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Is Being Car Free Part of a Larger Move Towards Simplicity?

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Is Being Car Free Part of a Larger Move Towards Simplicity?

Old 08-23-05, 04:55 PM
  #51  
Roody
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Originally Posted by cyclezealot
Roody..Bikes. exercise. that helps keep the desperation a little at bay..My mom says, Life is attempting to smile between the tears.
our one common thread is that this quiet desperation is universal, whether we know it or not..that is our commonness that keeps us together.
Cycling. surely a part of my solution. Was Thoreau always that miserable when out on his canoe in our once pristine lakes. ?
When Thoreau said MOST men lead lives of quiet desperation, he was not including himself. He thought he had the solution to the problem, and he was kind enough to share it with us. At any rate, he never comes across as miserable in his writing, although he is occasionally downright angry about the issues of his day (especially war and slavery). Certainly, for me a bike is part of that solution, and sharing bike rides (and other points of commonness) is another part. I like your mom's quote, and would add that sometimes it takes more than a smile--you need a big old belly laugh!
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Old 08-23-05, 08:26 PM
  #52  
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Originally Posted by FXjohn
I'd be interested in hearing how many of you own your own homes outright,
have no debt, and no children. Then we can talk simplicity.
And really now, wouldn't your life be simpler without a job, without a computer, electricity, or a bicycle forum?
Good points. Simplicity is more easily realized for single people like myself. Yes, life would be much simpler (and better) without a job, but it's a necessity for most people. Owning a home is another complication, depending on the situation, this is why I don't own one, and also why I have no consumer debt (only a small student loan).

Computers and other electronic devices seem like a mixed blessing to me. When used wisely, they improve efficiency and simplicity, but can easily evolve into a distraction (video games, etc.). When used well, computers are a highly efficient way to obtain information, purchase goods & services, etc., but they can also become a poor subsitute for human interaction (ditto TV).
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Old 08-24-05, 08:49 AM
  #53  
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Originally Posted by FXjohn
I'd be interested in hearing how many of you own your own homes outright
Ran across a blog entry this morning that explores this idea: Owning Your House Outright
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Old 08-24-05, 11:16 AM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by chocula
Ran across a blog entry this morning that explores this idea: Owning Your House Outright

interesting - i've been a homeowner for a year and quite satisfied. i've done some improvements, and was recently reappraised for a refinance at 14K higher than my purchase price, (and of course been paying down the mortgage ever so slightly)

granted i've spent money on the improvements, but except doing a new floor it's been mostly heavy cosmetic. hardware, paint, drywall in basement (in place of paneling) and of course lighting - my favorite thing

i like the idea of taking the money you've made in equity and scaling down. maybe in 5-10 years i can do that.
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Old 08-24-05, 11:29 AM
  #55  
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back to simplicity though it's all about preference. my co-worker has a old home from 1890 he's restored, it looks amazing and modern, and worth many times his purchase price. but that's how he relaxes, he doesn't travel much, and doesn't even have a PC at home -- so i think it's really neat that he makes bookcases and cabinets by hand out in his garage, and is an incredible accomplishment. (they look like they came with the place)

i don't mind spending a few hours a week on odds and ends around the house, but my main goal is life IS traveling more, so i can definetely see how being strapped with a house would not be for some...

BUT -- keep in mind for a normal size new home the work isn't more than a few hours a week - and thinking of it as a part time it brings in a lot of worth in the long run - i do a lot of preventative maint. stuff, like looking for leaks, spraying around the back of the house for mice -- so i agree owning a home is part time job, at least to keep it up

solution? find someone handy as a roomate and give a break on rent

in a related car-free note: i rented a car for the day (had a dr. appntment and staff lunch), and i'm used to my daily morning ride. i don't feel as awake and as alert as i usually do - and it's 11:30! my body must be addicted to my morning 10 mile ride

cheers.
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Old 08-24-05, 01:11 PM
  #56  
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Originally Posted by Roody
When Thoreau said MOST men lead lives of quiet desperation, he was not including himself. He thought he had the solution to the problem, and he was kind enough to share it with us. At any rate, he never comes across as miserable in his writing, although he is occasionally downright angry about the issues of his day (especially war and slavery). Certainly, for me a bike is part of that solution, and sharing bike rides (and other points of commonness) is another part. I like your mom's quote, and would add that sometimes it takes more than a smile--you need a big old belly laugh!
Roody..How could I not have read "Walden" in school...Somehow , I did not.I have more time now and I intend to in the near future...It was Emily Dickinson who had periods of depression. a near contempory...And we do have "Walden" in our book collection.
Several times in my life without biking/running- I am sure I would have needed a therapist..In our lives we have both (wife and I) experienced the "Big D" and now the big 'c.'...Get in a few miles and I could get home and avoid the annoying hysterics many exhibit in times of stress and better able to help my significant other as compared to stressing out. Yes. Desperation could be just around the corner.
by the way Roody. You are a Michiganian..Once I thought you from Bad Axe. Why...Confusing the 'mitten' with the thumb.? Too infrequent do I visit my old home state,I guess ?...
Will be there early October..any riding about..will have my bike..A ride I would like to take is about The AuSable River northwest of Tawas.
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Old 08-24-05, 04:23 PM
  #57  
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Originally Posted by cyclezealot
Roody..How could I not have read "Walden" in school...Somehow , I did not.I have more time now and I intend to in the near future...It was Emily Dickinson who had periods of depression. a near contempory...And we do have "Walden" in our book collection.
Several times in my life without biking/running- I am sure I would have needed a therapist..In our lives we have both (wife and I) experienced the "Big D" and now the big 'c.'...Get in a few miles and I could get home and avoid the annoying hysterics many exhibit in times of stress and better able to help my significant other as compared to stressing out. Yes. Desperation could be just around the corner.
by the way Roody. You are a Michiganian..Once I thought you from Bad Axe. Why...Confusing the 'mitten' with the thumb.? Too infrequent do I visit my old home state,I guess ?...
Will be there early October..any riding about..will have my bike..A ride I would like to take is about The AuSable River northwest of Tawas.
Be careful! Reading Walden really could change the way you look at the world and your place in it! Thoreau was one of the Transcendentalist writers around Concord, Mass. in the first half of the 19th century. Others were Ralph Waldo Emerson and Bronson (sp?) Alcott, father of Louisa May Alcott, who founded an early commune.

No I'm in Lansing. I don't get to do a lot of road riding, but I have been riding some in the Traverse City area lately. Michigan is famous for its beautiful 2 lane country highways, especially inb northern parts of the state. The Au Sable is a beautiful river. Hope you have fun here.
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Old 08-24-05, 04:49 PM
  #58  
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Originally Posted by chocula
Ran across a blog entry this morning that explores this idea: Owning Your House Outright
Unless you live somewhere without property taxes you never own your home outright,and in many places these days those taxes are the equivalent of paying monthly rent on a cheap one bedroom apt.
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Old 08-24-05, 05:01 PM
  #59  
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That's why I'm hesitant to own a home. In the case of a condo, the association dues are at least $300/month here in Seattle. If you own a house, property taxes aren't as much, but there are always maintenance issues. In the end, it doesn't seem any less expensive to just rent and invest your spare income in IRA(s).
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Old 08-24-05, 05:16 PM
  #60  
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For the past 20 years, every summer, I think I'm going to simplify and save a lot of money by becoming car-free. Unfortunately, every winter, that dream comes crashing down in flames. It's just not possible where I live. It's a major city, but with a lousy and expensive bus-based transit system. It's a city with a very liveable downtown and people do live there, but all the services a person might need as a part of normal life have moved out to the suburbs. While I would love to be car-free, North America just isn't designed for that.
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Old 08-24-05, 05:24 PM
  #61  
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hey Longfemur: at least you don't have the desolation of the "Boonies" GET ON YOUR BIKES AND RIDE!
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Old 08-24-05, 05:25 PM
  #62  
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Originally Posted by Longfemur
For the past 20 years, every summer, I think I'm going to simplify and save a lot of money by becoming car-free. Unfortunately, every winter, that dream comes crashing down in flames. It's just not possible where I live. It's a major city, but with a lousy and expensive bus-based transit system. It's a city with a very liveable downtown and people do live there, but all the services a person might need as a part of normal life have moved out to the suburbs. While I would love to be car-free, North America just isn't designed for that.
That's too bad. I was under the impression that Canadian cities were more sensibly designed. Sorry to hear about the sprawl. Yes, most west coast cities have become so suburbanized, doing without a car is very difficult to impossible. Fortunately, here in Seattle, it's compact enough that everything I might need is within biking or bussing distance.
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Old 08-24-05, 05:42 PM
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I'm waiting for Calif. real estate to rationalize (crash) then I will buy something either in Silicon Valley or Napa Valley can't decide.

I'd live on a boat but right now I deal in electronics and all that salt air is not good for things. I'd buy a mooring spot in Newport Harbor for $10K-$20k and buy something big to moor there. Lousy for biking, great for rowing, I'd have a Maas single and take it around each day, and if my knees turn out to not allow cycling that will be the choice.

Living in a van or delivery truck works, I've known people who did that and would do it myself if things were to change just a little.

To do most of this stuff means being fairly disciplined, if you live in a van you need to join a local gym and shower regularly, boat about the same (a shower on shore is much cheaper than trying to do it onboard since fresh water must be hauled) and you'll drown in your own trsh and clutter if you don't learn to keep things "shipshape" whether shipboard or not. You have to learn to be very systematic and neat, with the disciplined cleanliness observed in sailors, hermits, Indians, soldiers, etc.
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Old 08-24-05, 06:09 PM
  #64  
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Originally Posted by Longfemur
For the past 20 years, every summer, I think I'm going to simplify and save a lot of money by becoming car-free. Unfortunately, every winter, that dream comes crashing down in flames. It's just not possible where I live. It's a major city, but with a lousy and expensive bus-based transit system. It's a city with a very liveable downtown and people do live there, but all the services a person might need as a part of normal life have moved out to the suburbs. While I would love to be car-free, North America just isn't designed for that.
I know a couple car free people in winnipeg, doubt it gets much worse than that unless your in a smaller city.

Ive found being in a city during winter makes things easier, snow/ice gets removed there first, and I have literally everything I need within a couple miles in any direction.
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Old 08-24-05, 06:11 PM
  #65  
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Originally Posted by pedex
I know a couple car free people in winnipeg, doubt it gets much worse than that unless your in a smaller city.

Ive found being in a city during winter makes things easier, snow/ice gets removed there first, and I have literally everything I need within a couple miles in any direction.

Everything you need except nature, peace and solitude....doh!
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Old 08-24-05, 06:15 PM
  #66  
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Originally Posted by FXjohn
Everything you need except nature, peace and solitude....doh!
Have plenty of solitude and peace, nature is a 50-75 mile ride to get out in the middle of bum ***** ohio.
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Old 08-24-05, 06:16 PM
  #67  
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Originally Posted by Longfemur
...[Ottawa is] a major city, but with a lousy and expensive bus-based transit system...
I took a quick look at the OC Transpo web site. The service area, bus frequencies and fares are comparable to similar cities in the U.S. that I am familiar with, such as Dallas TX.

As compared to my hometown, the Ottawa transit system covers about twice the service area, has about twice the service frequency, and has a short light rail segment, at about four times the direct fare cost. My local transit district is subsidized from a portion of the sales tax, so a direct cost comparison is hard to do.

The Ottawa transit system seems partially bike friendly, but I'd imagine that the bike racks and railcars would fill up quickly on those challenging winter days.

Although the public transit system in Ottawa may not suit all your needs right now, it's worthwhile to develop some skill in using it, if you aren't already comfortable doing that. For motorists, the ability to occasionally use public transit provides an easy solution to getting around when the car is in the shop or otherwise indisposed. Sometimes it's the easiest way to travel into congested areas, such as the downtown business district, sports events and holiday festivals.

I doubt you are in this category, but I think most motorists go into a panic at the idea of not having a car at their disposal at all times. Part of this comes from the feeling of having no alternatives. Experience using local transit resources is very helpful in overcoming the panic reaction.
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Old 08-24-05, 07:59 PM
  #68  
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Originally Posted by FXjohn
Everything you need except nature, peace and solitude....doh!
You might be able to find these in the city, even without heavy drug use. I live in da f...in' ghetto, right downtown. Within 1.5 miles is a 100 acre forest with 2 lakes. Within 3.5 miles are another forest and an area of farmland complete with cornfields and cows and all that stuff. Most of my co-workers have no idea that these areas are so near. When you ride a bike with an adventurous spirit, you find things.
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Old 08-24-05, 08:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Roody
You might be able to find these in the city, even without heavy drug use. I live in da f...in' ghetto, right downtown. Within 1.5 miles is a 100 acre forest with 2 lakes. Within 3.5 miles are another forest and an area of farmland complete with cornfields and cows and all that stuff. Most of my co-workers have no idea that these areas are so near. When you ride a bike with an adventurous spirit, you find things.

I live 7 blocks from the the dead center of town, after 5pm Columbus like most cities turns into a ghost town.Im in the edge of the ghetto type area, ive lived in far worse though, my bike has been safe locked up outside for 2yrs plus, so it isnt that bad.I dont have to go that far to esacpe the city, but to get where its really rural as in no towns for like 15-20miles in any direction I have to go about 75 miles.

Life and where you live is what you make it really, it can be hard or easy, just depends on what your willing to do and/or deal with I guess.Given my choice Id live out in the middle of nowhere, but it isnt practical for me at this time, and Ive learned to like the city, something I thought Id never do.
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Old 08-26-05, 06:45 AM
  #70  
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I agree with others in this post who have said that bicycling doesn't necessarily lead to a more simple life. Especially for those of us who commute, bicycling can add increased complexity, such as having to carefully plan out one's route, taking precautions that one in a car would never have to do, making several small trips to the grocery store (which I am just starting to do) throughout the week, and so on. In a culture that is scaled to the automobile, it takes a great deal of effort to live at a walkable (or ridable) level.

However, I would agree with the spirit of the question, which I would rephrase as "does being car-free (or bike-centered) change ones life or way of being" and to that I would most certainly agree (especially if you let it become your main mode of transportation, as many of us have). I am paraphrasing another here: riding a bike radically changes ones experience of the world. Rather than being in your small 6x12 cell wizing down the road separate from nature, when you are riding a bike you are intimately connected with the elements. You feel changes in the riding surface, you must deal with the wind, you must work (rather than pressing harder on the accelerator) to go up hills. Rather than being isolated from the elements, are part of them. You must be in the place/moment that you are in. It provides a direct connection with reality and with managing it. If I am in a car, I find it easy to ignore my surroundings, to day-dream, to be somewhere else.

A bike demands that you be in the moment. Instead of being stuck in your car listening to the same couple of radio stations, listening to other peoples version of reality (which all media convey on one level or another) you are experiencing it directly. It is interesting that some have mentioned that television in this post, because I believe cycling can be a direct counter to that. After having such a direct connection to reality and the present moment, mediated experiences (such as TV) seem to lose their sway (for me at least, though in all honesty, I have been TV-less for about five years).

I think that direct connection to the present moment and the world around you can lead to further connections such as a closer relationship with the planet and so on. Shortly after I began cycling, I planted my first garden, partially out of an interest in my own health, partially because I began to feel more connected to the world and less to other things. There is also the more obvious consequence of cycling rather than driving: the obvious financial benefits. This is a kind of simplicity, a withdrawal from the web of debt and commerce that entangle most Americans.

Kind of synthesis of some things I have been reading and thinking lately. So, there you have it.
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Old 08-26-05, 08:22 AM
  #71  
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Koz..Bumper sticker politics. Kill Your TV...Have not seen one kill your radio..Fortunately I live in a radio market where there is one truly independent radio station that plays tunes from like Radiohead and truly independent news from Pacifica. My radio is worth turning on. I actually miss the radio when on the bike.One of the few US cities where that is the case.
But, I still prefer cycling..Can't hear birds chirping when in the car's cage or the crickets-and human interaction such as gun shots, etc.
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Old 08-26-05, 08:54 AM
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You smell people's cooking, hear their fights, hear WTF-are-these-things cheeping LOUDLY at near-ultrasonic freqs in a school park, see a doll's arm in the road, get hit by a swarm of gnats, notice where roots are under the road and appreciate the smooth places, etc. Life is beautiful.
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Old 08-26-05, 09:17 AM
  #73  
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Originally Posted by lilHinault
You smell people's cooking, hear their fights, hear WTF-are-these-things cheeping LOUDLY at near-ultrasonic freqs in a school park, see a doll's arm in the road, get hit by a swarm of gnats, notice where roots are under the road and appreciate the smooth places, etc. Life is beautiful.

Booze bottles shattering all around you, the smell of vomit, a muttering old bag lady, crossing the street to avoid thugs...ah yes, the city.
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Old 08-26-05, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by FXjohn
Booze bottles shattering all around you, the smell of vomit, a muttering old bag lady, crossing the street to avoid thugs...ah yes, the city.
Wow your city sounds nasty. You should move to DC its a lot better here. I have to cycle around DC for my job nowadays so I have visited most of the neighborhoods by bike. Sometimes I see a scene similar to what you describe where the suburbanites come in to party in the nightclubs on weekends. Some of the young ones drink too much and get careless. How do you differentiate between thugs and regular guys like me in your city? Skin color? Clothes? Are you saying that when you are getting around by bike and you see someone you suspect as a "thug" you do what - start pedalling on the wrong side of the street? Why not just hold course and speed and deal with it as it comes?
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Old 08-26-05, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by gwd
Wow your city sounds nasty. You should move to DC its a lot better here. I have to cycle around DC for my job nowadays so I have visited most of the neighborhoods by bike. Sometimes I see a scene similar to what you describe where the suburbanites come in to party in the nightclubs on weekends. Some of the young ones drink too much and get careless. How do you differentiate between thugs and regular guys like me in your city? Skin color? Clothes? Are you saying that when you are getting around by bike and you see someone you suspect as a "thug" you do what - start pedalling on the wrong side of the street? Why not just hold course and speed and deal with it as it comes?
No, no, I live out in the country. I hardly see a dozen cars in two hours on my rides...sometimes more deer than that.
Enjoy your thugs and concrete now.
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