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Old 03-17-17, 08:44 PM   #1
itaa
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Anyone Ditched their Car Completely for a Bike?

I live near a semi-large city so everything I need is roughly 3-4miles away, with plenty of bike paths as well.
My current car isn't the freshest or anything special and I just use it as an appliance - for getting to places and transporting stuff, so no hard feelings about it and it's not worth anything. However... with all the Insurance/upkeep/servicing/fuel/tax/tyres/occasional part /depreciation etc.. costs me roughly £3000/year. And that's for a super reliable/economic car that needs almost nothing and has no real deprecation etc.. Mainly due to expensive insurance.

I'm sure I could do my grocery shopping with a bike+few racks as the shop which I visit the most is just a mile away anyway. For rest of the stuff I'm sure I could just pay for the shipping costs or when I need something larger transported could ask someone for a favor. Combined with the fact there aren't much parking spaces where I live makes it even more attractive choice.

+ I hate the damn traffic, and to get to my work it takes roughly the same time with bike than with a car and I can cycle through woods instead of sitting in traffic feeling miserable.

Has anyone done something like this? How did it went?
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Old 03-17-17, 08:56 PM   #2
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I came back from Mexico on July 4 some 10+ years ago, and "declared independence" from OPEC. It was intended as a one month celebration, then it was all summer, then to Halloween, then until it got too cold, and then, after a warm winter, it was Spring and there was no reason to stop. After a year, I turned in my plates and cancelled the insurance on the car because it wasn't worth it for the little I was using it.

I've been basically car free since then, though I do rent one from time to time as needed, but my totla rental fees are less than half what insurance was. As a frame of reference my daily commute was 6 miles one way, and if the weather was nice I'd stretch it out to a nice 20-50 mile ride home in the evening (daylight permitting).

My advice is to ease into it a bit, until you're comfortable with the ride, and don't feel tired by the end of the week or annoyed when caught in the rain. Then you can do as I did and get rid of the car.

BTW - there's a sub forum here called "living car free", and you might find it interesting. But be warned that some people there view this as some kind of holy grail, which is why I stay away. To me it's simply a practical decision, saving me money and giving me more time doing something I like, namely riding my bike.
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Old 03-17-17, 09:22 PM   #3
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I live in a small town and sold my car. Now I'm completely car free and I have a bicycle. I use it to pick up groceries and for exercise. I feel I haven't missed a thing.

Not missing the financial headache of insurance, maintenance and gas.
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Old 03-17-17, 10:23 PM   #4
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Back in my bachelor days, I lived car-free in chicago for over 10 years.

Now that I'm married with kids, my bike commuting/transportation cycling defintely helps us remain a 1 car family.
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Old 03-17-17, 10:34 PM   #5
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Not quite car-free but we were a one car family for many years when I was in my previous job.

My wife had a car and I'd drive the family on weekends but throughout the week I would only cycle.

Changed jobs just over three years ago and needed a car to get to appointments throughout the day. I can really feel (and unfortunately see) the difference that comes from not riding as regularly. I'd love to ditch the extra car but for now, I cycle when I can.
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Old 03-17-17, 11:04 PM   #6
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Sure, I was car-free for about 3 years, and then bought a car for work which I never actually use for the commute. Commuting, to me is the easiest part of being car-free and in fact in you want to ease into it that would be the place to start.

Being totally without the car is sometimes not easy. Transporting groceries can be a challenge, appliances and furniture, things you don't really think about with a car will require some extra planning and effort. Doctor's visits, all of the extra-curricular events that kids are always going to. Not impossible, but not always easy.
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Old 03-17-17, 11:07 PM   #7
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I'm in the Bay Area and I can get around by bike and/or public transit just fine. My car gets less the 1000 miles a year on it, but I haven't sold it because I occasionally need it. The dog has to go to the vet (she'd jump off a bike after the first dog or squirrel she saw so that's not an option) or I have a passenger along. I've consider the ride share things like Zip car but my car is old, the insurance is super cheap, and aside from one annual oil change, that's all I do. However, if it starts needing repairs and parts, it's history. I'll use the bit of money I get for it to buy a Burley Travoy and pay for the infrequent zip car rental. Traffic is so bad I get most places by bike as fast or faster than in a car.
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Old 03-17-17, 11:18 PM   #8
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Funny thing with me, the only thing I miss about having got rid of my car is how hard it is to take beer home with all the money I am saving for not having a car....
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Old 03-17-17, 11:24 PM   #9
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Why not lower your insurance? If your car is worth nothing, are you paying for comprehensive and collision coverage? Have you compared quotes?

If you don't drive the car, you won't be paying very much in gas or maintenance. Insurance and License for my 03 Honda is about $600/yr, I have considered getting rid of it, but it is nice to have for late night grocery runs and bad weather, plus I live in the suburbs so to get to the major city is ~40 miles one way.

My suggestion is try not driving it for a week, then a month, then maybe longer. See if you can last before you sell it off.
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Old 03-18-17, 12:01 AM   #10
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Why not lower your insurance? .....
Given that the OP is paying for his insurance in Sterling, I think it's a fair assumption that he's in the UK. So, I suspect that auto insurance costs, along with other auto related costs are very different than here in the USA.

I also suspect that auto cost is only part of the story. IME folks who already have cars don't tend to give the up for bicycles simply to save money. Odds are that he's a bit of a cyclist, and that's the main reason, with the dough saved by ditching the car being a supporting factor.
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Old 03-18-17, 12:21 AM   #11
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For the past 10 years, I've borrowed cars when I need to transport something.

Having one car in a household is a practical thing though.
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Old 03-18-17, 07:29 AM   #12
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I'm a two car family. My kids are all grown up. My wife drives to work. I've been bike commuting for three years and the only time I use my car is when I need to transport bulky items that's too inconvenient for the bike or if I have to get somewhere too far away by bike.

My wife suggested we get rid of the second car but I rejected because we do a lot of things separately and me without a car limits me from those I've mentioned above. So my car usually just sits around but it's an appliance available when I need it.
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Old 03-18-17, 07:42 AM   #13
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I'm a two car family. My kids are all grown up. My wife drives to work. I've been bike commuting for three years and the only time I use my car is when I need to transport bulky items that's too inconvenient for the bike or if I have to get somewhere too far away by bike.

My wife suggested we get rid of the second car but I rejected because we do a lot of things separately and me without a car limits me from those I've mentioned above. So my car usually just sits around but it's an appliance available when I need it.
Much like a toaster or microwave...but with very high annual premiums. I've also fallen folly to that type of thinking, but with three school-aged children it has become an expensive convenience.
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Old 03-18-17, 09:35 AM   #14
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I have ditched the car for commuting. However, we still have two cars between three drivers in the family. Wife and daughter travel exclusively by car. I still use a car in the evenings and on the weekends because many of the trips are significantly longer than my commute. Even some of the trips less than 5 miles... I prefer the car.

When the water is just dumping from the sky, I'd much rather just jump in the car to go to the grocery store or the gym rather than mess with layering clothing, putting on rain gear, taking it off, putting it back on, hanging it up to dry out... NO! When the dry season gets here (if it ever does) then those short trips are easy on the bike. I also have a scooter, but the clothing issue remains the same. However, with nice weather, the scooter gets picked over the bike when I just want to get there a little quicker. Some might want to consider a scooter if cost is an issue - $150/yr insurance, gas is practically nothing at 118mpg, and if you do maintenance on your bike changing the oil on a scooter every 2000 miles is quite simple.

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Old 03-18-17, 01:04 PM   #15
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There is a subforum, Living Car-Free

About 2 1/2 years ago, I started driving less and less. Then I saw an ad for a local DRT Cargo bike race. It sounded like fun, but I didn't have a cargo bike, so I made one.

And my car has been parked ever since.

I live a few miles out of town, so a typical day to town is about 20 to 30 miles RT. Heavy stuff takes a little extra planning, but I can move quite a bit by bike.
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Old 03-18-17, 02:18 PM   #16
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I came back from Mexico on July 4 some 10+ years ago, and "declared independence" from OPEC.
Really? All your chains and bearings are lubricated with what? Lard? Tallow?

As for ditching the car, well, the last $500 beater ditched me just over a year ago. After making it through a summer and a winter on the bike, I'm focusing on paying off a few debts but planning to go look for another beater toward the end of summer. Maybe a pickup and a car dolly, since I keep seeing some great "just needs a clutch, but wife says I've put it off long enough and it has to go" deals on Craigslist that I wouldn't pass up if I had a way to get them home.
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Old 03-18-17, 02:43 PM   #17
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Really? All your chains and bearings are lubricated with what? Lard? Tallow?.

In your words ----- "Really".

Am I supposed to justify or explain a largely symbolic personal gesture?

Have I asked anybody to follow suit?

We all live our lives according to our own needs and choices (hopefully FREE choices), and just as I never ask anyone to justify himself to me, I make no effort to justify myself to others. Actually, that thinking is why I no longer post on the Living Car Free forum. I got tired of the ideologues painting what I consider a choice as being some kind of high moral imperative.

OTOH - I could say that if every American used 10 times as much petroleum in all forms as I do, the USA could join OPEC an an oil exporter. I don't say this, I simply try not to send any of my dough to Middle eastern Sheiks, and let others do as they wish, or need to.
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Old 03-18-17, 06:37 PM   #18
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In The Netherlands and NYC I'm car-free with no car as an option. In Marco Island FL we're mostly car free. We have a car there but mostly only drive when going off-island like to Naples and otherwise ride our bikes everywhere on island.

My son and his wife sold their car after it sat in her parents driveway for just under a year. They are car-free and quite happy about it. FWIW, he's with an investment bank and she's and editor. They could easily afford two very nice cars.
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Old 03-18-17, 07:15 PM   #19
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I've recently ditched my car, though my wife still has hers so it's not quite the same. My commute is eight miles round-trip, I do my share of grocery shopping and errands via bike. I expect to rent a vehicle occasionally for trips. Financially it should be advantageous.
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Old 03-19-17, 10:57 PM   #20
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got rid of my car years ago due to cost..between a house and a car i chose 'house'.. Now i can afford one again but I'd rather not blow all that money on car insurance so i just rent one when needed.... My bike is my main form of transportation and where i live the public transportation is really good for the two-three months of the nasty winter weather we get. Slowly ease into it like some of the others have suggested, it pays off in better health and i'm light years ahead of many in the financial dept..
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Old 03-20-17, 12:40 AM   #21
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I'd advise against getting rid of your car if you're still working, unless you can afford to quickly replace the car later if need be. You need to remain flexible enough to change jobs or change locations within a job. That's very difficult to do without a car in many places.

The only reasons I got rid of my vehicle a couple of years ago was because I'm not working full time, couldn't afford the insurance along with escalating medical expenses, and do have reasonable access to public transportation along with the bike. Any a relative needed a vehicle to work in an area that has no public transportation or taxi service.

But if I still needed to work full time in my area I'd definitely have a vehicle. It's impossible to get to some prime employment areas without a car. Even if those jobs were accessible by bike it's impractical to commute up to 100 miles a day, because many of the opportunities are spread out across a huge and growing metro area. Instead of building in and up they're growing outward.

When I did work full time and could commute by bike (we also had cars) the cities also had buses, and all of my jobs were in the same hospital districts, so even when I floated it was mostly in the same general area. That's another factor for some folks in deciding whether they need a car.
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Old 03-20-17, 01:34 AM   #22
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Ever since getting my e-bike I've been seriously contemplating selling my car. I work from home so I don't really need it. Uber/Lyft can fill the gaps that the e-bike can't cover. My 6-year old low mileage car probably costs me $300/month between insurance and depreciation. It's a luxury that I can easily afford so it's something that I am conflicted about. I do like being able to jump in my car spontaneously and driving but there are times that I don't drive it for two weeks.
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Old 03-20-17, 02:39 AM   #23
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I need a car for work due to the equipment I carry but would really love just to be able to cycle to and from work daily
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Old 03-20-17, 03:03 AM   #24
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I never got a car.. I dont have a driver's license.
Public transport in Denmark is really good... so my legs, my bike and my train/buscard is all i need.
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Old 03-20-17, 06:34 AM   #25
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I left the states in 2006 and returned in 2014. When I left I left my car, a Suzuki Samurai, with my father. He has been using it, exclusively, as an off road vehicle on his property, checking the well, fences, stuff like that.

When I returned I returned to Salt Lake instead of Northern California, where he is. As such, I never put much effort into bring it back, when I have gone to visit in No. Cal. I have either flown or taken the train.

As for transportation, when I got this job in Kansas I used ship bikes to fed-ex my bike and stuff to my new office. When I flew in to the town I work in my new boss came and picked me up at the airport. I have used air travel to come in and out of this town other than two occasions in three years, on those days I rented a car.

I keep thinking of getting a car, it would make a few things easier. However, I have lived without a car for so long that it is just how I live.
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