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Help me solve this car free puzzle:

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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.

Help me solve this car free puzzle:

Old 02-23-16, 06:25 PM
  #1  
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Help me solve this car free puzzle:

I guess my first question is, can I consider myself car free if my wife still owns a car?


So here is my story, I have wanted to live car free for about 5 years now so when my wife and I moved within a cycling distance to my work (6.5 miles) and my MMA gym (5 miles) the first thing I did was sell my car. Two days later we found out she was pregnant.

So now I don't know how I will continue to live car free. I LOVE IT, and I do not want to own a car ever again in my life. So here are the issues:

We live in Minnesota, I love cycling in the winter but riding with a bike trailer carrying an infant, on icy roads, with really bad drivers is not something I am willing to risk. Just this winter I witnessed two car crashes within yelling distance from me.

I work as a paramedic so when I get done at night the buses are no longer open. When I get home at 2am after biking, my wife wakes up at 6am to drive to work, then I go to work at 2pm and my wife drives home at 4pm. How on earth do I transport our future child to and from the babysitter if there is no way for me to have a car or ride my bike with a trailer in the winter?

This is off the main topic but adds to the puzzle, how do you guys get around without a car if you get injured? Last year I sustained a bad knee injury doing BJJ and I know it is only a matter of time before it happens again. I wasn't too worried about this since I could spend all morning riding the bus to work, then have my wife pick me up after work but now that we will have a kid who is sleeping at 2am it would be ridiculous to wake up the baby just so that my wife could drive over to my work to pick me up.

I guess I am just looking for ideas on how to make this work. I love the simplicity of not owning a car but now owning a car seems more simple.
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Old 02-23-16, 07:32 PM
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IMHO it sounds like you are in a situation where having a car would make things a lot easier for you and your family...Your family is a lot more important then maintaining an LCF status...The only place where LCF status is of any significance is here on this forum...out in the real world with real life responsibilities LCF status means absolutely nothing...You also said that you practice MMA, that's another good reason to have a vehicle. Riding a bicycle would be very impractical after a very hard training session or if get injured.
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Old 02-23-16, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
IMHO it sounds like you are in a situation where having a car would make things a lot easier for you and your family...Your family is a lot more important then maintaining an LCF status...The only place where LCF status is of any significance is here on this forum...out in the real world with real life responsibilities LCF status means absolutely nothing...You also said that you practice MMA, that's another good reason to have a vehicle. Riding a bicycle would be very impractical after a very hard training session or if get injured.
I have been told this by my wife and a good friend but hearing it from someone who understands my yearning for LCF makes it seem like a much better idea. Haha. Thank you for your input.
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Old 02-23-16, 10:53 PM
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just walk, bike, take the bus or train when possible. To my mind LCF is a day by day thing. Some days you are car-free, other days you are not (at least in these times). Do what you can, but don't sweat it.

Recently I was injured while cycling. One week I was hit by a car, the next week I slipped on black ice. The black ice injuries were worse.

It was difficult to walk and I had to take several days off. After that I resumed travel by bus and bike. I could pedal, but getting on the bike required laying the bike on the ground and stepping over it and then pulling the bike up. At first I traveled farther by bus to arrive at work. It took longer, but I avoided the ice. After a while, I was better, but also the worst of winter had passed so the streets were safer. I used my Iron Gym to let me practice swinging my leg to loosen up the muscles. Now I celebrate each time I swing my leg over my bike.
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Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
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 02-23-16, 11:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Refreshing View Post
I guess my first question is, can I consider myself car free if my wife still owns a car?
If your wife gains weight.... can you be considered thin? If she is short... can you be tall? Your wife is her own person... and NOT an extension of yourself.

Originally Posted by Refreshing View Post
adds to the puzzle, how do you guys get around without a car if you get injured?...... I guess I am just looking for ideas on how to make this work.
Everyday is a new day! Even if you drove a car yesterday... and you might need to also drive tomorrow... you can still be car free TODAY. Learn to enjoy the processes and small victories.
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Old 02-24-16, 04:35 AM
  #6  
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Originally Posted by Refreshing View Post
I guess my first question is, can I consider myself car free if my wife still owns a car? As long as you alienate your wife. "I am car free." "We are car light." Whatevs.


So here is my story, I have wanted to live car free for about 5 years now so when my wife and I moved within a cycling distance to my work (6.5 miles) and my MMA gym (5 miles) the first thing I did was sell my car. Two days later we found out she was pregnant.

So now I don't know how I will continue to live car free. I LOVE IT, and I do not want to own a car ever again in my life. So here are the issues:

We live in Minnesota, I love cycling in the winter but riding with a bike trailer carrying an infant, on icy roads, with really bad drivers is not something I am willing to risk. EASIST PUZZLE EVER! YOU JUST GAVE THE ANSWER! Just this winter I witnessed two car crashes within yelling distance from me. From that perspective, it seems you are safer when not in a car...just saying.

I work as a paramedic so when I get done at night the buses are no longer open. When I get home at 2am after biking, my wife wakes up at 6am to drive to work, then I go to work at 2pm and my wife drives home at 4pm. How on earth do I transport our future child to and from the babysitter if there is no way for me to have a car or ride my bike with a trailer in the winter?

This is off the main topic but adds to the puzzle, how do you guys get around without a car if you get injured? Last year I sustained a bad knee injury doing BJJ and I know it is only a matter of time before it happens again. I wasn't too worried about this since I could spend all morning riding the bus to work, then have my wife pick me up after work but now that we will have a kid who is sleeping at 2am it would be ridiculous to wake up the baby just so that my wife could drive over to my work to pick me up.

I guess I am just looking for ideas on how to make this work. I love the simplicity of not owning a car but now owning a car seems more simple.
I added a few comments above. That being said, I think you have a good mindset. I wonder, however, why you're cycling if it's not safe, or at least safe-ish. Good enough for you should be good enough for your children. Heck, they need you just as much as you need to protect them. Injuries, although I hope u avoid them, can be a blessing. Gotta stay home and read a book to your child, or maybe have a tea party... who knows what kids do these days. Get a car... you don't have to drive it every day just because you own it. Maybe you will... that's another choice, it's all up to you. Congratulations and good luck!!
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Old 02-24-16, 07:54 AM
  #7  
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Originally Posted by Refreshing View Post
I guess my first question is, can I consider myself car free if my wife still owns a car?


So here is my story, I have wanted to live car free for about 5 years now so when my wife and I moved within a cycling distance to my work (6.5 miles) and my MMA gym (5 miles) the first thing I did was sell my car. Two days later we found out she was pregnant.

So now I don't know how I will continue to live car free. I LOVE IT, and I do not want to own a car ever again in my life. So here are the issues:

We live in Minnesota, I love cycling in the winter but riding with a bike trailer carrying an infant, on icy roads, with really bad drivers is not something I am willing to risk. Just this winter I witnessed two car crashes within yelling distance from me.

I work as a paramedic so when I get done at night the buses are no longer open. When I get home at 2am after biking, my wife wakes up at 6am to drive to work, then I go to work at 2pm and my wife drives home at 4pm. How on earth do I transport our future child to and from the babysitter if there is no way for me to have a car or ride my bike with a trailer in the winter?

This is off the main topic but adds to the puzzle, how do you guys get around without a car if you get injured? Last year I sustained a bad knee injury doing BJJ and I know it is only a matter of time before it happens again. I wasn't too worried about this since I could spend all morning riding the bus to work, then have my wife pick me up after work but now that we will have a kid who is sleeping at 2am it would be ridiculous to wake up the baby just so that my wife could drive over to my work to pick me up.

I guess I am just looking for ideas on how to make this work. I love the simplicity of not owning a car but now owning a car seems more simple.
I riding a bike in winter so risky or is it just a perception you have? Maybe you can search for statistics to have a better idea. As far as injuries are concerned, you can always rent a car when necessary if you have no other options. Or better, if there is a car-sharing service where you live, you can become a member.
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Old 02-24-16, 12:54 PM
  #8  
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Have you considered an e-bike? If you're committed to car free, I'd suggest a utllity or cargo bike.

2016 Xtracycle EdgeRunner electric cargo bike, 10E

to transport the kid:

Yepp Junior child bike seat, black

If you get an e-bike that has a throttle, you would probably even be able to ride it with an injured leg.
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Old 02-24-16, 02:38 PM
  #9  
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Originally Posted by InTheRain View Post
Have you considered an e-bike? If you're committed to car free, I'd suggest a utllity or cargo bike.

2016 Xtracycle EdgeRunner electric cargo bike, 10E

to transport the kid:

Yepp Junior child bike seat, black

If you get an e-bike that has a throttle, you would probably even be able to ride it with an injured leg.
Good idea, but for transporting an infant in a cold climate, I'd recommend a long john/front-loading cargo bike with a weather cover over a longtail. Bullitt, Bakfiets, Metrofiets, B****e, Douze, etc. Of course, they cost as much as a used car, so it is a commitment.
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Old 02-24-16, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by mel2012 View Post
Good idea, but for transporting an infant in a cold climate, I'd recommend a long john/front-loading cargo bike with a weather cover over a longtail. Bullitt, Bakfiets, Metrofiets, B****e, Douze, etc. Of course, they cost as much as a used car, so it is a commitment.
Yes, it can be a financial commitment. I'm into my e-bike about $5K... but I really love it. I'm not car free, but my e-bike is my daily commuter. For my purposes there are e-bikes that would do the job just as well for less than half the cost.

I guess the reason that I'd recommend some type of cargo/utility bike for someone going car free is that you never know what you'll have to haul. You have a lot more options with a cargo/utility bike. Some of the drawbacks of a bicycle that big and heavy are: 1) most likely will not fit in an elevator, 2) you'll most likely be parking outside on the ground floor if you live in an apartment building - not an easy bike to haul up stairs.

My ebike:



I can haul some unusual items (golf clubs) on my burly travoy trailor that attaches to the seat post.

http://www.rei.com/product/807561/bu...n-bike-trailer
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Old 02-24-16, 03:24 PM
  #11  
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Any way you can adjust your family's work schedules so they either overlap more (allowing car pooling) or overlap less (no unattended time)?

My parents lived many years as a one-car PLUS pickup family.

For the most part they would car-pool commute in the car. The pickup would be used for farm stuff, and the very occasional backup vehicle.

Dad did frequently ride his bike to work. And, also occasionally met a friend for car-pooling.
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Old 02-24-16, 03:44 PM
  #12  
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I didn't try to be car-free with a baby, however I must forewarn you that it's not recommended to carry infants in traditional carriers. That said, in the meantime you can walk/take public transit the kid to the sitter before you go to work and have your wife pick him/her up on her way home.
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Old 02-25-16, 05:38 AM
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You need a car for the baby, don't even play around with that - ambulance rides are expensive and primary insurance loves to shirk the bill. You need to learn very quickly that what's best for your family supercedes your wants and desires.

Just get an inexpensive vehicle and go car lite, nothing wrong with that.
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Old 02-25-16, 10:01 AM
  #14  
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Originally Posted by MikeRides View Post
I didn't try to be car-free with a baby, however I must forewarn you that it's not recommended to carry infants in traditional carriers.
Any credible sources and/or rationale for those negative recommendations about traditional carriers?
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Old 02-25-16, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Refreshing View Post
I guess my first question is, can I consider myself car free if my wife still owns a car?
Of course. You can consider yourself a Roman emperor if you like. More importantly, it's not like the IRS is going to be asking about your car free status.
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Old 02-25-16, 06:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Refreshing View Post
I guess I am just looking for ideas on how to make this work. I love the simplicity of not owning a car but now owning a car seems more simple.
This may seem like a far-sought analogy, but bear with me, ignore the rude comments from negativity gurus that will ensue, and you might see my point:

I find it very important to resist violence in all forms. I deeply respect the practices of ahimsa, veganism, etc. Still, I kill roaches when possible so they don't lay eggs. I wash clothes and bedding often to prevent dust mites and other microbes from thriving in them. I abhor the vast quantity of road kill I see while biking, yet I once rode over a snake rather than throwing myself off the bike to save it (and since then, I saw someone jump a snake without touching it, so presumably I didn't even bother trying to do that to save the snake). I also trim trees, mow grass, weed gardens, and otherwise do violence to plant life (usually for the sake of fostering better plant growth but still)


So the fact is that I don't avoid violence and harm in all forms BUT I don't give up the ethic and throw up my hands that it's an impossible ideal to achieve. I just realize what the morality of resisting and reducing violence is all about, and I do my best to resist and reduce violence in whatever ways I can muster.

If you truly love LCF, you will work hard on mustering up all the effort and intelligence you can to achieve the most car-free lifestyle you can. What you cannot do (or at least shouldn't do) is take unacceptable risks with yourself or your family. Now, while I say this I am aware that LCF puts you in a position to hear from lots of people how dangerous it is for you to ride a bike on roads with motor-vehicles. We've all dealt with that and learned to compare the risks of driving with the risks of riding a bike. Both are risky, primarily because of the risk of being smashed by motor-vehicles. Drivers tend to pay attention and avoid collisions, though, both with other motorists and with cyclists, so to that extent they are comparably risky.

Lots of people can give you advice like this but ultimately it is you that has to develop his own sensibilities and reasoning for the choices you make in determining your own path and that of your family and child. If you see the value of LCF (and thus the corresponding problems of driving-dependency), then you're unlikely to just give up the pursuit of LCF and accept driving as your only viable option. You'll keep looking for ways to tweak your lifestyle and replace more car trips with car-free trips. That's what happens. It's the same as when someone wants to stop eating meat and keeps discovering more and more meal options that don't involve meat. If it's something you truly believe in and seek, you'll find your way; sometimes slowly, sometimes in fits and starts, but you will.
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Old 02-26-16, 08:35 PM
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Well, I'm from MN and understand your problem. Some days can be very, very cold. However, I'd encourage you to spend some time planning this well in advance. There are cars that can be rented around here, if necessary. Otherwise you might approach a colleague about car pooling for part of the year, or at least until your child is a little older (1-2 years old). You have time. Take the time you need and think it through carefully. I'm sure you can figure something out. Good luck!
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Old 02-27-16, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
I deeply respect the practices of ahimsa, veganism, etc.
I just finished reading "The Essential Ghandi" and ahimsa (nonviolence) is just such a fantastic concept to me. Is it ironic that I practice MMA and yet I refuse to kill a spider just because it is in my bedroom? I also live on a plant based diet for environmental, ethical, and nutritional reasons so I enjoyed your post very much.


...Thanks everyone for the fantastic responses!
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Old 02-29-16, 04:16 AM
  #19  
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@Refreshing
One thing I would point out is that it's a fairly recent thing for most families to have more than one car. When I was a kid in the 1960s and 70s, it was quite rare for families to have more than one car. My dad drove to work in the car, and the rest of us got along all day without it. If my mom was going to need the car during the day, she would drive my dad to work and pick him up in the evening.



Of course, it's more difficult nowadays because usually both spouses work. But your ability to use the bike and transit so effectively should help solve that problem.

I wouldn't put too much credence in the people who tell you how dangerous it is to ride young children on a bike. Most of them don't ride, or they've never had kids, or both. There's been lots of good info posted on this forum about transporting kids, or you might want to start a new thread to get more up-to-date info.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the period of time when a baby cannot be transported safely on a bike is fairly short. It might seem like forever to you right now, but in a year or two that tyke will be totally bikeable. So if you do get another car, Ibet you'll be reselling it in a fairly short time.

From your posts here, it does seem that LCF is a good fit for your philosophy and interests. Raising kids carfree can be a real joy and adventure. I didn't totally raise them, but sharing my carfree life with my son and later my grandson were some of the greatest times of my life.

Good luck to you and your family in this exciting time!
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Old 02-29-16, 11:12 AM
  #20  
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Two things: 1.Threads like this amuse me. I mean... for many the car free thing is not a topic for an online debate. They repo'd the car and that kind of decides things, know what I mean. Or your glaucoma gets to the point where your vision is 20/250... drive? Be my guest. 2. An earlier poster touches on an issue I also find amusing: in environmental tragedies heroic measures are usually untertaken to rescue children, their parents are allowed to perish... then the children are put in homes with strangers that abuse and sometimes kill them... ... A cyclist with a child in a carrier will be harassed by drivers and heckled by pedestrians, maybe prohibited from transporting a child on bike by a spouse. I don't know... if its that dangerous no one should do it.
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Old 02-29-16, 11:43 AM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
Two things: 1.Threads like this amuse me. I mean... for many the car free thing is not a topic for an online debate. They repo'd the car and that kind of decides things, know what I mean. Or your glaucoma gets to the point where your vision is 20/250... drive? Be my guest. 2. An earlier poster touches on an issue I also find amusing: in environmental tragedies heroic measures are usually untertaken to rescue children, their parents are allowed to perish... then the children are put in homes with strangers that abuse and sometimes kill them... ... A cyclist with a child in a carrier will be harassed by drivers and heckled by pedestrians, maybe prohibited from transporting a child on bike by a spouse. I don't know... if its that dangerous no one should do it.
My God! Are you really amused by such things?
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Old 02-29-16, 06:20 PM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post

I wouldn't put too much credence in the people who tell you how dangerous it is to ride young children on a bike. Most of them don't ride, or they've never had kids, or both.
You are clueless...I can tell you that here in my area where I live, only a parent who is suicidal and has severe mental issues and tendencies to kill their own kids, would ride their bicycle along suburban roadways while carrying their kids. Yes it's just too damn dangerous and impractical around here to transport your kids using a bicycle. I don't know OPs area but over here forget about it.
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Old 02-29-16, 11:20 PM
  #23  
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Asking the regulars on this list for advice about how to reliably and safely transport children is similar to asking folks with no first hand knowledge about the actual costs of owning and operating a car. Usually the response is a combination of uninformed hot air, guesswork, wishful thinking, and references to irrelevant factoids found somewhere on the Internet.
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Old 03-01-16, 01:05 AM
  #24  
Leisesturm
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
You are clueless...I can tell you that here in my area where I live, only a parent who is suicidal and has severe mental issues and tendencies to kill their own kids, would ride their bicycle along suburban roadways while carrying their kids. Yes it's just too damn dangerous and impractical around here to transport your kids using a bicycle. I don't know OPs area but over here forget about it.
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Tendencies to kill their kids? Suicidal? So... I guess you do not ride a bicycle in your area. You don't strike me as suicidal. Why do you participate in a cycling oriented forum since you consider riding a bike in your area to be suicidal behavior?
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Old 03-01-16, 01:23 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
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Tendencies to kill their kids? Suicidal? So... I guess you do not ride a bicycle in your area. You don't strike me as suicidal. Why do you participate in a cycling oriented forum since you consider riding a bike in your area to be suicidal behavior?
At last report, he'd seen the light, bought an SUV and given up on carfree living.
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