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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 01-25-14, 12:23 PM   #1
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Google Maps

Got a notification from a headhunter about a potential job. So as part of my due diligence, I was checking out what the ride would be like. It's a long one, the shortest length that google maps would give me was about 15 miles each way bicycle only. Taking the bus into downtown Little Rock from home knocks the riding down to about 7 miles each way. There's no good transit on the 2nd half.

But it's nice to be able to preview the ride. The times that google maps gave for the rides seemed rather pessimistic. So I was looking for hills and stuff. There was one crucial section of the 15 mile route that was marked as a bike path, but only about 200 feet long, and the only way direct through a neighborhood without a 10 block detour. So I looked and yes there was a path between two houses. Then I went to the other side of the block and the path seems to come out beside a firehouse, and I can see a car driving along the path. So, its a doable short cut.

That kind of information is wonderful. And I was able to check out the road surfaces and widths. It makes all the difference. One section of the 7 mile route seems to be so narrow that there isn't even a white line along the side. It's pretty amazing to be able to preview a ride this way.
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Old 01-25-14, 12:33 PM   #2
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I used a mapping program when I put together a bicycling/walking route a while ago, and it was wonderful to be able to see in detail where I could and couldn't go.
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Old 01-25-14, 06:06 PM   #3
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I have various issues with Google Maps (missing roads, old inaccurate information, etc.) but the biggest issue I have is that they don't provide elevation profiles.

You mentioned that you looked for hills, and even with the Terrain setting on it is very difficult to tell what the hills are really like. You can tell that the road goes up a hill, but is it a short steep one, or a long gradual one?

However, yes, it is nice to preview a road before you get there ... and see what it was like back in 2007.



And now that you've previewed it ... are you going to ride it this weekend to get a feel for what it is really like?
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Old 01-25-14, 06:54 PM   #4
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A tip for Machka and anyone else interested, if you want to see elevation on Google Maps, try Google Earth for a 3-dimensional view (I like to change the settings in the program to exaggerate elevation by a factor of 3), or use this site which will generate elevation profiles for a given route: http://www.mappedometer.com/
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Old 01-25-14, 08:31 PM   #5
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And now that you've previewed it ... are you going to ride it this weekend to get a feel for what it is really like?
That would wait until I actually had a job offer. But given the distance between my apartment and the location of the company, I thought I'd better check it out and see what the options are.

They don't look good. Bicycle alone is nearly 2 hrs each way. The bus/bicycle is 1.5 hrs in the morning and 2.5 hrs in the evening. It's a 20 minute drive each way, but that will require thousands of dollars of investment in a car/motorcycle. Moving is fairly cost-prohibitive and good car-free locations that are affordable are located about half way between the jobsite and my current apartment.

If bicycling were my life this would be great. But I found the 1 hour bike commute to my last job to be the maximum I really cared to do. A two hour commute would be like working an extra week per month. But I need a job.

In looking at routes, when I had found the shortest route on Google maps, I went to mapmyride to get an idea of the terrain.
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Old 01-26-14, 12:18 AM   #6
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I think I'd still be tempted to ride it just to get a feel for it.

We're hoping to move in a few months, and one of the things I want to do prior to that is to cycle in and around the areas we're considering. And maybe even attempt a ride from wherever we're considering into town to where I work, just to see how that feels. The cycle-ability may make the difference between this place and that.

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Old 01-26-14, 01:02 AM   #7
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That is a very good idea. And should the job become real, I will. Otherwise, I have too much to do already. I've ridden substantial parts of the route already just in riding around the Little Rock area.
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Old 01-26-14, 01:26 AM   #8
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I used google satellite view to shave off 1/2 mile from one commute. I saw that there were woods and a field with a railroad siding at the back corner of a large park between my home and work. It looked like there might be a trail there. It took some exploring, but I did find the trail and used it many times thereafter.
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Old 01-26-14, 05:06 AM   #9
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Got a notification from a headhunter about a potential job. So as part of my due diligence, I was checking out what the ride would be like. It's a long one, the shortest length that google maps would give me was about 15 miles each way bicycle only. Taking the bus into downtown Little Rock from home knocks the riding down to about 7 miles each way. There's no good transit on the 2nd half.

But it's nice to be able to preview the ride. The times that google maps gave for the rides seemed rather pessimistic. So I was looking for hills and stuff. There was one crucial section of the 15 mile route that was marked as a bike path, but only about 200 feet long, and the only way direct through a neighborhood without a 10 block detour. So I looked and yes there was a path between two houses. Then I went to the other side of the block and the path seems to come out beside a firehouse, and I can see a car driving along the path. So, its a doable short cut.

That kind of information is wonderful. And I was able to check out the road surfaces and widths. It makes all the difference. One section of the 7 mile route seems to be so narrow that there isn't even a white line along the side. It's pretty amazing to be able to preview a ride this way.
I would seriously look at incorporating that bus especially if there are hills. Find out the situation in the bus if there is a room for a folder otherwise you might have to use two junk bikes. I would also look at the bus schedule and see if you can time the bus so that you arrive at the bus no later than 10 minutes before it arrives. This might cut down your overall commute to work.

I don't see how the return trip should take an hour longer if you are timing the bus. You might have to stay at the job a little longer to wait for a later bus but you can use this down time to read the newspaper, make calls etc. The free time you spend doing what you want is not part of your commute.
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Old 01-26-14, 12:01 PM   #10
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I would seriously look at incorporating that bus especially if there are hills. Find out the situation in the bus if there is a room for a folder otherwise you might have to use two junk bikes. I would also look at the bus schedule and see if you can time the bus so that you arrive at the bus no later than 10 minutes before it arrives. This might cut down your overall commute to work.

I don't see how the return trip should take an hour longer if you are timing the bus. You might have to stay at the job a little longer to wait for a later bus but you can use this down time to read the newspaper, make calls etc. The free time you spend doing what you want is not part of your commute.
Yes, I was surprised that with a multi-modal commute that it might take an hour longer to go home than to get to work.
Going to work, I ride one bus to downtown Little Rock, a half hour ride and then ride the rest of the way by bike, a 45 minute ride. Going home, there would be the 45 minute ride back to Little Rock, but going home would require two bus rides with a 34 minute wait between them getting me home at 7:14. Not quite 2 1/2 hours, but close. And, it would pay me to work late. Up to 45 minutes later and I would still arrive home at the same time. Going home, I could also do a shorter ride of 3.3 miles and catch a third bus and still arrive home at 7:14.

Riding my bike all the way home should get me there at about 6:55. Strangely, Google Maps suggest that if I add a mile to my ride, using their route instead of the one I optimized myself, that I'll save 5 minutes in my commute.

As far as downtime, reading a newspaper, making calls are what I consider filler time. Thats busy-ness. It's not done because it will get me closer to my goals, it's just actions done because the body abhors quietude. Maybe I could meditate. But my real gripe is that so much time is going into transportation that it hurts the quality of life.

I was back on Google Maps this morning, this time identifying apartments closer to the jobsite. That's looking like it might be the way to go should I get the job. I found one complex close to shopping, with a bus line and a 3.3 mile ride to the jobsite. So that would be a 20 minute ride each way. 40 minutes travel total instead of nearly 4 hours or a net gain of 3 hours a day. That would be expensive. Moving costs, plus the fact that I'd end up giving almost 2 months of rent away to close out my current contract. It's probably still cheaper than pouring money into a car.
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Old 01-26-14, 12:56 PM   #11
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Yes, I was surprised that with a multi-modal commute that it might take an hour longer to go home than to get to work.
Going to work, I ride one bus to downtown Little Rock, a half hour ride and then ride the rest of the way by bike, a 45 minute ride. Going home, there would be the 45 minute ride back to Little Rock, but going home would require two bus rides with a 34 minute wait between them getting me home at 7:14. Not quite 2 1/2 hours, but close. And, it would pay me to work late. Up to 45 minutes later and I would still arrive home at the same time. Going home, I could also do a shorter ride of 3.3 miles and catch a third bus and still arrive home at 7:14.

All my life, I had a commute that was over an hour long. Most people who work and New York City and don't live there are in the same boat.
Riding my bike all the way home should get me there at about 6:55. Strangely, Google Maps suggest that if I add a mile to my ride, using their route instead of the one I optimized myself, that I'll save 5 minutes in my commute.

As far as downtime, reading a newspaper, making calls are what I consider filler time. Thats busy-ness. It's not done because it will get me closer to my goals, it's just actions done because the body abhors quietude. Maybe I could meditate. But my real gripe is that so much time is going into transportation that it hurts the quality of life.

I was back on Google Maps this morning, this time identifying apartments closer to the jobsite. That's looking like it might be the way to go should I get the job. I found one complex close to shopping, with a bus line and a 3.3 mile ride to the jobsite. So that would be a 20 minute ride each way. 40 minutes travel total instead of nearly 4 hours or a net gain of 3 hours a day. That would be expensive. Moving costs, plus the fact that I'd end up giving almost 2 months of rent away to close out my current contract. It's probably still cheaper than pouring money into a car.
I guess you might be stuck with an hour and a half commute. However, it's not the end of the world. Since you'll be taking folder on boad, you can avoid the second bus home and bike the rest of the distance.

My commute into Manhattan takes that much time and more! I do and hour and fifteen minute commute one way (and more) since 1992. In fact, most commuters going into Manhattan spend that much time minimum.
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Old 01-27-14, 01:08 AM   #12
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I guess you might be stuck with an hour and a half commute. However, it's not the end of the world. Since you'll be taking folder on board, you can avoid the second bus home and bike the rest of the distance.
That's a good idea. It hadn't occurred to me, and the first bus will pass within a couple of miles of home if I don't do the transfer to the bus that would get me all the way home.

So I ran the numbers. That would get me home at 6:45. Maybe 4 minutes ahead of just riding the whole distance. And 8.9 miles of riding compared to 15 miles.

So that may be the most practical. Two buses one morning and one evening, 16 miles ridden each day round trip.

But it's still about a 3.25 hour commute each day. And I think I may need the time to play catch-up with my career.
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Old 01-27-14, 02:37 AM   #13
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That's a good idea. It hadn't occurred to me, and the first bus will pass within a couple of miles of home if I don't do the transfer to the bus that would get me all the way home.

So I ran the numbers. That would get me home at 6:45. Maybe 4 minutes ahead of just riding the whole distance. And 8.9 miles of riding compared to 15 miles.

So that may be the most practical. Two buses one morning and one evening, 16 miles ridden each day round trip.

But it's still about a 3.25 hour commute each day. And I think I may need the time to play catch-up with my career.
Yes, keep in mind that non-car commuting is multi-purpose time. Bike commuting is exercise time and good for stress reduction. Bus commuting is time for take-home work, reading, movies, music, and even napping.
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Old 01-29-14, 03:46 AM   #14
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i want to search in "Snow World Jaipur".
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Old 01-29-14, 08:09 AM   #15
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i want to search in "Snow World Jaipur".
Here you go. http://www.snowworldjaipur.com/

And here's the google maps link.
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Old 01-29-14, 08:18 AM   #16
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You really think the 15 mile ride would take you 2 hours?
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Old 01-29-14, 08:28 AM   #17
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Yes, keep in mind that non-car commuting is multi-purpose time. Bike commuting is exercise time and good for stress reduction. Bus commuting is time for take-home work, reading, movies, music, and even napping.
I went over the schedules again now that this looks like it might really be happening. The clear winner in the morning is to take the bus downtown and then ride the rest of they way to work. Hopefully, most days won't be 19 degrees and snowing when I ride. But since I made it to the interview, that should count a lot for my ability to pedal in reliably.

In the evening the ride is less clear. If I leave exactly at 5pm, I can ride to downtown and then catch a bus and then a short ride at the end to get home at 6:47. If I leave at 5:40 from work, then I can catch the next bus home with a short ride at the end. But if I leave between 5 and 5:30, it's faster to pedal directly home.
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Old 01-29-14, 08:37 AM   #18
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You really think the 15 mile ride would take you 2 hours?
I haven't tested it yet, but my usual 13.3 mile exercise ride takes me about 1.5 hours. And Google maps gave me four routes of between 17.1 miles and 15.2 miles, the 16.2 mile route is quickest with a 1 hr 41 minute time, while the 15.2 mile route was listed at 1 hr and 49 minutes. I assume that this because the shorter route is hillier.

From what I've tested, Google Maps times are really close to my actual road times. I am marginally faster, but for planning sake, at least I can assume that these times aren't too optimistic. But I also suspect that with practice, my ride times should drop a little. And it looks like I'll have to try all 4 basic variations to know for sure.
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Old 01-29-14, 01:36 PM   #19
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Buy a 50 cc scooter and do your commute in twenty minutes. Then spend an hour riding around for fun when you get home. You'll save time and save money because you won't need to move. Use tools that work and make sense. If you can move close to work then in the long run you probably would like that better, but no job lasts a long time these days. Will moving be worth the hassle and price? If you get the scooter and decide to move after you know you like the job, then just sell it and ride your bicycle.
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Old 01-29-14, 01:40 PM   #20
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I wonder what the update schedule is for Google Maps images. The apartment I previously lived in still isn't on the satellite map. It is just an empty lot. I know the building is seven years old.
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Old 01-29-14, 01:55 PM   #21
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I wonder what the update schedule is for Google Maps images. The apartment I previously lived in still isn't on the satellite map. It is just an empty lot. I know the building is seven years old.
I guess it varies. We usually get new images every year or two on both satellite and street view. It's freaky to be "driving" on street view when the image set changes. It's like driving on a sunny day in May, and all of a sudden it's a cloudy day in October. Then turn around and go back, and it's May again.

You can look at all the older satellite images on Google Earth, but I think only on the desktop version.
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Old 01-29-14, 04:16 PM   #22
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Well, the car I sold a year ago is no longer seen in the Google Map of my apartment's parking lot.
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Old 01-29-14, 04:24 PM   #23
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Well, the car I sold a year ago is no longer seen in the Google Map of my apartment's parking lot.
My apartment complex shot was taken last summer some time. My old car is there (replaced it 6 months ago) but the trees that were blown down during one of last year's storms is gone. Also, the grass is green. Also there is grass and not snow.
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Old 01-29-14, 04:43 PM   #24
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Buy a 50 cc scooter and do your commute in twenty minutes. Then spend an hour riding around for fun when you get home. You'll save time and save money because you won't need to move. Use tools that work and make sense. If you can move close to work then in the long run you probably would like that better, but no job lasts a long time these days. Will moving be worth the hassle and price? If you get the scooter and decide to move after you know you like the job, then just sell it and ride your bicycle.
Google Maps says a car would require 34 minutes to go by city streets. A 50cc bike would probably take longer. If I were going the motorized route I'd probably go for 250-500cc bike, just because I like more power and can take the freeways for a 20 minute trip.

But you are right about the cost of moving. That's a serious consideration. The place I looked at was a little more expensive, but twice as close to downtown Little Rock so it would be more accessible for activities. So in the long run it might be considerable. The headhunter talked of a 1-2 year contract, the employer talked of a 6 month to 1 year contract.
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Old 01-29-14, 08:31 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Artkansas View Post
Well, the car I sold a year ago is no longer seen in the Google Map of my apartment's parking lot.
Yeah my driveway has nothing parked... but been that way since summer 2011. However the back deck is still in the map and I dismantled it on Thanskgiving 2012 due to rot. I should get around to putting the deck back.
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