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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 03-27-14, 07:09 AM   #1
Ekdog
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How does not owning a car set you free?

How does not owning a car make you a freer person? Let us count the ways. I'd like to know your thoughts on this.
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Old 03-27-14, 11:08 AM   #2
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Actually I don't consider myself free... or set free.

I guess the bicycle gives me some freedom from car payments. It also gives me some freedom from the guilt of owning a car.
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Old 03-27-14, 11:30 AM   #3
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Being dependent on something is the opposite of being free of it.

When I've had cars, they were a responsibility and a source of worry. Is it time to get the oil changed? Can I make it to work all week without buying gas? Is that front end noise going to cost me $500 or can I just ignore it? Is somebody trying to mess with my car or steal it?

My stress level is lower without those car concerns, and that's a feeling of being "free" of worries.
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Old 03-27-14, 11:41 AM   #4
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Not owning a car (almost two years, now) has freed me -- aside from the initial and continuing financial costs of purchasing, running, maintaining, and insuring -- from "the tyranny of the auto". Specifically, from what has become the obligation to do the 101 things -- run errands, go here, drive there, do this, that, and everything else -- that having one's own transportation makes possible. Having a car can, certainly, be a help; but in terms of quality of life, it is equally a hindrance. I spent 25 adult-years in Israel -- all but 23 without a car -- commuting, shopping, socializing, and all the rest, and not having one enabled me to learn to prioritize what I did with my free time, and allowed me to live my life, for me. Suburban public transportation in the US -- and, even in many/most urban settings -- is marginal, at best; but it's doable... and what doesn't get done is often not so important, anyway.
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Old 03-27-14, 01:28 PM   #5
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^ This is how I feel, too. Not owning a car also sets you free from not feeling as stressed as drivers, which could help your health by lowering your blood pressure; seeing drivers speed, cut corners, or turn quickly into their neighborhood, I can imagine how stressed they feel at that moment, hurriedly trying to do many things/ chores in their life.
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Old 03-27-14, 01:44 PM   #6
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My stress level is lower without those car concerns, and that's a feeling of being "free" of worries.
you could be just as stressful thinking of the same things that can happen to you or your bike. when you lock your bike out front of a store. do you not worry about someone cutting your chain and riding off on it. Or some punk stealing your seat or wheels? deflating your tires? loosening your handlebars? how about riding on the roads, do you ever think about that tired long haul truck driver or drunk driver coming up behind you riding over the fog line? Riding through a sketchy neighborhood do you often wonder how vulnerable you are on a bike compared to if you were in a car? how about riding in the rain during the colder months, moreso as you get older, do you think about your chances of catching pneumonia?
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Old 03-27-14, 01:54 PM   #7
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How does not owning a car make you a freer person? Let us count the ways. I'd like to know your thoughts on this.
It changes the cage.
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Old 03-27-14, 01:56 PM   #8
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Guessing it would be tougher if you have pets
We live suburb of NOLA- 1,2 dogs 4-5 indoor cats-have HUGE used gas guzzling SUV-
if we didn't have all the pets the 2nd car would have been a small actual car with double the mpg

A taxi will allow a cat in a carrier-do any allow big dogs?
There must be dog friendly taxis,right ?
La Quinta has loyal pet owning customers because of their pet friendly policies -should work the same with taxis??
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Old 03-27-14, 03:46 PM   #9
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You're assuming not owning a car makes one freer.
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Old 03-27-14, 04:02 PM   #10
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You're assuming not owning a car makes one freer.
Do you disagree?
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Old 03-27-14, 04:02 PM   #11
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you could be just as stressful thinking of the same things that can happen to you or your bike. when you lock your bike out front of a store. do you not worry about someone cutting your chain and riding off on it. Or some punk stealing your seat or wheels? deflating your tires? loosening your handlebars? how about riding on the roads, do you ever think about that tired long haul truck driver or drunk driver coming up behind you riding over the fog line? Riding through a sketchy neighborhood do you often wonder how vulnerable you are on a bike compared to if you were in a car? how about riding in the rain during the colder months, moreso as you get older, do you think about your chances of catching pneumonia?
No, I find bike ownership to be 100 times less stressful than car ownership.

How about you? How would you compare the two, rhetoric aside?
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Old 03-27-14, 04:21 PM   #12
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Economically: I no longer have to budget for random $500 repairs. (Other than the repairs, my car ownership as a light user cost about $50 a month for insurance, licensing, and fuel. The repairs were what broke the budget.)

Stress I: My bike always starts, and when it breaks, I can fix it myself. If the worst happened and someone were to steal it, I have more bikes.

Stress II: I really just don't like driving in town: I don't like aggressive drivers or fighting for parking. Using my bike opens up a few routes I couldn't use in a car, hence a better ability to avoid the aggressive drivers.

Dealing with concerned coworkers and family: The funny thing was that when I owned a car, people expected me to drive it more - and tried to offer arguments about why I should drive rather than bike. Without a car, those arguments stop.

Increased creativity: Without a car, I think more carefully about numerous transportation backup plans that might work in different situations. When I was car-dependent, there was one plan: the car. So, actually, I'm more likely to get my transportation tasks accomplished without a car - if only because I'm more creative now!
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Old 03-27-14, 04:26 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by phoebeisis View Post
Guessing it would be tougher if you have pets
We live suburb of NOLA- 1,2 dogs 4-5 indoor cats-have HUGE used gas guzzling SUV-
if we didn't have all the pets the 2nd car would have been a small actual car with double the mpg

A taxi will allow a cat in a carrier-do any allow big dogs?
There must be dog friendly taxis,right ?
La Quinta has loyal pet owning customers because of their pet friendly policies -should work the same with taxis??
This was a really big concern for me, as well - a few people had some good ideas on this thread: Living car free...with pets?

We have three cats and want to get a Newf or similar breed down the road. The trailer and house call ideas both seemed really reasonable to me.
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Old 03-27-14, 04:35 PM   #14
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I fell in love with the phrase, "The things you own end up owning you." It took me a while to realize that it came from Fight Club, and not Walden. Cars are definitely in this vein, in fact Therou...
Thoro...
Thorough...
the guy who wrote Walden directly addressed the issue of relative speed when cost of transportation is taken into account. I appreciate the fact that I can drink like 500 extra margaritas instead of pay for gas and not have to spend 2 days at the DMV every year.
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Old 03-27-14, 04:48 PM   #15
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Why should I disagree? It is of course subjective and "freer" has yet to be defined. Easy words tossed about.
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Old 03-27-14, 04:53 PM   #16
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Do you disagree?
Why should I disagree? It is of course subjective and "freer" has yet to be defined. Easy words tossed about. For the record I have no car.
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Old 03-27-14, 04:54 PM   #17
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You're assuming not owning a car makes one freer.
The OP question might be answered quite differently (than found on this list) if it was asked of a large slice of the car free population who are car free not by choice, but because of their economic situation.
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Old 03-27-14, 04:55 PM   #18
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No, I find bike ownership to be 100 times less stressful than car ownership.

How about you? How would you compare the two, rhetoric aside?
I am just now starting to figure out you "car-free cyclists". Everything... has the same emotional response. You guys seem to live in the fight or flight mode.

There is nothing stressful about property ownership... whether its a car a bicycle or a potted plant. Anything can be made a stressor... but the fight or flight response should be RARE.
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Old 03-27-14, 05:04 PM   #19
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The OP question might be answered quite differently (than found on this list) if it was asked of a large slice of the car free population who are car free not by choice, but because of their economic situation.
Precisely.
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Old 03-27-14, 05:31 PM   #20
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This was a really big concern for me, as well - a few people had some good ideas on this thread: Living car free...with pets?

We have three cats and want to get a Newf or similar breed down the road. The trailer and house call ideas both seemed really reasonable to me.
Wow a Newfoundland?? BIG DOG. Our dog-smallish female greyhound is typically leggy but well fed(70lbs the last time I cared to hoist her and step on the scale)
We have 4 indoor cats and Arty-greyhound.
But the neighbor cat eats 3 meals a day on our windowsill so we MIGHT have to evacuate him too
we also babysit a 55 lbs beagle- he could end up being evacuated with us too-
The cats need to be crated- with dog folding crates-when we evacuate-NOLA-
so the cheap ancient suburban fits the evacuation bill pretty well.

The $500 repair you mention- is dirt cheap-

Significant source of CAR STRESS is that SERVICE DEPARTMENTS- independents and MOST dealers- are chiseling THIEVES
They outright CHEAT many customers in NOLA- probably everywhere else.
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Old 03-27-14, 05:56 PM   #21
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Wow a Newfoundland?? BIG DOG. Our dog-smallish female greyhound is typically leggy but well fed(70lbs the last time I cared to hoist her and step on the scale)
We have 4 indoor cats and Arty-greyhound.
But the neighbor cat eats 3 meals a day on our windowsill so we MIGHT have to evacuate him too
we also babysit a 55 lbs beagle- he could end up being evacuated with us too-
The cats need to be crated- with dog folding crates-when we evacuate-NOLA-
so the cheap ancient suburban fits the evacuation bill pretty well.

The $500 repair you mention- is dirt cheap-

Significant source of CAR STRESS is that SERVICE DEPARTMENTS- independents and MOST dealers- are chiseling THIEVES
They outright CHEAT many customers in NOLA- probably everywhere else.
I was usually pretty good at sweet talkin' the car guys to get a better deal...

You bring up a good point about using a car for evacuation. My first and only experience was Isaac, and it's a good thing - the car I owned had a nasty habit of breaking down in traffic, so we probably would have been stuck.
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Old 03-27-14, 06:11 PM   #22
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I've had reasonably good experiences with auto mechanics. I've found good shops in the last 2 or 3 cities I've lived in.

Assuming the repair doesn't take too long, I stick around and watch to make sure that the work is actually done, and that new parts are installed. This is even with shops I 'trust.' You'll learn a lot about how to repair and/or maintain your car along the way. You usually learn that the service is not very difficult to perform yourself; but then again, it's a lot messier and usually far more time consuming to do the work on your own. Time vs money tradeoff.

Some shops will let you bring in your own parts as well, to avoid their shop markup.

There are definitely ways of protecting yourself with auto mechanics and the best way is to let them know that you are well informed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by phoebeisis View Post
Wow a Newfoundland?? BIG DOG. Our dog-smallish female greyhound is typically leggy but well fed(70lbs the last time I cared to hoist her and step on the scale)
We have 4 indoor cats and Arty-greyhound.
But the neighbor cat eats 3 meals a day on our windowsill so we MIGHT have to evacuate him too
we also babysit a 55 lbs beagle- he could end up being evacuated with us too-
The cats need to be crated- with dog folding crates-when we evacuate-NOLA-
so the cheap ancient suburban fits the evacuation bill pretty well.

The $500 repair you mention- is dirt cheap-

Significant source of CAR STRESS is that SERVICE DEPARTMENTS- independents and MOST dealers- are chiseling THIEVES
They outright CHEAT many customers in NOLA- probably everywhere else.
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Old 03-27-14, 09:46 PM   #23
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I fell in love with the phrase, "The things you own end up owning you." It took me a while to realize that it came from Fight Club, and not Walden. Cars are definitely in this vein, in fact Therou...
Thoro...
Thorough...
the guy who wrote Walden directly addressed the issue of relative speed when cost of transportation is taken into account. I appreciate the fact that I can drink like 500 extra margaritas instead of pay for gas and not have to spend 2 days at the DMV every year.
Thoreau.

He wrote (I'm paraphrasing) that his friend wanted to go to Boston and worked two days to afford the train ticket. Thoreau set off walking and got to Boston in half a day. This story (I think of it as a parable) probably had a bigger impact on my life, starting at age 16, than anything else I ever read.

The parallels with modern car use are pretty obvious. The average American works one day out of five to pay for his car, but thinks that bikes and walking are too slow.
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Old 03-27-14, 11:31 PM   #24
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A taxi will allow a cat in a carrier-do any allow big dogs?
There must be dog friendly taxis,right ?
I took my dog to the vet in a taxi, although he was only about 40 pounds and just laid on a blanket in my lap. The driver acted like it was the most normal thing in the world.
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Old 03-28-14, 01:06 AM   #25
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Hmmm. 40 minutes to get to work in my truck or 3hrs one-way on the bike. Kind of a no brainer for me !!
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