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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 03-14-08, 05:29 PM   #1
Dr.PooLittle
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Suddenly Car Free!

So my wife's been telling me we should get rid of our car for a while. On Sunday it started running roughly; I took it to the shop and found out it needed $500 in repairs. It seems like, every few months, we're cramming a couple hundred bucks into the thing, not to mention gas and insurance. So I figured what the heck, I just got a new bike anyhow, and I'm ditching the car.
I've never NOT had a car, so tell me I'm not doing something crazy.
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Old 03-14-08, 05:34 PM   #2
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You're not doing something crazy.

There. How's that?

Next month I'll have my ninth anniversary of being car-free. Can't see why I'd want one any more.
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Old 03-14-08, 06:01 PM   #3
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Who'd of guessed that you'd get this kind of advice in a car-free forum, eh?
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Old 03-14-08, 06:12 PM   #4
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Our car died last April. At first I was going to get a replacement, but then we were going to move out of state soon, so I thought, just wait till we get there. A few months went by, and I started getting used to it. Then I started thinking of ways to keep this state going of being car free. I picked up a folding bike and started really enjoying it.

Now nearly a year later and in a new state with no car and a nice full size hybrid bike with pannier and lights, my whole mind set has changed. I actually don't need a car. I no longer need a car, and probably never did. I am going to get a 96 inch bike trailer and I will be set for picking up and/or moving nearly anything that I never could with my car.

So if you are thinking about doing this, give it a go, it might just be the best thing you have done in a long time. It does take some getting used to. Identify the locations of car rental places nearby, bus stop and routes, and train if you have one. Once you have that settled, you have every advantage and will never be stranded even for long distance stuff.

I am doing a lot more locally these days and exploring my surroundings in more depth than ever before, except maybe when I was a kid. And this type of exploration is what makes you a knowledgeable local that knows all the nooks and crannies that make your local area so interesting.
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Old 03-14-08, 07:16 PM   #5
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Congratulations! I actually became officially car free today as well. I owned a fullsize truck which I hadn't driven since sometime last year, and I really wanted to get rid of it before it gets even harder to sell a gas guzzler. Today I did, and it's the first time I haven't owned a car in 11 years. I feel like I just took off a 4400 pound backpack.
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Old 03-15-08, 02:06 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Dr.PooLittle View Post
I've never NOT had a car, so tell me I'm not doing something crazy.
Congratulations! Give it a few weeks, and it will probably end up being one of the sanest things you ever did. And remember, if you have any problems, just start a thread and we'll try to help you out.
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Old 03-15-08, 02:06 PM   #7
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Congratulations! I actually became officially car free today as well. I owned a fullsize truck which I hadn't driven since sometime last year, and I really wanted to get rid of it before it gets even harder to sell a gas guzzler. Today I did, and it's the first time I haven't owned a car in 11 years. I feel like I just took off a 4400 pound backpack.
Congrats to Lamplight too!
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Old 03-15-08, 06:29 PM   #8
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Congrats to Lamplight too!
Thanks! Ironically, today I spent about 8 miserable hours in a car because of a wedding I had to go to in East Tennessee. I drove there and my brother drove back...in pouring rain. My hatred for driving has now increased ten fold, and I'm not exaggerating.
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Old 03-15-08, 06:48 PM   #9
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I've never NOT had a car, so tell me I'm not doing something crazy.
I've had a car since I was 15 (34 now) and last summer my car sat out front and didn't move. I sold it in the fall and was car free for the first time ever. I borrowed my Dad's old van to renovate our shop and he said I could just keep it if I wanted. After the shop was done it hasn't moved since. I'm giving it back as soon as the snow piled around it melts!
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Old 03-15-08, 07:04 PM   #10
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Thanks! Ironically, today I spent about 8 miserable hours in a car because of a wedding I had to go to in East Tennessee. I drove there and my brother drove back...in pouring rain. My hatred for driving has now increased ten fold, and I'm not exaggerating.
Life sucks...then you are forced to drive! I get to feeling that way every now and again, like usually on Sundays or Fridays when I am driving to or from my jobsite that is 220 miles from home I usually try to alter my route a bit and take different roads. And I attempt to avoid the interstates as much as possible.

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Old 03-15-08, 07:44 PM   #11
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I used to like driving, now, I usually only drive when making deliveries the regular truck driver can't
manage, which means downtown. ( Yuck! )

You might want to look at joining a car share program, there will be times a car is the best option.
( until they wise up and build a decent infrastructure )

If you are anything like me, you will start to notice how car culture pervades ( and distorts ) everything.
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Old 03-15-08, 09:40 PM   #12
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As a young man, I left home before I had bought a car. Since then the only thing that I've found really required a car was women. If your wife is saying go car-free, I'd say go for it.
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Old 03-16-08, 08:33 PM   #13
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Thanks, everybody. I guess I'll see how it goes, can't be too hard 'till next winter. . . I'm not missing my car much right now, as driving loses all its fun in the city. Plus, my car feels like it handles like a marshmallow vs. my bike.
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Old 03-16-08, 09:14 PM   #14
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I got my license taken away a couple years ago due to speeding and sold my car. I didn't like not driving and having a car initially but got used to it pretty quick. I decided to get a bike because walking or taking the bus wasn't always the ideal option...this was a $90 chain store bike by the way. I found that cycling was a great way to get around for a lot of reasons.

Now, I don't see myself getting a car any time soon. I really don't care to have one. There are so many negatives to them and the only positive is they can take you long distances in a reasonable amount of time. I now have a true commuter bike that I paid good money (to me) for along with a lot of clothing for different weather and all the accessories I need. I truly like cycling now.

I'm glad that I was put into this situation because it brought cycling to my attention. Like most people in this society, I thought that cars were what you use to get around. It's nice to have found another option that's much cheaper, more enjoyable and improves ones health.
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Old 03-17-08, 12:17 PM   #15
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Life sucks...then you are forced to drive! I get to feeling that way every now and again, like usually on Sundays or Fridays when I am driving to or from my jobsite that is 220 miles from home I usually try to alter my route a bit and take different roads. And I attempt to avoid the interstates as much as possible.

Aaron
IOW, you drive pretty much the way you ride a bike!

Me too. I had to drive a friend in his car across town. I took my usual route, which included residential streets and even a couple alleys and a parking lot. My friend, who has lived here his whole life, said, "Where the hell are we? This is a stupid route. It's the same way you'd go if you were riding your bike, isn't it?"
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Old 03-17-08, 12:23 PM   #16
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I got my license taken away a couple years ago due to speeding and sold my car. I didn't like not driving and having a car initially but got used to it pretty quick. I decided to get a bike because walking or taking the bus wasn't always the ideal option...this was a $90 chain store bike by the way. I found that cycling was a great way to get around for a lot of reasons.

Now, I don't see myself getting a car any time soon. I really don't care to have one. There are so many negatives to them and the only positive is they can take you long distances in a reasonable amount of time. I now have a true commuter bike that I paid good money (to me) for along with a lot of clothing for different weather and all the accessories I need. I truly like cycling now.

I'm glad that I was put into this situation because it brought cycling to my attention. Like most people in this society, I thought that cars were what you use to get around. It's nice to have found another option that's much cheaper, more enjoyable and improves ones health
.
If you got that many speeding tickets, I bet you used to enjoy driving. If so, this story proves that even a gung-ho driver can learn to prefer cycling and being carfree.

(OTOH, maybe the speeding tickets meant that you hated driving so much that you couldn't wait to get it over with! )
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Old 03-17-08, 01:10 PM   #17
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If you got that many speeding tickets, I bet you used to enjoy driving. If so, this story proves that even a gung-ho driver can learn to prefer cycling and being carfree.

(OTOH, maybe the speeding tickets meant that you hated driving so much that you couldn't wait to get it over with! )
I wasn't actually all that gung-ho. I was a cop magnet. I swear! I would ride with people doing much worse than I and they wouldn't have issues. They even seemed able to talk their way out of tickets where I was never able to.
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Old 03-17-08, 02:51 PM   #18
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I tip my cycling cap to all of you that are car free. I am jealous! You guys give me inspiration that I might be there one day...
Roody - I love your comment about taking the same routes by car as you do by bike. I find myself doing the same thing sometimes. There are actually a couple of places that I would not know how to find by car, as I bike there utilizing a few bike paths.
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Old 03-17-08, 05:44 PM   #19
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IOW, you drive pretty much the way you ride a bike!

Me too. I had to drive a friend in his car across town. I took my usual route, which included residential streets and even a couple alleys and a parking lot. My friend, who has lived here his whole life, said, "Where the hell are we? This is a stupid route. It's the same way you'd go if you were riding your bike, isn't it?"

Yup! I am always looking for alternate routes to and from various places, always evaluating them as potential cycling routes But sometimes it backfires...like the time I almost got my crew cab dually stuck in a narrow alley had to back out about 2 blocks

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Old 03-17-08, 06:04 PM   #20
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If you got that many speeding tickets, I bet you used to enjoy driving. If so, this story proves that even a gung-ho driver can learn to prefer cycling and being carfree.

(OTOH, maybe the speeding tickets meant that you hated driving so much that you couldn't wait to get it over with! )
If you can believe it, I was once very into cars. I loved looking at them, driving them, and cleaning them. But now I hate all of that with a passion.
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Old 03-17-08, 06:34 PM   #21
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These days, on any Saturday you can walk into a car dealership and drive out. Going carless for a while, especially in a big city, seems low-risk (your circumstances may dictate otherwise of course). So give it a shot. Just tell yourself that you're busy this week, you'll go carless this week, and next Saturday you'll go car shopping. Repeat that process every week. While you are doing that, start putting into a savings account the monthly car insurance premium plus maybe $85 a month ($1000 a year) for the repairs you are not making. Then you can make a game out of seeing how long you can go without getting a car and how high you can pump up that savings account. I predict that the longer you can hold out and not buy a new car, the easier it will be to go without one. (For full disclosure, I have two kids and two cars, so I am NOT speaking from experience, only from fantasy.)
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Old 03-17-08, 11:03 PM   #22
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Shortly before I gave up the car, I calculated that I was spending about $4000 a year on driving, even though I owned a very modest vehicle. Now my local transportation expenses are more like $400 a year. I have friends who still spend close to $8000 a year on cars for their families and then complain because they're in debt all the time. From a purely economic point of view, car ownership is just dumb. Also, if you live in an urban area, where distances tend to be small (< 15 mi) and transportation choices many and varied, driving a car is mostly uneccessary. Most of my trips are <5 mi, and at that distance, even the time difference between driving and riding a bike is pretty much zero. Just this evening, a friend and I left my workplace to go to a restaurant 3 miles away, he in his car and me on my bike, and we got to the front door at exactly the same time.

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Old 03-17-08, 11:52 PM   #23
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We are a single car family with three small kids. We were car free(ish) while our car was broken in our driveway for a week and in the shop for three weeks. It was a tough time of year to be car free, but even with three small kids in the suburbs it was doable. I don't think it's something we would choose at this point in our lives, but if not for the kids I think it would be great. If you're in a position to try it I say go for it, it was a valuable experience for us.
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Old 03-18-08, 03:20 AM   #24
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Whilst on the subject of carfree travel...happened to notice something...Google Maps has added a couple of nice new options, it has the option to "avoid highways" by checking that box it will take you away from the Interstates, it doesn't however take you off of all major roads. Also at least in the UK it also allows you to check the option for "take Public Transit"...SWEET!

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Old 03-18-08, 11:13 AM   #25
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Going carless may seem scary... people seem way too chained to them. I told myself even if I did own a car, I'd probably still bike to work every day.

I went carless too not by choice, to be honest. My ex got it when we split up, and in exchange, I got all the furniture and the cats. Then again, he needed the car, I did not. I bought a bike and now walking to work or taking the bus is much too boring. I don't worry about being low on gas. I don't worry about finding and paying for parking. I also don't worry about watching my weight. I can pretty much eat anything (within reason, say no to 3000 calorie burgers!), and work it all off in a day.
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