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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 03-02-09, 05:58 PM   #1
I_Like_Bike
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Car-Free issuse

I have this rather romantic idea of living a life free of bills (or as close as possible) but as traditional as possible. Some of the ideas I have are a paid off eco friendly modular home, solar panels, vegetable garden, ect... Part of this is living car free and using a bike to commute. This got me thinking about some of the issues with this, like grocery shopping and things like ending up smelly every where you go. How do other car free people deal with these issues and are their other issues to think about?
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Old 03-02-09, 07:09 PM   #2
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Unfortunately, an eco friendly modular home will not provide you a life free of bills. Last time I checked it might just add an extra $100k to your mortgage.

My approach to leading that type of lifestyle is to implement one change at a time. For example, I've spent a lot of this winter learning how to repair my bicycles. As well, I added to my commuting by bike days this winter. With studded tires and better boots, I was able to get through almost every week with at least 3 days on the two-wheeler.

As for solar panels and the modular home and all that good stuff, I have to confess to being a "late adopter". I wait for the Ed Begleys of the world to figure out what truly works and what doesn't. For right now, my eco-friendly home is a lower thermostat, plastic on drafty windows and extra insulation in the walls.
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Old 03-02-09, 07:44 PM   #3
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I have this rather romantic idea of living a life free of bills (or as close as possible) but as traditional as possible. Some of the ideas I have are a paid off eco friendly modular home, solar panels, vegetable garden, ect... Part of this is living car free and using a bike to commute. This got me thinking about some of the issues with this, like grocery shopping and things like ending up smelly every where you go. How do other car free people deal with these issues and are their other issues to think about?
Nothing wrong with dreaming...just remember nothing in this life is free. FWIW I live in a highly modified $3500 mobile home. It was bought as a stop gap measure, but at least it didn't head to the land fill or get burned for fire department practice. I don't know how eco friendly it is, but we are constantly improving and upgrading things to reduce energy usage and take advantage of things like solar power.

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Old 03-02-09, 08:09 PM   #4
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and things like ending up smelly every where you go.
I use this new thing called soap. Shampoo is better for the hairy bits, all the hairy bits.
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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 03-02-09, 08:38 PM   #5
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as far as getting sweaty and smelly from bike riding i don't have that problem as i don't ride fast or hard enough to build up a sweat. around these parts (long island) it's simply not safe to ride fast with all the stupid careless, irresponsible drivers on the road. i ride slowly,carefully,alertly.
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Old 03-03-09, 08:37 AM   #6
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Have a look in the Utility section if you want to see how to carry groceries. I use a rack and panniers, and sometimes a trailer for big stuff. Other people have longbikes or trikes. You'd be amazed what you can carry.
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Old 03-03-09, 08:49 AM   #7
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I have this rather romantic idea of living a life free of bills (or as close as possible) but as traditional as possible. Some of the ideas I have are a paid off eco friendly modular home, solar panels, vegetable garden, ect... Part of this is living car free and using a bike to commute. This got me thinking about some of the issues with this, like grocery shopping and things like ending up smelly every where you go. How do other car free people deal with these issues and are their other issues to think about?
I think you're describing a make-it-yourself / build-it-yourself / do-it-yourself life style. First you'll need to get lots of practical skills, then you'll need tools, and ultimately you'll need a place of your own where you can put your plans into action.

Most of the homesteaders I've known are heavily car (pickup, truck) dependent because they're always hauling heavy stuff around in rural locations. (Cows, lumber, dirt, windmills & stuff like that.) It would be a challenge to do something like that in a carfree way.

Urban homesteading might be the right approach if you want to be car free, just Google for that phrase and you'll get links to lots of good resources.
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Old 03-03-09, 01:27 PM   #8
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Thanks for all the ideas. I know this lifestyle is one that take years of planing. I think that it is more of a dream then anything. These days I feel that it is getting harder and harder to live car free.
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Old 03-04-09, 12:49 PM   #9
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Thanks for all the ideas. I know this lifestyle is one that take years of planing. I think that it is more of a dream then anything. These days I feel that it is getting harder and harder to live car free.
It's a dream now, but inevitably it will be a reality. Everybody will live this way, or nobody will be alive at all. You can be a pioneer, somebody who helps to discover the ways of living simply and practically. Ultimately, the romantic IS the practical.
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Old 03-04-09, 01:19 PM   #10
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Tiny House
http://www.tumbleweedhouses.com/

You can get one that can be towed like a trailer, it's around 115 sq ft.

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Old 03-04-09, 03:37 PM   #11
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I haven't had trouble with smelly clothes. I change at work and keep my work clothes there. I also make a point of living close to work, which in the end is a whole lot more eco friendly than trying to maintain some pile out in the suburbs. Home ownership at this moment in time is a risky business, and loans are tough to come by as we all know. Renting offers flexibility and forces you to live simply.

I haven't found it any more difficult than living with a car on balance. It's tougher to go on errand runs beyond about ten miles from home, but I didn't do many of those anyway and I didn't *NEED* to do any of them. I can pack well over 100 lbs of groceries on the bike and BOB and me, which is more than I ever bothered to get with a car. I don't need to have a gym membership. And keep in mind I'm doing all of this in Anchorage AK. In a sunny climate it would be much easier.

As far as rural homesteading, forget it. It's incredibly expensive, risky and difficult. Doing it without a car would be an ordeal. I was off grid for several years and even with a pickup it was incredibly tough. All the things you take for granted are GONE. Water, electricity, heat, shelter, etc. And all of them require extensive and costly hauling to replace, from generator fuel to building supplies and most of all water, which is ungodly heavy. Plus it's not really eco-friendly at all. You have a MUCH smaller footprint living in the city center, with a small commute and a small apartment. Urban homesteading, basically. Community gardens, farmers markets, and that sort of thing. It's what I'm doing now and I love it.

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Old 03-04-09, 05:03 PM   #12
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Thanks for all the ideas. I know this lifestyle is one that take years of planing. I think that it is more of a dream then anything. These days I feel that it is getting harder and harder to live car free.
I have been part of groups that have a dream very much like yours. I used to live in Orange county and had a sail boat in Newport beach. At least half of the people we socialized with wanted to fix up thier boats to sail the world. They learned how to fix boats or build things or do wood work or engine work or anything that would allow then to replentish their funds when in foreign ports. Several of them made it or at least lived on thier boat and sailed the world for ten years or so. Many of us planned on doing the same thing and some of us made it for a year or so.

When I started thinking about retirement I met people that sold their house or rented it out so they could take a RV all over the country. The make arrangements to go from one place or state to the next working for KOA or one of the other camp grounds for their space rent. Many of those people make it for the rest of their life.

Cyclists just have a different vision of the same dream.
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Old 03-04-09, 09:04 PM   #13
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You have a MUCH smaller footprint living in the city center, with a small commute and a small apartment. Urban homesteading, basically. Community gardens, farmers markets, and that sort of thing. It's what I'm doing now and I love it.
I'm reading Thomas Friedman's Hot, Flat and Crowded and this is one of the major take-aways. If you expect to allow what will soon be 9 billion people living on this planet, the only hope of doing it sustainably is to fit them into cities... cities that are largely able to feed and care for its citizens. Anything else is a pipe dream. I've lived in rural settings in the past and found that one top of the ordeal mentioned earlier, there is also the aspect of loneliness... not having a community to share ideas and conversation with. That and the aspect of often being 30 miles from your groceries.
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Old 03-04-09, 11:59 PM   #14
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if you are really worried about going father distances on your bike, as well as the problem of sweating, you could always look into getting an electric kit for your bike. I have a few bikes around my house, and one of mine is electric, and i use it to go to work and school so I am not disgusting by the time ii get there.
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