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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 09-08-08, 01:19 PM   #1
Roody
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Hope for the next carfree generation

I happened to ride a few miles with the 17 year old boyfriend of a friend's daughter. This kid was cool. He rides about 35 miles a day on his BMX bike with fat tires. Calvin's not a typical middle class student. He grew up in inner city Lansing, and as far as I can tell, he's had no parental guidance for at least the last 5 years. (My friend does seem to be a surrogate mother for him in some ways.) He's a dropout, but working toward his diploma in a correspondence course. He isn't working now, but wants to find a job and asked me for some leads.

One thing that amused me was that Calvin comes up with a lot of the same things we say on this forum, even though he hasn't had any contact with the carfree "movement". For example, he told me, "My bike is my car." Later he said, "It's good to have one less car on the road...and also one less teenage driver."

Riding and talking with this kid made me feel good about the future of carfree lifestyles. He said he's into cycling for the long haul, and asked me some questions about racing and touring. Do any of you know kids who make you feel good about the future?
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Old 09-08-08, 01:48 PM   #2
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My son has made the choice! Currently he is Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK and lives car free. I did get an email from him the other day asking about the best type of bike for his needs. He found a nice Raleigh 20 in the local thrift and is going to upgrade it. He made the choice his Sophomore year in college to not have a car. He utilized mass transit, ZipCar as well as mom and dad. Now he is totally on his own and still prefers the carfree lifestyle.

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Old 09-08-08, 02:56 PM   #3
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Very encouraging. I'm afraid there aren't many (any?) around here like that. I was "into" bicycles before I got my driver's license. All of my friends were obsessed with getting their license, and I couldn't understand why. Unfortunately, after I got mine all I wanted to do was drive. That's just about my only regret in life.
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Old 09-08-08, 03:02 PM   #4
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Very encouraging. I'm afraid there aren't many (any?) around here like that.
How can you be sure? If I hadn't had the opportunity to meet Calvin, I would have thought he was just another teenager bopping around on a BMX bike.

BTW, can you imagine riding 35 miles on a BMX? I would feel like a pretzel.
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Old 09-08-08, 03:14 PM   #5
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How can you be sure? If I hadn't had the opportunity to meet Calvin, I would have thought he was just another teenager bopping around on a BMX bike.

BTW, can you imagine riding 35 miles on a BMX? I would feel like a pretzel.
True, I can't be sure. I'm probably just feeling pessimistic today. Although, in this part of the country it's a safe bet!

And no, I can barely stand to ride a BMX bike for a few hundred feet. A couple of my coworkers have BMX bikes and we ride occasionally, and I don't see how they can take it!
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Old 09-08-08, 03:46 PM   #6
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My 20-something son watched me be car free for a couple of years. He didn't grok it for a while. Then the light came on, he sold his pickup, and he went car free too.

After graduating from college, he rode his bike to Georgia & Azerbaijan. Flying the ocean segments. Had to abort a round the world tour attempt because the war in Georgia messed up the visa & transportation situation in that part of the world so badly. (For starters, the road he came in on was bombed out and occupied by the Russian army.)

He's somewhere in North Carolina right now on his way back to Texas, keeping an eye out for a place to settle where he can continue to be car free. He understands quite well that if being car free is a goal, it requires that you make the appropriate life choices to support it.
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Old 09-10-08, 12:34 AM   #7
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good to hear - i hope there are many youngsters like this out there
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Old 09-10-08, 12:50 PM   #8
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After graduating from college, he rode his bike to Georgia & Azerbaijan.
I hear Azerbaijan has some of the hottest woman in the world.
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Old 09-10-08, 03:48 PM   #9
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I hear Azerbaijan has some of the hottest woman in the world.
Yeah, but in that part of the world you have to make it past twenty male brothers and cousins first.
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Old 09-10-08, 03:56 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
I happened to ride a few miles with the 17 year old boyfriend of a friend's daughter. This kid was cool. He rides about 35 miles a day on his BMX bike with fat tires. Calvin's not a typical middle class student. He grew up in inner city Lansing, and as far as I can tell, he's had no parental guidance for at least the last 5 years. (My friend does seem to be a surrogate mother for him in some ways.) He's a dropout, but working toward his diploma in a correspondence course. He isn't working now, but wants to find a job and asked me for some leads.

One thing that amused me was that Calvin comes up with a lot of the same things we say on this forum, even though he hasn't had any contact with the carfree "movement". For example, he told me, "My bike is my car." Later he said, "It's good to have one less car on the road...and also one less teenage driver."

Riding and talking with this kid made me feel good about the future of carfree lifestyles. He said he's into cycling for the long haul, and asked me some questions about racing and touring. Do any of you know kids who make you feel good about the future?
There might not be a real choice for the teens if the driving age is actually raised to 18:

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0BUE/is_14_138/ai_n17212969
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