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  1. #1
    Senior Member sykerocker's Avatar
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    Living as car light as I'm going to get

    As I live in Montpelier, VA, 33 miles northwest of Richmond, 15 miles west of Ashland, doing bicycling and nothing else is obviously not practical. I'm not really that enthused about spending 1-1/2 to 2 hours each way commuting five days a week.

    Figured out a pretty fair compromise: Picked up a Qingqi 150cc scooter, which handles the commuting duties Tuesday thru Friday. Does 50mph easily, I'm still in break-in mode so I'm not pushing the engine to see what the top speed is. I'm assuming 55-60. Last fill-up was slightly over 76mpg. Only downside so far is that the tank is only one gallon, which means a gas stop every day and a half.

    Saturdays, I only work until 1500, so I grab one of my touring bikes and cycle to work. By the time I get home I've done the same amount of roadwork that I'd usually turn out on a Saturday afternoon AFTER work, and it's only 1630-1700, so I've got the early evening free.

    Bad weather, still got the pickup truck. Cold weather but dry roads and weather, there's two motorcycles, both set up for heated electric gear (I doubt the Qingqi's charging system would handle it).
    Syke

    "No wonder we keep testing positive in their bicycle races. Everyone looks like they're full of testosterone when they're surrounded by Frenchmen." ---Argus Hamilton

  2. #2
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    ^^^^ Works for me

    I cut a deal with my company to start using Amtrak to get back and forth from my jobsite in SC to my home in NC. I usually go home every week or two weeks depending on job flow and weather. Round trip on Amtrak costs as much as a one way trip in my crew cab dually for fuel (course Amtrak hasn't raised their rates yet either) I am working on the cycling to the jobsite from the hotel angle. It is doable, about 9 miles, but the roads around here are brutal, 4-8 lanes with multiple merges from both sides Due to the geography, poor prior planning, etc, parallel roads don't exist or double the mileage But I have been using my bike for afternoon rides, bar hopping and grocery shopping.

    IMHO every little bit helps.

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

    ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

    "Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
    RIDE, YOU FOOL, RIDE!"
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    "Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
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    Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
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  3. #3
    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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    "IMHO every little bit helps."

    Yes, it surely does. Just imagine what would happen if everyone did just 10%
    of the car actvites on cycles or walking. On a national scale the fuel savings
    would be enormous and help us all get used to a car light ,or car free, that
    awaits us all very soon.
    My preferred bicycle brand is.......WORKSMAN CYCLES
    I dislike clipless pedals on any city bike since I feel they are unsafe.

    Originally Posted by krazygluon
    Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
    Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?

  4. #4
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Just imagine what would happen if everyone did just 10% of the car actvites on cycles or walking.

    It would be so easy for people to do this in my neighbourhood, but it would mean giving up the 7 passenger status symbol. If you walk across the street to the coffeeshop, how will anyone know how impressive you are without seeing how much you've spent on a vehicle?
    There's also the matter of hills around me. I think a lot of people who might be swayed to cycling for errands are intimidated by the long climbs, not realizing that after a week of riding them, those climbs don't seem so bad anymore.
    What gives me hope is seeing the amount of kids in my development who ride their bikes to school. Hopefully it's a trend that will continue with them after they hit 16 and can drive.
    "I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
    - Mandi M.

  5. #5
    Change=inevitable. ?=+/- JosephPaul86's Avatar
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    With the scoot you'll find you can do your errands without the truck and become truck free eventually. I have a 150cc scoot I picked up on a trade in Craigslist. A little tinkering and it's running like a top. cruises at 50mph.

    Here's my scoot.




    safe riding.
    "And that's how the cookie crumbles."

  6. #6
    Senior Member sykerocker's Avatar
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    Oh heck, I'll have all the status I need: The scooter is blue and white, which means I can wear the matching helmet and leather jacket left over from the Ducati Paso I had a number of years ago.

    Totally truck free isn't going to happen.

    First off, living in the country means that I am the garbage company - both trash and recyclables. Rural Virginia counties have wonderful garbage dumps, er, 'transfer stations' that are able to handle bloody well anything should you want it properly recycled, or just have the garbage tossed into the dumpster. That's a trip every two weeks. Grocery shopping is weekly, and while the store is only five miles away, multiple trips for the week's groceries on either bicycle or scooter is impractical, and the multiple trips on the scooter will end up using more gasoline than one trip in the truck.

    And there are actual load haulings done periodically, which is why, if I'm going to have to have one motorized four wheeled vehicle, it's going to be a pickup truck not a car. I want the functionality. Happily, said pickup always gets in the low 20's on gas, verging up to the mid 20's on a highway trip with the cruise locked on. Having an automatic (wife doesn't drive a stick, has absolutely no desire to learn), I've always felt that's decent mileage.

    Car-free invariably means living in the city, which I've always assumed the majority of this group already does. 35 years ago, I lived in downtown Erie, PA, and got around like that 98% of the time. It worked very well, and very easily.

    Nowadays, I refuse to live in the city - or the suburbs. I'm strictly a country boy for reasons ranging from never having to lock the house when I go to work (lets see you city folks try that one on a regular basis) to enjoying listening to my neighbor's cattle as I pedal out to the road to pick up the morning paper.

    First impressions of the scooter are very good - mileage is in the low 70's, it handles the morning commute without worrying about some car running up my tailpipe, and I'm riding the center of the lane not hugging the edge. I'll just be watching on longevity. Never considered one of those 50cc jobs that can be run without a license. I've driven them, and they have absolutely no advantage over a bicycle - performance is only about 5mph better, which isn't worth it for such a massive cost increase.
    Syke

    "No wonder we keep testing positive in their bicycle races. Everyone looks like they're full of testosterone when they're surrounded by Frenchmen." ---Argus Hamilton

  7. #7
    Senior Member MrCjolsen's Avatar
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    Two wheels good.
    Four wheels bad.

  8. #8
    bragi bragi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CliftonGK1 View Post
    Just imagine what would happen if everyone did just 10% of the car actvites on cycles or walking.


    There's also the matter of hills around me. I think a lot of people who might be swayed to cycling for errands are intimidated by the long climbs, not realizing that after a week of riding them, those climbs don't seem so bad anymore.
    What gives me hope is seeing the amount of kids in my development who ride their bikes to school. Hopefully it's a trend that will continue with them after they hit 16 and can drive.
    I'm with you about the hills; after a few weeks of riding, for most peope hills are a non-issue, unless they're on they're on the way home from grocery shopping.

    About the kids riding after 16: that depends on the price of gas. I teach 8th graders, and for most of them, even the odd ones who ride bikes a lot, their dream is to get a car and drive all over creation. The only thing that gives them pause is the prospect of having to pay $50 to fill the tank; at that point, for some of them, public transportation, bikes, and maybe rides from Dad begin to look like a more attractive option well into high school. Or so they tell me. One thing that's kind of interesting, though is this: I asked the kids to tell me if they'd be willing to give up their ipods or their mobile phones to have a car, and every single one of them said absolutely not.
    If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

  9. #9
    Senior Member sykerocker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bragi View Post
    About the kids riding after 16: that depends on the price of gas. I teach 8th graders, and for most of them, even the odd ones who ride bikes a lot, their dream is to get a car and drive all over creation. The only thing that gives them pause is the prospect of having to pay $50 to fill the tank; at that point, for some of them, public transportation, bikes, and maybe rides from Dad begin to look like a more attractive option well into high school. Or so they tell me. One thing that's kind of interesting, though is this: I asked the kids to tell me if they'd be willing to give up their ipods or their mobile phones to have a car, and every single one of them said absolutely not.
    We're on the beginnings of something very interesting: A generation of adolescents to whom coolness definitely has a price limit. And that price limit is going to affect the definition of what is cool.

    I'm not surprised that pre-16ers are still thinking in terms of the automobile, as it's still the definition of adult freedom. However, having to spend increasing amounts of cash on a commodity (gasoline) that both has to be constantly replaced, and cannot be shown off - to the point that it cuts into purchases of items that only have to be bought once and can be shown off - is going to change what the kid wants to spend his hard earned/begged/borrowed/spoiled cash on.

    Not that the vehicular dream is going to die, however. Get to the point where we've got practical electric cars that are recharged at home and the cost goes on mommy and daddy's electric bill (not out of junior's weekend money) and I'll guarantee you that cars suddenly become awfully desirable again.
    Syke

    "No wonder we keep testing positive in their bicycle races. Everyone looks like they're full of testosterone when they're surrounded by Frenchmen." ---Argus Hamilton

  10. #10
    Cries on hills supton's Avatar
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    OP: if filling up the tank every day and a half bothers you, what about buying one or two 1 gallon gas cans, maybe three, and filling them up on the weekend? Store them in the shed (not in the house!), fill up the scooter when you get home at night. That way, you can take the truck out on the weekends to get gas for the scooter while taking trash to the dump, getting groceries, etc.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member sykerocker's Avatar
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    Not a bad idea. Happily, the guy who supplies our shop with the Qingqi's dropped by today with a couple more 50's. Turns out my scoot actually has a 1-1/2 gallon tank. The fuel gauge tends to hit 'E' with 1/3rd left.

    I'm not going to complain. One of these days when I have the time to pile a load of errands together, I'm going to strap a 1 gallon gas can to the rack and ride the scoot until it sputters out, noting my maximum mileage.

    Already have a small 'doghouse' twenty feet from the house where I store all the gasoline for the lawn and garden stuff, a spare propane tank, ten gallons of kerosene for the garage/shop heater, and about ten pounds of black powder. No, I've got nothing to do with ELF. I'm an ex-reenactor who still shoots muzzleloaders occasionally.
    Syke

    "No wonder we keep testing positive in their bicycle races. Everyone looks like they're full of testosterone when they're surrounded by Frenchmen." ---Argus Hamilton

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrCjolsen View Post
    Two wheels good.
    Four wheels bad.
    +1

    But it becomes...

    Two wheels good.
    Four wheels better.

  13. #13
    Senior Member smurfy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sykerocker View Post

    Nowadays, I refuse to live in the city - or the suburbs. I'm strictly a country boy for reasons ranging from never having to lock the house when I go to work (lets see you city folks try that one on a regular basis) to enjoying listening to my neighbor's cattle as I pedal out to the road to pick up the morning paper.
    Unfortunately in the future you'll probably not have any other choice. This is what happened with an area around here where everybody wanted to live out in the country and now it's no longer the country but a suburb. The scenario you are describing keeps disappearing, if you haven't already noticed.

    If we don't keep overpopulation in check (mainly due to immigration), in the not too distant future people may not be ALLOWED to live in the country unless they are actually farming the land or raising livestock.
    "You handle it like you handle a bicycle" - Jacques Rosay, Airbus A380 test pilot

  14. #14
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CliftonGK1 View Post
    It would be so easy for people to do this in my neighbourhood, but it would mean giving up the 7 passenger status symbol. If you walk across the street to the coffeeshop, how will anyone know how impressive you are without seeing how much you've spent on a vehicle?
    What's ironic is that they can be seen better if they're not hiding in a 7-seat status symbol.

    Maybe they can spend a few grand on a top-shelf race bike instead.

  15. #15
    Ya never know 'til ya try littledog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tightwad View Post
    "IMHO every little bit helps."

    Yes, it surely does. Just imagine what would happen if everyone did just 10%
    of the car actvites on cycles or walking. On a national scale the fuel savings
    would be enormous and help us all get used to a car light ,or car free, that
    awaits us all very soon.
    I have been riding motorcycles ever since I could afford one. Which unfortunately I can't do now. Been car light since the early 70's. It has paid off as my 31 year old son has never owned a car.

    He came to see me not as an "oddball" but as a positive example. I gave away my clunker car almost 3 years ago as it ate up what little money I had and I really don't like cars much anyways. When your job keeps moving farther away it becomes a neccessity though. As the jobs never lasted as the companies went under or moved overseas. Or out to the country to take advantage of lower cost land and taxes. Too far away to ride a bike and rental units were too expensive or non existant in the bedroom communities.

  16. #16
    500 Watts kill.cactus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CliftonGK1 View Post
    [B]What gives me hope is seeing the amount of kids in my development who ride their bikes to school. Hopefully it's a trend that will continue with them after they hit 16 and can drive.
    Not a trend that I've noticed at my school. Then again I go to a private school so kids here are a lot less likely to be motivated by cost. Luckily they're all climate change fanatics so we've retained some cyclists.

  17. #17
    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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    "Just imagine what would happen if everyone did just 10% of the car actvites on cycles or walking."
    "I'm with you about the hills; after a few weeks of riding, for most peope hills are a non-issue, unless they're on they're on the way home from grocery shopping. "

    Hills are , or should be, a non issue if you use the invention called "gears".
    My preferred bicycle brand is.......WORKSMAN CYCLES
    I dislike clipless pedals on any city bike since I feel they are unsafe.

    Originally Posted by krazygluon
    Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
    Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?

  18. #18
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Just imagine what would happen if everyone did just 10% of the car actvites on cycles or walking.
    Well, pretty much nothing would happen. A 10 % reduction would be at most a very tiny baby step. It would make little if any difference whatsoever to sprawl, climate change, foreign oil addiction or peak oil.

    But how about if everybody in the cities and suburbs did 90 % of their trips on bikes, walking, buses, etc. And how about if the people in rural areas used electric cars and trucks, powered by renewables. I think that's what it's going to take to make a real difference in the problems that were created by automobiles.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  19. #19
    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    Well, pretty much nothing would happen. A 10 % reduction would be at most a very tiny baby step. It would make little if any difference whatsoever to sprawl, climate change, foreign oil addiction or peak oil.

    But how about if everybody in the cities and suburbs did 90 % of their trips on bikes, walking, buses, etc. And how about if the people in rural areas used electric cars and trucks, powered by renewables. I think that's what it's going to take to make a real difference in the problems that were created by automobiles.
    Well, we can always hope Roody.
    My preferred bicycle brand is.......WORKSMAN CYCLES
    I dislike clipless pedals on any city bike since I feel they are unsafe.

    Originally Posted by krazygluon
    Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
    Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?

  20. #20
    Senior Member sykerocker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    Well, pretty much nothing would happen. A 10 % reduction would be at most a very tiny baby step. It would make little if any difference whatsoever to sprawl, climate change, foreign oil addiction or peak oil.

    But how about if everybody in the cities and suburbs did 90 % of their trips on bikes, walking, buses, etc. And how about if the people in rural areas used electric cars and trucks, powered by renewables. I think that's what it's going to take to make a real difference in the problems that were created by automobiles.
    Baby steps, then they start running . The change is happening, it's getting amazing what's going on now that gasoline seems to be permanently above the $3.00/gallon marque. Yesterday was a real good indication.

    Since I've started using the scooter on a daily basis, the shop where I work (Honda dealership) has picked up a few more and given then showroom space (as opposed to room in the parking lot for the 50cc jobs), and I spend a good third of my time at the parts counter backing up sales staff with customers who wanted to find out my experiences with the scoot. One was delivered by the end of the work day, yesterday, and a second is a good possibility for early this coming week.

    The interesting part is that most of the customers looking at them were originally coming in to look at a small (read: 250-600cc - yeah, in American that's considered SMALL) motorcycle, which only gives about 2/3rds the fuel mileage.

    Of course, nobody looking at buying one of these is talking the length of commute that I'm doing - most are in the 7-10 mile range. Yeah, all the folks I talked to yesterday would obviously be helped by bicycling over that distance instead. And every one of them would obviously be helped by cycling.

    If this keeps up, I'm going to talk to the sales manager regarding my share of the sales commission if the sales staff is going to start counting on me to back up their sales pitches.

    Like I said, baby steps. At least they're taking those.

    Oh yeah, and I'm still waiting for the electric vehicle with a guaranteed 60-80 mile range and less than 10 hour charge time, which is what I'd need for it to be practical on my part. My deposit will be down the day they announce delivery dates.
    Syke

    "No wonder we keep testing positive in their bicycle races. Everyone looks like they're full of testosterone when they're surrounded by Frenchmen." ---Argus Hamilton

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