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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 04-16-08, 08:57 AM   #1
EKO
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I Just Got Nominated to Live Car Free

My roomate (who had the only working vehicle) just got a job 2.5 hrs away. I'm in the middle of building my Camaro as a toy and recently sold my Jeep. I've been commuting by bike for about a month now, but every now and then I had to call in the cavalry. Any suggestions for a living car free noob?
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Old 04-16-08, 10:07 AM   #2
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How far do you live from your job?
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Old 04-16-08, 10:07 AM   #3
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Have a way to carry stuff. A rack and panniers will do the job to start, but they don't solve every problem. My long term ideal would be a trailer *and* a decent cargo bike, so I can handle bulky loads (case of beer or value pack of TP) as easily as dense ones (groceries!).

Have a good rain setup. You won't get rained on often, but good rain gear makes it a lot less unpleasant (matter of fact, I like riding in rain most of the time). Fenders for the bike, a good rain jacket for you, maybe a rain cover for your helmet or rain pants for your legs. You don't need special bike specific rain gear, just something durable and sensible for your local conditions. You may want to have a way to protect your Stuff from rain, but often a plastic liner bag will do the job of waterproofing a pannier.

Learn your local mass transit system. They are *not* intuitive by and large, and they can make life much easier when you know how to use 'em. Depending on where you are, it may be worth springing for a bus pass.

Have a grocery store within walking distance if at all possible. You can't always ride your bike, and close by groceries make life a *lot* easier. It doesn't need to be a full on supermarket, just a place that will sell you food that you like to eat, even when you're sick as a dog or falling over exhausted.
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Old 04-16-08, 10:12 AM   #4
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Well, sounds like you have a good start. The more experienced you are, the less you'll call the cavalry. Without knowing more specifics about your situation, it's hard to know what to say. Me, I usually ride a rigid mountain bike that has been upgraded with street tires, fenders, racks and lights. It gets me down the hilly-potholed streets of Little Rock. I shop 2 to 3 times a week on my way home from work.

You are past the worst of the winter so that shouldn't be a problem. When the rain is cold, I wear a raincoat. When it is warm, a raincoat will be too hot, so I just get wet and pack everything in plastic shopping bags within my backpack and bring a change of clothes to work.
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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.
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Old 04-16-08, 10:21 AM   #5
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I would go through these archives on this forum, they provide great inspiration on those "rough" days. Notice the lack in logic in using a machine that weighs many times more than one's self. With oil being $114 a barrel, you will most certainly enjoy your savings from not getting gas as much. Ask your friend how much he spends on gas a month, the answer should provide more motivation. It takes time to adapt, but soon you won't notice a difference. A well tuned bicycle will always make the ride enjoyable and irresistible. And don't worry about what people say(except the person that signs your pay check) Best Wishes!
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Old 04-16-08, 01:06 PM   #6
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I think it's OK to "call in the cavalry" from time to time. But each time you do consider using a car, stop and think for a minute, "How could I do this task without a car?" Chances are, you'll start coming up with more and more alternatives. I used to bribe friends to drive me pretty regularly, but now it almost never happens.

Also, if you cant' think of an alternative to a car, start a thread here. I bet people will come up with lots of options, some of them even useful.
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Old 04-16-08, 01:54 PM   #7
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Look at the bright side: What you're not going to spend in gas will get that Camaro on the road all the faster, and all the nicer.
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Old 04-16-08, 02:03 PM   #8
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Look at the bright side: What you're not going to spend in gas will get that Camaro on the road all the faster, and all the nicer.
Yeah, and then he can start wasting all his money on gas again, and with an old muscle car that pollutes even more than newer cars. What a stupid waste.
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Old 04-17-08, 10:04 AM   #9
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Thanks for all the replies, everyone.

I live 8-10 miles from work, depending on where they are sending me for the day. I've already got a rack and panniers on order, they'll be here tomorrow. I do need to get some rain gear (it is supposed to rain this afternoon). Mass transit in Wichita consist of buses that run for about 10 minutes/day, but I can use them to get within .5 mile of home and .75-1.25 miles of work, so the getting wet will be kept to that. The grocery store is about 1.5 miles away, not too big a deal (unless I have a fever or something).

I do realize the benefits of bike commuting, and the fuel/insurance savings have been awesome. There are still some times when I wish I still had my Jeep for things, like going to pick up a new desk for my computer, moving, or getting Camaro parts (like an engine block) around. As far as what people think, I find it a bit amusing. Everyone at work pities me because they think I can't afford a car or something. If I wanted a car, I would have put the Camaro in storage and pulled the Jeep when I moved to Wichita. Even now, I could just go buy a car if I wanted to, but I *choose* not to. Granted, it was nice to have that "safety net" with my roomate's car, but I'm pretty confident I'll get along. When people tell me I look silly, I tell them I don't look any sillier than they do at the gas pump or paying their car insurance bill.

And lastly, as to getting the Camaro back on the road, it is not my intention to stop biking when the car is done. It is my toy that I race at sactioned events on the track. I may take it for a cruise every now and then, but it will NEVER be a commuter car or a utility vehicle. I won't be wasting money on gas again. When it was running, I had it tuned well enough that it passed emissions regulations WITHOUT all the emissions equipment installed. It doesn't pollute as much as you think. I will admit that someone like me is much more the exception that the rule, however.

EDIT: FWIW, when it's done, it will be running on E85. There is the environmental benefit, but honestly I'm doing it because you can only get 91 octane here, and race gas is expensive ($7 or $8/gal last I checked).
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Old 04-17-08, 03:05 PM   #10
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You might enjoy the Kansas City Outlaw Gravity Races coming up later this month. If you check in with them, you might be able to get a ride there.
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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.
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