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Why give up a perfectly good car?

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.

Why give up a perfectly good car?

Old 07-23-06, 10:42 PM
  #1  
bragi
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Why give up a perfectly good car?

I've been reading and making posts on this forum for a couple of months now, and the broad range of topics always amazes me. Many times, whole threads have only the most tenuous connection to any kind of bike at all. I sometimes feel as if a car-free, bike-based lifestyle is a mere symptom of much larger concerns. But then I come to my senses. It's just a ******* bike, for God's sake. Which brings me to this obvious question: What led you to go car-free or car-lite, or, if you're still car-centered, what makes you show up here on this forum (besides boredom)?

In my own case, it's a combination of things both selfish and altruistic. The convergence of peak oil and potentially catastrophic global warming was the main reason; the prospect that we'll run out of obtainable energy at the same time that we'll need to deal with the most serious climate emergency in human history, while at the same time trying to feed 7-9 billion people, scares the sh** out of me. (I'm not a scientist, but I am a science teacher, and I've studied the subject enough to be fairly well informed. Al Gore is sugar-coating the whole thing, IMHO.) So I ride a bike. Yes, it's an insignificant drop in the bucket, but it makes me feel better. There are more selfish reasons, too, of course: I like the idea of saving $3600 a year (and I had a beater), which allows me to live noticably better on a teacher's salary, and I'm in a city where it's actually easier to live without a car than with one. Plus, I just HATE driving; riding a bike and using public transportation is infinitely more civilized.
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Old 07-23-06, 11:03 PM
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I love riding my bike, period. BUT I think commuting makes me look as freakin cool as ever, a major part is ego, I feel sophisticated. Taking care of my health and well being is soooo important! One time a coworker who drives was arguing about the enviroment and I almost wanted to say "oh yeah I ride a bike and you always drive" but then I realized, before opening my fat mouth, you jack ass you ride your bike because you enjoy it, that's it! I couldn't take credit for sensitivity for the environment. A correlation but no purposeful causation. ofcourse I probably look like a 35 yr old virgin.
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Old 07-23-06, 11:57 PM
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I've been car-free since '99, but did it by bus until this past March.

My choice was purely economic and quality-of-life. I don't want to have to work hard enough or long enough to SUPPORT a car. It leaves me with more time and money to do the things I like.

Switching from bus to bike, besides it having become one of the things I like, has given me even more time since it's so much faster.
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Old 07-24-06, 12:39 AM
  #4  
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Originally Posted by bragi
....What led you to go car-free or car-lite, or, if you're still car-centered, what makes you show up here on this forum (besides boredom)? ....
All the usual reasons and some eccentric personal beliefs.
I never figured out why cars are status symbols and society accepts that.
I can't understand the personalization of a car.
It's emasculating to believe in something that merely symbolizes historic male roles.

The reason I'm here is to *****, moan, inform, learn and go away thinking "I'm not the only one".

Edit, the * is a word that rhymes with witch, and used as a verb!
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Old 07-24-06, 07:11 AM
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i've been living car-light since last august. when i originally started i had just moved out to college and didn't have a parking permit for my car. now i have my car out at school, but my life has changed so much and i've become so accustomed to not having my car that i leave it garaged all the time.

i also have become really proud of my car-lightness. it's not rare for people to not drive on a college campus, but it is rare for people to ride a nice bike, very fast and rely solely on their bike. i've also become the dirtiest hippie ever in the past year, and i can't justify driving a car and releasing emissions just so i can get somewhere a little faster.
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Old 07-24-06, 07:41 AM
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Originally Posted by bragi
In my own case, it's a combination of things both selfish and altruistic. The convergence of peak oil and potentially catastrophic global warming was the main reason; the prospect that we'll run out of obtainable energy at the same time that we'll need to deal with the most serious climate emergency in human history, while at the same time trying to feed 7-9 billion people, scares the sh** out of me. I've studied the subject enough to be fairly well informed.
I can agree with all this, mate.

I think that the why is the marketing that happened in the '50's & 60's to instill the car
into America's pardigm of norms i.e. "See the U.S.A. in your Chevrolet. Amerca is asking
you to call" ad of the 50's that put millions on the highways. Bikes were all "kids toys"
from that point on. In the 60's the old mass transit systems in many places was discarded
in favor of the two income two car family. Suburbia was now in full swing.

All big oil & big business had to do now was keep the cycle going with the help of big
goverment stooges.
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Old 07-24-06, 07:48 AM
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I'm too lazy to drive. Parking is hard to find, traffic is highly congested. A bike is more convenient. Plus, it's th only way I can get the exercise I need.

Paul
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Old 07-24-06, 08:06 AM
  #8  
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Well, I was lucky enough to be able to watch a lot of the TdF on OLN recently. I think the reason I am going to have to "give up a perfectly good car" is so I can go buy another one. I know I have subconciously fallen prey to the Hummer ads and therefore must "restore my manhood" by buying one of those beasts. I mean, come on, think of all the gas I could by with the money I'd save with 0% interest for 60 months...and I'll need every cent of it too!

I know this has nothing to with the original post but I think big companies like Trek, Cannondale, Raleigh, etc., dropped the ball (again!) on this last race. They had a nice opportunity to deliver a compelling message about cycling from a practical sense and totally passed it by. Bob Roll's appearances for Trek trying to scam a few game tickets doesn't count. It'd be nice to just once see a Hummer ad immediately followed by an ad from (insert bike company here) showing a mom passing a gas stationwhile going home from the store loaded down with kids and groceries...or something along that theme. Pipedream I'm sure.
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Old 07-24-06, 08:13 AM
  #9  
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Originally Posted by Don Johnson
It'd be nice to just once see a Hummer ad immediately followed by an ad from (insert bike company here) showing a mom passing a gas stationwhile going home from the store loaded down with kids and groceries...or something along that theme. Pipedream I'm sure.
The car makers all receive billions of dollars in both business & tax credits from Uncle Sam. How
much does any bicycle maker in the U.S. get?? When the playing field levels with soaring fuel prices
the bike will be remembered for some. Only then will bicycles begin to move from being toys to tools
for human tansport.

Like grains of sand on a beach one man CAN make a difference when added to all the other grains
of sand to make..........the entire beach. Encourage others to ride and build that beach.

Last edited by Nightshade; 07-24-06 at 08:25 AM.
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Old 07-24-06, 08:51 AM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by bragi
What led you to go car-free or car-lite, or, if you're still car-centered, what makes you show up here on this forum (besides boredom)?
I was always car free, so I was led to go carfree by my carfree-ness.

What makes me show up here, is that there are still some useful things being said here, that relate to me. It sometimes seems like there's more discussion about cars here, than carfree, but you learn to skip the threads fast when they get sidetracked (which is a shame).
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Old 07-24-06, 09:52 AM
  #11  
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Other than a slight cold, I haven't gotten sick, (flu, heavy head colds), in over five years. Regular exercise (via biking for me) does wonders for the immune system.
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Old 07-24-06, 11:10 AM
  #12  
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I used to ride off road a whole lot when I was in college. But injuries and life caught up with me and I stopped riding. Well, that and my mountain bike got stolen

Now I'm thirty-something with a stiff back and increasing blood pressure and a newly revived social conscience. So I got an easier-to-ride bike, which helped the back pain, and I started riding to work and to do most of my daily dealings. I feel enormously better and the blood pressure is well within normal range again. Without giving up beer or coffee!!

The social conscience thing is a big deal as well. As others point out, one guy on a bike is a drop in the bucket, but it serves at least two main goals: 1. to show others in the community that biking is viable; 2. when peak oil hits and no one can afford to drive, I'm already in shape, and I've got my gear ready to go.
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Old 07-24-06, 04:48 PM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by BenyBen
I was always car free, so I was led to go carfree by my carfree-ness.

You are clearly a Master of the Way of the Bike. You must go forth, and teach.
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Old 07-24-06, 05:12 PM
  #14  
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Originally Posted by bragi
You are clearly a Master of the Way of the Bike. You must go forth, and teach.

Actually, I'm pretty sure it's harder the other way around. Going from a commodity you're used to and switching around would be harder. Besides, there are others here who never owned a car either.
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Old 07-24-06, 05:45 PM
  #15  
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Different reasons for different seasons of my life:

In 1971, when I was a 16 year old in Detroit, I refused to get my driver's license initially because I dissented against government controls and the petro-industrial state.... I finally started driving when I was about 20 and went apesh1t on cars for a while.

In the early 1980s I caught Green Fever and again ditched the car, mainly for eco-ideological reasons.... I started drving small efficient cars again for a few years in the 1990s because I didn't think I, as one person, was really making a difference. Also, I was going to college and grad school and not thinking much beyond those endeavors.

In 2000 I had a heart attack. Thanks to cars, elevators and Chinese buffets, I weighed 325 pounds or more by then. Then, through the experience of cardiac rehab, I became an execise devotee. At that time I began walking everywhere, much as I ride everywhere now, so I ditched my car. I had learned that combining exercise with transportation was the easiest way to find time to keep fit.... I moved to a small town in 2001 and got a small car only to get to work, but continued to walk 5 to 10 miles a day.

In 2002 I moved back to the city. Somebody stole my car, and I was getting along fine without it--walking and public transit. At this time, I especially enjoyed the immense economic advantages of car-freedom.

Suddenly, while walking to Damascus one morning, a brilliant light shone on the road, and I was struck with the idea to get a bike! Now I could travel 4 times as far as I could when walking, and I could also get a nice breeze on the hot summer days.

The bike's been a beautiful solution for me, even if it took me 35 years to dream it up! Most of you are a lot smarter than me, so you figured out the bike solution at a much younger age. However, thanks to the exercise and sense of freedom, I'm actually getting younger every year, so maybe i'll soon catch up with all of you.
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Old 07-24-06, 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by jamesdenver
Other than a slight cold, I haven't gotten sick, (flu, heavy head colds), in over five years. Regular exercise (via biking for me) does wonders for the immune system.
Same here....except the 5 months I was off work after a bike crash! Life does have a way of balancing itself.
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Old 07-24-06, 05:55 PM
  #17  
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For me, it began as a practical issue. I was living in Bremerton (opposite side of the water from Seattle), and commuting to Seattle via ferry for work. I lived about 3 miles from the ferry, and got tired of paying for parking, so I decided to get a bike for the commute. I re-discovered how much I loved bicycling, but at that time I still had a car, but didn't use it all that much.

A few months later, I moved to Seattle to attend school. I attended school on weekends and worked Sa-Su, so I seldom left the city and almost never used my car. At that point I realized for how little I was driving it wasn't worth it for me keep paying $100/month for insurance (+ registration) so I sold it. I was car-free for about a year, then my mom gave me her old car (see other thread). Eventually it died, and I've been car-free for about 5 years now (I do rent a car occasionally to get out of the city for hiking, etc).

So, overall it was mainly a practical decision. This isn't to say the other reasons aren't legitimate (environmental responsibility, resource preservation, traffic reduction/livability, excercise, etc). I think these are also very legitimate reasons to go car-free; it's a much more efficient and environmentally responsible form of transporation.
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Old 07-24-06, 06:04 PM
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I'm car free because:

1.its fun
2.environmental reasons
3.Social reasons(I hate what cars have done to society)
4.exercise
5.cheaper
6.much cooler
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Old 07-24-06, 06:12 PM
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Originally Posted by bike756
I'm car free because:

1.its fun
2.environmental reasons
3.Social reasons(I hate what cars have done to society)
4.exercise
5.cheaper
6.much cooler
+1

Especially # 6!
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Old 07-25-06, 10:43 AM
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No single reason, just a (rather dumb) chain of events

1. Lost my free parking spot at work, leading to
2. Bike commuting, leading to
3. Realising bikes are fun, leading to
4. Riding my bike everywhere, leading to
5. Toying with the idea of getting rid of the useless tonne of metal in the driveway. Of course, a few weeks later
6. My girlfriends car caught on fire, leading to
7. Selling my car to my girlfriend

In essence, just an unlikely chain of events and... well...

WHY NOT
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Old 07-25-06, 05:19 PM
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I moved to Canada, and just haven't bothered getting a Canadian drivers licence. (It's only been 9 years now)

I have looked into getting a car - but that is a lot of money... which I'd rather spend on other things.
Oh, and I don't take a bus because they take so long and you have to run according to their schedule.
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Old 07-26-06, 02:33 AM
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You know, sometimes, the bus isn't so bad. If you're injured, or it's really cold and rainy, or if you have to be somewhere in a suit, the bus works; it's not as nice as biking, but still way better than driving a car.
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Old 07-26-06, 06:53 AM
  #23  
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I'm too lazy/cheap to revive my P.O.S. Car, too poor to buy a newer one, and fat enough to need
the exercise.

The environmental/energy concern factors in there somewhere, but thinking about all the oil/fossil fuels it took to make any given bike starts making that one a little dodgy. yes, its far less resources than it took to make my car, but might still be enough that giving a bike to everyone on the planet would be resource prohibitive.
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Old 07-28-06, 07:26 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by bragi
What led you to go car-free or car-lite, or, if you're still car-centered, what makes you show up here on this forum (besides boredom)?
I've always spent loads of time on bicycles, particularly from early teens onwards when i got a new bike for christmas and realised the freedom it gave me. When old enough, i went through a motorbike phase which will always carry some of my fondest memories. Then i realised that i was choosing to commute by bicycle most days because the ride was more fun, and the motorbike which began to sit in the shed for weeks at a time. When the motorbike got a puncture, it then spent the following 7 months in the shed and when insurance, tax, and MOT came up for renewal i realised that i was just keeping it for the identity it gave me not the pleasure of using it anymore. So i sold it.
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Old 07-28-06, 08:26 AM
  #25  
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Like everyone else, I ride my bike for a couple of different reasons:

-Cars are big money pits and there are many other things out there I would rather spend my money on
-An attempt at doing my part for Mother Earth
-Health... and not just cardio. I find driving to be very stressfull. Being stuck in traffic jams with idiot drivers. I found that when I drove to and from work I would come home all stressed out because of the drive home. Now that I bike I come home energized and feeling all out good because I enjoy my bike so much!
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