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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 12-04-10, 07:14 PM   #1
noahhussin
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Living on a bike for a year: a documentary

Hey everyone,

We're two filmmakers who've decided to give up the luxuries of cars and apartments for a year, crossing the country on recycled bicycles with a portable production studio in-tow.

We're producing a documentary about our travels in episodes, along with photography and writing. We've finished the first leg of the journey and have a short film online: http://www.americarecycled.org/?p=618

We'd love to hear feedback from other like-minded individuals about how we're presenting the lifestyle to the world. If you have 5 or 10 minutes to spare, let us know what you think!

Thanks a lot everyone,
Noah and Tim
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Old 12-04-10, 10:22 PM   #2
Carley P.
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I just watched this and it's crazy. I've been really into what I'd call "voluntary homelessness" for a while now, though I've never been able to do it for more than two nights at a time, I'd just call that camping in the city. Ever since I read the book "through Painted Deserts" by Donald Miller in high school, along with a few other books of the sort, I've wanted to take around three to four months to get out on the road.

I'll post a link to that site on my tumblr. It would be inspiring for more people to see this.

I'm so curious about this situation. How long have you all been doing this so far? How much money did you bring? If you pass through my home state of Kentucky I hope people treat you well, and I hope to see some cool footage of the state.

Good luck!

Last edited by Carley P.; 12-04-10 at 10:26 PM.
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Old 12-04-10, 10:42 PM   #3
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That was beautiful. Reminded me of my trip this summer. Fantastic job at capturing life on the road. The music was the perfect touch. Very poignant.

Not 4 hours ago I mentioned to a friend how I want to cycle around the country and maybe parts of the world for a year. Best of luck to you guys. Stay safe and have fun.

I will leave you with an revised excerpt from a blog entry I posted while bike touring this summer.

"Here I am at the end of my day as minutes become hours and my time of departure creeps ever closer. I shall venture forth upon paths unknown to a new city and a new home."

John R.

Last edited by johnr783; 12-05-10 at 02:45 PM.
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Old 12-04-10, 10:58 PM   #4
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That's cool. I've been wanting to ride the Parkway back down to Asheville. I missed the opportunity in the fall and thought it'd be best to wait until spring rather than setting out too deep into winter. Maybe I can find somebody to travel with by then. Your filming idea is great. I hope to see more installments!
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Old 12-04-10, 10:58 PM   #5
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:O That fox! You skinned it! Nice video though, lol, I'm going to do this once I finish school.
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Old 12-06-10, 01:20 PM   #6
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Interesting.

You might get more of a response in the touring forums.
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Old 12-06-10, 01:47 PM   #7
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Never mind....I see that you've spammed every subforum with this post
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Old 12-06-10, 05:26 PM   #8
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Good luck with the trip and the film. The video quality is really good. Keep it up.
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Old 12-07-10, 09:18 PM   #9
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it was okay, to be honest. a little sleepy. Can the narrator be a bit more lively and less ponderous (not that that's a bad thing)? It seems like it would get draggy at parts. Are you doing any time-lapse videos? Those are awesome.
Anyways, I admire your project and determination. Good luck.
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Old 12-10-10, 05:39 PM   #10
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Never mind....I see that you've spammed every subforum with this post
LOL But it does kind of belong in a few different forums. I often wish forums had the feature that would allow the same post to appear in several subforums. I often find myself wondering where to post stuff as it's a mix of commuting, utility cycling and mechanics or something like that.
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Old 12-10-10, 06:44 PM   #11
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Yeah, but in this case it is touring. The filmmakers are trying to make it into more than that, but to me it is touring. Pretty much everyone that tours is living car free, if only for the duration of the tour, and you don't typically see touring posts in the living car free forum. Besides, they posted in nearly EVERY subforum.

Oh well, I did enjoy the clip, but i agree that it was a little sleepy. It's easy to get all introspective about touring and think you are doing something unique when in fact thousands upon thousands do it every year.

Anyway, good luck guys, especially with all this cold weather we are getting lately, you picked a poor time to head out on a tour.
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Old 12-11-10, 09:59 PM   #12
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Yeah this is basically touring (in what appears to be pyjamas??)

I cycled across the states in 2008 from Virginia to Oregon, so I guess that made me voluntarily homeless and carless for 3 months - though I'm not ragging on them, I think what they're doing is very cool. I like the website, and they're taking some great pics.

Sometimes though I get the feeling people like to make out the whole touring across the USA thing as being something that no one has done or thought of doing before. I've seen numerous people do it with the sole intention of writing a book or making a film about the journey, some riding for a cause, and others blatantly asking people for $ to achieve their dreams (they get shot down real quick..)

Don't get me wrong, cycling across america is a great personal achievement, and life changing for some, but it is not this mystical epic thing, it's actually pretty common these days, and people of all ages make the trip each year, and numbers are always increasing.
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Old 12-11-10, 10:03 PM   #13
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If you pass through my home state of Kentucky I hope people treat you well, and I hope to see some cool footage of the state.
My impressions of Kentucky were that everyone was incredibly friendly. Eastern Kentucky however was pretty dirty, with lots of litter lining the roads. It was clear that there was some big time poverty in Eastern KY and I later heard a lot of the people in the small towns were hooked on Meth, which all made sense afterwards. West of Berea it was like a complete 180, and I found the west to be really beautiful, definitely a state of contrasts - would you agree with those comments? I'm keen to hear if Kentuckians have the same impression.
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Old 12-12-10, 09:46 AM   #14
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This type of lifestyle would only appeal to an extremely small percentage of the US population. Take away the bikes, add a locomotive, rails, some empty box cars, and this type of movie has some well worn heels.
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Old 12-12-10, 03:10 PM   #15
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Well, good thing there's a forum for people who are crazy enough to be into this kind of thing!
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Old 12-20-10, 03:39 PM   #16
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The thing about this that bothers me is the film makers are living like poor homeless people when they don't need to be. Why not make the film about being homeless on bicycles. Essentially that is what I saw in the first video installment. The bicycles are just the means of transportation. They aren't really showcasing the utility of bicycles. They're just showing how poor homeless people use bicycles to get around. Except these guys don't need to live this way. They're carrying around laptop computers and quality video cameras.

It might be a good skill to be able to skin roadkill and turn it into a meal but how does that relate to living a year on a bicycle? Is there a sub-forum called survivalist bicycling? How about Hobo Bicycling?

How long do you think these guys will last doing this silly experiment? I don't think they'll last a year unless they change their ways and just start touring and living in quality tents and eating in restaurants every day. One doesn't need to take a whole year to realize that living on the streets without money is a really bad, unhealthy way to live. They should ask themselves how many people would buy the book about this adventure if they write one? I don't think many would. So financially it is a really big waste of their time.
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Old 12-21-10, 11:22 AM   #17
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My impressions of Kentucky were that everyone was incredibly friendly. Eastern Kentucky however was pretty dirty, with lots of litter lining the roads. It was clear that there was some big time poverty in Eastern KY and I later heard a lot of the people in the small towns were hooked on Meth, which all made sense afterwards. West of Berea it was like a complete 180, and I found the west to be really beautiful, definitely a state of contrasts - would you agree with those comments? I'm keen to hear if Kentuckians have the same impression.
I've lived in Louisville, Kentucky for all of my life, and it is durastically different from practically any other area in Kentucky. It's by far the largest city in the state, has the most diversity, and has a completely different culture from the towns just twenty minutes away. I still have experience with a lot of the state, though, and your impressions seem close to mine.

Eastern Kentucky is very poor. In fact, I used to attend a church that would make two or three trips there a year to help out some of the people there, as if they were in a third-world country. A few of my close friends attended the trips and said their living conditions were out-of-this-world. One of those friends has a wife, a son, (and one on the way), and lives off of a family income of around 20k a year (before taxes), so those opinions aren't coming from wealthy, upper-middle class people who think not being able to afford a 200k dollar home makes you poor.

As a whole, I love the state - especially Louisville and more northern areas. It's nice to live in an urban environment, but still be able to take a twenty minute drive and be surrounded by nothing but green and horses, and horses, and horses. haha. I'm happy everyone was friendly to you!

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The thing about this that bothers me is the film makers are living like poor homeless people when they don't need to be. Why not make the film about being homeless on bicycles. Essentially that is what I saw in the first video installment. The bicycles are just the means of transportation. They aren't really showcasing the utility of bicycles. They're just showing how poor homeless people use bicycles to get around. Except these guys don't need to live this way. They're carrying around laptop computers and quality video cameras.

It might be a good skill to be able to skin roadkill and turn it into a meal but how does that relate to living a year on a bicycle? Is there a sub-forum called survivalist bicycling? How about Hobo Bicycling?

How long do you think these guys will last doing this silly experiment? I don't think they'll last a year unless they change their ways and just start touring and living in quality tents and eating in restaurants every day. One doesn't need to take a whole year to realize that living on the streets without money is a really bad, unhealthy way to live. They should ask themselves how many people would buy the book about this adventure if they write one? I don't think many would. So financially it is a really big waste of their time.
This is why the video and website are different from the touring that Weetbix is talking about. He's right when he says that a lot of people tour around the states now, but like Dynodonn implied, only a small percentage of people would be interested in (doing) this.

There are more people who are interested in this kind of stuff than you think. Look up freeganism, and you might find stuff that surprises you.

I would be interested in reading a book like this, and I often read books about drifters and "hobos," whether the person unwillingly falls into homelessness, or willingly gives up things. Some books of the sort are fiction, while others are non-fiction.

I'm very interested in the subject. There's something interesting about seeing how little you can live with. Though the lifestyle is significantly more difficult, it would be far less monotonous than the lives most of us live in the states. I hope these two guys make it an entire year, and if they're determined enough, they will.

Last edited by Carley P.; 12-21-10 at 11:26 AM.
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Old 12-21-10, 11:32 AM   #18
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I took a job transfer a few years back that moved me from the northern Ohio rust belt to Ft. Mitchell, KY (just across the river from Cincinnati). One of the first things that struck me was just how warm and friendly the people were. I really enjoyed it there. After two years I got transfered yet again, this time to Louisville, where I spend another 18 months. I found it an equally pleasant place to live, and would be there yet were it not for still more job transfers, first to Fresno, and then on to Sacramento, CA.

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Old 12-24-10, 01:29 PM   #19
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. . .more job transfers, first to Fresno, and then on to Sacramento, CA.
What are your impressions on the cities you've lived in while in CA?
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Old 12-24-10, 01:47 PM   #20
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In a word, 'favorable'. I spent 22 years in the Air Force, and lived in many different locations all over the world... as varied as the Bavarian Alps and the Aleutian Islands. The four or five years I spent in Monterey were absolute tops, though. I love that city more than any other place I know. Fresno was a surprise. It's so often the butt of jokes, but I think I'd have enjoyed living there. Unfortunately, I was only there three months before the transfer to Sacramento. Sac's OK, but I don't think it'll ever go much beyond that for me. It's where the job is, and I'll stay with no complaints as long as the job does, but I'd not feel a loss if circumstances led to another relocation.

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Old 05-09-11, 11:43 PM   #21
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Hey Everyone!

Thanks so much for all the feedback. We've posted a new touring video that we filmed on our way from Tennessee down to Louisiana. Let us know what you think!

http://www.americarecycled.org/2011/...m-the-road-ii/
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Old 05-10-11, 07:30 AM   #22
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I have to say, it's not the best 'quality' or 'narrating', but it's two young men with old souls attempting something most deem crazy. Absolutely, inspiring.

You gotta love the honesty, and a sense of young, brave, and dumb. Love the broken vintage bike 3 days in. When you take into account some of us may have opportunities AND the capability/experience with touring, it's pretty amazing they made it.

Swing thru Southeast Texas, and I'll stick with you until you quit.

Better yet, race you to Chicago. *Scrambling for my go-bag and dropping out of school* I have to quit the JOB and D the Mrs, this better be enlightening.

Seriously though, seeing this dude take off for the Atlantic wearing what looks like BLUE JEANS makes me really want to re-think my plans for summer of 2012, starting now.

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Old 05-12-11, 12:30 PM   #23
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Very awesome documentary, You will come out of this with a different perspective of life then any other person you will ever meet. Things that were once extremely valuable become worthless, and things that were once taken for granted will become extremely valuable.

Good luck, and stay safe!
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Old 05-12-11, 10:25 PM   #24
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awesome! you guys got my hooked
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