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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 11-16-10, 11:28 AM   #1
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The decision has been made - Going car free

Our car's been acting funny lately, and when we took it into the shop, they quoted us $800 to fix it. It's 10 years old. This $800 is probably just the first in a long string to come of $800 repairs. So we decided we're going to sell it and go car-free. My husband spent the morning cleaning it, and it'll be listed for sale soon. We have to wait for the vehicle information package from the government before we can list it, and I'm not sure how long that takes to come, but I'm hoping we can have it sold by the end of next week or so. Whee!

Our insurance company quoted us $3000 to insure it for the next year, and I spent several hours shopping around until I found a company that will charge $1700 instead. Guess that was wasted effort!

It's a bad time of year for it, right when the bad weather is about to hit, but we'll manage.
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Old 11-16-10, 12:37 PM   #2
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I am sorry, $3000 to insure what?? A 10 year old car? That seems like crazy high.

Anyways, congrats to your decision, good luck. Winter is not all that bad. Get some studded tires.
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Old 11-16-10, 12:43 PM   #3
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If we had to give up a car, my wife would not be smiliing like you are in your avatar picture.
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Old 11-16-10, 01:31 PM   #4
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Spudd: Congrats and good luck!

Doohickie: Ha! Yeah, my wife won't part with motorized transport either.
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Old 11-16-10, 01:47 PM   #5
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Good luck Spudd! This could turn out to be one of the best things that ever happened to you.

Is the entire family or household behind the decision? What will your transportation be from now on? Are you anticipating any challenges or problems?
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Old 11-16-10, 02:41 PM   #6
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I lived in Toronto for a couple of years from 1989 to 1991. Even at that time, there were people ditching their cars because of the cost of fuel, the cost of insurance and the traffic gridlock.

What impressed me most about living in Toronto was how easy it was to get around the city without a car. If anything, a car was an impediment in the most built up parts of the city. The transit system was better than anything I had used before — and better than anything I've used since. Cycling culture was well enough established to make sense for many trips. And there were a lot of people walking, especially downtown.
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Old 11-16-10, 03:17 PM   #7
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Is the entire family or household behind the decision? What will your transportation be from now on? Are you anticipating any challenges or problems?
Well, I thought we were, LOL. We had a talk last night (it's just me and my husband) and decided we were going to sell it. But today he took it to get the transmission fluid topped up so it would be safer to drive (and would behave better when people come to test drive it), and when he found out it was only $20 to top up the fluid he called me and said he was thinking of keeping it now. So we'll have to talk tonight - he called while I was in the middle of a work emergency so I couldn't get into it.

The plan is we will combine walking, biking, public transport, car sharing, and renting cars. Our everyday stuff will be on foot and by bike, if we need to go downtown (20km from our house) it'll likely be public transport unless it's a weekend and we have time. We'll use car sharing for big shopping trips if needed, and car rental for out-of-town trips.

Challenges or problems - if a bike is unridable and needs to go to the shop, how do we get it there? Public transport or car sharing would probably be how we'd handle those, or just walk the bike to the LBS which is about 2km from our house (assuming it's walkable). Haven't really thought of any others but I'm sure they'll come up as we go along.

Newspaperguy - we live at the north end, so we're not really downtown. Even so, it's pretty easy to get around where we live. We have 2 different bus routes at our door and we're a 15 minute walk from the subway.
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Old 11-16-10, 03:31 PM   #8
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Congratulations, Spudd!

I believe Gil Peņalosa lives in your fair city. Have you checked out his 8 - 80 Cities website? Having such a dynamic supporter of cycling and pedestrian infrastructure bodes well for Toronto. You might want to support him and his movement.
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Old 11-16-10, 04:10 PM   #9
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YAY! Enjoy your new car-freedom!!
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Old 11-16-10, 05:59 PM   #10
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But today he took it to get the transmission fluid topped up so it would be safer to drive (and would behave better when people come to test drive it), and when he found out it was only $20 to top up the fluid he called me and said he was thinking of keeping it now.
If you've got a vehicle leaking fluid, you can top the levels up quite cheaply, but the environmental impact is no different than if you took a container of the fluid and poured it on the streets. Eventually that stuff is going to get into soil or water supplies or other places where it shouldn't go.
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Old 11-16-10, 06:13 PM   #11
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You can rig up a trailer to carry bikes. Or carry them on a rack:DSCN1769..jpgdscn1485..jpg

I also once carried an adult bicycle on the rear rack only.
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Old 11-16-10, 06:31 PM   #12
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We've now had a chance to discuss the whole "keeping it" proposal and decided against it. The ad's going up tomorrow.

Storckm, wow. Carrying an adult bicycle on the rear rack? That must have been something to see.
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Old 11-16-10, 09:59 PM   #13
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Thanks for sharing Spudd. In fact, congratulations on the change!
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Old 11-16-10, 11:05 PM   #14
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We've now had a chance to discuss the whole "keeping it" proposal and decided against it. The ad's going up tomorrow.
Sell it quick before he changes his mind again.... You don't need a car in Toronto. My son used to car commute into Toronto from Hamilton and now takes the train. He finds it so much better without the stress of dealing with the QEW and finding a parking spot.
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Old 11-17-10, 08:42 AM   #15
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CONGRATS, Spudd!

I've never looked back after getting rid of my last car (Sep. '04), and whenever I hear about someone needing new tires on their car, or talking about insurance and tags, things like that, I quickly review the math in my head, and just wallow in the 'schadenfreude'....

They just don't know; occasionally, it's less than convenient to do everything by bike, but oh well. It's MORE inconvenient to constantly search for parking spaces, stop at gas stations, check speed limits, watch the cops and their speed traps, and all the rest that goes with the car. I remember winter of '08. my adult niece let me borrow her car during a snowfall so I could do some holiday gift shopping -- 9 miles of driving later, I was looking for a nonexistent sidearm to start shooting fools with! Never again.....

...Actually, that's a fib; had to take the kids to school a couple days ago, they missed the bus, too chilly and too short on time for a walk or ride (2 miles); saw more selfish stupidity in that 4-mile round trip than I've witnessed in an MSNBC Marathon of "Lock Up"!

These experiences just cement my resolve to stay car-free for life.
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Old 11-17-10, 08:58 AM   #16
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CONGRATS, Spudd!

I've never looked back after getting rid of my last car (Sep. '04), and whenever I hear about someone needing new tires on their car, or talking about insurance and tags, things like that, I quickly review the math in my head, and just wallow in the 'schadenfreude'....
Same here. I realized the other day that most people (in the US) would rather be homeless than carless. Me, I like having a warm place to sleep.
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Old 11-17-10, 05:45 PM   #17
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Lots of options on the bicycle repair thing. First item of business is to have more than one bike if you are seriously dependent on them for transportation. Bikes are very easy to work on for the most part. Learn the basics, thinks like how to change an inner tube, basic adjustments. In my area all the buses have bike racks on the front so if you can walk it as far as the nearest bus stop you can get close to an LBS and roll it the rest of the way in. Short of a full blown crash I can't think of anything that would disable a bike to the point it could not be rolled along for a bit.

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Old 11-19-10, 04:00 PM   #18
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I was car-free for 13 years in Toronto. Some problems just require a bit of creativity. With the bike, if the problem is with the wheel (e.g. broken spoke), just bring the wheel to the shop. Or walk and roll it if its the whole bike. Or if its close and say you have one snapped brake cable just ride slow/carefully. You can also take bikes on TTC any time it is not rush hour and not packed - the bus doesn't need a rack, you can bring on board.

Its useful in having bike as main transport to learn how to do basic repairs and acquire a few tools. CBN is great place to learn / get help (though not that close to you if you are far from downtown)

I'd say a cargo trailer would also be a worthwhile investment. Save money on taxis or car share. I never found a need to join car share - the hourly rates seemed expensive to me (of course cheaper than owning if you are using infrequently), if you need it more than a few hours its usually cheaper to get a traditional daily rental, and if its just to haul something if its relatively close by cab may be cheaper. The one time though I thought about it was when doing a lot of renos on the house. Was bringing back parts by bike (like a toilet in the trailer) or baseboard tied to the tube (a bit of an awkward ride). Most things that will fit in a car can be done by bike and trailer, but the nice thing about car share is they also have some trucks in their fleet.
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Old 12-08-10, 02:47 PM   #19
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CONGRATS, Spudd!

I've never looked back after getting rid of my last car (Sep. '04), and whenever I hear about someone needing new tires on their car, or talking about insurance and tags, things like that, I quickly review the math in my head, and just wallow in the 'schadenfreude'....

They just don't know; occasionally, it's less than convenient to do everything by bike, but oh well. It's MORE inconvenient to constantly search for parking spaces, stop at gas stations, check speed limits, watch the cops and their speed traps, and all the rest that goes with the car. I remember winter of '08. my adult niece let me borrow her car during a snowfall so I could do some holiday gift shopping -- 9 miles of driving later, I was looking for a nonexistent sidearm to start shooting fools with! Never again.....

...Actually, that's a fib; had to take the kids to school a couple days ago, they missed the bus, too chilly and too short on time for a walk or ride (2 miles); saw more selfish stupidity in that 4-mile round trip than I've witnessed in an MSNBC Marathon of "Lock Up"!

These experiences just cement my resolve to stay car-free for life.
DX-Man, how do you manage to seriously remain car-free (for the most part)? I know it takes some determination, but sometimes crap like waking up late, missing the bus, intensely bad weather happen? I sold my car already but I can't get my family to accept that I want to ride my bike everywhere they. They think of it as some sort of punishment to ride a bike and that it's a phase I'll grow out of when I have my own family. We still have two cars and I'm offered rides almost daily. On some days, it's too tempting to resist. Anyways, with everyone around me driving cars, I feel like I need to keep up with their schedules and riding a bike is too slow to do that.

Do you have any advice on getting your family to accept and even embrace the car-free lifestyle? How do you plan your day? Do you pack lunch the day before? Do you use a trailer? Any specific things you do to make living car-free more convenient? I'm asking you cos you seem to be reasonably successful at it. Thanks.
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Old 12-08-10, 03:06 PM   #20
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that it's a phase I'll grow out of when I have my own family.
It will take time to convince them. When you arrive for Thanksgiving dinner like this



Maybe then, they'll accept your steadfastness. Don't worry about convincing your family. It's their problem, not yours.
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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 12-08-10, 03:21 PM   #21
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Some problems just require a bit of creativity. With the bike, if the problem is with the wheel (e.g. broken spoke), just bring the wheel to the shop. Or walk and roll it if its the whole bike.
Stuff like that is why I made sure that even the recumbent that I bought would fit on the bus's bike racks. It's come in handy.
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Old 12-08-10, 05:23 PM   #22
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Congratulations, Spudd!

I believe Gil Peņalosa lives in your fair city. Have you checked out his 8 - 80 Cities website? Having such a dynamic supporter of cycling and pedestrian infrastructure bodes well for Toronto. You might want to support him and his movement.
Good find! Gil is the brother of Enrique Penalosa, former mayor of Bogota and a true hero of the world carfree movement. Toronto is lucky to have Gil there. I hope he decides to run for a city office.
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Old 12-08-10, 05:43 PM   #23
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DX-Man, how do you manage to seriously remain car-free (for the most part)? I know it takes some determination, but sometimes crap like waking up late, missing the bus, intensely bad weather happen? I sold my car already but I can't get my family to accept that I want to ride my bike everywhere they. They think of it as some sort of punishment to ride a bike and that it's a phase I'll grow out of when I have my own family. We still have two cars and I'm offered rides almost daily. On some days, it's too tempting to resist. Anyways, with everyone around me driving cars, I feel like I need to keep up with their schedules and riding a bike is too slow to do that.

Do you have any advice on getting your family to accept and even embrace the car-free lifestyle? How do you plan your day? Do you pack lunch the day before? Do you use a trailer? Any specific things you do to make living car-free more convenient? I'm asking you cos you seem to be reasonably successful at it. Thanks.
A lot of it has to do with RESISTING what everyone else does; I've been like that my whole life (be 52 in a couple more months). I've never been about measuring up to anyone else's expectations or standards -- failing to meet my MOTHER'S standards taught me that! No one else's schedules matter to me, until theirs intersects with mine. THEN, there's compromise, because everyone I deal with accepts that the bike is part of my identity.

There has been cost; I'm only acquainted with 1 out 5 grandchildren, because the mother of the other 4 is disinclined to include me in her life (would drive 50 miles to see HER grandma, and would refuse to drive another 1-1/2 miles to see me). But since I have a daughter about to hit her teens, and a nephew who's in my shadow as much as he can, I don't feel much loss. Don't have time!

I've experienced the same kind of "quiet tolerance for my aberration", where family smiles and waits for me to "grow up". Sooner or later, you're going to just have to get a tiny bit rude and tell your naysayers, "Hey -- I ride because I love to ride, it's healthier, saves me money, and brings me joy. Anyone who can't accept that doesn't get my attention."

I'm never tempted to get in the car... well, almost never. A few weeks ago, I needed to go back to Menard's to get some plumbing parts, after having a difficult workday and a hard commute home. My sister handed me her keys, and I went. Had that not been an option, I'd have sucked it up and got on the bike.

As far as my day goes, I wish I could brown-bag it. Nothing tasty stays in the fridge or cabinet for long in my house (extended family). There are times when I need to use the trailer, and those errands can be planned into a day off work. I know how long my commute is, which routes I can take, my work schedule accommodates my travel time; I can take as long, or as short, a commute as I choose.

What I do, simply enough, is track the weather; if there's even a chance of rain, I have wet-weather gear with me. A greater-than-30% chance of rain gets fenders slapped on. I carry two of the re-useable shopping bags in my gear, just in case I have to tote something. (This past year, I've done quite a bit of that!)

I'm sure there are points I've left out; it's just been a part of my life for so long, I rarely even think about it anymore. Hit me again with more if you need to.
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Old 12-13-10, 06:23 PM   #24
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Well, I thought we were, LOL. We had a talk last night (it's just me and my husband) and decided we were going to sell it. But today he took it to get the transmission fluid topped up so it would be safer to drive (and would behave better when people come to test drive it), and when he found out it was only $20 to top up the fluid he called me and said he was thinking of keeping it now. So we'll have to talk tonight - he called while I was in the middle of a work emergency so I couldn't get into it.

The plan is we will combine walking, biking, public transport, car sharing, and renting cars. Our everyday stuff will be on foot and by bike, if we need to go downtown (20km from our house) it'll likely be public transport unless it's a weekend and we have time. We'll use car sharing for big shopping trips if needed, and car rental for out-of-town trips.

Challenges or problems - if a bike is unridable and needs to go to the shop, how do we get it there? Public transport or car sharing would probably be how we'd handle those, or just walk the bike to the LBS which is about 2km from our house (assuming it's walkable). Haven't really thought of any others but I'm sure they'll come up as we go along.

Newspaperguy - we live at the north end, so we're not really downtown. Even so, it's pretty easy to get around where we live. We have 2 different bus routes at our door and we're a 15 minute walk from the subway.
It isk a mind set in making that move to cycling instead of driving. Once you do you will be surprosed how money you will save. Good luck.
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Old 12-13-10, 06:29 PM   #25
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DX-Man, how do you manage to seriously remain car-free (for the most part)? I know it takes some determination, but sometimes crap like waking up late, missing the bus, intensely bad weather happen? I sold my car already but I can't get my family to accept that I want to ride my bike everywhere they. They think of it as some sort of punishment to ride a bike and that it's a phase I'll grow out of when I have my own family. We still have two cars and I'm offered rides almost daily. On some days, it's too tempting to resist. Anyways, with everyone around me driving cars, I feel like I need to keep up with their schedules and riding a bike is too slow to do that.

Do you have any advice on getting your family to accept and even embrace the car-free lifestyle? How do you plan your day? Do you pack lunch the day before? Do you use a trailer? Any specific things you do to make living car-free more convenient? I'm asking you cos you seem to be reasonably successful at it. Thanks.
You will have more money available because you don't have to pay car expenses, you will be healthier because you are working out daily (unless you still eat too much of the wrong thing). Don't worry about what the family thinks. They may eventually come around.
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