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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 02-28-14, 04:48 PM   #26
Walter S
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+ 1 very sage advice from Machka, going carefree may sound a whole lot better than the experience itself.

Allen
But do it anyway. As Kennedy would say, not because it is easy, but because it is hard.
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Old 02-28-14, 05:01 PM   #27
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There is a fine line between an ordeal and an adventure. You'll fail or succeed, suffer or enjoy, based on your attitude.
This is the best advice of all, IMO.

And it covers every area of life, not just your transportation mode. Studies in cognitive psychology show that thoughts cause emotions, rather than emotions causing thoughts. I have often observed that when I have positive thoughts going into an event or activity, my feelings will often be positive also.

If you view being carfree as an adventure, a challenge, and an opportunity, you are much more likely to stick with it and enjoy it.
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Old 02-28-14, 05:03 PM   #28
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But do it anyway. As Kennedy would say, not because it is easy, but because it is hard.
Being carfree can be hard at first. But, as with most things, it soon becomes a simple set of skills and routines.
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Old 02-28-14, 05:14 PM   #29
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This is the best advice of all, IMO.

And it covers every area of life, not just your transportation mode. Studies in cognitive psychology show that thoughts cause emotions, rather than emotions causing thoughts. I have often observed that when I have positive thoughts going into an event or activity, my feelings will often be positive also.

If you view being carfree as an adventure, a challenge, and an opportunity, you are much more likely to stick with it and enjoy it.
+1. Well said. Cycling to work is the opposite of boring. Every day is an adventure. Adventures include challenges. You can either see those as engaging opportunities to conquer obstacles in your path and feel victorious and strong - or you can see them as unnecessary blockades that make your life difficult and stand in the way of your happiness or leisure time.

I'll stick with the former. It's a choice.

It's all a matter of how you look at the world, not the way the world is.
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Old 02-28-14, 05:15 PM   #30
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Being carfree can be hard at first. But, as with most things, it soon becomes a simple set of skills and routines.
So true. I feel all full of myself for the ride I do every day. But the fact is that almost ANYTHING you do nearly every day of your life gets easy :-)
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Old 02-28-14, 05:26 PM   #31
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Being carfree can be hard at first. But, as with most things, it soon becomes a simple set of skills and routines.
Being car free gets easier as time goes by, certainly. But (additionally) one of the coolest things is that it makes the rest of your life much easier too. Walking up stairs, getting out of chairs, doctor visits become a breeze, playing with grandchildren, looking younger, feeling great. The whole "life picture" becomes easier.
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Old 02-28-14, 06:05 PM   #32
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Think outside the box. There are solutions for just about every situation you will find yourself in that you think must require a motor vehicle, but doesn't.

As a footnote, cycling amenity -- how someone feels when riding a bike through a particular area -- can vary immensely. A rider who is not confident in traffic will consider the location to have a low cycling amenity if they have to ride in peak-hour environments and no separated facilities exist. Others who are happy in heavier traffic and filtering through lanes may consider the location to have moderate cycling amenity.

So, checking out your area before committing to not owning a motor vehicle is essential. Scope the distances to shops and work, where the most favourable cycling routes are, how much traffic exists on those routes, whether there are alternative routes that don't add unnecessarily to trip times, and what alternative and convenient modes of transport exist. Planning is one of the talents a person develops in this sort of situation.

Also consider whether the bike you have is suitable for the task. A thin-tyred road bike with high gearing isn't going to be terribly good in hilly terrain with surfaces littered with glass or with rough trails. Mountain bikes are eminently suitable but need certain modifications to make them more suited to commuting. Touring bikes, for mine, are most suiitable.

Finally, don't think that bikes cost nothing to run. Tyres, depending on quality, can wear quite quickly and become damaged by road debris. The drivetrain also needs regular attention to maintain tune and longevity. It's advisable to have a back-up bike ready to roll should you be confronted with a flat tyre before leaving home on a commute.
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Old 02-28-14, 06:08 PM   #33
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Being car free gets easier as time goes by, certainly. But (additionally) one of the coolest things is that it makes the rest of your life much easier too. Walking up stairs, getting out of chairs, doctor visits become a breeze, playing with grandchildren, looking younger, feeling great. The whole "life picture" becomes easier.
I don't necessarily agree with this. You may be coming from the perspective of someone who was/is a Clyde, but in my current car-ownership situation, none of these activities would be an issue at all. I know lots of people who ride bikes and own motor vehicles, and are very physically active and fit all those parameters that you ascribe to being "car-free".
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Old 02-28-14, 07:31 PM   #34
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Being car free gets easier as time goes by, certainly. But (additionally) one of the coolest things is that it makes the rest of your life much easier too. Walking up stairs, getting out of chairs, doctor visits become a breeze, playing with grandchildren, looking younger, feeling great. The whole "life picture" becomes easier.
Agree! True, it is entirely possible to stay very fit without being car free and having daily physical challenges. But for at least most people, I think you won't find the same level of fitness as when it is inherent in a person's lifestyle. I think people were stronger before automobiles existed. Convenience is so enticing and takes root in just a moment of indecision or weakness. I know for a fact that if I had a car, I would sucumbd to using it from time to time. Not the end of the world of course. But it's a slippery slope.

That might sound like I feel a constant battle, that I have to constantly motivate myself to resist the weakening force of temptation. But that's not true at all. The temptation to engage in convenient solutions doesn't have a persistent presence. I hardly ever think, "boy, I wish I had a car because this is hard to manage". Nevertheless, it would be different if one were parked in my driveway all the time and I didn't use it. That would be hard. Especially when justifying that to family and friends. As it is, in the moment of a challenge I never think of a car because I don't have one. And when I can step back and take a broad outlook, I'm not motivated to get one because I remember that I'm stronger and happier without it.

I think I know exactly what you mean. When I've reached new levels of fitness I feel like I'm gliding on a magic carpet - effortlessly moving thru the world. No aches and pains, and light on my feet. Scaling multiple floors of stairs and just having fun like a little boy again. But then the best possible feeling is getting out on my bicycle in the pre-dawn hours and witnessing another pretty sunrise with a full day ahead of me.
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Old 02-28-14, 07:54 PM   #35
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I don't necessarily agree with this. You may be coming from the perspective of someone who was/is a Clyde, but in my current car-ownership situation, none of these activities would be an issue at all. I know lots of people who ride bikes and own motor vehicles, and are very physically active and fit all those parameters that you ascribe to being "car-free".
Yeah, I think you're right - what I said does not necessarily apply to everyone. Someone who was heavy like I was finds special meaning in simply being able to "be mobile", but not everyone has the same background. Good post.
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Old 02-28-14, 09:49 PM   #36
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Don't let fear stop you, whether it is the fear of a major lifestyle change or the fear of what may or may not happen to you on the roads.
Ha! That's a good one... great advice for cycling and life in general.
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Old 02-28-14, 10:44 PM   #37
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Learn to prepare for, predict, and appreciate whatever interesting weather conditions your region might dish out!

If you have access to a working car, it's easy to give in and drive when the weather is particularly bad (whatever that means for you.) With the car gone, you'll still need to go places...and if you work outside the home, and don't have a bus stop right outside your place, this means learning to safely venture out in a number of different weather conditions.

Without proper prediction and preparation, some weather conditions that would be of little consequence while driving a car can range from uncomfortable to deadly. Extremes of heat and cold are easy; predicting and planning for extreme temperature drops and routing around dangerous things like tornadoes and storm cells can take a bit more thought. All the high-end outdoor gear in the world won't do a thing if you forget to bring it with you; it can also be rather miserable to learn that you're out of pet food on the coldest/hottest/wettest day of the year.

I find it troubling that car culture keeps people boxed indoors; we've lost the ability to travel freely, regardless of the conditions. With appropriate planning, being out in a blizzard or tropical storm or whatever can be the most amazing thing in the world!
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Old 02-28-14, 11:32 PM   #38
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Learn to prepare for, predict, and appreciate whatever interesting weather conditions your region might dish out!
[SKIP]
we've lost the ability to travel freely, regardless of the conditions. With appropriate planning, being out in a blizzard or tropical storm or whatever can be the most amazing thing in the world!
Regardless of mode of transportation, "appropriate planning" for most intelligent people means planning NOT to be out if at all possible during a blizzard or tropical storm. But then some people enjoy being amazingly reckless.
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Old 02-28-14, 11:53 PM   #39
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"You don't need to be in good physical shape. You just need to put your mind to it." I seriously wish more people would understand that. I'm basically overweight 200lbs 5'11" but once I put my mind to it, I was able to ride a century on a flat-bar hybrid with platform pedals.
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Old 03-01-14, 12:39 AM   #40
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Regardless of mode of transportation, "appropriate planning" for most intelligent people means planning NOT to be out if at all possible during a blizzard or tropical storm. But then some people enjoy being amazingly reckless.
You are right, of course. Unfortunately, a good number of employers do not agree, and require employees to arrive at work in dangerous weather conditions. The part that I found amazing, at least at first, was that a self-sufficient car free individual is just as capable of getting around in non-ideal conditions as somebody in a car - so long as such conditions are predicted and planned for.
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Old 03-02-14, 01:48 PM   #41
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Two words: Big Dummy.

Once you can carry stuff effortlessly, anything is possible.
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Old 03-02-14, 05:23 PM   #42
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Learn to prepare for, predict, and appreciate whatever interesting weather conditions your region might dish out!
Weather.gov is your best friend. Find your local forecast and put that into your list of quick links on your browser. There's a box to get it on the upper left corner of the main page.
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I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.
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Old 03-02-14, 05:26 PM   #43
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You are right, of course. Unfortunately, a good number of employers do not agree, and require employees to arrive at work in dangerous weather conditions. The part that I found amazing, at least at first, was that a self-sufficient car free individual is just as capable of getting around in non-ideal conditions as somebody in a car - so long as such conditions are predicted and planned for.
In general, I've found that my on-time arrival record at work in bad weather is much better than most automobilists. With feet, bike and bus, I arrive.
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I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.
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Old 03-02-14, 06:45 PM   #44
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Ok... the name of this game is "One piece of advice".

You have a friend, colleague, relative who is about to ditch an automobile and replace it with a bicycle.

There are probably dozens of things you'd like to say to her.

a motorcar.


But what would be the most essential, but often overlooked advice you could give.

Come on, tell us.
I guess this friend would have to be under 15 years old. Once they buy their first car at 18, you've lost them for 10 years or more. A combination of drastic events would have to happen in their lives like a divorce, bankruptcy or eviction for them to give up their car.

However, it might be possible to steer them in profession that doesn't require a car. You would have to be close the family since they well pressure her to get a car regardless.
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Old 03-03-14, 02:33 PM   #45
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Move somewhere warm
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Old 03-03-14, 02:35 PM   #46
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Move somewhere warm
...and dry.
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Old 03-03-14, 03:23 PM   #47
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...and dry.
I happen to like the rain. For those who count the Wicked Witch of the West among their ancestors, perhaps it is better to stay dry rather than risk catastrophic melting.
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Old 03-03-14, 03:28 PM   #48
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I happen to like the rain. For those who count the Wicked Witch of the West among their ancestors, perhaps it is better to stay dry rather than risk catastrophic melting.
I always forget that I'm in the minority in not liking to ride in the rain.
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Old 03-03-14, 04:42 PM   #49
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I always forget that I'm in the minority in not liking to ride in the rain.
You're not. It's:
  • 20% Actually ride in the rain and enjoy it
  • 0% Ride in the rain and do not enjoy it (which is against the laws of physics, hence the zero.)
  • 20% never ride in the rain and admit it
  • 80% never ride in the rain but claim they do on internet forums
I actually fit in the first 20%. Or the 80%, who knows?
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Old 03-03-14, 04:48 PM   #50
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You're not. It's:
  • 20% Actually ride in the rain and enjoy it
  • 0% Ride in the rain and do not enjoy it (which is against the laws of physics, hence the zero.)
  • 20% never ride in the rain and admit it
  • 80% never ride in the rain but claim they do on internet forums
I actually fit in the first 20%. Or the 80%, who knows?
I've been caught in the rain trying to sneak a ride in between storms and disliked it. My glasses don't have wipers on them which makes seeing difficult and I've never been a fan of getting wet outside of the shower. That includes water fights as a kid and going swimming. Just not a fan.

That makes your statistics incorrect.

Also, percentages (even made up ones) make any argument 67% more believable.
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