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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 10-18-10, 12:02 AM   #1
That Linux Guy
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Why I'm car free.

I've had friends, family and co-workers all tell me I'm crazy for not having a car. Many others often sort of talk down to me and give the vibe that I'm poor or something just because I choose not to spend major money on something that just doesn't fit into my lifestyle.

As such, to explain (and partially to vent it out), I've explained why I choose not to live by car but by bicycle.

While my friends and family could care less as they speed around in their cars, I figured that many of you here could relate to it a lot more. Let me know what you think. I've included the link below.

http://thatlinuxguy.wordpress.com/bike-stuff/
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Old 10-18-10, 02:09 PM   #2
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Wow, that's a long post. I read most of it. I can't say I agreed with everything you wrote, but it was interesting and well-written. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 10-18-10, 02:32 PM   #3
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I liked what you had to say, partly because the issue you're addressing goes far beyond going car-free. You're talking about money, value and living within your means. That's something separate from car-free or car-light living, although going car-free or car-light can be an important component in living within your means.

There are costs involved with driving. Many costs. The obvious ones are the price of the car and the price of fuel. Both of those must be considered. But there are also costs such as licensing, insurance and registration, maintenance and repairs and parking. Even a free car comes with most of those costs. Too often, cars are seen as bringing freedom, but when that freedom means spending time at work to pay for the car-related costs, it loses its lustre.

You've made the transition to a car-free life because of the financial aspect. Great. What happens next, whether you remain car-free, whether you go car-light or whether you abandon your present lifestyle entirely, will depend on your attitude. Your financial situation will soon improve and at that point, your preferred transportation will become a matter of choice rather than economic necessity. If cycling and other car-free methods of transportation become enjoyable now, your choice will be quite different than if you see your present transportation as a way of coping with a present hardship.

Right now, you seem to be on the right road and it seems you've got a great attitude about the change you've made.
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Old 10-18-10, 04:04 PM   #4
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Why I do not have a car.... I do not like spending money on insurance, do not have to commute long distances at all. Gas prices are ridiculous and the amount of pollution is just absurd. Cycling keeps me in shape and I am happy, I am not in a constant need to get to places fast... The funniest thing is that when I bring how I feel about the pollution levels people that I talk with about it get really defensive and upset at me lol
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Old 10-18-10, 10:37 PM   #5
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It's not often people tell their whole life story on the internet as OP did but it's certainly appreciated. However, this past recession left many people without jobs or affordable motor transport and the OP was one of them. It was fortunate he discovered the power of human transport or he may have been forced to buy an unaffordable car.

I don't know when the "High Paying" jobs are coming back but one thing is certain. Those who were carfree like the OP were in a much better economic situation than those who were motor dependant. He was able the weather the storm far better than the typical two car household with job loss.
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Old 10-19-10, 04:27 AM   #6
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Excellent article...unfortunately it will be lost on many people.

I have seen too many people spend their last dime to keep a car going, when with a bit of creativity they could have done without one. I also realize that in today's America going without a car can be very difficult depending on the individual's circumstances.

I look on car free/car light as an option that should be explored. I have been car free, car light, and car dependent, I much prefer the car free/car light. YMMV.

I don't think we are ever going to fully recover from the current economic straights this country is in, we need to look to simpler living as a way to survive. To many people have been living on borrowed money for too long, now the time of correction approaches, and unfortunately it is going to affect all of us, including those that have been looking out for themselves. I think we will continue to see and increase in the number of people choosing to do without cars, hopefully improvements in cycling facilities and mass transit will be a result.

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Old 10-19-10, 04:30 AM   #7
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Thanks for linking to that post. Why I don't have a car... I don't need one. I appreciate the more elaborate and deeper analysis, but in some cases it can be as simple as that.

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Old 10-20-10, 09:50 AM   #8
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What a thought-provoking post!

I've been car-free for the past six months. I've found that it's not as difficult as my car-dependent peers made it out to be. I also find it very funny that they'd judge my experience without having lived it themselves.
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Old 10-20-10, 11:30 AM   #9
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Thank you for sharing! I'd like to point out, though, that it is completely do-able to have kids and be car-free. I have two little ones at home (neither are old enough to pedal much on their own) and have been happily car-free for two years. I don't like that people automatically assume that having kids makes a car a necessity, even people who are otherwise approving of a car-free lifestyle.

We also initially went car-free because we just couldn't afford it. Now, however, we are car-free because we love the life, and it has little to do with our finances.
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Old 10-20-10, 12:36 PM   #10
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I disagreed with the paragraph toward the end about there being two types of people who ride bikes. You say there are "cyclists" (good people whom you respect) and "people on bikes" (trashy people whom you look down on). I do, BTW, agree that this is a ****** thing to say. But many of the "cyclists" are recreational riders, while many of the "people on bikes" are utility or everyday riders. Since this forum is mostly for the latter types, I don't think you'll get much agreement here on your classification scheme. Personally, I think both types of riders are great, but I fall more in the "POB" category. But we are all cyclists.



(Sorry--I wanted to copy the paragraph here, but for some reason I can't get copy & paste to work on your blog. The paragraph I'm referring to is toward the end of the post and starts with, "Another reason I can understand....")
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Old 10-20-10, 02:14 PM   #11
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I disagreed with the paragraph toward the end about there being two types of people who ride bikes. You say there are "cyclists" (good people whom you respect) and "people on bikes" (trashy people whom you look down on). I do, BTW, agree that this is a ****** thing to say. But many of the "cyclists" are recreational riders, while many of the "people on bikes" are utility or everyday riders. Since this forum is mostly for the latter types, I don't think you'll get much agreement here on your classification scheme. Personally, I think both types of riders are great, but I fall more in the "POB" category. But we are all cyclists.

(Sorry--I wanted to copy the paragraph here, but for some reason I can't get copy & paste to work on your blog. The paragraph I'm referring to is toward the end of the post and starts with, "Another reason I can understand....")
Here's the paragraph, Roody:

Another reason I can understand where this idea comes from is because there’s generally 2 kinds of people riding bicycles out on the road. The first is what I call a “cyclist”, a person who has cycling gear, usually riding a decent bike, and who generally appears as though they know what they’re doing. The second is the person who looks homeless and is usually riding a really old BSO (Bike Shaped Object), with trash bags of their belongings, wobbling all over the place, and generally doesn’t look like they’re going anywhere specifically. They’re just meandering around really. I generally don’t refer to these people as “cyclists”, but rather merely as “people on bikes” or “bicycle riders”. I know it might sound like a ****** thing to say but I just call ‘em like a I see ‘em.

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Old 10-20-10, 10:16 PM   #12
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Roody, I'm sorry to hear that you found the last paragraph to be a bit harsh. While I haven't reworded it on the article, I see all kinds of people riding bicycles around my town: While most often I see the two I pointed out, I also see all kinds of other people. Big, small, fat, skinny, different colors, different bikes, different gear (or no gear). While I don't look down on them as people, I do look down on their often obvious practice of illegal cycling, salmoning at night with no lights in particular, running stop signs... giving cyclists a bad name. I'm not saying other riders don't do things like that but I almost always see these kinds of things happening from a certain stereotype of a rider. Like I said at the end of said paragraph, "I just call 'em like I see 'em.

I'm glad that most of you liked my post and I'm glad I shared it. In all honesty, I have been casually shopping for a car or motorcycle but only for those situations where a bicycle is simply inconvenient. The bicycle is perfect for my commute but for things like grocery shopping, dates, or running a few errands without taking all day, it'd be nice to have something else. Or like today, since I was coming down with a cold but didn't want to miss work. However, since most of my travels are too and from work, even if I had a car I'd still cycle on good weather days almost every day.
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Old 10-21-10, 12:09 PM   #13
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I'm glad that most of you liked my post and I'm glad I shared it. In all honesty, I have been casually shopping for a car or motorcycle but only for those situations where a bicycle is simply inconvenient. The bicycle is perfect for my commute but for things like grocery shopping, dates, or running a few errands without taking all day, it'd be nice to have something else. Or like today, since I was coming down with a cold but didn't want to miss work. However, since most of my travels are too and from work, even if I had a car I'd still cycle on good weather days almost every day.
Stick around here long enough and you'll learn ways to overcome everything that you now see as an "inconvenience" to bikes.

You're right that bikes can't do everything conveniently. But I would hate to spend thousands on a car just because I never learned how to do the "inconvenient" things without one!
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Old 10-22-10, 04:39 PM   #14
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Stick around here long enough and you'll learn ways to overcome everything that you now see as an "inconvenience" to bikes.

You're right that bikes can't do everything conveniently. But I would hate to spend thousands on a car just because I never learned how to do the "inconvenient" things without one!
Yeah depending on where you live you might be able to join a car-share.
Grocery shopping = easy peasy with some good panniers or a trailer
Dates = easy peasy if you date like-minded women
Running errands = In an urban environment usually faster by bike but if you have a very spread out environment can take longer agreed. I'd first look for ways to efficient-ize the errand travel before looking for a different transport method. What can I do online instead of in person, is there a way to do this closer etc.
Cold coming on = Cycling makes it feel better for me. Now I telecommute but before too sick to bike = too sick to leave the house. Is there transit you can take to work on a bad day?
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Old 10-22-10, 09:08 PM   #15
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Been car-free for 6 years now, and wouldn't go back on a bet.

Being divorced, and with extended family in the house, I do have a perk or two... not required to do all the grocery shopping, which would likely crop up at inconvenient times anymore; used to be, I could do it on days off, but anymore.......

I commute, pay all my bills at local outlets that are easily within riding distance, and take the kids on fun rides whenever the weather is good enough to take them out. When winter hits, and the conditions are just too nasty (I have to consider it now, as the last two winters have produced broken bones), I catch the bus.

When I ride, I'm more a part of creation, and less a part of society.

All of the old standby reasons -- exercise, health, etc. -- apply, but there is a perverse joy in flipping off society as a whole.
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Old 10-22-10, 10:12 PM   #16
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The one thing that I worry about is the whole girl-friend thing. I don't have one, but I can't see many women being very impressed when you roll up to their door on a bicycle. I see very few my age(early twenties) who ride. Regardless of that, I still choose to forgo owning a car. Nothings come up yet that I would need a car for. Riding keeps legs and cardio in amazing shape, saves money, and is incredibly enjoyable.

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I commute, pay all my bills at local outlets that are easily within riding distance, and take the kids on fun rides whenever the weather is good enough to take them out. When winter hits, and the conditions are just too nasty (I have to consider it now, as the last two winters have produced broken bones), I catch the
May I ask what caused those broken bones? This is my first winter of actually riding in the cold and rain and such, and I'd like to know what to watch out for.
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Old 10-22-10, 10:48 PM   #17
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The one thing that I worry about is the whole girl-friend thing. I don't have one, but I can't see many women being very impressed when you roll up to their door on a bicycle. I see very few my age(early twenties) who ride. Regardless of that, I still choose to forgo owning a car. Nothings come up yet that I would need a car for. Riding keeps legs and cardio in amazing shape, saves money, and is incredibly enjoyable.
+1, but I really love my Bicycle <3 and she will have to understand that
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Old 10-23-10, 12:48 AM   #18
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The one thing that I worry about is the whole girl-friend thing. I don't have one, but I can't see many women being very impressed when you roll up to their door on a bicycle. I see very few my age(early twenties) who ride. Regardless of that, I still choose to forgo owning a car. Nothings come up yet that I would need a car for. Riding keeps legs and cardio in amazing shape, saves money, and is incredibly enjoyable.
The last woman I dated was car-free and I'm car-light. For dates around town, we preferred walking. For out-of-town dates, we took my car. But we both enjoyed walking. I'd either walk to her place or show up on my bike and lock it up there. She was cool with that. The relationship ended after a few months, but not because of car-light or car-free complications.

Much more recently, I met someone and there seems to be a mutual spark. I told her I'm the slightly crazy guy who likes to go everywhere in town by bike. She didn't mind. I'd rather have her understand my lifestyle, values and beliefs from the start and accept me or reject me right away. Trying to make the impression now and later discover we don't see eye to eye on key values would be a waste of time for both of us.
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Old 10-23-10, 04:47 AM   #19
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The one thing that I worry about is the whole girl-friend thing. I don't have one, but I can't see many women being very impressed when you roll up to their door on a bicycle. I see very few my age(early twenties) who ride. Regardless of that, I still choose to forgo owning a car. Nothings come up yet that I would need a car for. Riding keeps legs and cardio in amazing shape, saves money, and is incredibly enjoyable.

Is this a common concern among men?

I personally prefer a guy who loves riding a bicycle. I dated a guy once who rolled up in a Cadillac Escalade, and after that date, it was over (not because of the Escalade).
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Old 10-23-10, 05:55 AM   #20
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Is this a common concern among men?

I personally prefer a guy who loves riding a bicycle. I dated a guy once who rolled up in a Cadillac Escalade, and after that date, it was over (not because of the Escalade).
I'm afraid it is. You can search the forums to find scores of threads devoted to this topic.

It's great when we see more women posting. It means the whole carfree experience is moving from a male-dominated, geek-like thing to something more widely based.

From what I see, there's a lot of male insecurity around the vehicle you select to move around. I personally feel less of this because I'm too old to care , but I can see how it affects young men.

I absolutely love it though when young males are able to have that "WTF" moment and realize that their prospective mates probably don't (and certainly shouldn't) judge character on the basis of the machine they use for transportation.
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Old 10-23-10, 09:35 AM   #21
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All very good points about it not mattering to someone I'm meant to be with. My ex gf (twas my first and only) was...unsupportive? Didn't break us(It would now lol, I love my bike!), because I had moved to another city just as I got into cycling, but she still found time to insult it. I guess that shaped how I think of what women think of guys using a bicycle to get everywhere. I suppose I have to realize that was just one person, and not everyone thinks like that.
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Old 10-23-10, 01:16 PM   #22
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America is one of the few countries that views bicycles as toys rather than as a viable mode of transportation.
Sad, but true. And it's "too hard" to commute by bicycle, even though many have never tried it.
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Old 10-23-10, 02:01 PM   #23
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All very good points about it not mattering to someone I'm meant to be with. My ex gf (twas my first and only) was...unsupportive? Didn't break us(It would now lol, I love my bike!), because I had moved to another city just as I got into cycling, but she still found time to insult it. I guess that shaped how I think of what women think of guys using a bicycle to get everywhere. I suppose I have to realize that was just one person, and not everyone thinks like that.
Keep in mind you're probably not interested in attracting women; you're interested in one special woman. When you find each other, your love of cycling won't be an obstacle. Someone who belittles you or can't accept you for riding a bike will probably be much more trouble when it comes to core beliefs and values.
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Old 10-23-10, 06:12 PM   #24
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Is this a common concern among men?

I personally prefer a guy who loves riding a bicycle. I dated a guy once who rolled up in a Cadillac Escalade, and after that date, it was over (not because of the Escalade).
Yup...

But I have hopes for the younger generation! Both my progeny are living car free at the moment. DS lives in Boston, DD lives in Seattle. DD uses a bike to get to and from work as well as for utility. DS uses mass transit but has asked about getting a bike . Both are in what they call relationships with people that have the same values and appear to be car free too. Dad doesn't pry, they are both doing well and over the legal age

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Old 10-23-10, 09:33 PM   #25
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Keep in mind you're probably not interested in attracting women; you're interested in one special woman. When you find each other, your love of cycling won't be an obstacle. Someone who belittles you or can't accept you for riding a bike will probably be much more trouble when it comes to core beliefs and values.
That is a very good point. Thanks for reminding me
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