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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 03-05-14, 07:39 PM   #1
Isaiahc72
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Things friends/family say and how you respond.

I seem to have allot of friends/coworkers/family that seem to say things like "you should get a car" or "why don't you have a car?" I usually just tell them that I don't need one. But what are some of the best things to say in those situations?

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Old 03-05-14, 08:03 PM   #2
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You pay for it and I won't drive it...

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Old 03-05-14, 08:09 PM   #3
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i have 2 cars and 3 motorcycles, but whenever i ride my bicycle somewhere, people always say to me "are you sure you dont need a ride?" its like they dont understand the concept of riding a bicycle or are just too much of a pansy to fathom that someone can ride their bike at night or when its a little chilly out.
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Old 03-05-14, 08:09 PM   #4
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There are so many people living without a car in the New York metro that it doesn't surprise anyone when I tell them. My family stopped asking years ago when I was going to get a car.
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Old 03-05-14, 08:14 PM   #5
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I seem to have allot of friends/coworkers/family that seem to say things like "you should get a car" or "why don't you have a car?" I usually just tell them that I don't need one. But what are some of the best things to say in those situations?
Somewhat oblique to your question, when asked by my colleagues in my suburban work place, “Why don’t you move closer?” (than 14 miles distant from my home in downtown Boston), I reply that it’s a perfect distance for a morning bike ride.

Meanwhile I think to myself, “Why do you think they call it ‘sub-urban’ living?”.

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Old 03-05-14, 10:58 PM   #6
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I live in the sticks, where the roads nearby are hilly and uneven, 15 miles to the nearest town for a grocery/hardware store, of course I get questions like why don't you drive? or do you still drink? Presuming I lost my license from a DUI or something. Basically I ignore them, as I don't feel the requirement to explain myself to anyone.
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Old 03-05-14, 11:14 PM   #7
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I've been carfree so long that I've pretty much outlived the critics.

Once in a while a new acquaintance asks me why I don't have a car. Usually I say something like "I have four good reasons, and the one I'm going to tell you about is...." Then I mention one of my four reasons, the one I think they'll be most interested in.
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Old 03-06-14, 05:12 AM   #8
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I seem to have allot of friends/coworkers/family that seem to say things like "you should get a car" or "why don't you have a car?" I usually just tell them that I don't need one. But what are some of the best things to say in those situations

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I've been carfree so long that I've pretty much outlived the critics.

Once in a while a new acquaintance asks me why I don't have a car. Usually I say something like "I have four good reasons, and the one I'm going to tell you about is...." Then I mention one of my four reasons, the one I think they'll be most interested in.
Well, what are the four?

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Do you have the time to give a short synopsis?
BTW, I don't think that the OP is framed in the sense of responding to “critics,” but to “friends/coworkers/family,” i.e. interested bystanders to a cycling lifestyle.

In my few decades as a dedicated cycling commuter, I have encountered very few critics. On a personal level it’s mostly those who rightfully fear hitting me, and suffering the consequences; for example riding on slick wintry roads, or without lights (I don’t ride without).

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…Most are seriously concerned about my welfare, and I'm grateful for that. I say everything I can to assure them that I take all precautions, like I wear lights and mirrors, and my routes are mostly lightly-traveled. The hostilities arise when there is not so much a concern for me, but for the drivers on the road, including themselves, who don’t want to hit a cyclist, and IMO, those are legitimate concerns...
On some radio talk shows, occasionally road cycling is discussed, with most hostility expressed towards violating traffic laws, especially when cyclists pass while the motorist is constrained. I called in once and replied that cyclists and cars are like dinosaurs and the early mammals. Whereas the dinos could easily crush the little mammals, the mammals were fleet and could avoid the behemoths and wait them out until the reptiles became extinct. So too do I as a cyclist avoid interactions with cars as much as possible, like taking off from a pack of cars at a stoplight before they move.
[Please don’t send me over to Advocacy & Safety. ]

On the Road itself, my most serious incidents with overt hostility have been very rare, and limited to loud, incomprehensible taunts, for which I have no reply.

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Old 03-06-14, 07:21 AM   #9
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I seem to have allot of friends/coworkers/family that seem to say things like "you should get a car" or "why don't you have a car?" I usually just tell them that I don't need one. But what are some of the best things to say in those situations?
Tell them "I have one!" I think mostpeople ask those questions secretly wanting to be like you.
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Old 03-06-14, 09:26 AM   #10
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The biggest one I hear is "What if there's an emergency!?" I try to get them to be more specific, and usually the answer is if I have to go to the doctor or take my son to the doctor. I can take a taxi to the hospital and back 3 times a week for what I was paying for my car.

I think ultimately it *seems* illogical to not have a car if you can afford one, but then I talk finances with them. The difference in transportation expenditure between me and my family/friends/coworkers is mind boggling.
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Old 03-06-14, 09:57 AM   #11
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The biggest one I hear is "What if there's an emergency!?" I try to get them to be more specific, and usually the answer is if I have to go to the doctor or take my son to the doctor. I can take a taxi to the hospital and back 3 times a week for what I was paying for my car.

I think ultimately it *seems* illogical to not have a car if you can afford one, but then I talk finances with them. The difference in transportation expenditure between me and my family/friends/coworkers is mind boggling.
Good answer.

Another frequent question is: "How do you pick up groceries ?". Answer: Taxi or Delivery Service (we live near downtown Boston, where carfree is a normal way of life despite the crazy traffic.)
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Old 03-06-14, 07:49 PM   #12
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Good answer.

Another frequent question is: "How do you pick up groceries ?". Answer: Taxi or Delivery Service (we live near downtown Boston, where carfree is a normal way of life despite the crazy traffic.)


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ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

"Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
RIDE, YOU FOOL, RIDE!"
_Nicodemus

"Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred
Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
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Old 03-06-14, 08:58 PM   #13
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People often wonder how I can possibly do normal, everyday, adult things without driving. It's like I'm magical! There are usually some well-meaning and moderately concerned folks who worry about my safety, imagining that it's not safe to ride in certain types of weather/times of day/neighborhoods/etc.

Either way, I try to explain how I do things without driving rather than why. I talk about the roads I take, the traffic conditions, how I ride my bike, and the various things I do to keep safe. I'm always amazed that many non-bike folks are unaware that they make, for example, snow friendly tires, headlamps, and trailers for hauling heavy things.

I try to avoid the why question - but usual responses include: 1) I'm cheap; 2) I like riding my bike A LOT; 3) I need the exercise or else I get super cranky; and 4) I don't care for driving much. People quickly learn that all of these things are true.
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Old 03-06-14, 11:03 PM   #14
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I get uncomfortable about it when my coworkers (particularly two of my bosses) bring it up, so I usually duck out of the convo pretty quick. I do have a few who think it's perfectly fine though, which is nice. Too bad none of them are my bosses :|

I used to room with a friend of mine who had issues with it (he also had no car and biked, but wasn't enthusiastic in the least) but he's rarely ever around these days (moved out, etc) so it doesn't come up frequently.

Otherwise everyone else has learned to deal with it. My SO doesn't really care about owning a car, but she's making sure we finally get around to getting full licenses so we can rent one if we ever find ourselves needing to.

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Old 03-07-14, 01:32 AM   #15
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Hmm...I honestly cannot recall anyone ever questioning my decision to not own a car. Maybe it's happened and I just forgot about it. Or maybe it's because...well, I am known as monster for a reason!

There have been times when people were surprised that I rode in the rain, or in what passes for cold weather in this part of the world. Hey, it might get near freezing! Oh no! And sometimes I can hear in their tone of voice that they think cycling on the street is dangerous, but they never actually say so.

I do find it rather surreal when someone wants to give me a ride to a destination that's only a few blocks away, and I'm pretty sure I don't manage to conceal the fact that I find this idea a bit insane.
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Old 03-07-14, 02:11 AM   #16
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The truth?
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Old 03-07-14, 08:10 AM   #17
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I do find it rather surreal when someone wants to give me a ride to a destination that's only a few blocks away, and I'm pretty sure I don't manage to conceal the fact that I find this idea a bit insane.
OH, this one for sure. My SO and I were headed to the local social hall at the fire department for a community meeting. It is probably, at best, 300' from my front door (bad at distance but it is literally across the 2 lane street). We were about half way there when one of our neighbors pulled up and asked if they could give us a ride.

Similar things happen with other neighbors when going to a different sort of community meeting at a location that adds probably another 150'.

M.
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Old 03-07-14, 06:46 PM   #18
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I try to avoid the why question - but usual responses include: 1) I'm cheap; 2) I like riding my bike A LOT; 3) I need the exercise or else I get super cranky; and 4) I don't care for driving much. People quickly learn that all of these things are true.
That just about sums it up for me too!
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Old 03-07-14, 08:26 PM   #19
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...
I do find it rather surreal when someone wants to give me a ride to a destination that's only a few blocks away, and I'm pretty sure I don't manage to conceal the fact that I find this idea a bit insane.

I usually tell ppl who want to drive me somewhere rather close(or, in some cases, very close) that, while I appreciate the gesture, it would actually be more of a hardship for me to have to come back for my bike later. If they're trying to give me a ride with my bike (unless they have a pickup truck), i usually try to explain that, due to the fenders, bolt on hubs, etc it would probably be much harder to get my bike in their trunk than it would be for me to ride a few miles**.

It might not be entirely accurate, but I find these methods to be more effective than "Thanks for the offer, but I really like to ride", which usually results in a drawn-out but meaningless conversation about how "it's no trouble" for them to drive me to a place that'd be no trouble for me to ride to.

-rob

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A bicycle with fenders cannot be made as compact by removing the wheels, unless the fenders are removed too. This is more often a problem with the rear fender and can prevent a bicycle from fitting inside a car or a closet.
http://sheldonbrown.com/fenders.html This is why many ppl don't post here.
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Old 03-07-14, 08:40 PM   #20
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Strangers offering me rides in bad weather make me smile. They have no idea about my situation, nor can they possibly know - that would be impossible. Hell, I took a ride from someone on base last Tuesday on a whim.

People who know me personally, however, should know better
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Old 03-09-14, 01:46 PM   #21
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I usually just tell them that I don't need one
Its so easy sometimes
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Old 03-09-14, 02:45 PM   #22
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People often wonder how I can possibly do normal, everyday, adult things without driving. It's like I'm magical! There are usually some well-meaning and moderately concerned folks who worry about my safety, imagining that it's not safe to ride in certain types of weather/times of day/neighborhoods/etc.

Either way, I try to explain how I do things without driving rather than why. I talk about the roads I take, the traffic conditions, how I ride my bike, and the various things I do to keep safe. I'm always amazed that many non-bike folks are unaware that they make, for example, snow friendly tires, headlamps, and trailers for hauling heavy things.

I try to avoid the why question - but usual responses include: 1) I'm cheap; 2) I like riding my bike A LOT; 3) I need the exercise or else I get super cranky; and 4) I don't care for driving much. People quickly learn that all of these things are true.
I like this. I think I will make this my new policy for answering these questions.
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