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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 07-25-12, 03:04 PM   #26
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If you go and look at housing size statistics over the past 50-60 years the family size has gone down while the house size has gone up. Average house sizes doubled between 1950 and 2000, from around 1100sf to 2350sf. Average family size went from ~3.5 to ~2.5.
And the bigger houses today are not big enough. Today, there are mini storage units in every city and town, which means a lot of people have more stuff than they can keep in their homes. I don't remember seeing mini storage places when I was growing up.
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Old 07-25-12, 03:18 PM   #27
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I live in a small flat but could do basic maintenance in my sitting room but wouldnt mind a secure garage/back yard to wash my bike in as although I can do that here, I would worry about leaving my bike outside facing the street unattended.

Thats while i nipped inside to change the water which I always end up doing as I would need to go up the stairs in the communal hallway and into the kitchen which doesnt have a window, only a small one in toilet room.

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Old 07-25-12, 09:55 PM   #28
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And the bigger houses today are not big enough. Today, there are mini storage units in every city and town, which means a lot of people have more stuff than they can keep in their homes. I don't remember seeing mini storage places when I was growing up.
I've never quite understood the whole storage-unit trend. In my opinion, if you can leave it in your storage unit for months or even years, you don't actually need it at all. I personally do not keep things that do not fit in my 800 sq. ft apartment; when I start to run out of room, I start purging. It's one reason I only own one bicycle (yes, it's true). I think being saddled with too many possessions is not nearly as bad as not having enough of them, but it still leads to a strange sense that one's life has gone seriously off the rails. I sometimes miss the days when I could fit everything I owned into my VW.
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Old 07-25-12, 10:19 PM   #29
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The storage unit trend is borne from the fact that people are accumulators. Their decision making matrix is skewed- they ask themselves if it's a 'Want' before 'Need' and usually don't even bother getting to 'Need' if they answered 'Want' in the affirmative.

Or could be like my wife, who grew up poor, and is determined to ensure our kids aren't deprived like she was. Every single time we go to Dollar Tree, she ends up buying the kids some bauble or other useless item
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Old 07-25-12, 10:29 PM   #30
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I might be trailing away from the original intent of the thread but just wanted to point something out. By looking at this thread it is awesome to see how down to earth cyclist really are. Coming from a motorcycle forum where people tend to boast about crap they own and with the bigger is better attitude I am simply relieved to see that there is people with common sense and humanity in this world. So far Ive only spent one day lurking these forums and I gotta say I love it. Helpful people with good intentions and great mentality. keep it up :thumbs:
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Old 07-25-12, 10:49 PM   #31
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I think a garage is the greatest luxury a carfree person can have. Make sure it has a door opener, so yoou can hit a button at the corner and sail right into the garage!
Even with a car taking up half of the space, it's still a luxury to have all that room for bikes. Yes, the opener is a very nice thing to have. It's also great when racing home to beat the rain, or at night to have the opener light go on as you pull in. It's also nice in the winter to get the water or snow off your bike and to let the garage floor get wet or dirty, without a problem. Another luxury is a compressor to just blow the moisture off a bike. I can heat my garage in winter to melt snow or ice on the bike. Just a couple of nice kerosene heaters. What do you do in the winter about a wet bike?
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Old 07-25-12, 10:58 PM   #32
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Even with a car taking up half of the space, it's still a luxury to have all that room for bikes. Yes, the opener is a very nice thing to have. It's also great when racing home to beat the rain, or at night to have the opener light go on as you pull in. It's also nice in the winter to get the water or snow off your bike and to let the garage floor get wet or dirty, without a problem. Another luxury is a compressor to just blow the moisture off a bike. I can heat my garage in winter to melt snow or ice on the bike. Just a couple of nice kerosene heaters. What do you do in the winter about a wet bike?

wet bike? How can that happen? (written during a drought--my bikes haven't been wet in like two months.)

For a few years I lived in a house with a heated garage, so the bike would dry off by morning even when it was encrusted with snow and ice. Now I'm living in an upper duplex. I have to put the bikes in a shared basement if they're wet. (One neighbor kid "borrowed" my bike but did return it when I threatened to call the police.) Soon I'll be moving to a house. No garage, but there is a locked shed in the back yard, so that's where wet bikes will go. No heat, so they'll still be wet in the morning this winter.
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Old 07-26-12, 07:24 AM   #33
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I own my house outright, it's 1,400 square feet, with an acre and a half of land, and a large two car garage, with enough space to build a second floor if I wanted to do so.

It was fun for awhile, but I'm over it. I'd love to downsize, but the crappy housing market would kill me financially.

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I live in an 800 sq foot condo, which is quite large enough, maybe much too large. Earlier this year, I considered selling it and living on my 30 ft sail boat, but ultimately decided against it, mostly because it would just be too inconvenient to do so with a bike. I love the boat, and could easily live on it otherwise, but not having enough room to decently store and work on the bike is pretty much a deal breaker for me. (That, and not having a hot water heater...)
I always thought it would be cool to live on a boat. A friend of mine dated a guy who kept his boat at the Charles River Yacht Club in Boston and lived on it year round. I don't know what he did for hot water.
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Old 07-26-12, 09:24 AM   #34
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I've never quite understood the whole storage-unit trend. In my opinion, if you can leave it in your storage unit for months or even years, you don't actually need it at all. I personally do not keep things that do not fit in my 800 sq. ft apartment; when I start to run out of room, I start purging. It's one reason I only own one bicycle (yes, it's true). I think being saddled with too many possessions is not nearly as bad as not having enough of them, but it still leads to a strange sense that one's life has gone seriously off the rails. I sometimes miss the days when I could fit everything I owned into my VW.
I was able to fit all of my crap into my '94 Nissan Sentra my senior year of college. It was so awesome. I miss that sometimes too, but I do like having a toaster and coffee maker. But I still find myself evaluating things in terms of "how much of a PITA will this thing be to pack up and move?" Maybe that's my generation, because I've never experienced a stable job market.

One thing that's great for getting me to downsize is to watch an episode or two of "Hoarders." How people manage to fill up storage unit after storage unit with crap and not go nuts from the pressure boggles my mind.
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Old 07-26-12, 06:39 PM   #35
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No garage, but there is a locked shed in the back yard, so that's where wet bikes will go. No heat, so they'll still be wet in the morning this winter.
Actually sounds ideal. An unheated space is better for bike storage in the winter. The freeze and thaw of the heated garage aids the rusting process.

Hopefully there's enough space so you can adjust your brake pads when you need to.
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Old 07-26-12, 07:42 PM   #36
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I own my house outright, it's 1,400 square feet, with an acre and a half of land, and a large two car garage, with enough space to build a second floor if I wanted to do so.

It was fun for awhile, but I'm over it. I'd love to downsize, but the crappy housing market would kill me financially.



I always thought it would be cool to live on a boat. A friend of mine dated a guy who kept his boat at the Charles River Yacht Club in Boston and lived on it year round. I don't know what he did for hot water.
If the boat is large enough it can and probably will have a hot water heater. I spent a fair bit of a summer on a trawler that had a diesel fired water heater on it, that was backed up by a heat exchanger on the big diesel powered engines. I have also seen electric instant flow type heaters used on smaller boats.

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Old 07-26-12, 08:37 PM   #37
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By looking at this thread it is awesome to see how down to earth cyclist really are. Coming from a motorcycle forum where people tend to boast about crap they own and with the bigger is better attitude I am simply relieved to see that there is people with common sense and humanity in this world. So far Ive only spent one day lurking these forums and I gotta say I love it. Helpful people with good intentions and great mentality. keep it up :thumbs:
Thanks for those kind words and welcome here. The Living Car Free forum seems to attract people with the mindset you've notice. There's some really good advice around this place and I continue to learn tricks and tips I hadn't considered before.
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Old 07-26-12, 08:54 PM   #38
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Good point on the snow melt/heat garage matter. I have a "parasite-heated" garage on the house and the bikes go there in the winter if it snows or rains, about 45 deg typically. The snow machinery goes to the outer barn that stays at ambient because the heated snow equipment performs poorly when it touches snow. No tubing on it but the whole snow clog bonding issue is annoying. The bikes seem to do well with the 45 deg garage, but the rest of the year the main one goes in the living room. Luxuries yes indeed. In college I used to get 3 bikes in a 8x12 dorm room with a desk and bed and still set the stand up for work. A lot of the time I would just carry the stuff outside to work on the front steps.
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Old 07-26-12, 11:28 PM   #39
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In many ways, having a garage is more important for a person who is car free than for a person who isn't. You can park your car on the street with no real concerns - even if you go out of town for a week. Your car won't mind if it's rained on for days at a time. But both of these are problematic for bikes; the reason so many people on this thread have mentioned keeping their bikes in their apartments is because of this need.

Of course, if you own a house a garage is useful for other reasons anyway - as a place to keep the lawnmower, ladders, gardening implements, tools, beer fridge, etc.

Like ILTB said, other housing size issues are not really related to biking; a single person with a bike doesn't need a more or less room inside than a single person with two cars.
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Old 07-27-12, 08:39 AM   #40
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Actually sounds ideal. An unheated space is better for bike storage in the winter. The freeze and thaw of the heated garage aids the rusting process.

Hopefully there's enough space so you can adjust your brake pads when you need to.
I always wondered about this. On the one hand, rusting is a chemical process that happens more quickly when it's warmer. On the other hand, the bike will dry soon in a heated space, which will stop the oxidation.

Either way, I haven't really had a problem with bikes rusting under any conditions.. I must be lucky.
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Old 07-27-12, 09:27 AM   #41
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In many ways, having a garage is more important for a person who is car free than for a person who isn't. You can park your car on the street with no real concerns - even if you go out of town for a week. Your car won't mind if it's rained on for days at a time. But both of these are problematic for bikes; the reason so many people on this thread have mentioned keeping their bikes in their apartments is because of this need.
I partially agree - I certainly keep my bikes indoors, while the car is out on the street. If I didn't have a parking garage, the bike would come into my bedroom where it lived in the last place I had.

However, cars on the street can be concerning... my car, which is parked 90% of the time, just suffered $4000 worth of damage from being smashed into. On the one hand, my first thought was "at least it wasn't my bike" (my car has insurance), but it is yet another thing that makes me question whether I really want to own a car. But alas, for the $1k that I spend on the car a year, it always works out cheaper to just keep the thing than to rent one whenever I need it.

In addition, starting a car when it's -30 is really quite bad for it. Not to mention the time it takes to scrape off the windows and get the engine warmed up. Most people I know like to keep cars under cover for this reason. Oh, and the frequent golfball-sized hail that we get. That **** can break windshields, let alone pepper a car with dents.

Back to the original thread... I can understand the sentiment of being proud to have few posessions, but the longer I live in one city, the more I seem to accumulate. Not spending money on my car means more money for hobbies, and my boyfriend and I have managed to stuff a 2-bedroom apartment with things like skis (downhill and xc), home brew equipment, 2 guitars and a keyboard, ~8 houseplants, 7 plantar boxes and two hanging plantars on the balcony, multiple bikes, backpacking gear, photo stuff, bike touring gear, free weights... and yeah, while some of them just sit around most of the year (e.g. skis), they sure come in handy for the two weeks that I use them.
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Old 01-16-14, 06:11 AM   #42
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I have a 40 foot driveway and a one-car garage. House was built in the 1950s, which I guess is the era of the one-car family.

Looking at my current transportation choices, this seems a bit silly. I should probably have a smaller lawn (or no) lawn if I didn't have a driveway to support extra cars. I probably also could replace the garage with a smaller shed in the back for tools and repair area.

What about your housing? Do you need drastically change when you don't have a car?
We're looking for a new house.

The first challenge is to pick a location that will work for us ... and that may take some thought.

But the next challenge is ... what kind of house.

Ideally we'd like ...

Lawn -- our previous house had a great yard. It was mostly an English country garden style. Flowers and bushes everywhere! We had a postage stamp piece of grass, and that was it. Ideally, we'd like a place with a similar garden, or maybe a sort of rock/gravel surface, or combination of the two. Something that would not require much maintenance.

Garage -- we currently have one that is attached to the house with an internal entrance, and we love it. We'd like a house with that.

Bicycle Room -- we'd like a room near the garage for bicycles ... for storage and for a workshop.

Laundry & Ensuite near the garage and bicycle room, for a quick wash up after a big ride or after maintaining the bicycles.

Exercise Room -- could be the Bicycle Room, or a separate room, for bicycles on trainers, the weight lifting equipment, etc.


Houses here don't often have basements, and tend to be quite small, so the last three items could be quite a challenge to find.
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Old 01-16-14, 09:28 AM   #43
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If you go and look at housing size statistics over the past 50-60 years the family size has gone down while the house size has gone up. Average house sizes doubled between 1950 and 2000, from around 1100sf to 2350sf. Average family size went from ~3.5 to ~2.5.

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That worm turned in 2007. The trend has been downward and it is projected to hold or even accelerate on the down trend. Less is the new more.
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Old 01-16-14, 09:44 AM   #44
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I'm not car free, but I'd like a garage for doing bike maintenance/storage in and to do trainer riding in the winter months more so than I want a place to store my car. House size is not so much a factor of need as it is want. I mean how much house does anyone really need.
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Old 01-16-14, 10:05 AM   #45
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I've got a 3 car garage, and only 1 car (the wife's). The house is 1200 sqr ft, plus partially finished basement. We fill up the storage space pretty well.
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Old 01-16-14, 10:20 AM   #46
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I would like a four car garage with sleeping loft, but three would do ...

http://www.thegarageplanshop.com/3-c...plans/40/1.php
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Old 01-16-14, 10:41 AM   #47
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This thread was bumped from 2012. We were just getting ready to move from a duplex (800 sf) to a three story house (1400 sf). For a family of five, the house is small by American standards, but the size has been comfortable for us. One attraction was a bedroom for everybody, whereas my son and DIL had been sleeping in the living room at the duplex. Weirdly, my young grandso thinks his bedroom, alone up on the third floor, is haunted. So he sleeps in the living room, and we're back to square one on that issue. Living with a young family after being alone for years has both challenges and rewards, but mainly it's a blessing.

We have no garage, unfortunately. The one car sleeps in the driveway. There is a door off the driveway onto the basement stairway landing. That's mainly I where keep my bike. Sometimes I lock it to the porch railing for short periods. My son left his son's bike unlocked on the front porch for a few minutes and it was stolen. I told him that would happen, but did he listen?

So how much housing does a cyclist need? Our small house has been very comfortable, with three riders in the family. The location, on the other hand.... But that's for a different thread.
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Old 01-16-14, 02:19 PM   #48
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I've never quite understood the whole storage-unit trend. In my opinion, if you can leave it in your storage unit for months or even years, you don't actually need it at all. I personally do not keep things that do not fit in my 800 sq. ft apartment; when I start to run out of room, I start purging. It's one reason I only own one bicycle (yes, it's true). I think being saddled with too many possessions is not nearly as bad as not having enough of them, but it still leads to a strange sense that one's life has gone seriously off the rails. I sometimes miss the days when I could fit everything I owned into my VW.
I have a storage unit. It's across the street from my apartment. I checked, the storage unit is cheaper than moving into the next size larger apartment. Some of the stuff there are family heirlooms and my bikes at work trailer. So it works for me.
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Old 01-16-14, 02:31 PM   #49
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That worm turned in 2007. The trend has been downward and it is projected to hold or even accelerate on the down trend. Less is the new more.
It turned again in 2011, and now seems to be linked to the 2008 economic contraction. More will always be more.
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Old 01-16-14, 03:06 PM   #50
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It turned again in 2011, and now seems to be linked to the 2008 economic contraction. More will always be more.
Depends who you are listening to I guess. Architects and builders are saying the demand for the smaller home / trend line is reversing and coming back up. But, exactly who is ordering those homes? Nobody that I know; I think cozy, affordable, sustainable is what's hot.
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