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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 01-21-10, 03:14 PM   #26
mumblesmumbles
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SF
It depends on what area you're in. There are plenty of garages in the financial district but parking is expensive ($8 - $20 per day depending on the lot, location, etc.). Most street parking is metered and neighborhoods that are popular to visit (Haight, Castro, North Beach and maybe the Marina) have parking permits that run $96 per year. However a parking permit doesn't guarantee you a spot, it just nullifies free parking time limits (generally two hours). Some housing has a garage but if it's a rental the landlord may charge an additional few hundred a month.
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Old 01-21-10, 07:15 PM   #27
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VERY anecdotal: The university where I work, in Odense, Denmark, doesn't even _have_ parking permits. The parking lots are never even close to full, both at the main campus on the edge of town and the smaller campus in closer to mid-town.
That's it... I'm moving to Denmark. I could feel really comfortable there.

Here's politician Margrete Auken, a Danish politican for the Socialist People's Party and she is currently a Member of the European Parliament:


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Several large European cities are - gradually - starting to realise the blessings of bicycle culture: good for the environment, reducing energy use, better health and the auto-mobility of all traffic users. Both children and the elderly can get around if they can cycle safe and secure.

The city bikes in Paris are a success. In Brussels the bicycles happily turn right at red lights - often on the sidewalk! I cycle myself and it is the most liberating way to get around. And even though the Ardennes mountain range starts in the middle of Brussels, grandma here manages fine with two artificial knees and seven gears
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Old 01-22-10, 02:36 AM   #28
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That's it... I'm moving to Denmark. I could feel really comfortable there.
Heh. Two future kings of Denmark (taking little Christian to kindergarten):

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Old 01-30-14, 06:29 AM   #29
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I've been riding all day in Seattle's most urban environments, and found them to be pretty good for bicycling. We have a few bike lanes now, and the culture is definitely very bike-friendly, so it's certainly not a threatening place to ride. There are, however, gigantic hills everywhere you turn. Personally, I like the hills, but I can imagine that they pose a formidable obstacle to some would-be riders. Contrast this to places like Amsterdam and Copenhagen, both of which have enviable bicycle cultures, and are also flat as a table top. I wonder: would these cities be the bicycle Meccas they are if they weren't so level?

The Hobart area is very hilly too, and I have to hand it to the multitude of cyclists here. I figure they are a hardy breed of mountain goats.

Fortunately, there is a 13-ish km cycleway along the river that is relatively flat so that people can cycle from downtown northward along that route, but venturing off the path often means quite a climb.

Unfortunately, I am not a mountain goat. I am a flatlander. So I'm finding some of the cycling here to be quite a challenge ... the hills do pose a formidable obstacle.
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Old 01-31-14, 11:55 AM   #30
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Two words: San Fransisco. Hilly and dense and good weather--with lots of riders.

maybe you need two out of three?
Counterpoint: Minneapolis. We have none of those things.
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Old 01-31-14, 01:39 PM   #31
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Counterpoint: Minneapolis. We have none of those things.
Good point. This thread is from four years ago. I don't know what I was thinking.

I really don't know about bumping all of these old threads, as people have been doing lately. I'd like to think I've evolved since then, or maybe I'm just going senile.
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Old 01-31-14, 08:00 PM   #32
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Counterpoint: Minneapolis. We have none of those things.
Your snowbanks are the hills.

It's crazy to think how hilly San Francisco is, yet how much it contributed to bike culture in the US.

Last edited by gerv; 02-04-14 at 09:20 PM. Reason: spelling, grammar
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Old 02-01-14, 12:03 AM   #33
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Given the choice between San Francisco and Minneapolis ...
I've been to San Francisco and my desire to cycle there is very low. Too many hills, too much city.
I haven't been to Minneapolis, but I've been in the vicinity, and of course, lived a little further north, and I could imagine myself cycling there despite the fact that winters get cold.
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Old 02-03-14, 10:17 AM   #34
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I think topography has a lot to do with who/how many will ride bikes. I live in Portland which is very flat. Add to that the long stretches of bike greenways and bike lanes where you can ride at a good clip for a good stretch before hitting a light or stoplight, plus the mild weather, and you have a good recipe for lots of people on bikes. The bike share programs that are doing well are usually located in flat places. I think hills are a major deterrent for most people, probably more of a deterrent than cold weather (although making e-bikes a part of bike share programs could solve that problem). As for San Fran and Seattle, it is possible to find flat routes there. I biked around Seattle last year on an old mountain bike that was way too small for me riding from downtown to Capitol Hill daily. It's a long hill but very gradual and there's a bike lane. Some of the hills (especially closer to the waterfront) are very steep (but short). I walked my bike up those!
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Old 02-04-14, 11:03 AM   #35
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When a 5 lane road was widened to 10 lanes plus a median, there was nothing left to stop the wind. That's an icy hammer in winter.
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Old 02-05-14, 03:54 PM   #36
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I lived in Copenhagen for some years and now live in Oslo. These cities have a lot in common, but its like comparing the Earth and Venus. "What exactly happened here?" At this point the problem is that, regardless of topography, Oslo has almost no bike infrastructure, nowhere really to build it, somewhat hostile drivers, and pretty extremist bikers. You might as well talk about terraforming Venus. Maybe the problem started with hills (and ice) but it is now more than that.

Why would regular people be tempted to start biking a place where literally everything is against them, including but not limited to the hills?
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Old 02-05-14, 04:07 PM   #37
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For a lot of people the description of a good bike city sounds like the title of a book by Thomas Friedman-- flat, hot and crowded.
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Old 02-05-14, 08:41 PM   #38
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For a lot of people the description of a good bike city sounds like the title of a book by Thomas Friedman-- flat, hot and crowded.
That would describe Isla Vista/UCSB.

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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 02-06-14, 02:39 AM   #39
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For a lot of people the description of a good bike city sounds like the title of a book by Thomas Friedman-- flat, hot and crowded.
Flat and hot maybe ... but not crowded. A good bike city is lightly populated and roomy. Crowds don't make for comfortable cycling.
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Old 02-07-14, 12:17 PM   #40
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For a lot of people the description of a good bike city sounds like the title of a book by Thomas Friedman-- flat, hot and crowded.
Can't imagine why anyone would want it hot, that makes it hard to get around in regular clothes.

1: Infrastructure, 2: culture, 3: weather, 4: topology.
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Old 02-07-14, 02:25 PM   #41
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Can't imagine why anyone would want it hot, that makes it hard to get around in regular clothes.

1: Infrastructure, 2: culture, 3: weather, 4: topology.
I agree with your ranking. I might flip 3 and 4. But a little bit of good 1 and 2 makes up for a lot of bad 3 and 4, IMO.

To illustrate:

Right now, in the middle of an epic winter, I'm seeing how important good snow removal is. The side streets are nearly impassable, but the main streets are great--and the MUP is plowed even before the main streets!! Usually I have to push my bike 100 feet from my house to the main street, but it's clear riding from there to the Rivertrail and wherever else I have to go. So the weather (3) isn't really the issue that makes or breaks bike riding. The main issue is maintenance of the infrastructure (1).
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Old 02-07-14, 03:23 PM   #42
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Right now, in the middle of an epic winter, I'm seeing how important good snow removal is. The side streets are nearly impassable, but the main streets are great--and the MUP is plowed even before the main streets!!
No kidding, in winter bikes are totally dependent on maintained paths, if they are to be a serious way to get around. Preferably the paths should be brushed.

There are quite a few ways in which snow can torment a biker, I have observed. Slippery is the only one most bystanders notice, but thats just the beginning. I'm pretty impressed how rear-drive cars can skitter across the top of crap that I can't climb without the rear tire digging and scraping for traction.

Yeah maybe topology and weather can be in either order, I guess it depends on how much of each a person is experiencing. In Copenhagen and Oslo, its mostly rain, snow, rain and snow, and a bit of wind once in a while, maybe with some rain and snow there too. I'd rather bike a big hill in pleasant weather than a small one in the rain.
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Old 07-08-14, 07:21 AM   #43
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The Hobart area is very hilly too, and I have to hand it to the multitude of cyclists here. I figure they are a hardy breed of mountain goats.

Fortunately, there is a 13-ish km cycleway along the river that is relatively flat so that people can cycle from downtown northward along that route, but venturing off the path often means quite a climb.

Unfortunately, I am not a mountain goat. I am a flatlander. So I'm finding some of the cycling here to be quite a challenge ... the hills do pose a formidable obstacle.

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