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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 02-19-09, 07:09 AM   #1
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LCF versus auto ownership

i think i finally figured out why people in my neighborhood don't use bikes
i live on long island and you can only use your bike about 75 percent of the year due to weather conditions such as snow/ice and extreme cold. so if you have to go to work every day and 25 percent of the time you are using a taxi the expense of the taxi fees equals what the expense of car ownership would be.
so i don't see people switching to bikes even if the economy gets worse.
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Old 02-19-09, 07:23 AM   #2
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I take it there's no public transit there?

People will switch when gas hits $10/gallon. And it will.
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Old 02-19-09, 07:40 AM   #3
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i think i finally figured out why people in my neighborhood don't use bikes
i live on long island and you can only use your bike about 75 percent of the year due to weather conditions such as snow/ice and extreme cold. so if you have to go to work every day and 25 percent of the time you are using a taxi the expense of the taxi fees equals what the expense of car ownership would be.
so i don't see people switching to bikes even if the economy gets worse.
Tons of people bike in snow/ice and "extreme cold" myself included. (keep in mind extreme cold for NY might be another year round commuters idea of a spring day) It's just a matter of having the right equipment and being prepared for it.
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Old 02-19-09, 08:00 AM   #4
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I take it there's no public transit there?

People will switch when gas hits $10/gallon. And it will.
public transportation for most areas is non-existant in these parts, so people use cars
as far as riding in the snow/ice and extreme cold conditions i don't think reasonable people would go for that.
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Old 02-19-09, 08:17 AM   #5
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i don't think reasonable people would go for that.
What makes a person 'reasonable' ?
Moving to a suburb ?
Not caring about their community beyond themselves ?

Just wondering...........
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Old 02-19-09, 09:03 AM   #6
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you can only use your bike about 75 percent of the year due to weather conditions such as snow/ice and extreme cold.
Tell that to someone who's biked year round in Anchorage, Alaska.

(like me or Cosmoline)
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Old 02-19-09, 09:21 AM   #7
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i see some people here think it is okay to bike when there is ice on the roads.
isn't it dangerous to ride on the ice. i would think you wouldn't get traction if you rode on the ice with bike tires. i would think there is a greater chance of slipping and falling if you ride on ice,no?
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Old 02-19-09, 09:23 AM   #8
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It's no more dangerous than riding on ice in a car...
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Old 02-19-09, 09:51 AM   #9
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What makes a person 'reasonable' ?
Moving to a suburb ?
Not caring about their community beyond themselves ?

Just wondering...........
yes unfortunately you just summed it up....
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Old 02-19-09, 09:53 AM   #10
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i see some people here think it is okay to bike when there is ice on the roads.
isn't it dangerous to ride on the ice. i would think you wouldn't get traction if you rode on the ice with bike tires. i would think there is a greater chance of slipping and falling if you ride on ice,no?
With carbide studded tires the chances of you tires slipping on ice are significantly reduced. I personally have never had my tires slip on ice...
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Old 02-19-09, 10:29 AM   #11
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New York might be a different world. I myself do ride in the winter, but I have a "back way" that keeps me off the busy streets, and I take that way when the busy streets are not plowed to the curb. My own "safety protocol" says that I do not go on the busy streets when they have snow on them, since I have fallen on them. On the back way, there is so little traffic that I feel perfectly safe even if the streets are slippery.

In a more crowded city, there might not be a non-busy street, and therefore one might have to ride on a busy street that is also slippery. I could see where one might not want to do that.

I think that one has to cultivate a bit of an attitude to keep the motivation up for riding in the winter. I personally make it a game to see how bad things have to get before I won't go. That makes me sort of welcome the cold and the snow so I can test my equipment.
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Old 02-19-09, 11:46 AM   #12
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I think that one has to cultivate a bit of an attitude to keep the motivation up for riding in the winter. I personally make it a game to see how bad things have to get before I won't go. That makes me sort of welcome the cold and the snow so I can test my equipment.
LOL... I play the same game, so far this year I am winning... My only car commuting day was yesterday because I thought might have a buyer interested in looking at my car...
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Old 02-19-09, 01:14 PM   #13
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I biked year round in Montana winter with temperatures down to -5 + wind chill. Bikes can be used year round in all conditions. My car at the time was about as safe/controlled as biking.

Remember people go skiing and the like in these conditions every day (I wore my ski gear while biking). People can exist outdoors at temps below 40 degrees. Why is biking in 20 degree weather nuts and skiing perfectly reasonable?
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Old 02-19-09, 02:09 PM   #14
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public transportation for most areas is non-existant in these parts, so people use cars
as far as riding in the snow/ice and extreme cold conditions i don't think reasonable people would go for that.
A large number of the people on BF, then, could then be labeled as 'unreasonable' by those standards. (which may even be accurate )

Here in the DC area it snowed maybe two or three times this year and I didn't miss a day on my non-studded 28's every single day I went to work... I'd definitely buy studded tires if I lived farther north. As far as the cold goes I read a quote recently (I'm summarizing) about there not being bad weather... just bad clothing.
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Old 02-19-09, 03:22 PM   #15
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A large number of the people on BF, then, could then be labeled as 'unreasonable' by those standards. (which may even be accurate )

Here in the DC area it snowed maybe two or three times this year and I didn't miss a day on my non-studded 28's every single day I went to work... I'd definitely buy studded tires if I lived farther north. As far as the cold goes I read a quote recently (I'm summarizing) about there not being bad weather... just bad clothing.
Good point. But I wonder how many people are in the position to ride a bike in such weather? How many are physically able and for how many is it practical? If you have an infant and need to drop them off on your way to work would you submit them to the cold? Is it uncaring to the rest of society to have that concern? If this seems contentious just ignore the post.

It would be nice if more people decided to commute by bike but from a realistic point of view it is doubtful. We are talking about a society that has a remote control to change TV stations from 6 to 12 feet away rather than get up to do so. Even if gas hits 10 bucks that doesnít mean people will switch to bikes. It only means that someone will come up with an alternative method of propelling transportation pods from point A to point B and keep the passenger out of the weather while doing it.

For my Eastern bike riding brothers and sisters I will admit to being a bit of a wuss in that I donít ride in the rain. If it rained more here I would even consider getting av EV to go to the store. I tried in when I was younger. I rode a motorcycle for 8 years 35 miles into LA rain or shine. I know how miserable getting wet and being exposed to the open is even with the best rain gear. I would rather not do it again.
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Old 02-19-09, 03:23 PM   #16
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There is nothing unreasonable about riding your bike during the winter. All you need to do is throw on a pair of studded snow tires at the beginning of the season, and take them off at the end. If you're really dedicated, you can build a second wheel set so you can swap them out at will. You have to realize, the roads in most parts of the country are not icy all winter long, only until the streets crews get out there and plow/sand/salt them. You could probably get by just fine with out snow tires, taking the cab on days that it's snowing if you're really that uncomfortable with it.

But the fact of the matter is, it's easy. It's not much different than riding at any other time of the year. You just have to dress for the weather. I got around far better this year on my bike than I did last year with my car. My biggest concern was other cars losing control and hitting me, which is why when the streets were bad I would alter my routes or even ride on sidewalks in some areas. I've found that the main streets were usually well kept, so it was rarely an issue anyway.

This year I rode through snow and ice, and with temps reaching -20F and windchill approaching -50... it sounds intimidating. If you had asked me if I would ride in that weather last fall, before I had ever done any winter riding I would have said "No f-ing way!". In retrospect, I clearly thought it was going to be much more challenging than it really is.

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Old 02-19-09, 03:30 PM   #17
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i think i finally figured out why people in my neighborhood don't use bikes
Slow down. Okay, so someone has to drive 25% of the time. So they're not car free. So what? There is still a substantial benefit (savings on gasoline, less wear & tear on car, increased fitness) to be had with riding a bike 75% of the time. I'm down to 1-2 fillups per month from once per week. There's a big difference between using bikes and living car free.

That's the problem with a lot of people is that they think of cycle commuting and owning a car as mutually exclusive. They aren't. My company hasn't jumped into the $20/month incentive for cycle commuters (grrr) but they are doing lots of other things to encourage bicycle commuting and have been for some time (including advocacy, showers, etc.)
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Old 02-19-09, 09:35 PM   #18
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Slow down. Okay, so someone has to drive 25% of the time. So they're not car free. So what? There is still a substantial benefit (savings on gasoline, less wear & tear on car, increased fitness) to be had with riding a bike 75% of the time. I'm down to 1-2 fillups per month from once per week. There's a big difference between using bikes and living car free.

That's the problem with a lot of people is that they think of cycle commuting and owning a car as mutually exclusive. They aren't. My company hasn't jumped into the $20/month incentive for cycle commuters (grrr) but they are doing lots of other things to encourage bicycle commuting and have been for some time (including advocacy, showers, etc.)
There are a lot of reasons to cut out the 25% driving. Just keeping an expensive and ecologically disasterous appliance around for a few cold days in winter seems ridiculous.

Having said that, if you do own a car, it would certainly be a great idea to replace it with a bicycle for 75% of your transportation. After you evolve to the point where bicycling is a major part of your life, you'll find yourself chipping away at the 25%.

At least that's my experience. This has been one of the worst, coldest winters in Iowa in quite some time. However, I've become accustomed to cycling in winter and can make most trips to work or wherever by bicycle. For extremely cold days, I am able to use a bus.
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Old 02-19-09, 09:56 PM   #19
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Slow down. Okay, so someone has to drive 25% of the time. So they're not car free. So what? There is still a substantial benefit (savings on gasoline, less wear & tear on car, increased fitness) to be had with riding a bike 75% of the time. I'm down to 1-2 fillups per month from once per week. There's a big difference between using bikes and living car free.

That's the problem with a lot of people is that they think of cycle commuting and owning a car as mutually exclusive. They aren't. My company hasn't jumped into the $20/month incentive for cycle commuters (grrr) but they are doing lots of other things to encourage bicycle commuting and have been for some time (including advocacy, showers, etc.)
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Old 02-20-09, 01:11 PM   #20
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I've driven a car on ice and I've ridden a bike on ice (without studded tires) and I felt safer on the bike. Yes, it hurts to fall down, but at least slipping with the bike wouldn't cost me $500+ in repairs and/or cause my insurance rate to go up. Of course, it helps that my commute is 90% MUP, which is all but abandoned in the winter. Overall, I think I'd rather walk than drive or ride.
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Old 02-20-09, 03:39 PM   #21
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I rode a motorcycle for 8 years 35 miles into LA rain or shine. I know how miserable getting wet and being exposed to the open is even with the best rain gear. I would rather not do it again.
On a motorcycle, yes, since you're just sat there. It's completely different on a bicycle where you are working, warming yourself up to the point where I was perfectly comfortable with just a thin shell and thinsulate gloves over a T-shirt and sweater in 5 degree Celsius rain today. And really, how often does it rain in California?
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Old 02-20-09, 04:12 PM   #22
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I have to say that I personally have only owned bicycles and never had a license to drive. I live a few hundred miles north of acorn's area. It's only cold for a few weeks in Jan/Feb I say that because you get used to it now 40 is down right toasty and I think it;s my favorite temp well 40F to 50F. As far as ice goes it can be a pain in intersections where it ruts up. I slid out twice this winter once on slippery concrete and once on sandy concrete it was kind of fun on ice you slide and you should already be going slow. That's the key slow and careful when on ice. I'm sure that NY towns have plows and sander/salters. Carfee in the coastal region is an adventure but nothing compaired to what the far northers put up with.
Don't be a baby try it, get comfortable being bundled up. Also I ride without studs as the coast gets a lot of rain.
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Old 02-20-09, 04:34 PM   #23
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On a motorcycle, yes, since you're just sat there. It's completely different on a bicycle where you are working, warming yourself up to the point where I was perfectly comfortable with just a thin shell and thinsulate gloves over a T-shirt and sweater in 5 degree Celsius rain today. And really, how often does it rain in California?
Got me there. I already posted my caveat that I am a cold wet weakling. It doesnít rain much where I live now and still if it starts to rain the last thing I think about is going out in it. I will put off going out for two or three days rather than get cold and wet. If I must go out I would rather walk than ride my bike. My Revive does have fenders however so if I had to I could try it.

I have moved to a city in the flatlands or desert area of Southern California. It makes cycling a lot easier than when I lived at the 5000 foot level in the San Bernardino Mountains. But I have been considering an EV for in town driving. Even a GEM would get me anywhere I wanted to go and back and only need charging maybe twice a week. The one thing that has been holding me back is that I can get anywhere I want on my bike, or one of my bikes anyway, so I can keep my old compact and put gas in it about once every 5 or 6 weeks. My wife isnít going to ride so I have to have something to take her shopping or to doctors appointments. I guess that is the key. Those of us with families have a harder time going car free than we do with car light.

Still if I lived in our snow belt I simply am not interested in riding in the snow and ice. I wonít even make any excuses. It is out of the question.
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Old 02-20-09, 06:45 PM   #24
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Still if I lived in our snow belt I simply am not interested in riding in the snow and ice. I wonít even make any excuses. It is out of the question.
I used to share your point of view. I wasn't equipped to go out and I was that interested in cold weather cycling. However, after spending a few weeks without a bike ride, a break in the weather -- no matter how slight -- was enough for me to try a short ride.

As with so many things in life, one thing lead to another. Pretty soon, I was at it every weekend when the streets were clear. Then I bought a pair of studded tires... and nowadays I get out 3-5 days a week, either riding to work or the store...

Never say never!
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Old 02-20-09, 07:29 PM   #25
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I used to share your point of view. I wasn't equipped to go out and I was that interested in cold weather cycling. However, after spending a few weeks without a bike ride, a break in the weather -- no matter how slight -- was enough for me to try a short ride.

As with so many things in life, one thing lead to another. Pretty soon, I was at it every weekend when the streets were clear. Then I bought a pair of studded tires... and nowadays I get out 3-5 days a week, either riding to work or the store...

Never say never!
I have been to your State, my wife was from Davenport, and I know you get weeks when you canít get out. It is rare that I canít get out and ride for more than a few days. If it were just I the only time I would be driving is when I was on vacation. I love trekking to the 4 corner states and even then I truck along my mountain bike. I have spent a lot of time on the Navajo reservations and find their culture fascinating. But with a family there needs to be something other than a shed full of bikes or a Road bike in the bedroom. Still if I ever buy another 4-wheel vehicle I believe an EV is a good option for me. There is a company in Vista California building an EV that can go on the freeway and get 100 miles a charge. They start at 25k and should fit my needs till I can no longer drive or ride.
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