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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 04-05-08, 06:25 PM   #1
chainlife
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Peer pressure

I've been carfree for the greater part of a year, only driving when deep snowfall covers the ground. Public Transportation is more then a mile away, "which sucks at times". I know a year isn't real long, and there are others who have been carfree all their lives. So here's some of the peer pressure. I'm a younger rider and always seem to be carrying a bag. but at times like going out to dinner, church, dates the "bag" draws stairs from people. but at the same time there's times when i need to carry rain pants, lock, light and other gear.
while young people are buying trendy clothing, Ipods and such, I'm buying more practical clothing for riding and using them for street clothing to. A part of me wants to fit in to a "drivers world", but then again i don't want to purchase my world or have it marketed to me.
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Old 04-05-08, 06:46 PM   #2
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OK, I think I got your point although it's not necessarily as clear as you meant it to be.

You seem to have reached a point where you're going to have to decide: Are you an individual, or a lemming? By your currently chosen course of action, you're going against a lot of usual (I refuse to necessarily call it normal) behavior, and of course that's going to make life a bit difficult.

You've reached the hard part: Do you buckle under, or say to hell with it and follow your own path? And you're the only person who can answer it. Now, once you take a deep breath and make that decision, and assuming you're going to stick with your planned (more difficult, not quite socially usual) path, and realize you have the determination to stick it out . . . . . . . it's all downhill from there.

Just believe in yourself (whoever yourself happens to be) and go with it. The rest is just implementing your decision.
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Old 04-05-08, 07:31 PM   #3
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I agree with the sykerocker, but will also say that humans are social animals and there is nothing ultimately wrong with trying to align yourself with the rest of the society - after all it's a survival tactic we've inherited from our precavemen ancestors and is dang difficult to resist. As long as you don't actually lose sight of who you truly are, you can certainly try to look a little bit more "normal" and "belonging" in society.

If you want, here are some tips on specific issues.

Bag: I am surprised it's an issue at all. Surely even car drivers carry a bag sometimes, no? And in some places carrying bags, particularly messenger bags (!) is downright fashionable (but I guess we're not talking about a place like that). You can try to make your bag smaller and more "cool" looking, whatever is considered cool by the particular crowd you're trying to impress. A lot of the time you can probably make do without a bag: many lights fit in a pocket, lock can be bungie-corded to a rack. There is raingear that folds very small. If theft is not a big problem in your community, you can probably leave lots of stuff on your bike - like a frame pump and panniers.

You can buy clothing that is both fashionable and practical. I, actually, didn't know much about that because I care primarily for comfort and am completely oblivious to what even IS trendy at any given time. But I recently made friends with a girl who manages to look unique and fabulous in clothes that are very practical and comfortable - and she's a bike commuter and a competitive cyclist. As for iPods, I fail to grasp how bike commuting would prevent you from buying them. Hell, the savings you get when commuting by bike should make it easier for you to buy stuff like that.

Ultimately, though, value yourself for who you are, and ask yourself why you crave approval of the crowd. Is their opinion really worth so much to you?

Last edited by chephy; 02-22-09 at 11:27 PM.
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Old 04-05-08, 08:14 PM   #4
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Bag: I am surprised it's an issue at all. Surely even car drivers carry a bag sometimes, no? And in some places carrying bags, particularly messenger bags (!) is downright fashionable (but I guess we're not talking about a place like that). You can try to make your bag smaller and more "cool" looking, whatever is considered cool by the particular crowd you're trying to impress. A lot of the time you can probably make do without a bag: many lights fit in a pocket, lock can be bungie-corded to a rack. There is raingear that folds very small. If theft is not a big problem in your community, you can probably leave lots of stuff on your bike - like a frame pump and panniers.
I see a lot of younger people heading to work with daypacks, so I rigged up a daypack that would fit on my bicycle rack. You can also buy much the same from mec.ca in Canada and you can purchase higher end ones from both Ortlieb and Arkel. These daypack/panniers are large enough to hold a change of clothes, lunch, raingear and enough bicycle bling to rebuild your bike.
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Old 04-05-08, 08:36 PM   #5
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I was young and carfree once. I understand the peer pressure. Dating was the worst, women seemed to expect me to have a car as proof of my earning potential.

My best advice is to invest the money you save by being carfree. By the time you are my age you will be so far ahead of them it isn't funny. Their iPods will be broken, their clothes will be out of fashion. You are so wise; it's hard to see it when everyone else is being a fool.
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Old 04-05-08, 11:39 PM   #6
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Just tell them that you are on the cutting edge of fashion! In a couple of years, everyone will be imitating your "cool look".

Google "peak oil" and you will see that this prediction may not be too far off.
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Old 04-06-08, 07:19 PM   #7
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the feedback has been encouraging to read! I think part of the issues we as younger or once younger generations have to deal with is pressure of the times. That has not changed and won't. I think utilizing clothing that can be used for mutiple uses is a smart move for atlethic people like myself, not to mention the saving of buy once. The fact is that Gas Prices have gone up, as the cost of living too. I used to think people on bikes were drunks, poor or whatever, but being commuter now and looking at drivers, my view has changed. to sum all my jargon up, it's to bad young people are targeted as if they were being hunted. it's to bad television has become a commercial "violent and poor qaulity". it's to bad jobs interviewers always ask if you have a car, but look at you different we you explain that you ride your bike!
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Old 04-06-08, 07:31 PM   #8
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Are you sure the looks you're getting aren't simple, non-judgemental curiosity? I carry a big yellow waterproof backback with me wherever I go, and pretty much no one notices it after a quick look. I even carry it into nice restaurants and clubs, and it's a non-issue. Forgive me for being so blunt, but maybe you're just being self-conscious. Do what you think is the right thing to do for you, do it with an air of confidence, and the vast majority of people will totally accept your choices. If they don't, then they're just idiots, and at that point just smile and carry on with your day. It's okay to want some people to approve of you, but make sure they're at least people that deserve your respect first.
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Old 04-07-08, 04:11 AM   #9
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Or you could just move to a civilized country where there is nothing strange about biking or using public transport.
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Old 04-07-08, 06:10 PM   #10
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Yeah, just act confident. People might label you as eccentric, but that helps with dating a certain kind of person and making certain kinds of friends. And those are the friends and dates you want, since you are now on the outside of mainstream Americana, whether that was your intent or no.
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Old 04-07-08, 07:01 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by chainlife View Post
I've been carfree for the greater part of a year, only driving when deep snowfall covers the ground. Public Transportation is more then a mile away, "which sucks at times". I know a year isn't real long, and there are others who have been carfree all their lives. So here's some of the peer pressure. I'm a younger rider and always seem to be carrying a bag. but at times like going out to dinner, church, dates the "bag" draws stairs from people. but at the same time there's times when i need to carry rain pants, lock, light and other gear.
while young people are buying trendy clothing, Ipods and such, I'm buying more practical clothing for riding and using them for street clothing to. A part of me wants to fit in to a "drivers world", but then again i don't want to purchase my world or have it marketed to me.
I'm a young person as well and can sympathize with some of your experiences. When I commute to work I carry my dress clothes in my bag and change at work. I extend this method to other destinations as well. Going to dinner at a fancy restaurant? Change in the bathroom and check your bag at the coat check. Going on a date? Consider a "nicer looking" bag than your everyday bag and ride slowly so you can wear nice clothes without ruining them. I see middle-aged guys toddling along in suits sometimes downtown. Funny but effective. Anyway, if girls can carry a purse, you should get to carry your bag, fair is fair right?

I say find some more pride in your lifestyle. If you do, those looks can be returned with a level gaze and you'll realize most are either jealous or curious. When on a bike, its tempting to see car culture as monolithic and ignore the enormous commonality you have with everyone else, regardless of their mode of transportation.

BTW, I'm only car-light and respect your determination.
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Old 04-08-08, 12:26 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Artkansas View Post
I was young and carfree once. I understand the peer pressure. Dating was the worst, women seemed to expect me to have a car as proof of my earning potential.

My best advice is to invest the money you save by being carfree. By the time you are my age you will be so far ahead of them it isn't funny. Their iPods will be broken, their clothes will be out of fashion. You are so wise; it's hard to see it when everyone else is being a fool.
That is perhaps the best advice I have heard in a REALLY long time, kudos to you.

Church is the last place that any should be giving stares because you carry a bag or dress a little different. A spiritual home has nothing to do with fashion. After all, the guy standing at the front of the church is usually wearing a robe.

As for dates, if they can't see past the lack of a car or the use of a bag as a tool for everyday living then they aren't worth your time. I ran into this same problem when I was younger and asked a former coworker (older fellow who also commuted by bike) how come all the lifted-truck, trendy wannabe's had new girls hanging off their arm every time I saw them while I was never so lucky. His reply was "You may not get as many girls, but I assure you they are of better quality."

Peer pressure is all around you all the time and it never gets easier. It still gets me down sometimes. But realistically there are going to be people who look up to you and hold you in high regard because of your uncompramising values and unique qualities.
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Old 04-08-08, 03:04 PM   #13
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One of the nice things about being old (52 in my case) is that you care less and less about the first impression you make, and value the long term impact you have on loved ones much more.

As for the bag, would a locking trunk bag that you leave on the bike work for you? Here is one that would scare off any thief.
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