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View Poll Results: How long have you been car light or car free?

Voters
939. You may not vote on this poll
  • Car light less than 1 year

    151 16.08%
  • Car free less than 1 year

    90 9.58%
  • Car light less than 5 years

    129 13.74%
  • Car free less than 5 years

    106 11.29%
  • Car light more than 5 years

    74 7.88%
  • Car free more than 5 years

    197 20.98%
  • Contemplating a car light or car free change

    170 18.10%
  • Not interested in becoming car light or car free

    22 2.34%
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  1. #576
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JB05 View Post
    I'm somewhere between prospective and car-lite.

    I tried biking to work a few times at 17 - 18. I was amazed at how easy it was to cover distances by bike, even in the rural towns I grew up in. I tried to continue cycling in college, but my bike's destruction by vandals in 2006 put a stop to this. I didn't have money for a new bike at the time (though I did find cash for my $450/year university parking permit, and cash to buy a car for $7,500 in 2007). I wasn't to bike again until 2011.

    Last summer, I bought another hybrid bike. I rode around exploring our parks and greenway trails. As winter moved in, my pleasant cycling evenings were cut short. To maximize my use of daylight, I decided to try biking to work. I first rode to work in September. In November and December, my old 2002 car started experiencing multiple issues with the fuel pump and factory security sensors. I was left stranded several times, lost the use of my car for about 2 complete weeks, and ultimately had to spend over $1,000 in parts, labor and towing fees. This taught me about the local bus system and carpooling, and strengthened my resolve to commute by bike.

    Today, I bike to work between 1 - 3 days per week. I've purchased a Dutch-style city bike.. I have dyno lights that allow me to bike after dark.. I own 2 large grocery panniers that can help me transport even a 30-pack of beer home.. and I own some simple winter gear that keeps me comfortable in temps down to about 15F.. I own an Ortlieb briefcase.. I slowly but surely am adding to my rain gear, and should have a complete set soon.

    I still use my car, but often for frivolous or unnecessary reasons. Sometimes I oversleep. Sometimes it's raining, and I'm not ready 1.5hours before work in order to catch the bus. Last month, I had to take my computer in for repair.. and had to drive it 0.25 miles since the tower didn't fit in a grocery pannier.

    I'm hopeful that with continued smart investment in my gear, improving weather and the advice I read here, I'll be ready to lose the car the next time it has mechanical problems.
    I enjoyed reading your history. Welcome to LCF.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  2. #577
    Senior Member
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    100_5028.jpgShould I re-introduce myself on account of the fact that its been ages since I've logged on and I have since moved? I haven't driven a car since 2011, my husband hasn't driven since a car since October 2012 when we moved to Europe.
    We did have two cargo bikes - a Yuba Mundo and a Boda Boda, but have since sold those to finance another move from England to the Netherlands. We've bought two more bikes now and I'm really loving my new (used) batavus delivery bike.
    My toddler now rides too, on his awesome "loopfiets". Bikey life is crazy here, I'm getting more time to blog too, so check it out below-

  3. #578
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    We've always been car light based on the typical american's driving habits. I work close to home so if I drive every day to work, I'll put on around 5,000 miles/year on my car. My wife works from home and telecommutes to the east coast everyday. Her car gets about the same amount running kids around to activities, longer trips to see extended family (400 and 180 mile round trips) and weekend games/activities. Total together, we normally fall about 5,000 to 8,000 miles below the average for one person in our age group per year. Our mileage should drop significantly once the kid's activities end and without kids to haul around the cars will get considerably smaller.

    The company is planning to move closer to home and closer to a MUP path that runs by my house. After the move, I'll try to take that route when I can. The commute would drop from winding through busy streets for 13.5 miles, to 9.5 miles with greater than 7 of it on the MUP and the rest on residential side streets. I've been out on weekends looking at routes and timing.

  4. #579
    Senior Member JeanSeb's Avatar
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    Well, kind of an announcement and a re-reintroduction on my part: I've been car-free for a year yesterday.

    I must say I'm really enjoying the financial aspect of this: no payments, no cost of maintenance or gas. But sometimes I miss the practicality of having one waiting in the parking lot just in case. I'll probably buy an older car sometimes this year or next year, especially if I want to get back into music: carrying a drumset is feasible with a bike but so not convenient lol. If it wasn't for that project, I wouldn't buy one.

    We'll see how it goes.

  5. #580
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    I'm coming up on 9 months car free, and almost a year car light. I haven't been able to find work, and getting screwed by a bankrupting company was the last thread on my previous car. I commute to school 13 miles each way, I only use a (borrowed) car once a month or less for emergencies or church related things. I realized that I spend more money on my bikes as of late, because I believe it is more importnant for me to be in relative comfort on the bike than attempting to fix my old rusty car.

    I love being car light, but it is slightly depressing being car free altogether. I used to be heavily into motorsports, so I do miss the sport part of vehicles, not the bumper to bumper smog city sort of cars. I love bicycles, but I hope I don't have to live car free for too much longer, though I know I will choose to ride, I will be starting a family soon and my kids will need mom and I to have a car!

  6. #581
    Senior Member
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    I have been dreaming about selling my car and moving to Portland Oregon for a few years now... It would be awesome to find a room to rent in a house full of car free or car light people...

  7. #582
    Senior Member technoD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kidballistic View Post
    I have been dreaming about selling my car and moving to Portland Oregon for a few years now... It would be awesome to find a room to rent in a house full of car free or car light people...
    Good luck with that dream! So many people are hung up on their vehicles, that the very idea of being car free would make them shudder!
    I got my 1st DUI years ago and decided then that I really didn't need a vehicle. I have my license now, but still no desire to own a vehicle. Portland or Seattle has also been on my bucket list but it still takes $$$ to get there and a plan if/when that were to happen. Until then I prefer to ride when and where I can!
    Ride to live, live to ride!

  8. #583
    Senior Member Medic Zero's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Newspaperguy View Post
    I'm curious how long those of us here have been car light or car free. Have your views changed in that time?
    Car free/car light since 1999! I owned a car for about two years of that, but it didn't get used much for the first year, and basically not at all the second year. We occasionally borrow a friends car or rent a car to leave town, but that is only a few times a year.
    Everyone hates your lights. Throw them away & buy something civilized.

  9. #584
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    My wife and I are moving to New York City, and I hope to be able to sell my car. She will need to keep hers, as she commutes to many places in the metro area.
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

    Tom Reingold, noglider@pobox.com
    Residences: West Village, New York City and High Falls, NY
    Blogs: The Experienced Cyclist; noglider's ride blog

  10. #585
    Senior Member 1989Pre's Avatar
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    Noglider, do you have experience riding in cities? It's best if you do, but even if you don't, the three best things I can tell you are 1.) Watch out for car doors opening 2.) use a bike with suspension forks so that
    potholes do not rip the bars out of your hands 3.) Go slow.
    It should be a great experience riding in N.Y.C. Certainly the best way to see the city.

  11. #586
    Roadkill
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    I'm working towards being car-light (and getting the wife there too). I started commuting by bike back in March. For the first week I just rode in to work and took the bus back. I quickly got frustrated riding the slow bus knowing I could do the 9 mile ride, even as a noob, in about the same amount of time. So I started riding both ways, 2 or 3 days a week (I work 9-80s, i.e. 9 days over two weeks with a three day weekend every other week).

    In April, I found a used Trek Transit Deluxe trailer and started hauling the kids every Saturday down to the library (about 2.5 miles away) and in general around the neighborhood. After reading the Mr. Money Mustache Blog and realizing that driving around for short trips was just silly, I decided to up my game. I started making trips to the local grocery store with the kids and trailer in tow.

    By the time I hit May, I decided that I was fit enough to move to commuting only by bike. I just completed that month long goal with no car usage for commuting. June hasn't been as good, but that was due to a business trip. I've only missed one day this month while I was in town (used the car to haul all of my travel stuff back to the office). Also in May we got the wife a used bike so she can start riding. She isn't in as good of shape as I was when I started, but this week she has been pulling the kids to swim lessons every day (down by the library, 2.5 mi each way). To her credit, we do not live in a flat part of town. Travel in any direction more than a mile involves at least a few small hills. She has followed me on a few library trips and to the grocery store. She even took the kids to the doctor in the trailer (though that is close enough we usually walk the 15 min there).

    Also in May, I was confident enough that I was going to keep on biking that I dropped a few hundred on a new bike to replace my cheap Wal-Mart Schwinn MTB. Now that I have something that fits, I feel more comfortable and my commute times have been coming down. I started at 60 min the first week and worked down to 45. I kind of got stuck at 40-45 as I was topping out the gears and wasn't getting efficient strokes with my too-small-bike. Now I am in the 30s (a little on the high end in the AM, low end in the PM). I can see a steady increase in my average speed over time.

    Anyway, we have just entered the car-light waters, but already my wife and I are talking about getting rid of my VW Golf and just keeping the family car - eventually only for our once a month large grocery trips to the local commissary (about 12 miles away) and inter-city travel to see family. Our near term goal is to cut out all of our trips less than 5 miles. Who knows how far we can take it. I enjoy reading other peoples comments in this forum and the commuting forum and find a lot of hints and inspiration from you all.

    Thanks,
    AstroEng

  12. #587
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Welcome, AstroEng. I love your goal to eliminate car trips of <5 miles. For many families, this alone would make it possible to cut back to one car. If its not too personal, can I ask your reasons for becoming car light?


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  13. #588
    Roadkill
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    Thanks.

    It actually started with an interest in bike commuting. My wife was able to quit her job back at the end of the year to stay home with the kids. That meant no more carpooling together for us and stops at daycare. We have really nice weather most of the year (really, like 98% of the year) and I kind of felt bad about driving to work just myself after years of us carpooling. I figured March would be a good time (weather wise) to try it out. While reading on the internet about bike commuting, I stubled across a blog post by "Mr. Money Mustache" who talked about how silly it is to used a big-honkin vehicle (even my sub-compact Golf) to go short distances for things like groceries, library, etc. We had already been trying to walk for a lot of local stuff (park, some groceries, doctor), so this kind of fell in line.

    I have always like efficiency - I hate seeing the giant SUVs burning gas around town, and a pet peeve of mine was coworkers (in said giant SUVs) who worked in the same building with their spouses but didn't even try to carpool. I thought I was doing well driving my super-efficient diesel Golf and carpooling along with the local walking. Mr. Money Mustache got me thinking that even that was still being foolish. I could easily do <5 mile trips in about half an hour, use NO gas, and improve my health at the same time.

    That lead me to the term "Car Free" which eventually lead me here. The folks in the Commuting/LCF/Utility cycling forums even made my supposed efficient style life look much less so...

    So here I am, testing the waters, pulling my wife (gently) and kids for the ride. I don't know how far we'll go, but our diesel bill keeps on dropping.

  14. #589
    Senior Member 1989Pre's Avatar
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    Astro, behind all the savings, it seems like you are really enjoying your commutes and other travels on your bike. I'm happy for you. Thanks for doing your part in making this world less-polluted.
    Your wife does five miles of hills with a trailer and children? Wow. It sounds like she is serious about this, too.

  15. #590
    Roadkill
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    Yeah, she rode to her dance class on Saturday - 3.5 miles with 354 ft elevation gain. She had to stop a few times, but I kept telling her that she's doing great and most people wouldn't even try. After she got to class, I headed with the kids over to the library in that neighborhood and met her back home afterwards. She says she loves going downhill .

    The part that got me though was that after we met back home she wanted to bike over to a local restaurant for lunch. I think she's getting into it.

  16. #591
    Senior Member Zedoo's Avatar
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    I set a date to sell or junk my truck and be nearly mostly car free. I bought a beater for bus rides. Now I have a knee injury. I thought it was just temporary soreness, which was gone and now it's back. I will be mostly staying off bikes for a while until I get a medical opinion. I could heal in time for summer riding, or I could have a degenerative condition. Either way, this reminds me that being carfree requires healthy legs. I could heal completely, then slip on a wet floor and get another injury.

  17. #592
    Roadkill
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    Hopefully it's just a minor issue. Get riding-well soon!

  18. #593
    Senior Member 1989Pre's Avatar
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    Zedoo, you have a lot of fun to look forward to. What was it that brought on the knee injury? (That knowledge will help you to figure out the situation better and figure out a remedial plan. Don't worry, though: Most knee injuries are temporary. Get some olive oil on your hands and look for tension in your quadriceps. (Often, my knee pain is not my knee at all; it is from the quad muscle irritating the knee.) I am a runner, so I encounter this sometimes when I do not pay attention to the 10% rule.
    Thanks for taking a major step going carless! The money you save could be yours!!

  19. #594
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    i'm 34, i've never had a car, i reject to take the license, everything about driving motors makes me sick , however i do love-like to 'see' motorbikes and nice cars (old american cars, expensive motorbikes) but just take a look dont wanna get involved with driving madness, city traffic, oil costs, insurance, fights, buy again and again, etc.

    my first bike was when i was 4yo, now im investing a lot into my bike (trying to make it look the way i like)
    totally in love

    i love the breeze in the summer days, it's total freedom, it's pleasure, it's no stress (a part if 12 wild dogs are running behind u )
    i love the fresh in the winter (well, freezing cold)

    ps: i dont like the pros tours (Giro d'italia, tour de france and such kind of biking)
    that's like doped horses, modern life is already a mad racing, don't need to do that where im supposed to switch off.
    Last edited by Bicycler; 08-19-13 at 01:34 AM.

  20. #595
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    Living car lite/free and not liking it at all. I would much rather have my 4x4 or my Mustang GT. Yes biking is around is good but it doesn't have the fun factor of my GT.

  21. #596
    Senior Member 1989Pre's Avatar
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    Bicycler, your post makes a lot of sense to me. I am almost as much of a purist as you, although I do have my drivers license for the rare event when I have to rent a car. I hear what you are saying about old cars. They do look pretty, but whether it is old or new, it will make me fat and lazy. Also, of prime importance to me is the fact that bicycles emit no pollution. We can not afford to live in our own selfish ways anymore.
    I have the same dislike of wild, roving dogs that attack biclyclists. Also, I agree on the grand tours. I just don't see WADA or NBC or any of the riders or teams taking the issue of doping seriously enough. I lost interest in the sport because of that. I liked what you said about "switching off". That is what we all need to do more of.
    I ride with a good, healthy sense of paranoia.

  22. #597
    Senior Member GodsBassist's Avatar
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    I've been on BF for a while now but just recently saw this thread and figured since I went car free in the last few months, I'd use it.

    I started doing light commuting 5 years ago in Augusta, GA. Then moved to Arlington, VA which really allowed me to be car free for a year there. The cycling and transit options were great and I only drove out of the state a few times and talked about selling my car, but never really got the guts to do it. I wish I had. I moved into suburban-ish Maryland 4 years ago and have been car light the whole time. A few months ago, sat down and did the math on my 9 year old Ford Focus of which I had been the sole owner. I found out I had averaged 350 dollars a month on what was, at the time of purchase, literally the cheapest car on the lot. I was at a point where the only time I was driving was on the weekends, and even then I could go weeks without using the car. 350 dollars is about 10 typical taxi rides where I'm at; there's no way I'll spend that much money on emergency transportation. I donated the car and never looked back. I wish I had done it 5 years ago.


    I'm a single dad, and through this transition from fair weather commuter to car free, my now 7-year old son has gone from a trailer to trail-a-bike to his own bike. I'm looking at getting him a road bike, like a Fuji Ace 24. He has all the same rain gear that I do and only has to go 1 mile to school everyday anyway.


    I've found that a major key to going car free is putting yourself in the right area and situation. I think it's true that most people couldn't go car free tomorrow or would find it such a huge hurdle that it wouldn't be worth it. I selected an apartment 1 mile from my son's school, and 4 miles from work. Even in a suburban area I found what I needed to make it work, but definitely had to be purposeful about location.


    Bike Forums, and specifically LCF, is pretty much the only reason I was able to do what I have. Living car free seems crazy in context with the rest of society and without other people interested in the same thing, I probably would have blown it off as a pipe dream. I still think about it and can't believe I don't have a car that I can just drive off to wherever in. Then I talk to my co-workers about traffic, how far they have to drive, how much they pay to fill their gas tank, how they have to go to the gym later. Now they seem like the crazy ones.

  23. #598
    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GodsBassist View Post
    Bike Forums, and specifically LCF, is pretty much the only reason I was able to do what I have. Living car free seems crazy in context with the rest of society and without other people interested in the same thing, I probably would have blown it off as a pipe dream. I still think about it and can't believe I don't have a car that I can just drive off to wherever in. Then I talk to my co-workers about traffic, how far they have to drive, how much they pay to fill their gas tank, how they have to go to the gym later. Now they seem like the crazy ones.[/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT][/FONT][/COLOR]
    I'd second what you say. When I first started looking for a trailer to do the grocery shopping, people looked at me strangely. Why are you doing that? That's absurd.

    Years later, it seems a perfectly sane idea.

    But, without the encouragement of others, it would have been a more difficult undertaking.

  24. #599
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GodsBassist View Post
    A few months ago, sat down and did the math on my 9 year old Ford Focus of which I had been the sole owner. I found out I had averaged 350 dollars a month on what was, at the time of purchase, literally the cheapest car on the lot. I was at a point where the only time I was driving was on the weekends, and even then I could go weeks without using the car. 350 dollars is about 10 typical taxi rides where I'm at; there's no way I'll spend that much money on emergency transportation. I donated the car and never looked back. I wish I had done it 5 years ago.
    Congratulations on your liberation.

    I kept my car for 8 years. I put 50 miles on it total, 30 of those were driving it back from where I bought it. What I paid in insurance and fresh batteries probably put my costs per mile above $50.00 per mile. I did manage to sell it for more than I paid for it.
    "He who serves all, best serves himself" Jack London

    Quote Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
    I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.

  25. #600
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GodsBassist View Post
    I've been on BF for a while now but just recently saw this thread and figured since I went car free in the last few months, I'd use it.

    I started doing light commuting 5 years ago in Augusta, GA. Then moved to Arlington, VA which really allowed me to be car free for a year there. The cycling and transit options were great and I only drove out of the state a few times and talked about selling my car, but never really got the guts to do it. I wish I had. I moved into suburban-ish Maryland 4 years ago and have been car light the whole time. A few months ago, sat down and did the math on my 9 year old Ford Focus of which I had been the sole owner. I found out I had averaged 350 dollars a month on what was, at the time of purchase, literally the cheapest car on the lot. I was at a point where the only time I was driving was on the weekends, and even then I could go weeks without using the car. 350 dollars is about 10 typical taxi rides where I'm at; there's no way I'll spend that much money on emergency transportation. I donated the car and never looked back. I wish I had done it 5 years ago.


    I'm a single dad, and through this transition from fair weather commuter to car free, my now 7-year old son has gone from a trailer to trail-a-bike to his own bike. I'm looking at getting him a road bike, like a Fuji Ace 24. He has all the same rain gear that I do and only has to go 1 mile to school everyday anyway.


    I've found that a major key to going car free is putting yourself in the right area and situation. I think it's true that most people couldn't go car free tomorrow or would find it such a huge hurdle that it wouldn't be worth it. I selected an apartment 1 mile from my son's school, and 4 miles from work. Even in a suburban area I found what I needed to make it work, but definitely had to be purposeful about location.


    Bike Forums, and specifically LCF, is pretty much the only reason I was able to do what I have. Living car free seems crazy in context with the rest of society and without other people interested in the same thing, I probably would have blown it off as a pipe dream. I still think about it and can't believe I don't have a car that I can just drive off to wherever in. Then I talk to my co-workers about traffic, how far they have to drive, how much they pay to fill their gas tank, how they have to go to the gym later. Now they seem like the crazy ones.
    Your story is very inspirational. Thanks for sharing it!


    "Think Outside the Cage"

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