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Reactions to your car-free lifestyle?

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.

Reactions to your car-free lifestyle?

Old 04-13-06, 09:41 AM
  #26  
gwd
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Originally Posted by DavidLee
I bet you have a whole new level of respect both from your co-workers and management after that snow storm.
The same thing happens to me, I come in to work on time on my bike when the SUV drivers are making snow excuses. Except I haven't noticed the respect. Once I overheard one of the bosses shaming an employee who claimed he couldn't get in because of snow by telling him that I got in on a bike.
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Old 04-14-06, 12:32 AM
  #27  
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I think its helps to think of the Netherlands and other places where people bike and its not a big deal. Hell, once you start riding and doing your own thing, you don't care anyways.
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Old 04-14-06, 01:10 AM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by gwd
The same thing happens to me, I come in to work on time on my bike when the SUV drivers are making snow excuses. Except I haven't noticed the respect. Once I overheard one of the bosses shaming an employee who claimed he couldn't get in because of snow by telling him that I got in on a bike.
Funny how many people think the only way to get around in bad weather is in the car. When I was at university, I used to walk all the time and I remember around exam time one year we had really heavy rain for several weeks with all the flooding that causes. Funny thing was, all the people who drove were asking for special consideration because they had missed an exam due to traffic problems caused by flooding. Me, I kept walking and never missed an exam - got pretty wet a number of times, but that just gave me an excuse to fill up with hot chocolate when I got home.
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Old 04-14-06, 10:21 AM
  #29  
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Actually, even though I ride all year, in the really really bad snowstorms I have walked instead. Since I work in a hospital, my efforts are appreciated when at least one worker from the previous shift gets to go home. (We're not allowed to punch out until we're relieved.)

So there are times when I start to think about walking if I have to go someplace important like work. Like when the snow gets high enough that the pedals are scraping in it, I can't see 6 feet in front of my bike, and the snowplows are terrorizing the streets.

Of course, if it's my day off, those same "bad" conditions can turn good and make for some pretty fun rides!
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Old 04-14-06, 10:03 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by Roody
After four years of riding everywhere, most people just accept it. But still, on a real snowy or rainy night, co-workers sometimes say, "You didn't ride your bike today, did you?"

I just smile and say, "Yes, thank God. I'd hate to be driving on a night like this!"
Can I borrow this line from you? Hilarious!
"Yes, thank God. I'd hate to be driving on a night like this!"
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Old 04-15-06, 06:03 PM
  #31  
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Being car free (mostly) has actually made me pretty popular. people are always talking to me about it and everyone knows me as "that kid who rides his bike everywhere".
Everyone at the grocery store knows me because of it. It's a great conversation starter.
Almost every ride I get a few people I know who honk or wave from their cars.

I can really only think of a few people who look down on me for it. Most respect me for it.
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Old 04-16-06, 01:56 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by bike756
Being car free (mostly) has actually made me pretty popular. people are always talking to me about it and everyone knows me as "that kid who rides his bike everywhere".
Everyone at the grocery store knows me because of it. It's a great conversation starter.
Almost every ride I get a few people I know who honk or wave from their cars.

I can really only think of a few people who look down on me for it. Most respect me for it.
I would hope that some of them would learn from your example. Keep up the good work!
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Old 04-16-06, 02:22 AM
  #33  
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juha. 100 kms commute is not so tough. Would not think twice about that . particularily not a tough assignment when flat like much of Scandavia is.? To become more committed to a partially car free life style; do have to adopt to foul weather riding. One reason for living in Roussillon or California.
I do not like all that leaky clothing, wet feet, and loss of traction while on the bike. I shall try to overcome that. One car, might have to in order to be mobile.
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Old 04-17-06, 05:55 PM
  #34  
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Car has not moved since Saturday. Got my wife in for a training ride Saturday. By training, I mean new to cycling- like staying upright when taking off. BUt, anyway. Picked up enough groceries on the way back, that the panniers on two bikes were full.... But, to demonstrate my committment to trying to be car free. If the items needed require a car, I ask myself do I really need this stuff.. This weekend we went without.
Here you have to plan accordingly. Stores are the opposite of Farmer Jack being open all night. Even major stores close two hours for lunch. Never open on Sunday. Close at 7 pm sharp. and there are no 7-11's...Should you need milk for the baby at 9 pm you are out of luck.
so, early am rides to closest mini Proxi's are necessary if you want your cereal not to be dry.
the motivation is not to necessarily save gas, but driving to the super market is not as fun as taking the bike.

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Old 04-23-06, 02:46 AM
  #35  
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This is a great thread in my mind.... I love all your posts on this subject.

Originally Posted by Roody
After four years of riding everywhere, most people just accept it. But still, on a real snowy or rainy night, co-workers sometimes say, "You didn't ride your bike today, did you?"
I just smile and say, "Yes, thank God. I'd hate to be driving on a night like this!"
Roody, I never get tired of that question, I actually feed off of it! I will ride an anything. The worse the weather, the more I am in Bliss. Sanity for that matter, I have none. I am addicted to throwing myself off anything possible. I love big hit riding as much as I love the pavment, I am the all around "do-it-all" rider.
Cyclecross is my next venture, among many others but its in the works.
I love bieng a complete loon. Makes me have flutter-butters in my stomach.
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Old 04-23-06, 05:18 PM
  #36  
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I'm constantly checking the weather and planning..bad weather..more interesting the solution. My in-laws think i'm nuts but i'm not the one stuck in the house when the weathers bad..i've noticed they're always asking if i can stop here or pick this or that up..

I love the challange of bad weather riding, did my first snowstorm this winter to the train station...i was laughing as i slid sideways down to the bike rack in a foot of snow, cars actually started following me since they thought i had an easier path through the snow..wrong.. since bike wheels are bigger it was just easier for me to get through the snow..just have to watch out for cars spinning out in front of me, if i slide out in the snow i just leap back on..if a car does it can kill someone or wreck the vehicle/property..
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Old 04-23-06, 05:58 PM
  #37  
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Heywood, you definitely know the dirty little secret of carfree biking in the winter:

It's Fun As Hell!
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Old 04-23-06, 10:44 PM
  #38  
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Well, speaking of riding in adverse weather, I've got a question I'll slip in here rather than start a whole new thread. (I'll also go look around the fixie/ss forum.) I building a stripped down single-speed, gonna slap some fenders on it and will probably mostly use it when it's raining or has rained (which actually isn't often or much here), then next winter for snow. But what kind of tires are best for that? Slicks?
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Old 04-29-06, 09:36 PM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by CJBianco
I could've typed the exact same thing. Good luck!

(The divorce is final on May 12, 2006.)


Chris
I got divorced 3 years ago. I use my bike for 90% of my travel. My son (7) lives on the other side of town so I use the car for picking him up and school events etc.
When he's with me the car is parked. My son and I BOTH get around by bike
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Old 05-07-06, 03:47 PM
  #40  
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I live in a small town but my pickup is part of my job. So I don't live car free and probably never will. You just can't do it in the part of the country where I live.

Nobody laughs when they see me out on my road bike 10 miles from town. But around town, just riding for fun, they think you're goofy. Yesterday it rained and I still went out for a road ride.

When I get in my wife is making sandwiches, there are no tomatoes, and the grocery store is four blocks away. I've already showered up, but I slip on my cycling rain suit and pedal to the store on my mountain bike without fenders, get the tomatoes and come back home. Ten minutes tops.

Today I have two people tell me I'm goofy for being in the rain.

Who cares? When we were kids we loved to play in the rain. Now I get to ride in it.
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Old 05-08-06, 10:50 AM
  #41  
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I'm glad to have stumbled across this forum. I'm new to bike commuting, but I've been car-free (and carefree) since 1998. Two things happened: 1) they effectively doubled the bus fares for city dwellers, and 2) a friend dropped dead of a heart attack at 52 (I'm 49). So I bought a bike. Now I'm kicking myself that I didn't do it years ago.

The wrench at the LBS was dumbfounded when I showed up last Monday for the free 30-day service on the 30th day. He said, "You know, we mean 30 *riding* days." I thought a moment and replied, "Well, I can't leave it on Wednesday."

Over the years, reactions have been mostly gaping mouthed incredulousness. Many then wish they could do the same. I tell them they can and they come up with lame excuses about why they can't.

One time, I was told that not owning a car is un-American. I looked around, then up (for the black helicopters) and whispered, "Shhh! If the gubbamint also finds out I don't have a credit card (I use debit cards), and don't own a television, a cell phone or an air conditioner, they'll revoke my passport." As the saying goes, he didn't know whether to s*** or go blind.

In the past year, the only time I've begged a ride was to that friend's funeral. It wasn't on a bus line and I didn't own the bike yet. Even if I'd had the bike, showing up at a funeral in bike clothes, or biking in funeral clothes wouldn't have felt right. (Although I could have kept up with the funeral procession afterwards.)

Purchases I can't carry I have delivered. Even most car owners would have a new mattress or new freezer delivered. I buy most everything else online and have UPS deliver it. It's not hard. In fact, it's easier than driving to the mall and dealing with all that crap.

Admittedly, going from a bus to a bike is easier than going from a car to a bike. I already have the car-free stuff down. What I wasn't prepared for was the additional freedom the bike gives me. I'm no longer restricted to bus routes and schedules. It's taken some time to get used thinking about alternate routes and paying attention to traffic. The only other change I've had to make so far is my pharmacy. No bike rack and no signs, rails or posts either. And a sign that says, "No bikes in store."

Best experience was at my part-time job where my boss said, "I can't give you a direct order because it's personal property, but I strongly suggest you park your bike in the back room rather than lock it to the rack outside." This was surprise because there's a sign on the door: "Bike riders--Lock your bike to the rack. No bikes allowed inside the library."

Patrons have asked why I can bring mine in and they can't, and I tell them it's a perk. I don't have to pay overdue fines either.
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Old 05-08-06, 04:15 PM
  #42  
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It seems strange to me... I love in one of the most proportedly 'liberal'/enviro-friendly cities in the country, but many people I meet are still pretty incredulous that I don't have a car. In many cases it's a perceived safety issue: "You ride your bike in the city!?! Isn't that dangerous? Wow, you bicyclist are crazy."

This is puzzling to me... While bicycling in Seattle can be risky/stressful, so is driving. The Puget Sound region has some of the worst traffic in the country, and it can be really difficult to get around the city via car during busy hours (8am-6pm).

Oh well, I guess it's the SOS: Bicycling - some people get it, most don't.
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Old 05-08-06, 05:14 PM
  #43  
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Just a side note, I rode my bike to my LBS Friday evening after work to order something. The place was packed and I was the ONLY person there who hadn't driven to the store. That's no big deal, but most of the other customers gave me odd, surprised looks when I pulled up. I thought that was rather...ironic. Heh.
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Old 05-08-06, 07:00 PM
  #44  
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well..since only my 2nd week..telling others about it more slowly..went to church last wed, as I go about once a month to this church..everybody thought it was cool, to ride..and the pastors son was bothering his mom for a bike! Right now its spring the best time of year to ride..obivous summer will be much hotter though here the avg is low 80's all summer long.
Right now the hardest part is the cost..I though I would use my 10plus year bike for awhile..but on a whim..bought a new $300 bike..so much better and smoother less heavier easier to ride, more comfortable..plus its good to have a back up.
The only thing is getting grocerices I must get a pannier soon.and a rack!
Most folks do look down on you if you only have a bike as your car..but so what..I am in my 30's now..and I could care less..and actually the ladies seem to like it ..especially zooming up a incline.
Overall..its hard at first..to reliaze you cant just get in and go..you got to prepare..and 20 miles one way..well thats a least a hour ride. a car 30 mins .
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Old 05-08-06, 08:13 PM
  #45  
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Man. I gotta say I'm impressed reading some of these stories. Being in Chicago, it's very easy to be car free. In fact, when I tell people I don't have a car they often respond by giving an excuse for having one, like "well I work in the suburbs so I need to drive." I mean, I don't try to be preachy or anything, it's just that I guess the message has worked enough here that people feel defensive about driving. I'm afraid if I lived in a small town where biking is unusual and there's no transit service I'm not sure I'd do it.

Like tsl I went for several years without a car (went car-free in 2000 or so) before I started biking much. And I still use public transit often as I love all the reading I get done. There really is nothing that beats the freedom and mobility of having a bike though. Even with driving you have to deal with parking every place you go. With a bike it's easy to hop around town running errands.
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