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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 05-19-14, 08:52 AM   #1
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A little bit less car

I live 5.5 miles from my work, weather down here is favorable for year round commuting, I've got the cycling fitness to ride most places I care to go. I can work from anywhere that has broadband Internet as long as I'm at my customers shop a couple of times a week. My customer's place of business is very bike friendly. I can wear anything and smell like a goat and it's okay. I easily carry my very small laptop in a string backpack. Writing this helps me to realize I've got no excuses. I need a better head light, some kind of rain jacket that folds into a very small size, and some fenders.

I'm on my 8th day of not driving my car with one exception. My friend left on a New York to California cycling adventure and we had a departure party. I drove my car to the party. I don't have a "see" headlight and I'm a bit scared of one section of road between my home and town. I ride it during the day but have not tackled it at night yet. I've also enjoyed 8 days of near perfect weather.

My wife and I have two Hondas and I can easily afford our life style. She'd never go car free, and the thought of us owning one car is very unsettling for her. I have to admit the mental commitment to not drive has been an interesting challenge for me. It's like I need to know my car is only X miles away and I can reach it if I need too. Funny how I've managed to program myself.

I look inward for what my motivation is? Sadly it's not to save the planet or live healthier. I really enjoy riding a bike. I get an extra thrill out of riding my bike for actual transportation as opposed to just riding for the sake of the ride. I also enjoy thinking about living in a more simple manner. When I cancel an Insurance policy it's a very happy moment, I recently got rid of a couple of things that required Insurance.

I haven't bought gas in over 3 weeks, for some reason this seems important........Small steps
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Old 05-19-14, 08:27 PM   #2
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Yes.. please stick with small steps!! I know many here simply throw the keys away and go cold turkey.

But the truth is you need to develop a long-term goal and work towards it. Commute one day a week. Then build it to 3. Buy groceries by bike every second time.

Eventually, if you stick to your vision, you'll remove yourself from the car habit and realize there's no real advantage to not taking a bicycle ... (unless you walk).

Good luck with this!
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Old 05-19-14, 09:20 PM   #3
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Well done. Small steps. But when your car is coated with dust and it becomes a bother to have to start it up once a month just to make sure it's running, then you'll have more support for selling it. And you'll want to stop by the auto parts store for some gas preservative to keep the fuel lines from clogging.
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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 05-20-14, 02:09 AM   #4
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I also enjoy thinking about living in a more simple manner. When I cancel an Insurance policy it's a very happy moment, I recently got rid of a couple of things that required Insurance.
I bet you'd feel great if you could tear up the policy on that car you almost never drive!
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Old 05-20-14, 02:32 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by bbeasley View Post
I live 5.5 miles from my work, weather down here is favorable for year round commuting, I've got the cycling fitness to ride most places I care to go. I can work from anywhere that has broadband Internet as long as I'm at my customers shop a couple of times a week. My customer's place of business is very bike friendly. I can wear anything and smell like a goat and it's okay. I easily carry my very small laptop in a string backpack. Writing this helps me to realize I've got no excuses. I need a better head light, some kind of rain jacket that folds into a very small size, and some fenders.

I'm on my 8th day of not driving my car with one exception. My friend left on a New York to California cycling adventure and we had a departure party. I drove my car to the party. I don't have a "see" headlight and I'm a bit scared of one section of road between my home and town. I ride it during the day but have not tackled it at night yet. I've also enjoyed 8 days of near perfect weather.

My wife and I have two Hondas and I can easily afford our life style. She'd never go car free, and the thought of us owning one car is very unsettling for her. I have to admit the mental commitment to not drive has been an interesting challenge for me. It's like I need to know my car is only X miles away and I can reach it if I need too. Funny how I've managed to program myself.

I look inward for what my motivation is? Sadly it's not to save the planet or live healthier. I really enjoy riding a bike. I get an extra thrill out of riding my bike for actual transportation as opposed to just riding for the sake of the ride. I also enjoy thinking about living in a more simple manner. When I cancel an Insurance policy it's a very happy moment, I recently got rid of a couple of things that required Insurance.

I haven't bought gas in over 3 weeks, for some reason this seems important........Small steps
I recently bought a bright light. I strongly recommend that you do the same. It makes riding at night much safer. This is the one I got. I'm delighted with it.

Schmidt Edelux High Power LED Headlight



Regarding your lack of concern for the environment, I really can't understand that.

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Old 05-20-14, 07:18 AM   #6
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Great!
Yes our climate-I'm outside NOLA-River Ridge-and we can ride year round-except for severe thunderstorms.
One trick-if you are frugal-is to get one or two of the cheap flashlights-18650 -2 or 3 battery powered-and use one of those strap like devices to strap it to your handlebars.
That was you have a potent flashlight,and a lightweight effective headlight-
it simple enough to strap 2 on-and you can use them when you lose power-during storms-or post hurricanes.And they are quick to take off so they won't get stolen-they can do double duty-a bargain.

Loving to ride bikes-is a more reliably life long reason to RIDE A BIKE- than some puritanical belief in saving the planet "by hectoring folks to not use a car." USA car CO2 production is decreasing,and is dwarfed by Chinese coal CO2 production.India's coal use is also dramatically increasing-has already passed what we produce from cars.
"
A solution to CO2 production will have nothing to do with 1st world countries reverting to human powered transportation.
BIKES ARE FUN TO RIDE-all the reason in the world to lifelong ride.

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Old 05-20-14, 12:26 PM   #7
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Thanks for all the encouragement! My small step for today was to move my car out of the driveway and park it out back where it can become covered with dust.
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Old 05-20-14, 12:35 PM   #8
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Regarding your lack of concern for the environment, I really can't understand that.
I'm just over whelmed by the hopelessness of it. I feel like any contribution I make is meaningless. When I see my tax dollars being used for Law enforcement driving full size SUVs and junk mail being delivered by a small truck house to house it just makes me sick.

</political rant over, back to topic>

Proper lights and rain wear is next
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Old 05-20-14, 02:13 PM   #9
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Great!
Yes our climate-I'm outside NOLA-River Ridge-and we can ride year round-except for severe thunderstorms.
One trick-if you are frugal-is to get one or two of the cheap flashlights-18650 -2 or 3 battery powered-and use one of those strap like devices to strap it to your handlebars.
That was you have a potent flashlight,and a lightweight effective headlight-
it simple enough to strap 2 on-and you can use them when you lose power-during storms-or post hurricanes.And they are quick to take off so they won't get stolen-they can do double duty-a bargain.

Loving to ride bikes-is a more reliably life long reason to RIDE A BIKE- than some puritanical belief in saving the planet "by hectoring folks to not use a car." USA car CO2 production is decreasing,and is dwarfed by Chinese and Indian coal CO2 production.
A solution to CO2 production will have nothing to do with 1st world countries reverting to human powered transportation.
It will be a switch to wind-nukes-and small scale solar-perhaps with a BIG SCIENCE APPROACH(which could go very sideways) if things get really bad.

BIKES ARE FUN TO RIDE-all the reason in the world to lifelong ride.
You can use the bicycle headlights as flashlights, so they are also dual purpose. The headlights seem to disperse the light in a better pattern for cycling. Rather than a "strap like device" the headlights have quick release mounts that are easier to adjust. IMO, the headlights work better, but I do see that flashlight could be used in a pinch.

You also made a lot of debatable statements about energy. But I don't think that's what the OP wants to talk about on this thread. Maybe you will want to start another thread about your opinions.
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Old 05-20-14, 03:02 PM   #10
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I'm just over whelmed by the hopelessness of it. I feel like any contribution I make is meaningless. When I see my tax dollars being used for Law enforcement driving full size SUVs and junk mail being delivered by a small truck house to house it just makes me sick.
I agree, it can be depressing, but even if you're the only one in your area than gives a damn, instead of cursing the dark, you can light a candle. When I first started commuting by bike here in Seville, people thought I was nuts, but now there are over 70,000 of us who ride daily in this town and over 300,000 who ride occasionally. Other cities are taking notice. People are waking up. The word is getting out.
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Old 05-20-14, 03:12 PM   #11
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I'm just over whelmed by the hopelessness of it. I feel like any contribution I make is meaningless. When I see my tax dollars being used for Law enforcement driving full size SUVs and junk mail being delivered by a small truck house to house it just makes me sick.

</political rant over, back to topic>

Proper lights and rain wear is next
My favorite headlight so far is the Cygolite Metro series, easy on and off and USB rechargeable. The Serfas TL series are good too. As far as a rain jacket my preference in the Deep South is either to get wet or wear a rain cape.

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Old 05-20-14, 07:20 PM   #12
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You can use the bicycle headlights as flashlights, so they are also dual purpose. The headlights seem to disperse the light in a better pattern for cycling. Rather than a "strap like device" the headlights have quick release mounts that are easier to adjust. IMO, the headlights work better, but I do see that flashlight could be used in a pinch.

You also made a lot of debatable statements about energy. But I don't think that's what the OP wants to talk about on this thread. Maybe you will want to start another thread about your opinions.

Flashlights make better flashlights than bike headlights
In south Louisiana most homes stockpile flashlights-lots of flashlights-
so simplifies logistics to have as many as possible using the same batteries-

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Old 05-20-14, 10:05 PM   #13
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Flashlights make better flashlights than bike headlights
In south Louisiana most homes stockpile flashlights-lots of flashlights-
so simplifies logistics to have as many as possible using the same batteries-
Flashlights can be good. I've accumulated so many bike headlamps that my "flashlights" are all bike headlamps. Even the one I keep next to my emergency radio for tornado use.
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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 05-21-14, 01:00 PM   #14
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Today's small step: I picked up a Lumintrail 1000 from my LBS. Wow have bike lights changed, it's almost rudely bright on high.
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Old 05-21-14, 06:24 PM   #15
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Today's small step: I picked up a Lumintrail 1000 from my LBS. Wow have bike lights changed, it's almost rudely bright on high.
If it is rudely bright, please make sure it is aimed correctly. Nothing as annoying as a bright in-your-eyes bike light .
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Old 05-22-14, 10:00 AM   #16
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Today's small step was picking up a string backpack with one waterproof pocket for my laptop. I've tried messenger bags and standard backpacks but the inexpensive string backpack seems to work best for me.

I live in the tropics of South Louisiana and I've come up with a rain strategy for the warm 8 months. If going to work, I'll get wet and carry an extra shirt as I've got extra pants and shoes there already. If going home, I'll get wet as it just doesn't matter. If going somewhere else, I'll wear quick drying mountain bike shorts and carry an extra shirt.

I'm not going to worry about the 4 cold months until fall.

~11 days of no car driving.
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Old 05-22-14, 12:08 PM   #17
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For clothing I have been using a lot of the golf polos that are being made that wick, most stores now carry them, especially useful for meetings.

Just a thought.
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Old 05-22-14, 05:32 PM   #18
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Today's small step was picking up a string backpack with one waterproof pocket for my laptop. I've tried messenger bags and standard backpacks but the inexpensive string backpack seems to work best for me.

I live in the tropics of South Louisiana and I've come up with a rain strategy for the warm 8 months. If going to work, I'll get wet and carry an extra shirt as I've got extra pants and shoes there already. If going home, I'll get wet as it just doesn't matter. If going somewhere else, I'll wear quick drying mountain bike shorts and carry an extra shirt.

I'm not going to worry about the 4 cold months until fall.

~11 days of no car driving.
I think this is a good approach. I don't care for rainwear in warmer weather either. Like timmythology said, the quick drying Tee shirts and polo shirts are also good.
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Old 05-26-14, 11:52 AM   #19
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Hi, my name's Bob and I'm addicted to cars.

14 days of the car collecting dust

I've noticed a cognitive change in me. Town (~6 miles one way) and work (~6 the other way) are no longer percieved as far or even a "ride". They're just right over there. I've ridden to both these locations many times over the last 4 years and ~8500 miles of my adult cycling experience. I think the change is related to me no longer considering the car an option.
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Old 05-26-14, 07:18 PM   #20
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I've noticed a cognitive change in me. Town (~6 miles one way) and work (~6 the other way) are no longer percieved as far or even a "ride". They're just right over there. I've ridden to both these locations many times over the last 4 years and ~8500 miles of my adult cycling experience. I think the change is related to me no longer considering the car an option.
You are getting in a "groove". Do this for a couple of years and the auto will be a distant memory. I know that every time I end up in a car "situation" it feels very foreign....
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Old 05-26-14, 07:42 PM   #21
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Hi, my name's Bob and I'm addicted to cars.

14 days of the car collecting dust

I've noticed a cognitive change in me. Town (~6 miles one way) and work (~6 the other way) are no longer percieved as far or even a "ride". They're just right over there. I've ridden to both these locations many times over the last 4 years and ~8500 miles of my adult cycling experience. I think the change is related to me no longer considering the car an option.
You're doing great!

Now you have another decision to make. How many days will that car collect dust before you decide to get rid of it totally? Then it will be somebody else's problem, and you'll get to spend the money you made from selling it.
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Old 05-26-14, 10:50 PM   #22
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... I know that every time I end up in a car "situation" it feels very foreign....
Yes! I've been noticing that a lot recently. It's been almost 5 years since I last operated a motor vehicle, and cars seem increasingly alien. I look at them on the street and find myself thinking they don't belong in the scene. Often I find myself baffled, wondering why someone would drive when they don't need to (for example, to get a bag of groceries from a store a few blocks from home). I ride in other people's cars occasionally, mostly to go hiking, and even that feels kind of weird.
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Old 05-26-14, 11:53 PM   #23
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...She'd never go car free, and the thought of us owning one car is very unsettling for her.
You know, there ought to be a support group for those of us whose spouses/S.Os think like this...
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Old 05-27-14, 06:58 AM   #24
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You know, there ought to be a support group for those of us whose spouses/S.Os think like this...
I'm finding the psychological aspect of going car light is much tougher than actually doing it. What's disturbing to me is due to my situation, read first post, it's a no brainer. This should be such an easy decision. However, I wouldn't be surprised if it takes a few months for us to cut the umbilical cord and sell the second car.
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Old 05-27-14, 10:58 AM   #25
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I'm finding the psychological aspect of going car light is much tougher than actually doing it. What's disturbing to me is due to my situation, read first post, it's a no brainer. This should be such an easy decision. However, I wouldn't be surprised if it takes a few months for us to cut the umbilical cord and sell the second car.
You are open to going car light, but your wife is not. Since you no longer are using yours, she now views it as a safety net that offers minimal disruption to her routine. Something happens to her car, all she has to do is grab the keys to yours and go. At least this is my wife's 'logic' of owning two vehicles even though she is the only one who can drive...
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