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 07-10-18, 10:47 PM
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Living Car Free

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 07-10-18, 11:51 PM
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I’ve never had a license. I love riding my bike, but it can be very dangerous. Walking is good for you, and helps you to get to know the area (I typically know the city better than the natives - wherever I am). “Car culture” makes things extremely difficult by placing everything so far apart, and making the roads so dangerous. Light rail / subway / commuter rail are excellent. Busses are usually terrible, especially considering the time they consume. If a trip is less than four miles, it’s almost always faster to walk than take a bus. Most public transportation systems are poorly designed. In most areas they are designed to get commuters to and from work, not to get people around town. Boston is the best. DC area is ok for the most part, but you can only go certain places. One problem with cycling and walking is that it’s often difficult to be “professional” looking and smell good. It keeps you in shape. IDK about Australia or Canada, but being car free is difficult most places in the US.


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Old 07-11-18, 03:05 AM
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We as a family of 4 have one car. We use the car normally only on the weekends to get to hiking spots or do one large shopping trip when we are pressed for time. Other than that, I ride my bike to work year round and we have a trailer for shopping as well. The infrastructure is OK to get around with a bicycle, but I would definitely like to see a bike path next to each road outside of the towns and bigger cycling path inside the city. Kopenhagen was awesome in that regard.
Munich, even though it has countless bike path, is horrible to commute on. The path are to narrow and pedestrians sometimes have no space on the walk path, so they need to move into the bike lane or many times just walk on the bike path carelessly minding their own business.
Outside of the city where I live, commuting and shopping on the bike is much more relaxed. At one point, when I was trying to get my US car registered in the German system, I was getting all the paperwork together, which took me about 1 year.
I didn't miss the car during that time. So I guess I could go carless, if I wanted to, but for visiting my parents 200 miles away it would be somewhat impractical.

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Old 07-11-18, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Scummer View Post
So I guess I could go carless, if I wanted to, but for visiting my parents 200 miles away it would be somewhat impractical.
My impression was that Europe is connected by train and/or bus anywhere you want to go. Is there no train/bus combination that could get you to your parents' house?
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Old 07-11-18, 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
My impression was that Europe is connected by train and/or bus anywhere you want to go. Is there no train/bus combination that could get you to your parents' house?
Well, I could take the S-Bahn, then the train or long distance bus, then the S-Bahn again and arrive at my parents house. Which I have done before when I went just by myself. But for a family of 4 we are talking close to 200 Euros for one way.
So 400 Euros both ways and that makes traveling by car with 4 people in it, more economical from a cost perspective, since I get roughly 30-35mpg on my Honda.
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Old 07-11-18, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Scummer View Post
Well, I could take the S-Bahn, then the train or long distance bus, then the S-Bahn again and arrive at my parents house. Which I have done before when I went just by myself. But for a family of 4 we are talking close to 200 Euros for one way.
So 400 Euros both ways and that makes traveling by car with 4 people in it, more economical from a cost perspective, since I get roughly 30-35mpg on my Honda.
For some reason I thought public transit was less expensive in Europe. You could get a Greyhound bus ticket for trip that distance for around $20 per person if you booked far enough in advance, which would add up to $80 each way for four people. I'm hoping autonomous buses will bring that price down even more.
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Old 07-11-18, 08:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Scummer View Post
Well, I could take the S-Bahn, then the train or long distance bus, then the S-Bahn again and arrive at my parents house. Which I have done before when I went just by myself. But for a family of 4 we are talking close to 200 Euros for one way.
Are the two smaller members of your family children? Carrying children's toys, strollers, luggage, diapers, clothing, snacks, child seats, cribs, etc. in a personal motor vehicle is a lot easier than schlepping them on and off and between multiple transport modes in all weather conditions, especially when such an effort is unnecessary.

If you and your parents are typical of most Europeans, you and they do not live next door to the train station.
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Old 07-11-18, 08:53 AM
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The bus depending, on time of the day is between 11 and 29Euros. So, if I get a ticket for 20 Euros, I still have to shell out the S-Bahn ticket, which is also close to 30Euros for both S-Bahn tickets.
Ok.. maybe not the 200Euros.. more like 150Euros, still 300Euros both ways.
Gas is one tank for the trip, which is about 75Euros for about 15 gallons and the time is about 2 hours less if traffic is not to congested.
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Old 07-11-18, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
Are the two smaller members of your family children? Carrying children's toys, strollers, luggage, diapers etc, child seats, cribs, etc. in a personal motor vehicle is a lot easier than schlepping them on and off and between multiple transport modes in all weather conditions, especially when such an effort is unnecessary.

If you and your parents are typical of most Europeans, you and they do not live next door to the train station.
I'm one of the lucky ones. S-Bahn station is about 6min. away and about 10 min. from my parents house. So that's definitely not the problem in my case.
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Old 07-11-18, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Scummer View Post
I'm one of the lucky ones. S-Bahn station is about 6min. away and about 10 min. from my parents house. So that's definitely not the problem in my case.
6 and 10 minutes away by what mode of travel? If walking, is that time while carrying/wheeling luggage and/or children about?

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Old 07-11-18, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
6 and 10 minutes away by what mode of travel? If walking, is that time while carrying/wheeling luggage and/or children about?
Walking. My kids are teenagers, they can wheel their own luggage.
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Old 07-11-18, 09:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Scummer View Post
Walking. My kids are teenagers, they can wheel their own luggage.
I see, but also understand your preference for convenience and economy of time and finances when traveling.

I assume that your family car is used for numerous other trips/travel/chores besides parental visits.

BTW, how long (time) is the trip from door to door from your home to parents' home when using walking - S-Bahn - train/bus -S-Bahn -walking mode?
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Old 07-11-18, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
I see, but also understand your preference for convenience and economy of time and finances when traveling.

I assume that your family car is used for numerous other trips/travel/chores besides parental visits.

BTW, how long (time) is the trip from door to door from your home to parents' home when using walking - S-Bahn - train/bus -S-Bahn -walking mode?
You assume correctly. We also use it to get into the mountains for hikes and most places do not have public trans to get there. Not surprising with mountains around you.
It takes about 5 hours with s-bahn - train/bus - s-bahn option.
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Old 07-11-18, 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Scummer View Post
We as a family of 4 have one car. We use the car normally only on the weekends to get to hiking spots or do one large shopping trip when we are pressed for time. Other than that, I ride my bike to work year round and we have a trailer for shopping as well. The infrastructure is OK to get around with a bicycle, but I would definitely like to see a bike path next to each road outside of the towns and bigger cycling path inside the city. Kopenhagen was awesome in that regard.
Munich, even though it has countless bike path, is horrible to commute on. The path are to narrow and pedestrians sometimes have no space on the walk path, so they need to move into the bike lane or many times just walk on the bike path carelessly minding their own business.
Outside of the city where I live, commuting and shopping on the bike is much more relaxed. At one point, when I was trying to get my US car registered in the German system, I was getting all the paperwork together, which took me about 1 year.
I didn't miss the car during that time. So I guess I could go carless, if I wanted to, but for visiting my parents 200 miles away it would be somewhat impractical.

Thomas
Sounds like you live pretty car-light. I don' t know why everybody always seems to want to focus the discussion on your use of the car instead of your non-use - it's like some kind of car-protective instinct seems to kick in.

I think it would be great to follow up on your comments about what improvements in bike facilities you'd like to see.

Also do you see any changes in your car use when the kids go off to University or work?
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Old 07-11-18, 04:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Matt74 View Post
I’ve never had a license. I love riding my bike, but it can be very dangerous. Walking is good for you, and helps you to get to know the area (I typically know the city better than the natives - wherever I am). “Car culture” makes things extremely difficult by placing everything so far apart, and making the roads so dangerous. Light rail / subway / commuter rail are excellent. Busses are usually terrible, especially considering the time they consume. If a trip is less than four miles, it’s almost always faster to walk than take a bus. Most public transportation systems are poorly designed. In most areas they are designed to get commuters to and from work, not to get people around town. Boston is the best. DC area is ok for the most part, but you can only go certain places. One problem with cycling and walking is that it’s often difficult to be “professional” looking and smell good. It keeps you in shape. IDK about Australia or Canada, but being car free is difficult most places in the US.
I'm a white collar worker in Canada and I can generally manage to bike to work and be presentable, but it helps that it is a gentle downhill decline almost the entire way so on hot days I coast a lot. I don't have coffee at home before i leave. Toronto rarely has temperatures above 30C (86F) but it can be very humid. There is access to a shower but I never use it.

I don't get much exercise coasting in to work, but of course I get some on the way home and sometimes do a few extra loops of a small slightly steeper uphill section to enhance that benefit.
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Old 07-11-18, 04:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Do you live car free or car light?
Lived car-light for 8 years and car-free for 3 years. This is my 11th year as a cyclist.

Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible?
I used to ride almost 365 days per year, but now I only ride 2-4 times per week.

Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Discuss your lifestyle here.
Fitness oriented lifestyle, very active...A bit of a workaholic at work.
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Old 07-11-18, 10:00 PM
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I've been car free or car light, off and on, for about 19 years, during which time I've lived in 6 US states and, briefly, the UK. With the exception of one period of a few months and then a year (during 2012-13), I've commuted to work and/or school by bike, walking, or public transit since 1999; for the most part, I've also relied on alternative transit for other activities such as errands and going out.

I got rid of the only household vehicle in March 2014. My significant other (of 10 years) and I are fortunate to live in an area with affordable housing that is within a couple miles of work, groceries, and hospitals, though since it's a smaller community, there is not much in the way of public transit. The transit we do have is particularly good at going near the schools, which is helpful for (older) kiddos.

These days, I generally bike (and ride throughout the cold and icy winters on the WI/MN border), sometimes with a trailer for errands. My significant other prefers to walk. Our families are nowhere nearby, so a couple times a year, we rent a car to go see them (meaning I drive - my significant other does not have a license.) I also have to drive for work a few times a year - again with a rental. I've used Uber maybe three times since we got it here, mainly to get pets to the vet , as that's the one service that we do not have nearby.

While I rode bikes for transportation before that, my first road bike - purchased 11 years ago - was a game changer. Road cycling, along with a bit of gravel, is my main hobby and fitness activity.
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Old 07-12-18, 04:05 AM
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Originally Posted by cooker View Post
Sounds like you live pretty car-light. I don' t know why everybody always seems to want to focus the discussion on your use of the car instead of your non-use - it's like some kind of car-protective instinct seems to kick in.

I think it would be great to follow up on your comments about what improvements in bike facilities you'd like to see.

Also do you see any changes in your car use when the kids go off to University or work?
I think there should be regulations that every new office building should contain at least two showers, so even long distance commuters have the possibility of freshening up.
I have a shower in my current office, which i'm thankful for.
And I have ample amount of bike parking in the garage as well with proper hooks to secure my bike with a lock. That should be mandatory as well for new buildings in general.
Before that, I simply used to take my bike into the office.
And as I mentioned above, bike path in combination with the rights cyclists have like it is in Copenhagen would be awesome.
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Old 07-12-18, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Scummer View Post
So I guess I could go carless, if I wanted to, but for visiting my parents 200 miles away it would be somewhat impractical.
That makes sense. Here in the US, we have found that driving makes the most sense for visiting family - ours is scattered around, 200-1000 miles in various directions. The cost of a rental and gas is lower than the cost of a train, and the time savings are significant as well.

All this is to say that there is not always a huge difference between "car-free" (living without 24-7 access to a vehicle) and "car-light" (having 24-7 access, but making the choice not to drive).

To be honest, very little about my lifestyle has changed since I got rid of the car; I rented for long-distance travel anyway, and the outdoor activities that I enjoy here are all 2-10 miles from my house
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Old 07-14-18, 02:02 AM
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I was car free for some years, but recently bought a new car. My daughter is now old enough to go to school, and though I usually take her on foot or by bicycle, from age 6 she will have to attend school at a campus across the city. She'll take the bus, but as a PTA member, I need to be able to make routine visits to the school at different hours, and train access is not so good.

I've always loved driving, but in Japan it is expensive and troublesome, my parking space alone costs more than most Americans spend on their car payments, and I was lucky to be able to find it. Gas is expensive, tolls are outrageous, and parking around the city is scarce when I want to go shopping. But we have a couple vacation homes in the mountains and on the beach (I married a rich girl), and the only way to get to them is by car.
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Old 07-14-18, 07:53 AM
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Originally Posted by 50PlusCycling View Post
I was car free for some years, but recently bought a new car. My daughter is now old enough to go to school, and though I usually take her on foot or by bicycle, from age 6 she will have to attend school at a campus across the city. She'll take the bus, but as a PTA member, I need to be able to make routine visits to the school at different hours, and train access is not so good.
Why does she have to go so far to school? Is it for instruction in English?
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Old 07-15-18, 03:49 AM
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Why does she have to go so far to school? Is it for instruction in English?
In Japan kids often go to schools some distance from home. Not all schools are the same here, some are better than others. To get into elementary, junior high, and high schools, you have to pass an entrance exam. The best schools have high standards, and getting in is hard. But of you get in, it makes your odds of getting into a good university better. You will see many children on the subways and trains going to and from school, some have to commute an hour each way.

My daughter goes to an international school, mainly because I want her to go to university in America or the UK. Public schools in Japan are far better than American public schools (despite Japanese teachers working longer hours for quite a lot less pay). But Japanese universities are a joke, and are only suitable for graduating robots to work in Japanese companies.
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Old 07-15-18, 06:14 AM
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Originally Posted by 50PlusCycling View Post
In Japan kids often go to schools some distance from home. Not all schools are the same here, some are better than others. To get into elementary, junior high, and high schools, you have to pass an entrance exam. The best schools have high standards, and getting in is hard. But of you get in, it makes your odds of getting into a good university better. You will see many children on the subways and trains going to and from school, some have to commute an hour each way.

My daughter goes to an international school, mainly because I want her to go to university in America or the UK. Public schools in Japan are far better than American public schools (despite Japanese teachers working longer hours for quite a lot less pay). But Japanese universities are a joke, and are only suitable for graduating robots to work in Japanese companies.
I notice this pattern, which seems to be unintentional, where driving becomes a way of separating people for elite privileges. In your case it seems to be about attending PTA meetings in a relatively elite school in order to have your kids transcend the local opportunities for higher education, but for others in other places it might be about taking a higher paying job or a job that is hoped to be a gateway to greater opportunity available to a more elite subset of the population.

This is a hard issue for me, because I don't see anything wrong with people working hard to achieve something exceptional, but it bothers me when LCF becomes the sacrifice you have to make to strive. This is because in my analysis of how to best progress in terms of sustainability, environmental and economic, LCF is in itself something to strive for and achieve, and the more people do it, the less cars and pavement are usurping the natural ecology and future potential for human civilization. So it bothers me whenever I see people feeling like they need to compete for more elite privileges by driving, but maybe that's also because I have seen so much sprawl and traffic in Florida cities where the majority of people are in the mindset that they are competing for privileges by driving, so really there is no elite because it's just the majority driving around believing that they are more elite than if they don't, and it gets to the point where there are just poor people driving to rich neighborhoods to do service jobs and rich people driving to other distant job sites and no one can just LCF close to home and have a productive and fulfilling holistic life experience the way many people in more traditional parts of the world seem to have.
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Old 07-15-18, 07:26 AM
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Originally Posted by 50PlusCycling View Post
My daughter goes to an international school, mainly because I want her to go to university in America or the UK. Public schools in Japan are far better than American public schools (despite Japanese teachers working longer hours for quite a lot less pay). But Japanese universities are a joke, and are only suitable for graduating robots to work in Japanese companies.
So as a six year old, will she take public transit alone to school?
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Old 07-19-18, 08:11 AM
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Originally Posted by tandempower View Post
Is there no train/bus combination that could get you to your parents' house?
Have you ever considered the fact that some people don't want to / like to be stuck on a train/bus with a bunch of other stinky loud people or crying babies?

I am one of those people. I would rather be stuck in a traffic jam in my own car than be stuck on mass transit with a bunch of others. It's too peopley in those things.
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