply could not get back on the exercise bike, so I decided to get my old bike out of mothballs, get it repaired, and try it out. I was instantly hooked.

For the first two months, cycling remained purely recreational, just exercise for the sake of exercise and fun. In the beginning of July I realised that since we had just passed the Summer Solstice, the days would now begin shortening. By this point in time I was accustomed to getting home from work at 6 or 7pm, and cycling until sunset (9pm). The realization that the rapidly shortening days would begin to drastically cut my cycling time scared me, and made me start thinking of ways that I could increase my cycling time.

Around the same time I had coincidentally planned out my first metric century ride as a tour around the city I live in, attempting to see as many historical buildings as possible. My office is in a historical building and thus was a stop on the tour; in fact the first stop, since at 19 miles away, it was still the closest landmark to where I lived. It seemed ridiculous at the time, but while I was planning that trip I kept thinking "what if I could bike to work?". 19 miles was a reasonable distance for me at that point in time; I was regularly cycling 25 each night. But I was worried about the return trip, since it would essentially double my distance. So in the beginning of July, I ended up doing the metric century tour, and the first 19 miles roughly traced what would eventually become my commuting route. When I reached my office building, I felt amazing. Suddenly, biking to work didn't seem like a crazy idea at all.

After I finished the tour I got home and immediately began browsing the Commuting forum here on BikeForums to find out everything I could about commuting. Five days later, on a bright and beautiful Thursday morning, I woke up early, and rode my bike to work for the very first time. It was fun, but it exhausted me to death. I liked it, however, and decided to keep doing it once a week.

At this point it was still purely a fitness thing. I would avoid rain days like the plague, and I stuck with doing it once a week just to get the hang of it, in preparation for when fall came and I would be forced to do it more often. Eventually I started doing it twice a week, faster and faster each time. I tried out new routes to get safer streets. Then I did it three times a week. That was the point when I realised for the first time in my life, I had biked more miles than I had driven in my car. That set off a chain of events in my mind where I began to wonder if it was possible to go an entire week without using the car. So in the first week of October I tried out my experiment. 210 miles, a sore ass, and some very tired legs later, I had successfully completed my very first car-free week. It was fun but it wasn't truly representative of living car-free. I stocked up on food the day before I started, for example, so I wouldn't have to go grocery shopping. I avoided all social outings that week, and I didn't go to any stores either. I spent the latter half of the week looking forward getting back into the car, and when I did the world somehow seemed different. The car just seemed... boring. Every traffic jam after that point grated on my nerves. I missed the smells, the sounds of the outside world. The morning DJ's pointless jokes drove me nuts. I wanted to go back on the bike.

This is the point at which I began thinking about seriously adopting a car-light lifestyle. For the past month I have now been biking to work 3 or 4 days a week. I bought a basket for the front of my bike so that I can go grocery shopping on the bike, and last night I made my 3rd grocery run with my biggest haul yet. I haven't been to a store in my car in an entire month at this point. When I needed clothes, I biked to the clothing store. When I needed tools, I biked to the hardware store. When I needed bike parts, I biked to the bike shop. When I needed food, I biked to the grocery store. I've gone over a month without filling up my gas tank at this point, and my bike mileage now heavily outweighs my car mileage.

I finally feel confident in declaring that I am car-light.

The looming winter worries me. Here in Buffalo I don't know how realistic living car-free/light can be. I've never cycled in winter before. Hell I've never cycled in October/November before either, but after buying some appropriate cold-weather clothes I've knocked those two months out, with October having over 700 miles of cycling (which is funny, because that means I biked more in October than I did in 2005, my 3rd best year, when I biked 600 miles that year and thought it was a lot), and already 270 miles this month.

However, I've got it lucky. My office is closing down on Thanksgiving and they're letting me work from home from now on. The biggest reason to drive everywhere has now been completely eliminated from my life, and I will continue to be car-light for the entire winter, and hopefully I'll be able to operate car-free during the months of March-November of next year.

That's my story. Hope you find it interesting.
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Old 11-09-11, 11:38 AM   #463
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I'm not sure of the demarcation points, but I've been driving less than 5000 miles per year since the early 2000s. (Does that qualify as car-light?) Going totally virtual at work two years ago helped a lot, but even before that, I worked from home 3 or more days a week. I'm now trying to cut that 5000 miles per year in half by using my bike for all trips of 10 miles or less that don't involve carting passengers (mostly my two teenagers) around. So the bike gets used for grocery shopping, going to the library, errands around town, riding down to Newark for the best fresh-baked Italian bread in the United States, ... :-)

I still use the car once or twice a month when I have to drive into the office (50 miles round trip), to schlep my kids around to activities or to/from their mom's with their stuff, and for social/musical activities that involve carting instruments and equipment. Also for trips that require hauling really heavy or unwieldy items. Some of the schemes I've seen posted here and on Utility for carrying the uncarryable are inspirational.
Welcome to the forum,Tony. I've been enjoying your posts even when I don't agree with them.

As far as whether you're carlight, the generally accepted definition here doesn't involve number of miles driven. Here, the working definition of carlight is that there is a car available in your household, but you don't regularly use it for your personal transportation.
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Old 11-09-11, 11:45 AM   #464
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That's my story. Hope you find it interesting.
Not only interesting but truly inspirational! Especially when I looked down at the weight loss ticker in your sig. You are hands down my Hero of the Week!
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Old 11-09-11, 12:51 PM   #465
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Welcome to the forum,Tony. I've been enjoying your posts even when I don't agree with them.

As far as whether you're carlight, the generally accepted definition here doesn't involve number of miles driven. Here, the working definition of carlight is that there is a car available in your household, but you don't regularly use it for your personal transportation.
Thanks for the welcome, Roody. I guess, by the definition you gave, I probably don't fully qualify as car-light. I'm an increasingly utility-cycling car-light wannabe, who may achieve car-lightness someday

Still, even if I don't qualify, this forum and Utility are lots of fun to read because of the creative solutions people come up with for doing without cars in a culture designed around the car. I'm having a blast finding ways to use my bike for things I would have believed impossible even a few months ago. I'm also really enjoying the looks I get from people when they see a short, fat little old Italian guy on a totally kludgy contraption of a bicycle, tooling around with all sorts of bulky stuff attached to it in the most improbable ways. If I had the guts to drop the helmet, I'd substitute a flat cap and maybe dangle a Di Nobili from my lips to complete the look. But the helmet saved my life a number of years ago, so I'll have to settle for dorky ...

Big difference from my roadie days, when I insisted on all Italian components for my Italian frame, with the exception of my pedals - which still had to be European. Nowadays, I'm happy with duct tape if it does the job...
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Old 11-09-11, 01:44 PM   #466
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Thanks for the welcome, Roody. I guess, by the definition you gave, I probably don't fully qualify as car-light. I'm an increasingly utility-cycling car-light wannabe, who may achieve car-lightness someday

Still, even if I don't qualify, this forum and Utility are lots of fun to read because of the creative solutions people come up with for doing without cars in a culture designed around the car. I'm having a blast finding ways to use my bike for things I would have believed impossible even a few months ago. I'm also really enjoying the looks I get from people when they see a short, fat little old Italian guy on a totally kludgy contraption of a bicycle, tooling around with all sorts of bulky stuff attached to it in the most improbable ways. If I had the guts to drop the helmet, I'd substitute a flat cap and maybe dangle a Di Nobili from my lips to complete the look. But the helmet saved my life a number of years ago, so I'll have to settle for dorky ...

Big difference from my roadie days, when I insisted on all Italian components for my Italian frame, with the exception of my pedals - which still had to be European. Nowadays, I'm happy with duct tape if it does the job...
I get a lot of weird looks from people when I'm in stores with my helmet on. Whatever. Maybe I'll convince someone who's thought about it that it's possible. If fat guys like us can do it, perhaps it'll make them feel like lazyasses. Then again most of them will probably assume we're doing it because we have to.

The colder it gets, the more people stare at me out of the windows of their mobile cages. I get amused by that.
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Old 11-09-11, 02:08 PM   #467
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I get a lot of weird looks from people when I'm in stores with my helmet on. Whatever. Maybe I'll convince someone who's thought about it that it's possible. If fat guys like us can do it, perhaps it'll make them feel like lazyasses. Then again most of them will probably assume we're doing it because we have to.

The colder it gets, the more people stare at me out of the windows of their mobile cages. I get amused by that.
I hear you. I've made this one concession to vanity: I don't wear my helmet into the stores. I don't just take it off, either, because I get such a really severe case of helmet-head, I could probably get arrested. (Which is also what would probably happen if I decided to wear lycra nowadays )

So I carry a yachting cap, take off my helmet while I lock up the bike, and wear the cap into the store. Of course, whatever beneficial effects that would have had were probably nullified the other day, when I forgot to untuck my pants out of my sock and wandered around Staples with my white sweatsock over my right pants leg, halfway up to my knee ... I am definitely embracing my inner dork! I may do the cycling equivalent of a Full Cleveland and get myself a twill cycling cap...
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Old 11-09-11, 07:42 PM   #468
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If you dress sensibly to do a practical task, you'll be scoffed at--by people who dress nonsensically to do practically nothing.
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Old 11-10-11, 03:51 AM   #469
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Hearing your stories is really inspiring indeed !

I've been car-light for two months now. I did have to drive to work for about three weeks because I had a viral cold/bronchitis, but now I'm commuting to work (28km round trip) 5 days a week, and actually hate driving now because it makes me aggressive and unhappy. I need my daily ride !

Funny, but as a former car enthusiast, I now feel that carrying my body around in a car wastes way too much energy for what it actually accomplishes. And this realization makes me feel great.

I've been car-light before... mostly prior to 2004, when I barely started my car and rode even when it got down to -45C (-49F). But now I'm back at it ! I love the LCF forum by the way, I noticed a lot of great people hanging out in here, making for interesting discussions.

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Old 11-11-11, 08:43 PM   #470
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I've been car-light before... mostly prior to 2004, when I barely started my car and rode even when it got down to -45C (-49F). But now I'm back at it !
J-S
I find it helpful to hang around and hear what other cyclists have to say. Sounds like you are already well experienced with riding a bike everywhere. Please join in the conversation here
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Old 11-17-11, 05:20 PM   #471
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Mith, thanks for your great story. I hope you re-consider and give winter riding a try. If your roads are anything like here in Boston, then they are often clean unless we are in the midst of a snow-storm. Even then, my mountain bike can pretty much deal with snow on the road as long as there is no ice underneath it. I wouldn't ride at night in winter, though. Too hard to tell if there is ice.
How are you going to make up for all those miles that you no longer have to ride to work?

Paul
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Old 11-17-11, 05:23 PM   #472
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Too true, Roody. A big rainstorm last week gave me the opportunity to try my new work boots. They worked aces, only.., don't tuck your rainpants into your boots in a rainstorm. They basically act as gutters and fill your boots. Next time, though, I'll have dry feet.

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Old 11-17-11, 05:31 PM   #473
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Speaking of "embracing your inner dork", I go for total functionality, even when riding my road bike. My summer get-up consists of trail running shoes, wheat or olive-colored cargo shorts, over-the-calf tube socks (white), long sleeved sport shirt (to keep the sun off, and, which I can roll up at my convenience), and a cotton Shorty by Headsweats. The only thing that suggests I did not steal the bike is my cycling gloves.
So, basically, I look like a dork with no helmet, so I am pretty hard to peg, I would guess. Is he a dork? Some kind of savage? A conventionally-minded crazy guy? All I know is I've got lots of pockets and protection, and if I smash into a mailbox, I can still walk home in those running shoes. It takes all types.

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Old 11-21-11, 04:14 PM   #474
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I have been car light for 12 years now but only the past 7 have had cycling involved. Since I first quit smoking and got back into cycling... I began working virtual office (sometimes called telecommuting) since 98' so my car miles are roughly 3,000 per year. Currently there is a lady at church that drives a real beat up 3/4 ton Ford van to haul herself to work and her grandkids and sister to church and I really want to just give her my 01 Astro Van. It only has 87k miles on it and is in wonderful shape. I get this real yearning to help her out mixed with my unreasonable fear of cutting the cord so to speak. It's not like I have to drive to the office for Pete's sake!
I honestly think I have a fear of what other people think still. Am I just silly or what!?
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Old 11-24-11, 01:43 AM   #475
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24 years : ) i even managed to get a job where i cycle all day! Love it.
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