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Contemplating giving up my car (hear me out)

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Contemplating giving up my car (hear me out)

Old 10-12-16, 07:35 PM
  #26  
jorglueke
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I'm with you if I didn't have kids . I'd probably have to move to a bit more central location but that'd be OK. Worst case, one week's car rental is no more expensive than owning a car so there's always a back up plan. Plus transit of course. Or you could get a Moped
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Old 10-12-16, 07:37 PM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by College3.0 View Post
Hi Everyone,

I'm thinking about selling my car for a couple reasons.

a) I know I can easily commute to 95% of the places I need to go on a bike, including things like nearby library and grocery store.

The point is.... I think I am missing out on a lot of adventure, health, and enjoyment because owning a car is too easy and lazy.
If riding your bike to the library is your idea of adventure, then go for it.

If not, then ride your bike as much as you want, and keep the car to pursue adventure on weekends.
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Old 10-12-16, 10:16 PM
  #28  
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I enjoy riding bike more than driving the car. In an urban city with traffic jams it's a no-brainer.

Living in the country, it's a different matter.

My family has always had just one car, for hauling large grocery shopping, or driving someone when they're ill etc. It got about 3000 km per year for the whole family use. I've always been used to not driving a car - seeing that as a luxury to be used only when necessary.

But having a household without a single car at least can be quite limiting. If you're tempted with driving too much, get a small, cheap, ugly car you don't enjoy driving, or being even seen in for that matter.
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Old 10-12-16, 11:20 PM
  #29  
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One thing I did that helped me drive less was adjusting my keyring.

I added my bike lock key to my daily key ring. And I removed my car key. The car key stays at home on the shelf most of the time. I see the bike key any time I use my keys! Easy reminder.
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Old 10-13-16, 04:07 AM
  #30  
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Remember that giving up a car doesn't mean you aren't allowed to drive.

I don't have a car, but rent one for outings or holidays.
For large items I tend to get them delivered, but if you need a load of huge stuff, or want to move house, you can hire a van.
For my summer holiday I hired a massive station wagon.

I gave up my car for the same reason as you are thinking of.
Without a lazy way out you are much more likely to suck it up and ride to work.
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Old 10-13-16, 06:32 AM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by College3.0 View Post

b) It's too much of a temptation to drive the car and ignore my bike.

... I'm starting to consider that maybe I need to take more drastic measures to properly motivate myself to overcome my laziness.
To me, this is a matter of maturity. Do you also buy new underwear when yours are dirty because it's easier?

Yes, getting rid of the car would force you to ride your bike. But, come on, you've shown that you are adult enough to think this through, you can be adult enough to choose the bike. Just choose the adventure first! Maybe do the key ring thing mentioned earlier or park the car in a less convenient spot, but even those shouldn't be necessary.

It would make more sense to me if you wanted to get rid of it because you're making a loan or lease payment and would rather save that money. I guess you should try to envision all the times a car would be necessary throughout the year and decide from there. Do you drive to visit family on holidays? What about weekend road trips or vacations? Or what if you get sick and need to go to a doctor? Many of these could be solved with public transit or renting a car, I'm just thinking through possibilities here.
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Old 10-13-16, 06:41 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by mhifoe View Post
Remember that giving up a car doesn't mean you aren't allowed to drive.

I don't have a car, but rent one for outings or holidays.
For large items I tend to get them delivered, but if you need a load of huge stuff, or want to move house, you can hire a van.
For my summer holiday I hired a massive station wagon.
Same here. When I left the states in '06 I got rid of my car. after returning in '14 I just never had a good enough reason to spend the money on one.

When I have needed a car I have rented one; the same when I needed a pickup for a home project . . . off to U-haul for a PU. It has worked out better for me so far.
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Old 10-13-16, 08:20 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
This is probably where I'm headed, but not quite there yet. I can see it though, suiting up on those February mornings, like getting ready for battle. And coming home in the evening feeling like you didn't lose the battle, but didn't win it outright either. There's still tomorrow.

Come to think of it, I might be there already.
Honestly, I still ride in the snow more often than I drive. I didn't bother getting snow tires for my car last winter, so I felt more comfortable on my fat bike.

It was dodging thunderstorms or arriving at appointments all sweaty that was starting to get to me.
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Old 10-13-16, 08:56 AM
  #34  
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I started commuting by bike to work a couple of years ago. It's really not that hard, you just have to roll out of bed and go. And that, for me, is the hardest part. Don't worry about nutrition and all that stuff just yet, you just need to get in to the habit of riding. I find once I'm on the bike for 5 minutes I'm good to go and I always feel great once I get to work. Weather doesn't really bother me. My first winter of commuting saw me riding at 3:45 in the morning at temperatures just below freezing; it was easy to just pedal through it once I got on the bike. If I can do it at 4:00 AM, you can do it. And if I'm tired at the end of the day, I'm stuck riding my bike anyways. A nice easy ride home turns in to a fairly spirited ride and it picks me up after dealing with all the BS around here.
I have a car for longer trips and shuttling the kid, dogs, and mountain bike around. And it's nice to know that if I sleep in I have a way to get to work quickly. I live in a fairly rural area so commuting by car is way faster than by bike. And if it snows, I would probably drive, just because I need to ride on the highway a little bit to and from work. I have yet to ride to work in the snow.
My advice is to just get up and do it. Make sure you have a decent set of rain gear, some layers for the cold, and maybe some dry cloths just in case.
I wouldn't get rid of the car just yet, but make the bike more accessible. I prep my stuff the night before: I make a lunch, get my cloths ready, get my coffee machine ready, charge my lights, and have my panniers or trunk bag open and ready. Then in the morning I roll out of bed, preheat my thermos, make my coffee, stuff my lunch and cloths in to my panniers, layer up as required by the weather, slap the thermos in the bottle cage, do a quick pre-trip inspection on my ride and go. I can wake up and be out the door in 15 minutes, but I give it 30 minutes if I have a small breakfast, usually a banana or small bowl of Cheerios. It's way easier if your stuff is sitting there ready to get used.
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Old 10-13-16, 09:13 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by College3.0 View Post
... I'd learn to commute through the winter and by next spring I'd be a bulletproof cyclo-commuter. ...
Ummm... if you haven't ever previously commuted through a winter you may want to try it before you jump in with both feet. Your location is listed as STL, which I am assuming is St. Louis.

While your area has relatively mild winters (at least compared to what I'm used to dealing with) there are certain challenges to winter commuting that you don't face other times during the year. Not least of which is mindset. By about February I'm pretty darn sick of winter commuting and am doing it via sheer willpower and stubbornness. Not everyone is like me (or should be.)

That said, if you were to sell off your car nothing says it has to be a permanent decision. So if you did it and then decided you didn't like the car free lifestyle it could be undone, the only real cost being some hassle.
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Old 10-13-16, 09:19 AM
  #36  
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I never thought I'd contemplate wanting to give up my car, or going without a car (I've been a car nut since before I was 16 in the 90's). But lately I've been thinking about it. If I sold my car and converted my utility bike to an e-bike, I could probably make it work. 31 mile round trip commute, do it on the road bike some days, e-bike other days. I guess it would depend on how the e-bike setup could handle foul weather.

If we moved closer to my work, I could definitely go without a car.

The times I find myself needing a car, though, is when my wife needs to be one place, and I need to be another place that's not really practical to ride to. We live in an area where cycling isn't so popular or practical (outside Memphis), as compared to in Memphis proper. There are lots of things going on in Memphis that I like to go to, both cycling-related and not. And sometimes I might want to go to those things, maybe take my kid or something, but then my wife has something else going on that she needs her car for. I feel like if we went to one car, I would actually end up missing out on a lot of stuff going on, outside of just commuting to work and back home.
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Old 10-13-16, 09:48 AM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by PatrickGSR94 View Post
I never thought I'd contemplate wanting to give up my car, or going without a car (I've been a car nut since before I was 16 in the 90's). But lately I've been thinking about it. If I sold my car and converted my utility bike to an e-bike, I could probably make it work. 31 mile round trip commute, do it on the road bike some days, e-bike other days. I guess it would depend on how the e-bike setup could handle foul weather.

If we moved closer to my work, I could definitely go without a car.

The times I find myself needing a car, though, is when my wife needs to be one place, and I need to be another place that's not really practical to ride to. We live in an area where cycling isn't so popular or practical (outside Memphis), as compared to in Memphis proper. There are lots of things going on in Memphis that I like to go to, both cycling-related and not. And sometimes I might want to go to those things, maybe take my kid or something, but then my wife has something else going on that she needs her car for. I feel like if we went to one car, I would actually end up missing out on a lot of stuff going on, outside of just commuting to work and back home.
Why are you thinking about it, unless you need the money and you and your wife want to give up the convenience as well as the activities that the car makes available for your family?

Would "making it work" really be worth the cost to you and your family?
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Old 10-13-16, 10:11 AM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by BobbyG View Post
It can be done. And there is a forum here:
Living Car Free - Bike Forums

However, before you sell your car, give the keys to a friend or family member so you can't easily get to them, or even see if you can park the car somewhere else so it is not convenient to get to. Then see how your plan works on a temporary basis.
I agree with this approach. I have a very small driveway so 2 cars was very hard and I started to bike commute almost every day. I ended up taking my car to my in-laws (about 50 miles away) and taking the insurance off the car. After it sat for almost a year - I then just got it towed away and donated it. We have 1 car for the family now. My kids are 12 and 14 and there are a lot of things we need the car for. I have used a tandem to take my son to hockey and put his bag in a bike trailer. That worked fine. In a pinch - almost anything is possible.

I just think selling a car is rather irreversible. Take the insurance off it, or just take the spark plugs out or something to make it not a viable temptation for a while before you take drastic measure.
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Old 10-13-16, 12:44 PM
  #39  
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I second Uber. My son is in another city living downtown. He just got out of the hospital, and can't drive. He pays $5-10 for a one-way trip of up to about 10 miles, and every time he's called, pickup has been within 5 minutes. For 2-3 round trips a week it adds up, but is still less than a car payment, much less insurance for a 26 year old man.

I commute year round, and keep my car to visit him and take the dogs to the park :-) Of course, it's paid off, and my insurance is $80/month.
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Old 10-13-16, 07:41 PM
  #40  
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If you can, do it. Keep the money for awhile and if it does not work out, rejoin the line at the gas pumps.

I took my own advise and never looked back.
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Old 10-14-16, 08:19 AM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by mgw4jc View Post
To me, this is a matter of maturity. Do you also buy new underwear when yours are dirty because it's easier?
Actually, I regret I can't say I've never done this. But I appreciate your faith in my level of maturity.

That was years ago but I'm still not the most mature grown-up. Hence the topic at hand. Thanks for so many really good suggestions everyone. I think some of these could really help me. But perhaps the key to success for me is to get a friend or two to help keep me accountable...... keeping the car if I'm ever sick is a good point. But giving the keys to a friend for accountability might work better for me than letting the air out of the tires (even though I think letting the air out of the tires is incredibly clever!)

Things that seem like they should be simple are often complicated for me. What can I say? I think the goal I have for my 30s is to make my life simpler, easier, and more fun for myself.
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Old 10-17-16, 09:47 AM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
Why are you thinking about it, unless you need the money and you and your wife want to give up the convenience as well as the activities that the car makes available for your family?

Would "making it work" really be worth the cost to you and your family?
Because I've been thinking about how it would be nice to not have to pay maintenance, repairs, insurance, gas, etc. etc. on a 22-year old car. That's why I've been thinking about it. Why does anyone think about anything? To weigh the pros and cons of making a decision.

Why do you always use such a condescending tone in all your posts?

The real question is, why do you quote my post and ask why I'm thinking about such things, instead of asking the OP why he's thinking about such things? What do you have against me, exactly?
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Old 10-17-16, 12:30 PM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by College3.0 View Post
The point is.... I think I am missing out on a lot of adventure, health, and enjoyment because owning a car is too easy and lazy. And it's starting to bum me out I'm starting to consider that maybe I need to take more drastic measures to properly motivate myself to overcome my laziness. I'm almost 33 years old and I need to be having more adventures and fun in my life.
When I jumped into bike commuting, my strategy was to let my car live at work. I am in a good situation at work where we have our own parking deck, it's free, it's safe, it's out of the sun. I park way up on the 4th floor where I'm not hogging anybody's 'good spot'. With 3 kids, once in a while we run into that calendar situation where 2 drivers have to be in 2 very different places at the same time. Usually we know well in advance, but even if it comes up suddenly, I have the car at work, and can go do a pickup or something. (I can leave my bike safely locked up at work overnight and ride it home the next day).

Now since the family minivan lives at home, I still have that temptation and far too often resort to it for errands that are easily in biking distance. But in terms of getting from being a 2-car family to a 1.1 car family, this strategy has been very successful. In 2014 my car drove only I think 833 miles. This year I think I'm over 1000, but each year since I started this, I've put fewer miles onto that car than I do on the bike.

Last edited by RubeRad; 10-17-16 at 12:35 PM.
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Old 10-18-16, 06:55 AM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
When I jumped into bike commuting, my strategy was to let my car live at work. I am in a good situation at work where we have our own parking deck, it's free, it's safe, it's out of the sun. I park way up on the 4th floor where I'm not hogging anybody's 'good spot'. With 3 kids, once in a while we run into that calendar situation where 2 drivers have to be in 2 very different places at the same time. Usually we know well in advance, but even if it comes up suddenly, I have the car at work, and can go do a pickup or something. (I can leave my bike safely locked up at work overnight and ride it home the next day).

Now since the family minivan lives at home, I still have that temptation and far too often resort to it for errands that are easily in biking distance. But in terms of getting from being a 2-car family to a 1.1 car family, this strategy has been very successful. In 2014 my car drove only I think 833 miles. This year I think I'm over 1000, but each year since I started this, I've put fewer miles onto that car than I do on the bike.
That's cool man. In my case I'm up to over 3,500 yearly cycling miles, and my car is down to just 7,500 miles a year. Compare that to a high of 36,000 miles a year back when I was just out of college 12 years ago, and driving 100 miles a day for work. Same car, in fact.

I'm about to convert my utility bike to e-assist, mainly for grocery hauling or other around-town uses where otherwise it might be a bit too slow/far on the bike, but with e-assist it might make things more feasible. And hopefully, I'll be able to do some work commutes with it where I would normally use the car, because of being tired from commuting on the road bike the previous day.
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Old 10-18-16, 07:51 AM
  #45  
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I've considered a strategy for going to one car where I would strike a 'deal' with my parents, brother, and in-laws (all of which families have two cars) where I could borrow a car for a day with a week's notice, and return it full of gas. Even though I pay almost nothing to not drive my car, that occasional gas cost would be less than annual registration&insurance.

My problem right now is my oldest is now 16. We got him a permit mostly so he could do the driving on the family road trip vacation this past summer. And for some reason I don't understand, he doesn't need insurance until he's actually licensed. But the cost of insuring a teenage boy to drive in CA? Yeesh! What's the point of living a car-reduced life if it's still going to cost that much?!
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Old 10-18-16, 10:27 AM
  #46  
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I ditched my car many years ago. I bought a trailer for the bike which I should have done when I sold the car. If you haul cargo, get a cargo trailer, not a child one. Flatbeds are the most versatile.
I recently joined a car club, so if I need a car, I have one.
Work out the fixed costs of owning a car and keep some of that saving aside for taxis, rentals, whatever.
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Old 10-18-16, 11:14 AM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by MichaelW View Post
I recently joined a car club, so if I need a car, I have one.
What does that mean? Is that a thing?
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Old 10-18-16, 11:50 AM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
What does that mean? Is that a thing?
maybe a British thing, car sharing service or something?
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Old 10-18-16, 11:52 AM
  #49  
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If it's an option, leave your car at work. I'll sometimes drive in on Monday, bike commute during the week, and drive home on Friday. I generally need the car on weekends for errands and other tasks. You can always drive home during the week if the weather is bad in the evening, or is predicted to be bad the next morning.
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Old 10-18-16, 11:52 AM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by MichaelW View Post
I ditched my car many years ago. I bought a trailer for the bike which I should have done when I sold the car. If you haul cargo, get a cargo trailer, not a child one. Flatbeds are the most versatile.
If you can find a kid trailer for cheap on Craigslist or yard sale or whatever, they're pretty easy to make into a flat bed trailer. Just remove the top frames and fabric. Then attach plywood or whatever else to the frame. Since my kid now has a trail-a-bike I went ahead and permanently removed all the unnecessary stuff from his old trailer.

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