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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 03-25-14, 07:40 PM   #1
gerv 
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After a decade of change...

I've been riding a bicycle for transportation for about 9 years...

In that time I've noticed a considerable change in the people's attitude to cyclists who ride to work/grocery stores/entertainment. In 2005, it seemed like science fiction to believe you could survive without a car and just crazy to think you could get around year-round on a bicycle. At that time, you'd often get honked at, or worse... Even abuse at work wasn't that uncommon.

Fast Forward to 2014 and when I tell people I don't have a car, they seem genuinely interested... many of them have friends or relatives who ride extensively. Many of them have considered whether they could do it.

The downtown here is full of Saturday riders to the market or the pubs. The grocery stores usually have two or more bikes locked up. There are several bars whose clientele appears to be bike-only and many bars catering to cyclists. Springtime features a seemingly ever-increasing population heading off to work on their new bikes.

What about where you live? Have things changed much over the last decade?
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Old 03-25-14, 07:55 PM   #2
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We have seen a great increase in the number of cyclists and even more interesting is the number of people who have taken up winter cycling... it used to be that I might see one or two cyclists and now there are bikes everywhere in the winter.
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Old 03-25-14, 09:30 PM   #3
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There's too much noise to make out a signal. A few years ago, it seemed like I was starting to see a few people who would ride in the rain (what passes for winter here). Now they seem to be almost all gone, but maybe my timing is just different. Maybe the intensity of the "weather" has been different; I can't tell.

I'm glad it seems to be picking up elsewhere.
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Old 03-25-14, 11:37 PM   #4
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There's too much noise to make out a signal. A few years ago, it seemed like I was starting to see a few people who would ride in the rain (what passes for winter here). Now they seem to be almost all gone, but maybe my timing is just different. Maybe the intensity of the "weather" has been different; I can't tell.

I'm glad it seems to be picking up elsewhere.
You should hang out on the FRBP and 15th Ave. more often - I commuted through the winter, and there were plenty of people commuting with me. I'd guess 50/50 men/women.
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Old 03-26-14, 12:36 AM   #5
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We have seen a great increase in the number of cyclists and even more interesting is the number of people who have taken up winter cycling... it used to be that I might see one or two cyclists and now there are bikes everywhere in the winter.
I've posted similar observations here before. In my first few winters of cycling (2002-2008 or so) I literally never saw another cyclist in winter. The last years have seen a steady increase of year-round cyclists. This winter I saw other cyclists every day--even though this was an unusually cold and snowy season. Actually, I think this means something.
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Old 03-26-14, 12:36 AM   #6
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I've been riding a bicycle for transportation for about 9 years...

In that time I've noticed a considerable change in the people's attitude to cyclists who ride to work/grocery stores/entertainment. In 2005, it seemed like science fiction to believe you could survive without a car and just crazy to think you could get around year-round on a bicycle. At that time, you'd often get honked at, or worse... Even abuse at work wasn't that uncommon.

Fast Forward to 2014 and when I tell people I don't have a car, they seem genuinely interested... many of them have friends or relatives who ride extensively. Many of them have considered whether they could do it.

The downtown here is full of Saturday riders to the market or the pubs. The grocery stores usually have two or more bikes locked up. There are several bars whose clientele appears to be bike-only and many bars catering to cyclists. Springtime features a seemingly ever-increasing population heading off to work on their new bikes.

What about where you live? Have things changed much over the last decade?
Things are mixed here. There are way, way more bicyclists than there were ten years ago. It's become downright unremarkable to ride a bike where I live. Sometimes, I even have a really hard time trying to find a decent place to lock up my bike.

Motorist hostility kind of ebbs and flows. Right now, it seems remarkably intense for here. I've had a few, uncharacteristic recent run-ins with motorists precipitated by what I perceive as unprovoked bile on their part. I've spoken to a few neighbors who are totally beside themselves with anger because of a new, nearby bike lane that reduces car traffic to one lane in each direction, even though the car traffic still flows easily. I'm guessing this has a lot to do with increased density, construction of new rapid transit, and a general subconscious sense that cars are not going to be as dominant around here as they have been for a very long time.

Last edited by bragi; 03-26-14 at 12:41 AM.
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Old 03-26-14, 01:20 AM   #7
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I’ve been riding a bicycle for transportation for about 41 years.

However, focusing on the last decade …

What about where you live? Have things changed much over the last decade?

The simple answer is … no.

The more complicated answer is …

2004 – I was living in Winnipeg and cycled with a Randonneuring group, and a few other people now and then. I was car-free, and cycled to/from work most days. I walked and took the bus elsewhere. No one thought it was strange, no one questioned me about it, a few of my co-workers and several others I met along the way were also car-free or car-light. It was all quite normal.

And then, I packed everything into storage and spent 3 months cycling around Australia. I returned to Canada to central Alberta and lived in 3 different places there while getting a degree, plus travels here, there, and everywhere. In 2009 I moved to a cabin in the bush in the middle of nowhere Australia with Rowan, then into a small town. In 2012, Rowan and I travelled the world for 8 months. We returned to one small town in the middle of nowhere Australia, then moved to another small town in the middle of nowhere Australia, and finally we have moved to a city in Tasmania.

Over the past decade, I’ve lived in 9 different places and have spent over 16 months travelling. In that time I've been car-free, car-light, and car-heavy at various times.

2014 – We live in Hobart now and are still doing long distance cycling on weekends. I am car-light right now, and take the bus to/from work. I cycle and walk elsewhere. But Rowan has to drive every day to get to work. No one thinks me being car-light is strange, no one questions me about it, quite a few of my co-workers and several others I’ve met along the way are also car-free or car-light. It is all quite normal.

So … lots has changed, but the attitudes and acceptance of cycling and a car-light/car-free lifestyle hasn’t changed much at all. It’s still considered acceptable.

Last edited by Machka; 03-26-14 at 01:23 AM.
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Old 03-26-14, 04:23 AM   #8
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There has definitely been an increase where I live. When I first moved here, it was rare to see another cyclist. Now it's a daily occurrence. On Monday there was even a discussion between 3 or 4 different people on the work shuttle about new cyclist infrastructure that was being built around the town and when it was going to be open. Given the fact that this is on the tail of the winter we just had...(are still having!)
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Old 03-26-14, 04:54 AM   #9
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I've been comuting by bicycle since the mid 90s and totally car free since 2011. In that time, Atlanta has steadily gotten better for cyclist. I must have started a trend

I'm not sure the last ten years are unique. But cycling here continues to get quite substantially better. In the last couple years we've had the beltline trail open, and a number of bike lanes and other work. The city has big plans for the future and specific targets for 2014. Our mayor wants this city on the top ten bicycling list (can't recall who's list it is exactly but some independent organization).
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Old 03-26-14, 04:14 PM   #10
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There has been some improvements in infrastructure. We've had some new MUPs and bikelanes put in place, which didn't exist a decade ago. All those little improvements add up in the long run and it makes getting around on a bike easier. All of our transit buses also had bike racks added.
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Old 03-26-14, 06:52 PM   #11
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You should hang out on the FRBP and 15th Ave. more often - I commuted through the winter, and there were plenty of people commuting with me. I'd guess 50/50 men/women.
This is the key to future development. When we get away from bicycle transportation as an "early adopter", he-man, urban-cowboy phenomenon, when cycling is safe and comfortable enough... we see more and more women on the streets. People stop talking about themselves with handy labels and just get on with the business of getting wherever they need to go with the most efficient method possible.

Which is, of course, the bicycle !
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Old 03-26-14, 06:52 PM   #12
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Things haven't changed much here in the past ten years. I will say that seeing other middle class-ish cyclists on my daily commute into/out of downtown has gone from almost never to maybe once per month (but not much in the winter). A few signs of hope: the City of Springfield got its first bike lanes a few months back, the city has hired a bike/ped coordinator, and a bike/ped advisory committee is being formed (which I will serve on). I'm hoping the "if you build it, they will come" approach will work as the city starts installing bike lanes, because we don't have much momentum right now.

On the other hand, in the nearby towns of Northampton and Amherst, transportation cycling is booming. Nice to go up there once in a while and see what it can be like.
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Old 03-26-14, 08:02 PM   #13
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Things around here have certainly "seems to have changed" as far as the number of people riding their bikes year round... Lately, 10 to 1 more people riding through winter as compared to 10 years ago, JMO.
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Old 03-26-14, 10:51 PM   #14
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Things haven't changed much here in the past ten years. I will say that seeing other middle class-ish cyclists on my daily commute into/out of downtown has gone from almost never to maybe once per month (but not much in the winter). A few signs of hope: the City of Springfield got its first bike lanes a few months back, the city has hired a bike/ped coordinator, and a bike/ped advisory committee is being formed (which I will serve on). I'm hoping the "if you build it, they will come" approach will work as the city starts installing bike lanes, because we don't have much momentum right now.

On the other hand, in the nearby towns of Northampton and Amherst, transportation cycling is booming. Nice to go up there once in a while and see what it can be like.
You must be talking about Plumtree, my GF lives by the golf course. The lane is substandard with some narrow parts barely 30" wide and grates and it starts and ends into nothing AKA bike lane to nowhere. The best thing about it is there is no door zone. I plan on riding to Providence soon from there.
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Old 03-27-14, 05:58 AM   #15
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You must be talking about Plumtree, my GF lives by the golf course. The lane is substandard with some narrow parts barely 30" wide and grates and it starts and ends into nothing AKA bike lane to nowhere. The best thing about it is there is no door zone. I plan on riding to Providence soon from there.
Yes - that's exactly the place. I believe they will extend the bike lanes in the future. Not a big deal right now because Plumtree Road was already a pretty good street to bike on.
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