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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 03-28-14, 05:57 AM   #1
no1mad
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A question for the Car Light among us

What type of vehicle to you use and how/when is it used? Okay, maybe more than one question .
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Old 03-28-14, 06:23 AM   #2
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A big diesel van!

I rarely drive it ... in the last year, I think I've driven it twice just for practice.

But I ride in it when Rowan picks me up after work, when we go to the gym, when we go grocery shopping, and when we go somewhere for the weekend.
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Old 03-28-14, 10:05 AM   #3
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I drive a 2000 Honda Civic; for the last 1 years used once a week or so to get pizza and occasional shopping/garage sale hauling. My daily transportation is by bike.
My wife uses the 2003 Nissan Sentra for around town shopping and volunteer work.
For trips out of town we use the Sentra.

I'd get rid of the Honda but it hardly costs anything to keep ($50 registration, about $200 year for insurance) as a backup in case the Sentra ever is unavailable.
So far after 10 years at the 98K mark only routine brake work and one tire replacement has been necessary on the Sentra.
Haven't done any maintenance in the last 3 years except an oil change on the Honda.
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Old 03-28-14, 11:11 AM   #4
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I used to drive my 3/4 ton diesel 4X4 everywhere, but now I try to drive a Prius C judiciously... I now consider that car light with riding my bicycle too, at least for me it is... I put about 3,000KMs a year on my bike and trying to use it more.
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Old 03-28-14, 11:15 AM   #5
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What type of vehicle to you use and how/when is it used? Okay, maybe more than one question .
We have a 20-year old Honda that we use for grocery shopping, going out of town and selected trips near home when cycling doesn't work for one reason or another. We've had the car for 14 years and done 43,000 miles in that time.
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Old 03-28-14, 04:19 PM   #6
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I drive a 2000 Honda Civic; for the last 1 years used once a week or so to get pizza and occasional shopping/garage sale hauling. My daily transportation is by bike.
My wife uses the 2003 Nissan Sentra for around town shopping and volunteer work.
For trips out of town we use the Sentra.

I'd get rid of the Honda but it hardly costs anything to keep ($50 registration, about $200 year for insurance) as a backup in case the Sentra ever is unavailable.
So far after 10 years at the 98K mark only routine brake work and one tire replacement has been necessary on the Sentra.
Haven't done any maintenance in the last 3 years except an oil change on the Honda.
That's the beauty of being able to use a bike for daily transportation rather than a car. The wear and tear on a car by using it on a daily basis sure adds up.

We have one car that my husband and I use on the occasional weekend to get out of the city. On a day to day basis I love to go travel by bike.
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Old 03-28-14, 07:20 PM   #7
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Up until last week, my household (two adults) owned one car...a 1995 Oldsmobile, which we had since 2006. We used it 3-6 times a month for big grocery trips, pet transportation, and going to the Home Depot. We also used it for three cross-country moves (my profession is awesome) and the occasional road trip.

The car had reached a point where it was only suited for in-town travel, not road trips. I decided to sell it while it still had a bit of value left and put the money toward a cargo trailer and future rentals of reliable vehicles for road trips. So, we're still technically car light - we just don't happen to own a car.
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Old 03-28-14, 07:35 PM   #8
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I have a Ford Focus that I use to get to work if it is raining heavily, when it is too cold for me to ride my bicycle even to the bus stop (I still have not found a workable solution to keep my fingers and toes warm), for road trips, and when an injury prevented me from riding. When I do use the car, I try to do so efficiently and take care of multiple tasks that are easier to do by car like stocking up on household good or taking boxes of stuff to Goodwill. I keep a running list of these, so that I can always take advantage of the opportunity.
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Old 03-28-14, 07:57 PM   #9
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I have a Ford Focus that I use to get to work if it is raining heavily, when it is too cold for me to ride my bicycle even to the bus stop (I still have not found a workable solution to keep my fingers and toes warm), for road trips, and when an injury prevented me from riding. When I do use the car, I try to do so efficiently and take care of multiple tasks that are easier to do by car like stocking up on household good or taking boxes of stuff to Goodwill. I keep a running list of these, so that I can always take advantage of the opportunity.
I'm a weather wimp, which is why I have almost always lived where the water stays liquid. (Nothing's too hot, but I don't like cold.) I previously thought Memphis was my type of place, at least as far as weather is concerned. After your comment about having cold extremities, I looked up the low temperatures and was blown away that this past January Memphis had 23 days with lows below freezing. I was relieved to see that the historic lows for January are all above freezing, so my assumption wasn't totally wrong for a "normal" year, but who's having normal weather anymore?
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Old 03-28-14, 08:30 PM   #10
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I have a 1987 Dodge Ram van that I bought eleven years ago when I stacked up my pickup truck. Bought it because it was a slant six with a manual trans, reliable and can be worked on by me. It had been a phone company vehicle and god knows how many miles it had on it.
had the engine rebuilt and balanced, its got a lot of homebrew jury rigs, like a home fabricated manifold to fit an old Weber carb I had when I decided that the holly could not be rebuilt anymore, the lean burn computer system torn out and replaced with a gm ECU module and customized wiring...
The other day I jumped in it to go twenty miles to pick up some stainless angle for a kiln rebuild, and the gear shift fell off(the bolts were to short and wallowed out the aluminium, one of the problems with a vehicle that has been taken apart and put back together several times). had to weld a tab on the linkage mounts to fit another bolt hole on the tranny, re-tap some threads and put it back together.

I use it as a work vehicle for my pottery business. That means carrying a thousand pounds of materials from a supply house 80 miles away once or twice a year, delivery to local shops, and to the airport fifty or so miles away when I travel to shows. If I need something smaller, I use a bike. Rode to the hardware store today for some cable, gloves and misc. small parts. Its always tempting to drive for that stuff, cause it was raining, muddy, and I have a spring cold.

My accountant always has a hard time with how few miles I drive a year. Only nine fuel receipts for last year. Sometimes I don't need it for weeks, and only start it as for maintenance, keep the carb from lacquering up and so forth.

Got to add, I did drive when I was to injured to ride, and will use the van for emergencys, sometimes to visit people when time is far to tight to ride to far, or to carry personal items that would be ridiculous to even try to carry on a bike. I have used it to get to a grandparents house when they are not answering the phone, and when I am sweet talked into helping someone move. Its not a religion for me to not use it, it just saves me a lot of money, and keeps me more fit than I otherwise would be.

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Old 03-28-14, 08:44 PM   #11
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I'm a weather wimp, which is why I have almost always lived where the water stays liquid. (Nothing's too hot, but I don't like cold.) I previously thought Memphis was my type of place, at least as far as weather is concerned. After your comment about having cold extremities, I looked up the low temperatures and was blown away that this past January Memphis had 23 days with lows below freezing. I was relieved to see that the historic lows for January are all above freezing, so my assumption wasn't totally wrong for a "normal" year, but who's having normal weather anymore?
Yep, this past winter was no fun, and the wacky weather is still lingering. I did more driving to work than I ordinarily would have. But, our normal winters are, fortunately, relatively mild, so I can bike longer into the year without really feeling like I'm doing any "winter cycling".
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Old 03-29-14, 10:23 AM   #12
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Up until two weeks ago, I had a '96 Mustang. Took it off the road back in February when I couldn't get it re-inspected because of a blown head gasket. Fixed it up, sold it for 3x what it's worth two weeks ago. My fiance drives a '03 Ford Focus which I borrow or ride in the case of an emergency, in a hurry to get somewhere, or inclement weather. Although I have 10 miles of hills to town in either direction out of my driveway, I'd still prefer to ride my bicycle everywhere.
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Old 03-31-14, 01:49 PM   #13
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I'm a weather wimp, which is why I have almost always lived where the water stays liquid. (Nothing's too hot, but I don't like cold.)
And it got below zero F. where you live this winter, ouch!
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Old 03-31-14, 03:39 PM   #14
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I own a 2013 Scion XD. We recently moved from SF (where we were car free) to LA and my wife is a "freeway flyer" (she teaches at multiple colleges), so a car was a requirement. Except for emergencies or special occasions I use the car for a weekly grocery trip and to take the dog to the dog park (mostly because I haven't figured out a good way to bring my dog on the bike.)
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Old 03-31-14, 03:48 PM   #15
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2006 xterra, finally drove it for the first time in a month over the weekend to take some bikes in for the annual overhaul. the last few years the xterra has seen about 6,000 miles per year. 1,500 on my annual family hunting trip, 2,000 back and forth to the airport, but I am using the green ride more this year, and the rest is trips to pick up heavy things, and about 1,000 of that as canoe or other boat hauling/camping. Two years ago I set a budget of 200 miles/month in town and figured out how to get a lot done on a 1/2 tank per month. Last two months I used a quarter of a tank.

Other than the hunting trip and the boat hauling I have figured out how to live without a truck/car. And windy days.
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Old 04-01-14, 01:11 AM   #16
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I own a 2013 Scion XD. We recently moved from SF (where we were car free) to LA and my wife is a "freeway flyer" (she teaches at multiple colleges), so a car was a requirement. Except for emergencies or special occasions I use the car for a weekly grocery trip and to take the dog to the dog park (mostly because I haven't figured out a good way to bring my dog on the bike.)
I see a lot of people transporting their dogs in kiddie trailers.
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Old 04-01-14, 01:27 AM   #17
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I see a lot of people transporting their dogs in kiddie trailers.
Yeah, that's probably the direction I'll go. It felt a bit excessive because she's a pretty small dog, she just happens to be a bit too big for like a basket or something that could attach directly to me or the bike.

Now that I've typed that, I think it's interesting that I find a bike trailer excessive for transporting a small dog but not a relatively powerful and massive car...
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Old 04-01-14, 04:01 AM   #18
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Yeah, that's probably the direction I'll go. It felt a bit excessive because she's a pretty small dog, she just happens to be a bit too big for like a basket or something that could attach directly to me or the bike.

Now that I've typed that, I think it's interesting that I find a bike trailer excessive for transporting a small dog but not a relatively powerful and massive car...
That is an interesting observation about the car vs. bike. I bet that not just dogs, but most of the things people haul in their cars could be hauled on a bike with just minor modifications.

As for trailers, try looking for a used one. A lot of people just use them for a short time when their kids are little, then sell them at a low price. Kiddie trailers are also used for hauling groceries and other light cargo.
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Old 04-01-14, 06:39 AM   #19
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Yeah, that's probably the direction I'll go. It felt a bit excessive because she's a pretty small dog, she just happens to be a bit too big for like a basket or something that could attach directly to me or the bike.

Now that I've typed that, I think it's interesting that I find a bike trailer excessive for transporting a small dog but not a relatively powerful and massive car...
What breed is she? It's hard to imagine that a small breed would have problems fitting in a Wald front basket or even a mess bag- I've seen reviews were they put their small child to demonstrate how cavernous the bag is.

And if she can fit in a Wald, might be a good idea to line the bottom of the basket with cardboard or coroplast sheets to keep her paws and legs from falling through and possibly injuring herself when she goes to get out.
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Old 04-01-14, 08:28 AM   #20
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I'm car light. I like to think I'd try living car-free if it was just up to me, but when you live in a family, other people have a say too and the rest of my family are not as interested. Two of my kids live out of the house and are not affluent. They are car-free, but one of them would certainly get a car if he and his girlfriend could afford it, and borrows one from us about once a week. The other has never bothered to get a license, but his girlfriend has one, and again, she would probably get a car if she could. Luckily for both they live in a city where you can manage well without a car. At home, my wife and daughter both prefer that we own a car. We currently have two cars at the end of their useful lives (a 2001 Volvo V40 wagon and a 2002 Pontiac Montana van, both "inherited" from relatives who gave up driving), and I hope to dump both as they are not reliable, and get a VW Golf Wagon soon, but the others are dragging their feet.

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Old 04-01-14, 08:40 AM   #21
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I have a 2001 Subaru Outback (140k). My bf has a 1996 Toyota Tacoma 4wd truck (150k).
We generally put less than 5000 miles per year on each of these vehicles.
We live right in town, walking distance to the grocery store and other stores, biking distance most everything else.
I ride to work most days, a little less in the winter. It's 4.5 miles to work. My bf has been working from home p/t lately.
We try to run the cars at least once every week or two. We may try to arrange a big shopping trip or something.
We also use the cars to go out of town for camping, etc. Both are reliable road trip-worthy.
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Old 04-01-14, 12:10 PM   #22
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What breed is she? It's hard to imagine that a small breed would have problems fitting in a Wald front basket or even a mess bag- I've seen reviews were they put their small child to demonstrate how cavernous the bag is.

And if she can fit in a Wald, might be a good idea to line the bottom of the basket with cardboard or coroplast sheets to keep her paws and legs from falling through and possibly injuring herself when she goes to get out.
She's a rescue so it's hard to know for sure, but I believe she's a Manchester Terrier/Daschund Mix; she's about 18 lbs. Definitely not big, but the Doxie makes her long which is what gives her a weird in between size. Anyway, thanks for the heads up, some of those Wald baskets look pretty roomy, I'll have to look into them further.
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Old 04-01-14, 12:24 PM   #23
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Wife has a 2013 Honda Fit.

I use the car if it is under 40 degrees and raining out and if she will not need it the next day. Otherwise I ride my bike, take the bus, or walk.
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Old 04-01-14, 12:38 PM   #24
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Historical ... last car owned was in 1990 a 68 SAAB 96 .. V4 4 stoke motor, my 2nd one.
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Old 04-01-14, 01:06 PM   #25
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I'm not living where I could go as car-lite as I'd like (not to mention health issues/old spinal injuries limiting me some days anyways),and I DO enjoy car/truck/Jeep culture sometimes too,but here's mine,'98 XJ,well maintained for all of it's 205K miles...


The wife's a non-cyclist (gasp ),and her ride is a '11 Camry XLE V6


(I drive it when I wanna play when there's no traffic or at the track,it runs low 14's-not blazingly fast,but fun )
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