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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 07-22-12, 04:24 PM   #1
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How much house does a cyclist need?

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?
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Old 07-22-12, 05:23 PM   #2
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What about your housing? Do you need drastically change when you don't have a car?
I suspect family size and composition affects housing "needs" far more than car possession. Of course family size usually greatly affects transportation requirements as well as ability to be car free as well.
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Old 07-22-12, 05:55 PM   #3
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Some of my new found views/attitudes have to be compromised for the sake of the family. There are no real job opportunities here, but the kids are enrolled in arguably the best school district in the entire State of OK. Not going to sacrifice their education simply because I don't like the lack of public transportation in this town.

After the youngest one graduates in roughly 10 years, the wife and I will probably end up in a condo somewhere. If the absolute worst happened and I find myself alone again, I'd be more than happy with an efficiency/studio apartment or a motel room w/kitchenette.
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Old 07-22-12, 06:07 PM   #4
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I think it boils down to personal preferences and what is available locally. I currently maintain a fair bit of acreage and would much prefer much less yard space. I am getting rid of it a bit at a time by planting edible landscaping.

I could see a car free family needing much less in terms of driveway and parking versus the typical American family with more cars than drivers in the family. I seem to recall seeing that one car takes up as much space as 12 bicycles.

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Old 07-22-12, 06:29 PM   #5
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I live in a transitional housing facility (fancy name for homeless shelter) where I share a standard size bedroom with one other guy. It's really cramped but I manage to store both my bikes in the room. I would say this is the minimum amount of space required for a bicyclist. I'm on VA disability and waiting for Section 8 to come through and then I hope to move into a 2 bedroom apartment. The second bedroom will be a reading room and library for my books. I plan on buying a vertical bike rack and storing my bikes in the living room.
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Old 07-22-12, 06:53 PM   #6
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I live in a large apartment complex. The only change between having a car and car-free would be an extra space in the parking lot for others.
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Old 07-22-12, 07:23 PM   #7
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I'm in a townhouse. For two people, it's quite comfortable but for one, there's more space than I need. However, moving out of here doesn't make sense right now. A move within the town wouldn't change my financial situation and it wouldn't make any noticeable difference in my lifestyle. My commute and my proximity to businesses and services in town wouldn't change noticeably in most of the places which are available.
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Old 07-22-12, 08:05 PM   #8
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Since I have extended family living with me, the 4-br house on 1/2-acre is pretty much a necessity -- especially at the price; I couldn't rent more than a SMALL studio for what the mortgage payment is. In another decade, that will change significantly.

My garage (2-car, 21x22', at the end of a 180' driveway!) would be a palatial studio for me if I was alone.

Whatever the future holds, it'll be me and the bike until I can no longer ride. I seriously doubt there will be room for another RELATIONSHIP (forget spouse, ain't going for 3rds)!
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Old 07-22-12, 09:27 PM   #9
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I live in an upstairs studio loft of an old carriage house (about 150 years old) of which has been of course converted into a residence. my place is 600sqft total including a number of small alcoves, enclosed porch, etc...
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Old 07-22-12, 11:04 PM   #10
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We have more room that we need right now. We live in a 3 bedroom townhouse, about 1150 sq ft. We choose this place because of the location and price, not the size. The four of us lived comfortably in about 750 sq ft for many years. We've never had any exterior space of our own. We've always lived in apartment complexes, with or without cars. One advantage is, though, as we look at moving to a larger city in the next couple years, it makes no difference to me whether an apartment comes with designated parking or not. That opens up some lower-priced, ideally located options.
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Old 07-22-12, 11:35 PM   #11
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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?
Perhaps you could turn your yard into a garden. I read an article not too many months ago about a California family that turned a quarter of an acre of land around their house into a food producing garden. They harvested six-thousand pounds of food from it in one year.

My lack of car ownership has no bearing on the space I use. I lock my main bicycle to the railing around the porch. I have a big tool box and keep one bicycle indoors. If I didn't work on my bicycles I probably would have fewer tools. Having a smaller tool box wouldn't affect my space enough to make a difference.

My original lease gave me access to two parking spaces. Since they weren't dedicated spots I couldn't really claim them and rent them to neighbors who had seven vehicles at one time.

Perhaps asking "how much garage space does a car free cyclist need" would be a better question. The remainder of one's living space would be subjective. I just want enough space to hold all of my stuff. When I have less stuff I'll want less space.
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Old 07-23-12, 06:19 AM   #12
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Only problem with converting yard to garden is that it is against the law in some places. Some by HOA, others by local ordinance. The larger town just south of me finally removed the restrictions on having a couple of hens inside the city limits. Still don't allow roosters

I can live in pickup camper (~90sf) if I need to, and have in the past. I do need some outside storage for things like bicycles and tools. My favorite house over the years was a 760 sf one that was on 1/2 an acre. Currently live in 970sf with 38 acres.

I prefer smaller spaces for housing, but would need to really work at downsizing my shop space.

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Old 07-23-12, 08:32 AM   #13
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I don't NEED space for bikes, but I do WANT extra space because i use bikes. I have two bikes, meaning that when one doesn't work I can always use the other. I keep both indoors. All of my bike stuff combined is taking up 40 square feet of space in the house. I could quit storing my tools and spare parts (and save hardly any space) which would mean losing a few dollars a month due to higher repair costs. I could store my bikes outside, which would save more space, and would also mean losing a few dollars a month due to higher repair costs.
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Old 07-23-12, 03:44 PM   #14
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I could comfortably live in a Studio
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Old 07-23-12, 03:53 PM   #15
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I have a 24' deep 1 car garage and a 24' barn in the back yard. Neither houses the two cars since the house one is the surgical bay for anything from tractors to bikes(got 6 bikes right now) and the back building houses the landscape business tractors/mowers. As much as I'd love to car-free it would mean not being able to tow the landscape trailer.

In my younger years I did tow my landscape stuff with the bike though. When it was push mower and whatever else below that, I had an eye bolt on everything and a 500 lb rated hook on the bike rack. Of course those days the yards were 2 mi away radius and 50 ft wide....
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Old 07-23-12, 03:58 PM   #16
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My partner and I currently live in a two-bedroom apartment, and it is more than enough space. We are downsizing in October to a studio or one-bedroom. We both feel like we have found ourselves collecting more things to fill the unneccessary space. Our kitchen is huge and accomodates a dinner table with 4 spots (and counterspace and and island), our living room is legitimately a storage space for books and furniture, and our spare bedroom is a dual art studio/bike repair center. Our bedroom has a couch in it. I think that most Americans would find themselves on this side of the issue, space has never really been an issue here...
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Old 07-23-12, 05:41 PM   #17
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I suspect family size and composition affects housing "needs" far more than car possession. Of course family size usually greatly affects transportation requirements as well as ability to be car free as well.
Yeah, but as you can see, there are a lot of people who don't have kids or had them and moved on. Actually, if you check the statistics you'll see that child-less couples are a growing statistic. The US is not the worse. Southern Europeans seem to have a real drought of children.

I'd guess all this makes our expansive housing just a little over the top... at least for a growing segment of the population.

I'm probably a good example of that. When we bought our current house, we had 3 children and 3 cars in the driveway.

That was 12 years ago. How things change over time...
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Old 07-24-12, 02:34 AM   #18
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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...)
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Old 07-24-12, 04:44 AM   #19
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I'm probably a good example of that. When we bought our current house, we had 3 children and 3 cars in the driveway.

That was 12 years ago. How things change over time...
I would guess that you are not a good example of the typical car free person who posts of the benefits of the voluntary car free lifestyle on this list.

Most seem to be childless and/or single persons without any experience with (or memory of) family responsibilities. Another group seems to be people without the wherewithal to own a car, let alone a house.
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Old 07-24-12, 06:23 PM   #20
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I would guess that you are not a good example of the typical car free person who posts of the benefits of the voluntary car free lifestyle on this list.

Most seem to be childless and/or single persons without any experience with (or memory of) family responsibilities. Another group seems to be people without the wherewithal to own a car, let alone a house.
Well... as I said earlier... you can expect to run into more and more of these no-kid families and single people. That seems to be the way of the future.

As for poorer people who can't raise the money for a car, there probably are a few around here. One good thing about the Internet is that it's widely available, so anyone can get on and express their opinion.

To me, it's like riding the bus vs cycling/driving. If I only get around on by car or bike, I have quite a few notions about how the world is structured. However, take the bus and you run into quite a few disabled, poor, lunatic... or whatever... the world is full of them. That's why it's often difficult to take the bus.... reality is a little too close.
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Old 07-24-12, 06:33 PM   #21
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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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Old 07-24-12, 06:45 PM   #22
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To me, it's like riding the bus vs cycling/driving. If I only get around on by car or bike, I have quite a few notions about how the world is structured. However, take the bus and you run into quite a few disabled, poor, lunatic... or whatever... the world is full of them. That's why it's often difficult to take the bus.... reality is a little too close.
Lotta good people riding on buses too. Maybe it's Little Rock, but people are friendly and sociable on buses so you can get to know them.
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Old 07-24-12, 08:12 PM   #23
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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!
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Old 07-24-12, 09:40 PM   #24
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To me, it's like riding the bus vs cycling/driving. If I only get around on by car or bike, I have quite a few notions about how the world is structured. However, take the bus and you run into quite a few disabled, poor, lunatic... or whatever... the world is full of them. That's why it's often difficult to take the bus.... reality is a little too close.
I kind of like to take the bus sometimes , partly for pretty much this reason. When you ride the bus, you encounter people that you might never even see otherwise. It makes other groups seem more real; if you see a Latino woman get on the bus with her two small children, try to keep them entertained along the way, drop them off at day care, and then get back on the bus to go to her job at a hotel downtown, it puts a much more human face on the immigrant debate.
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Old 07-25-12, 02:22 PM   #25
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I kind of like to take the bus sometimes , partly for pretty much this reason. When you ride the bus, you encounter people that you might never even see otherwise. It makes other groups seem more real; if you see a Latino woman get on the bus with her two small children, try to keep them entertained along the way, drop them off at day care, and then get back on the bus to go to her job at a hotel downtown, it puts a much more human face on the immigrant debate.
On the bus you see that we are a community and a country. I remember that on 9/12/2001 the only thing that mede me feel safe was to get with the people on the bus.
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