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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 11-23-13, 08:06 PM   #1
B. Carfree
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Car Brain

I came across this interesting, at least to me, piece in the NY Times by a person who is walking the path from humanity's origins in the Rift Valley to its last settlement at the tip of South America.
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/23/op...=1&ref=opinion

These quotes from the article describe how I often feel about the people around me who have chosen, often without realizing there are other choices, to make a habit of car use:
Quote:
The writer Rebecca Solnit nails this mind-set perfectly in her book “Wanderlust: A History of Walking”: “In a sense the car has become a prosthetic, and though prosthetics are usually for injured or missing limbs, the auto-prosthetic is for a conceptually impaired body or a body impaired by the creation of a world that is no longer human in scale.”

I just call it Car Brain.

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Cocooned inside a bubble of loud noise and a tonnage of steel, members of the internal combustion tribe tend to adopt ownership of all consumable space.
I thought some of the people who frequent the LCF forum would also enjoy this article.
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Old 11-23-13, 09:47 PM   #2
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Thanks; I didn't click your link yet, but the excerpts were very interesting! I'll check it out soon...
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Old 11-23-13, 10:27 PM   #3
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Very interesting article. So it's not just American drivers who are so afflicted.
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Old 11-24-13, 12:04 AM   #4
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Earlier this month I ran into a friend downtown. He was going to the YMCA a few blocks away. I got off my bike, walked over there with him and we had a nice talk. As we stood in front of the YMCA my friend told me to watch how much time people spend driving around in the parking lot, just to get a spot about 20 feet closer the building. The same building they are going to exercise at. I watched for a while to see if it was just a car or two. Nope, everyone did it.

That night on the TV news McDonalds announced they would be adding a 3rd drive thru window. It will improve productivity and employees will not have to deliver special orders outside.
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Old 11-24-13, 12:14 AM   #5
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I have often thought of walking as moving diagonally as opposed to linearly. In a car, you are forced by the grid of roads to move in straight directions. You are forced also to see only the fronts of things, the one and only flat side of three dimensional objects which is meant to be seen. But, while walking (or riding a bike, if you dare to get off the pavement), you can move diagonally across the created grid. You see the back side, the flip side, the wrong side of things. You learn the secrets that are hidden by their facades.
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Old 11-24-13, 02:31 AM   #6
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I'm reading the first article published in National Geographic from Paul Salopek's "Walk Out of Eden" series. Salopek notices some cool things and writes very well. I'm sure I will read all of the articles as they come out over the next seven years.

Here are the first couple paragraphs:
"Walking is falling forward.

Each step we take is an arrested plunge, a collapse averted, a disaster braked. In this way, to walk becomes an act of faith. We perform it daily: a two-beat miracle—an iambic teetering, a holding on and letting go. For the next seven years I will plummet across the world.


I am on a journey. I am in pursuit of an idea, a story, a chimera, perhaps a folly. I am chasing ghosts. Starting in humanity’s birthplace in the Great Rift Valley of East Africa, I am retracing, on foot, the pathways of the ancestors who first discovered the Earth at least 60,000 years ago. This remains by far our greatest voyage. Not because it delivered us the planet. No. But because the early **** sapiens who first roamed beyond the mother continent—these pioneer nomads numbered, in total, as few as a couple of hundred people—also bequeathed us the subtlest qualities we now associate with being fully human: complex language, abstract thinking, a compulsion to make art, a genius for technological innovation, and the continuum of today’s many races. We know so little about them. They straddled the strait called Bab el Mandeb—the “gate of grief” that cleaves Africa from Arabia—and then exploded, in just 2,500 generations, a geological heartbeat, to the remotest habitable fringe of the globe.


Millennia behind, I follow."
http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/20...n/salopek-text

there,s also a blog, maps and other features here:
http://outofedenwalk.nationalgeographic.com
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Old 11-24-13, 07:43 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
I came across this interesting, at least to me, piece in the NY Times by a person who is walking the path from humanity's origins in the Rift Valley to its last settlement at the tip of South America.
I thought some of the people who frequent the LCF forum would also enjoy this article.
It is interesting to me too. Besides biking, I also love walking and reading. Your suggestions for reading material connect to two of these three interests. Thanks for the link!
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Old 11-24-13, 12:36 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Slowhead View Post
Earlier this month I ran into a friend downtown. He was going to the YMCA a few blocks away. I got off my bike, walked over there with him and we had a nice talk. As we stood in front of the YMCA my friend told me to watch how much time people spend driving around in the parking lot, just to get a spot about 20 feet closer the building. The same building they are going to exercise at. I watched for a while to see if it was just a car or two. Nope, everyone did it.
I don't think this qualifies as "car brain". The use of the word "brain" doesn't enters into it at all.
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Old 11-24-13, 02:38 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
I came across this interesting, at least to me, piece in the NY Times by a person who is walking the path from humanity's origins in the Rift Valley to its last settlement at the tip of South America.
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/23/op...=1&ref=opinion

These quotes from the article describe how I often feel about the people around me who have chosen, often without realizing there are other choices, to make a habit of car use:





I thought some of the people who frequent the LCF forum would also enjoy this article.
It was a good article. Alot of people on this forum only think of human powered trasportation at 12 mph or more. However I believe there is a huge segment of the population that prefers to travel at 3 miles per hour on foot and backpacking is a good example. I find that I'm begining to appreciate this kind of thinking because we miss so much more when we're on bikes. I find the fear and danger of automobiles go away as a walker. When you think about it, walking is a safer activity overall.

The book they mentioned Wanderlust seems like a good read. I think I'll buy the Kindle version in a couple of months.

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Old 11-25-13, 01:23 PM   #10
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When you think about it, walking is a safer activity overall.
I feel that way, too. But for some reason, pedestrians are more likely per mile traveled to be killed than are bicyclists.
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Old 11-25-13, 09:00 PM   #11
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I feel that way, too. But for some reason, pedestrians are more likely per mile traveled to be killed than are bicyclists.
I'm not sure of all the reasons, but per mile a pedestrian is exposed to traffic for about 20 minutes; a cyclist for only about five minutes. It would be interesting to see statistics for injuries per hour and injuries per trip, if they exist.
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Old 11-25-13, 10:47 PM   #12
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I feel that way, too. But for some reason, pedestrians are more likely per mile traveled to be killed than are bicyclists.
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I'm not sure of all the reasons, but per mile a pedestrian is exposed to traffic for about 20 minutes; a cyclist for only about five minutes. It would be interesting to see statistics for injuries per hour and injuries per trip, if they exist.
I don't have any numbers, but it seems to me that many cycling miles are done in conditions of low traffic and the overwhelming majority of pedestrian miles are done to/from the car in conditions of very high traffic. It's not like folks are walking centuries on country roads on the weekends. Well, except for my sister-in-law who will walk nearly 100 miles over three days as a weekend outing from her home near Lake Tahoe.
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Old 11-26-13, 08:40 AM   #13
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Question: Is walking considered a higher impact on the knee cartilage as opposed to cycling? Perhaps cycling would be a better choice if natural human deterioration was taken into the equasion?
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Old 11-26-13, 08:56 AM   #14
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"Cocooned inside a bubble of loud noise and a tonnage of steel, members of the internal combustion tribe tend to adopt ownership of all consumable space."

More like since they are in the overwhelming majority(USA)- they take a majority view.
Just like all majority groups.
Implying car drivers are "evildoers" and non drivers are "superior" is childish.
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Old 11-26-13, 12:21 PM   #15
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Implying car drivers are "evildoers" and non drivers are "superior" is childish.
I don't this that's the implication. More like car drivers are taking up a lot of space. Non drivers superior... well maybe
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Old 11-26-13, 12:59 PM   #16
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gerv-maybe
but is sure seems to imply the "INTERNAL COMBUSTION TRIBE" members are "stealing" from non internal combustion tribe members.
As if the IC tribe are the Europeans stealing America from the first tribes

The internal combustion tribe- 99% of the people-so the European invading the Americas comparison she alludes to is absurd.

Geez I always end up defending cars-which I like-along with everything else with wheels(not inline skates-too old-nearly fractured my skull)
making me the bad guy here.
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Old 11-26-13, 01:03 PM   #17
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Sounds like guilt speaking to me Pheobeisis. I know it sucks to think that you might be a member of a group of people abusing the world for a cost less than the damage you do but it doesn't obviate the fact that it is true.
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Old 11-26-13, 01:31 PM   #18
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..my friend told me to watch how much time people spend driving around in the parking lot, just to get a spot about 20 feet closer the building. The same building they are going to exercise at. I watched for a while to see if it was just a car or two. Nope, everyone did it.
I have made the same observation as your friend locally. I've even commented about those who circle the parking lot for 5 minutes looking for a front parking spot - only to go inside and spend 30+ minutes on a treadmill. Some of those could walk to/from the gym in the same amount of time spent driving to, parking, exercising, and returning.
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Old 11-26-13, 02:09 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by phoebeisis View Post
Implying car drivers are "evildoers" and non drivers are "superior" is childish.
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Sounds like guilt speaking to me Pheobeisis. I know it sucks to think that you might be a member of a group of people abusing the world for a cost less than the damage you do but it doesn't obviate the fact that it is true.
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Earlier this month I ran into a friend downtown. He was going to the YMCA a few blocks away. I got off my bike, walked over there with him and we had a nice talk. As we stood in front of the YMCA my friend told me to watch how much time people spend driving around in the parking lot, just to get a spot about 20 feet closer the building. The same building they are going to exercise at. I watched for a while to see if it was just a car or two. Nope, everyone did it.

That night on the TV news McDonalds announced they would be adding a 3rd drive thru window. It will improve productivity and employees will not have to deliver special orders outside.
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I have made the same observation as your friend locally. I've even commented about those who circle the parking lot for 5 minutes looking for a front parking spot - only to go inside and spend 30+ minutes on a treadmill. Some of those could walk to/from the gym in the same amount of time spent driving to, parking, exercising, and returning.
Is it not childish to feel smugly superior or gloat over those who don't choose bicycles to arrive at the gym, a fast food joint (or anywhere else)?
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Old 11-26-13, 02:13 PM   #20
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...The internal combustion tribe- 99% of the people-so the European invading the Americas comparison she alludes to is absurd.

Geez I always end up defending cars-which I like-along with everything else with wheels(not inline skates-too old-nearly fractured my skull)
making me the bad guy here.
Let's not exaggerate, the facts are bad enough:

Quote:
It is true that 95 percent of American households own a car, and most Americans get to work by car (85 percent). It wasn’t always this way, nor is it likely to stay this way. Until World War II and into the late 1940s, many Americans did not own cars. People lived in cities and towns, and 40 percent did not own cars but used public buses, trolleys and trains.
http://photos.state.gov/libraries/ca..._own_a_car.pdf
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Old 11-26-13, 02:19 PM   #21
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"Cocooned inside a bubble of loud noise and a tonnage of steel, members of the internal combustion tribe tend to adopt ownership of all consumable space."

More like since they are in the overwhelming majority(USA)- they take a majority view.
Just like all majority groups.
Implying car drivers are "evildoers" and non drivers are "superior" is childish.
Even many (most?) of the members of the "internal combustion tribe" do everything in their power to avoid other people's cars. Ever look at real estate listings? There's a premium on being on the end of a road, which means fewer people drive past the house. This has driven the cul de sac deserts of suburban sprawl.

It strikes me as somewhat childish to pretend that cars are not having an enormous impact. Fairy tales are fun, but adults need to deal with reality and all its warts, hopefully in ways that improve that reality.
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Old 11-26-13, 02:22 PM   #22
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Is it not childish to feel smugly superior or gloat over those who don't choose bicycles to arrive at the gym, a fast food joint (or anywhere else)?
I simply think it's foolish to spend time to shorten the walk into an establishment to then, in turn, spend even more time walking in place on a treadmill.
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Old 11-26-13, 02:36 PM   #23
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Is it not childish to feel smugly superior or gloat over those who don't choose bicycles to arrive at the gym, a fast food joint (or anywhere else)?
Not smug, pissed off. The smug ones are those who damage the common environment, pass the costs along to others, while childishly denying that they even do harm. Actions speak louder than words.
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Old 11-26-13, 02:39 PM   #24
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I simply think it's foolish to spend time to shorten the walk into an establishment to then, in turn, spend even more time walking in place on a treadmill.
Even if the people concerned prefer indoor walking on the treadmill than walking in the parking lot?
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Old 11-26-13, 03:08 PM   #25
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Even if the people concerned prefer indoor walking on the treadmill than walking in the parking lot?
I don't remember the numbers, but Donald Shoup has demonstrated that a fairly large amount of gas is used (wasted) by people cruising around as they look for a good parking spot.

Along with a long line of cars, I was recently held up by somebody in a car, blocking the lane while waiting for another car to vacate a diagonal parking space. There was another space just three slots down. This driver was holding up seven or eight other people in order to shorten his own walk to the store by 15 steps. If that isn't smug, I don't know what is.
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