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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 10-28-10, 09:18 PM   #1
folder fanatic
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Basic Old Fashioned City Bicycles Is Still The Best In Most Urban Situations

http://www.cyclingforclimate.nl/

This English spoken Website (in spite of being a Netherlands based one) chronicles 2 young men who used their “Omafiets” that were not new when they received them (like many of your bikes used here), have limited gearing (if at all like these particular bikes seem to have only one), and very heavy compared to most modern bikes nowadays. And they rode them all the way to Copenhagen from Amsterdam! As they stated in their Website: "....Why did we decide to bring our “Omafiets” (Granny bikes)? Any bike can bring you from point A to point B; as such, ours will bring us from Amsterdam right to Copenhagen. There is no need to spend excess amounts of money on a fancy bike or using another mode of transport, to be able to reduce one’s carbon footprint! Just get the old bike out of the shed and off you go...."

Video Documentation:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-WGYMxGo9I&feature=player_embedded

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6NPW0jreCY&feature=player_embedded

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-AEU7hnLGk&feature=player_embedded

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_ZervTg9KI&feature=player_embedded

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oy_zH9xVZ_g&feature=player_embedded

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfn5p3y7nc8&feature=player_embedded

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYyrbZs2_Y4&feature=player_embedded

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTMKmnr9o-U&feature=player_embedded

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNapS_oQcqo&feature=player_embedded

So....I find these bikes to be the best ever for Living Car Free in most urban riding (and even expedition long distance riding) as these two young men have done.

More On This Topic:
http://rideplanetearth.org/

Last edited by folder fanatic; 10-28-10 at 11:16 PM.
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Old 10-29-10, 02:52 AM   #2
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So....I find these bikes to be the best ever for Living Car Free in most urban riding (and even expedition long distance riding) as these two young men have done.
duh.
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Old 10-29-10, 06:37 AM   #3
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Sounds like it was a fun trip despite the cooler weather. Great to see people who have an interest in climate change and also having fun.
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Old 10-29-10, 02:58 PM   #4
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While I think the world would be greatly improved if everyone switched to bikes instead of cars, it isn't true that bicycles are carbon neutral or sustainable. The mining of materials and the manufacture and transport of bikes and bike parts to bike stores creates pollution and has an environmental impact. I guess what they mean is that they did not directly produce any additional carbon gases during their trip.

Given the high cost of gasoline and car ownership in Europe, the fact that so many people still drive cars is pretty discouraging. I think the collapsing economy will make a lot more people ride bikes than these guys could convince in their lifetimes.
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Old 10-29-10, 03:13 PM   #5
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While I think the world would be greatly improved if everyone switched to bikes instead of cars, it isn't true that bicycles are carbon neutral or sustainable. The mining of materials and the manufacture and transport of bikes and bike parts to bike stores creates pollution and has an environmental impact. I guess what they mean is that they did not directly produce any additional carbon gases during their trip.

Given the high cost of gasoline and car ownership in Europe, the fact that so many people still drive cars is pretty discouraging. I think the collapsing economy will make a lot more people ride bikes than these guys could convince in their lifetimes.
You don't think bicycles are sustainable?
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Old 10-29-10, 03:51 PM   #6
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You don't think bicycles are sustainable?
Technically not, but we can get away with making them for thousands more years than we can get away with making cars. Norse history in Greenland proves this; fearsome Vikings stopped being able to smelt iron, and were reduced to using bone tools and weapons. Modern bikes use lots of metal and plastic, which isn't great for the planet. It might take an air-conditioner days to do the same kind of damage!
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Old 10-29-10, 04:11 PM   #7
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"Sustainable" is one of the most misused words I can think of.
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Old 10-30-10, 07:14 AM   #8
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Technically not, but we can get away with making them for thousands more years than we can get away with making cars.
We can *probably* get away with making them for 1000s more years.

Some components on the bike are clearly less "sustainable" than others. I quite often see tubes tossed on the trail. So I can easily picture the number of tubes that are sitting in landfills right now and then picture what that would be like if the cycling population doubled or tripled.

Still, steel bicycle frames can be recycled intact for a number of generations. You can still ride steel frames from the 30s,40,50s... no problem.
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Old 10-30-10, 12:40 PM   #9
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Old fashioned bicycles really do a good job. I'd like to build a simple bicycle with a NuVinci hub. That way I'd have an unlimited gear ratio selection within a 360% range. I'd put drum brakes on it so that they would work well in the rain. Having no derailleurs would make maintenance simple. It would have fenders and a front basket. The saddle would be springy or I'd have my Thudbuster suspension seat post on it.

I could convert my Raleigh comfort bike to this but it would be cheaper to start from scratch with a suitable used frame. The Raleigh has a suspension fork that won't work with a front basket.

I understand the intention of these guy's making that long trip, but; they used more greenhouse gasses eating all that extra food on their ten day trip than they would have taking a train in a few hours. Their trip was to prove a point and was probably worth the extra expense. Without them actually demonstrating the potential of bicycles they would not have as much impact on some people.

I hate pedaling fifteen miles to work and fifteen miles home in strong cold winds.
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Old 10-30-10, 02:57 PM   #10
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"Sustainable" is one of the most misused words I can think of.
Especially when it is used by a Hummer or SUV driver to justify his wastefulness.
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Old 10-30-10, 05:40 PM   #11
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I understand the intention of these guy's making that long trip, but; they used more greenhouse gasses eating all that extra food on their ten day trip than they would have taking a train in a few hours. Their trip was to prove a point and was probably worth the extra expense.

This is silly. Its like saying that people who exercise use more green house gasses than people who don't because they eat more. So exercise = pollution. People who do not exercise cause a huge drain on the environment when they eventually require more medical intervention. Riding a bicycle is one of the best exercises anyone can do to help prevent this. Remember also that the average person is supposed to be eating 2,000 calories a day WITH moderate daily exercise and continues activity. The kind of work a hunter/gather might do in their daily life is a perfect example. Moderate/light exercise spread out over their entire day (walking, picking fruit, searching for meat, house chores, ect.) With an hour or so of something heavier (farming, heavy lifting, building) mixed in now and again. To me this sounds almost the same as a bicycle tour.
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Old 10-30-10, 05:58 PM   #12
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While I think the world would be greatly improved if everyone switched to bikes instead of cars, it isn't true that bicycles are carbon neutral or sustainable. The mining of materials and the manufacture and transport of bikes and bike parts to bike stores creates pollution and has an environmental impact. I guess what they mean is that they did not directly produce any additional carbon gases during their trip.

Given the high cost of gasoline and car ownership in Europe, the fact that so many people still drive cars is pretty discouraging. I think the collapsing economy will make a lot more people ride bikes than these guys could convince in their lifetimes.
But I would be willing to wager that a single SUV in it's life span leaves a larger carbon foot print than a thousand bicycles...

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Old 10-30-10, 09:25 PM   #13
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Especially when it is used by a Hummer or SUV driver to justify his wastefulness.
But "sustainable" is also misused by those on the other side, like radical environmentalists, like people who think eating food is "unsustainable" and comparable to driving a SUV.
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Old 10-31-10, 05:55 PM   #14
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Maybe moving back toward the topic just a smidge I have to wonder why use these type of bikes? Looking at the numbers it seems as if a good number of these bikes then young men were using weigh 40+ pounds. Compared to them my MTB is a sports car. It is easy to see that what they did can be done using the bikes they had but the question I would ask is why? I admit I am not a dedicated utility bike rider and that I use my MTB with a trailer to go to the grocery or DYI store. But I have quickly discovered that weight is not the cycling person’s friend. If you have hills close by weight is the enemy. I have seen one of the ones with the box in the front and thought they would be interesting but they would also be like pushing a 4 x 8 sheet of plywood in the wind.

There may be a place for these Granny Bikes in some cities but I would think Seattle and San Francisco or down town San Diego wouldn’t be one of them. (just saying)
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Old 10-31-10, 06:05 PM   #15
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Maybe moving back toward the topic just a smidge I have to wonder why use these type of bikes? Looking at the numbers it seems as if a good number of these bikes then young men were using weigh 40+ pounds. Compared to them my MTB is a sports car. It is easy to see that what they did can be done using the bikes they had but the question I would ask is why? I admit I am not a dedicated utility bike rider and that I use my MTB with a trailer to go to the grocery or DYI store. But I have quickly discovered that weight is not the cycling person’s friend. If you have hills close by weight is the enemy. I have seen one of the ones with the box in the front and thought they would be interesting but they would also be like pushing a 4 x 8 sheet of plywood in the wind.

There may be a place for these Granny Bikes in some cities but I would think Seattle and San Francisco or down town San Diego wouldn’t be one of them. (just saying)
I agree that it would depend a lot on the city unless there was some kind of bicycle escalator system like an old style ski lift. I lived in Hillcrest near downtown San Diego and thought it was quite bikable. The is a major hill going down into Mira Mesa and to get to the beaches but it can be ridden around if you know how.
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