Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Living Car Free
Reload this Page >

I was carefree before it was cool

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.

I was carefree before it was cool

Old 05-02-09, 09:59 PM
  #1  
Violet
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 149
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I was carefree before it was cool

I'm 21 years old, and never had a car. I grew up with my mother, and she never had a car, and still doesn't know how to drive to this day. Occasionally I was given lifts by friends parents, family friends, etc etc but by and large I have spent my entire life either walking, cycling or catching a bus to get where I want to go.

Not much has changed. If me and my friends are going to the same place, sometimes they'll offer a lift and I'll chip in for some petrol, but to go long distances I usually just catch a bus.

Has anyone else grow up like this? Not meaning to offend, but I do find it sort of odd that some people struggle to be car-free, and fret so much about it. To me it's as natural as breathing.

Yes I realise the title was provocative, and that it seems like I'm bragging (I'm not, I only grew up car-free because we were poor and my mother was too scared to learn to drive), but I am just interested if there's anyone similar to me on this board in that they've always been car free, and I would like to understand a bit more about the mindset that develops when you've been raised auto-dependent.
Violet is offline  
Old 05-02-09, 10:12 PM
  #2  
patc
Dubito ergo sum.
 
patc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Ottawa, ON, Canada
Posts: 1,735

Bikes: Bessie.

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Sounds like me story - except that I am 37 now, not 21.
patc is offline  
Old 05-02-09, 10:21 PM
  #3  
steveknight
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: portland or
Posts: 1,888
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
sounds like me but I am 46.
steveknight is offline  
Old 05-03-09, 07:02 AM
  #4  
dcrowell
Fat Guy Rolling
 
dcrowell's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Louisville Kentucky
Posts: 2,434

Bikes: Bacchetta Agio, 80s Raleigh Record single-speed, Surly Big Dummy

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Although I grew up poor also, my family pretty much always had a car (usually a crappy one prone to breaking down). There were several instances when the car broke down, that my mother, brother, and I would ride bikes for errands. My step-dad was at work, I never saw him ride a bike.

I didn't realize it at the time, but it was quite unusual for a "normal" family to run an eight-mile errand by bicycle.

When I was an adult I never went without a car, except for two brief instances. About 12 years ago, my old car died, and my job was about one mile away. I walked, as I didn't even own a bike. More recently (last month) my car died, and although I was financially able to buy a car (if I went into debt), I didn't, and planned on living car-free for a while. I did for two weeks.

I have mixed feelings about it, but I bought a pickup truck. I still ride to work part-time, and now I have a truck to haul things with, and drive when I feel I need to. I also have to make car payments again...

I guess I've never truly been car-free, and based upon mileage, I'm not even car-light. Some of that is due to driving to my girlfriends house, 90 miles away. I may manage car-light once my girlfriend moves in (we're getting married in September).

As far as becoming auto-dependent, it's where you live and work, and what you are used to. I've broken the habit of driving to the grocery store. It's less than a mile away, and I can haul a fair amount on my bike. I loathe driving for short trips. My commute to work is 33 miles round-trip, so I find that a bit difficult to do everyday.

I had never used a city bus service until this year. If gas prices spike again, we may see more people look at alternatives, but I think it'll have to be higher than last year's prices. Most people still don't view bicycles as viable transportation. Even a relatively healthy individual who never bicycles will find the initial trips to be tiring and slow. It gets better with time, but how do we convince people of that?
dcrowell is offline  
Old 05-03-09, 08:06 AM
  #5  
uke
it's easy if you let it.
 
uke's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: indoors and out.
Posts: 4,124
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by dcrowell View Post
I had never used a city bus service until this year. If gas prices spike again, we may see more people look at alternatives, but I think it'll have to be higher than last year's prices. Most people still don't view bicycles as viable transportation. Even a relatively healthy individual who never bicycles will find the initial trips to be tiring and slow. It gets better with time, but how do we convince people of that?
We don't. We can't. We won't. For that matter, it isn't even necessary. When people can't afford to drive, things will change. All we have to do is stay alive until then.
uke is offline  
Old 05-03-09, 10:35 AM
  #6  
AsanaCycles
Bicycle Lifestyle
 
AsanaCycles's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Pacific Grove, Ca
Posts: 1,737

Bikes: Neil Pryde Diablo, VeloVie Vitesse400, Hunter29er, Surly Big Dummy

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
ditto
AsanaCycles is offline  
Old 05-03-09, 12:26 PM
  #7  
Roody
Sophomoric Member
 
Roody's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Dancing in Lansing
Posts: 24,229
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 704 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I remember a conversation I had with my dad in 1971, when I was 16. He asked me about getting a license. I said I had been reading about this thing called "the Greenhouse Effect" and I didn't think driving cars was a good idea. So I guess I was into global warming before it was cool, at any rate.

I did own and drive cars off and on after about age 21. Currently I've been carfree for the last 7 or 8 years, and I don't see that ever changing.
__________________

"Think Outside the Cage"
Roody is offline  
Old 05-03-09, 05:18 PM
  #8  
Artkansas 
Pedaled too far.
 
Artkansas's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: La Petite Roche
Posts: 12,851
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
I became car-free the day I moved out of my room behind my Dad's house into my own apartment. I had bicycle commuted since second grade and rode everywhere anyway, but hadn't gotten around to buying a car.

The only way car-free didn't really work was for dating.

So, like Roody, I've alternated car free and car lite. Right now, it's car free.
__________________
"He who serves all, best serves himself" Jack London

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.
Artkansas is offline  
Old 05-03-09, 06:02 PM
  #9  
wahoonc
Membership Not Required
 
wahoonc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: On the road-USA
Posts: 16,852

Bikes: Giant Excursion, Raleigh Sports, Raleigh R.S.W. Compact, Motobecane? and about 20 more! OMG

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 66 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I basically grew up car light/car free. We had a car, but dad took it to work, when he didn't ride his bike. And mom didn't drive due to a medical condition. We would take the bus to the grocery store and then take a cab home. As I got older I got a bike with baskets and would make a mid week run to the grocery store for odds and ends (I was in the 4-6th grade at the time) Then we moved to an area where it was no longer feasible for a few years, then back to an area where I could bike to places again. I went car free from 1982-1987 and car light until 1997. Now in retrospect I wish I had made different choices along the way to remain car free/light, but many times you have to take what is dished out as it comes and feeding a family takes precedent over preferred lifestyle...sometimes. Working my way back to car free/light as best I can.

Aaron
__________________
Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

"Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
RIDE, YOU FOOL, RIDE!"
_Nicodemus

"Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred
Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
_krazygluon
wahoonc is offline  
Old 05-03-09, 07:07 PM
  #10  
gerv 
In the right lane
 
gerv's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Des Moines
Posts: 9,565

Bikes: 1974 Huffy 3 speed

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 37 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I got my driver's license when I was 25 and my first car at 26. At the time, I moved from the city -- where I didn't need and couldn't afford a car -- to the country where cheap housing made the car affordable. For a long time after, I struggled with repairs and insurance. Even though I wasn't using the car much (now back in the city..) it was still eating up a lot of my salary.

When I moved to the US, I soon realized that every family had a minimum of 2 cars, so I got two cars. Life didn't get any better.

Nowadays, my family still has a car. We use it a lot less than say 10 years ago, but it still does eat up a lot in repairs and insurance. I mostly get myself around by bike or bus... but still feel the drag of the automobile.

OP, best of luck with your efforts. Iif we have enough people with your mindset, we will get to see some fundamental changes in our society.
gerv is offline  
Old 05-04-09, 11:23 AM
  #11  
rbrian
Senior Member
 
rbrian's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Aberdeen, Scotland
Posts: 482

Bikes: '07 Brompton S6L; '10 Brompton M6R

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I was car light when I was growing up. At first, I walked a quarter of a mile to the school in the village, until it closed, then I got the bus to the school in town. My dad drove to the train station to get to work, my mum used her car at work. My mum drove me to after school clubs, sometimes we drove to the shops at the weekends.

Anything else, I was on my bike - to see friends, to do something other than watching TV, and when I was about 14, I started cycling to school. When I was 17, I got a car, and had a new crappy secondhand every year (after the old one broke) for the next few years. Then, I lost my job and had to move back in with my parents at the age of 22. I sold my car, and just used my mum's.

A couple of years later, I moved 600 miles north, bought a house, and didn't have a car for over a year. Eventually I succumbed and bought a cheap car, which broke, then I bought a more expensive car, which broke, then I bought my first brand new car, which didn't break.

Last year I sold that, and I don't intend to get another. I can get everywhere I need to with a combination of bike, bus, and train. My Brompton was important here. The bus system is good, but it's not perfect. Sometimes the closest the bus can get me is 5 miles away from where I need to be, a good long walk, but a nice easy ride.
rbrian is offline  
Old 05-04-09, 12:00 PM
  #12  
billew
meandering nomad
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Newport,Rhode Island
Posts: 417

Bikes: eleven bikes no car

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Is car free cool? Can I get laid now? I've been car free all my life and I'm 52. Oh ya I'm too old to be cool.
billew is offline  
Old 05-04-09, 01:06 PM
  #13  
Cosmoline
Biscuit Boy
 
Cosmoline's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Speeenard 'laska
Posts: 1,355
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I was carfree until "forced" to get a car at 22. After slowly declining health and increasing weight I dumped the car again at age 37. For once I was ahead of the curve. When I was shopping for a bike a few years ago, getting a practical utility oriented model was almost impossible. Only a few boutique shops in Seattle, Portland and other hip centers had them. Now they're all over the place, and local ridership has gone way up.

This is good, but on the down side I get irritated that "my" bike racks are now full.
Cosmoline is offline  
Old 05-04-09, 11:25 PM
  #14  
bragi
bragi
 
bragi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: seattle, WA
Posts: 2,911

Bikes: LHT

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
I basically grew up car light/car free. We had a car, but dad took it to work, when he didn't ride his bike. And mom didn't drive due to a medical condition. We would take the bus to the grocery store and then take a cab home. As I got older I got a bike with baskets and would make a mid week run to the grocery store for odds and ends (I was in the 4-6th grade at the time) Then we moved to an area where it was no longer feasible for a few years, then back to an area where I could bike to places again. I went car free from 1982-1987 and car light until 1997. Now in retrospect I wish I had made different choices along the way to remain car free/light, but many times you have to take what is dished out as it comes and feeding a family takes precedent over preferred lifestyle...sometimes. Working my way back to car free/light as best I can.

Aaron
Given the nature of your work, you've been remarkably car-lite.
bragi is offline  
Old 05-05-09, 09:04 PM
  #15  
Dahon.Steve
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 7,133
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 254 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Violet View Post
I would like to understand a bit more about the mindset that develops when you've been raised auto-dependent.
I think it's important to remain car free as long as possible. Start making "Car Payments" into your savings and let in short order, you'll be far ahead of the motorist.
Dahon.Steve is offline  
Old 05-05-09, 10:08 PM
  #16  
JoeyBike
20+mph Commuter
 
JoeyBike's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: New Orleans, LA USA
Posts: 6,855

Bikes: Surly LHT, a folding bike, and a beater.

Mentioned: 28 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1053 Post(s)
Liked 22 Times in 16 Posts
Originally Posted by Violet View Post
...but to go long distances I usually just catch a bus.
Funny you should mention bus. The school bus (I was 13) is what got me into cycling hard core. I was one of the first kids picked up and last dropped off. I sat on a stinking school bus for nearly 3 hours each day. My school was a 20 minute bike ride from home. I asked my folks for a nice road bike so they could save the bus charges. Somehow they fell for it. I am 51 now and still commute as well as bike all over the USofA and Canada for fun vacations. Totally car free 20 years now. And when I owned cars I rarely drove them. They sat in front of the house sometimes until the tires went flat.

But I grew up in a household with several cars. I just never liked spending MY money on them nor rotting in traffic jams in the city.
JoeyBike is offline  
Old 05-06-09, 01:33 PM
  #17  
Roody
Sophomoric Member
 
Roody's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Dancing in Lansing
Posts: 24,229
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 704 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by JoeyBike View Post
I am 51 now and still commute as well as bike all over the USofA and Canada for fun vacations. Totally car free 20 years now.
You're 51? For some reason I always pictured a much younger dude making those great hair-raising videos!
__________________

"Think Outside the Cage"
Roody is offline  
Old 05-06-09, 02:48 PM
  #18  
DX Rider
Senior Member
 
DX Rider's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 535
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
When I was younger, my father drove and my mother didn't. She was afraid to learn. There are eight kids in my family, so my father was always on the go driving someone, somewhere. When I hung with my mother, we were basically car free travelers, either by taxi or bus.

My dad died when I was 15 and by that time all of my brothers and sisters had moved out of the house and most had moved out of state. So my mother and I lived car free until I joined the military after high school. I drove for a few years, after I got out of the military, but I was never a big fan of it and I have now been car free/car light for the last 12 years.

I really have no desire to have a car, but do you know who the biggest advocate of my getting a car is now? My mother, because she wants someone to chaffuer her around. Since my seven sibliings have all returned to the area, I'm not really compelled to get a license just for that reason, since she has alternatives.
DX Rider is offline  
Old 05-07-09, 12:42 PM
  #19  
Roody
Sophomoric Member
 
Roody's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Dancing in Lansing
Posts: 24,229
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 704 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by DX Rider View Post
When I was younger, my father drove and my mother didn't. She was afraid to learn. There are eight kids in my family, so my father was always on the go driving someone, somewhere. When I hung with my mother, we were basically car free travelers, either by taxi or bus.

My dad died when I was 15 and by that time all of my brothers and sisters had moved out of the house and most had moved out of state. So my mother and I lived car free until I joined the military after high school. I drove for a few years, after I got out of the military, but I was never a big fan of it and I have now been car free/car light for the last 12 years.

I really have no desire to have a car, but do you know who the biggest advocate of my getting a car is now? My mother, because she wants someone to chaffuer her around. Since my seven sibliings have all returned to the area, I'm not really compelled to get a license just for that reason, since she has alternatives
.
Elderly parents are a reason to drive a car. Almost all of the driving I do (5 or 10 miles a month) is to take my dad to doctor appointments. He isn't interested in taking the shuttle bus, so he maintains a car of his own even though he hasn't been able to drive for more than 10 years.
__________________

"Think Outside the Cage"
Roody is offline  
Old 05-07-09, 12:50 PM
  #20  
Allen
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 4,697
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 4 Times in 4 Posts
Originally Posted by Roody View Post
Elderly parents are a reason to drive a car. Almost all of the driving I do (5 or 10 miles a month) is to take my dad to doctor appointments. He isn't interested in taking the shuttle bus, so he maintains a car of his own even though he hasn't been able to drive for more than 10 years.
Same here, I'd say 80% or better of my driving is ferrying my father to and from his PT.
Allen is offline  
Old 05-07-09, 01:30 PM
  #21  
Roody
Sophomoric Member
 
Roody's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Dancing in Lansing
Posts: 24,229
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 704 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by AllenG View Post
Same here, I'd say 80% or better of my driving is ferrying my father to and from his PT.
I wonder what (if anything) could get our dads to switch from cars to some kind of public transit. It wure would be nice if they didn't have to pay for cars on their fixed incomes.
__________________

"Think Outside the Cage"
Roody is offline  
Old 05-07-09, 08:16 PM
  #22  
Foofy
Ha ha HA! Me likey bikey!
 
Foofy's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Ypsilanti, Michigan
Posts: 311

Bikes: Trek 7.2 FX

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Your dad still maintains a car, and yet hasn't driven in 10+ years? Does he do the work himself, as a hobby? Or he just prefers to ride in a car that much? It's highly inefficient, but if that's what he likes, and he prefers it to such an extent that he still owns and maintains a car, than you probably can't convince him of anything else.

I grew up in a family of cars and motored vehicles. Two of my uncles have long worked in the auto industry and have had many automotive toys, including airplanes (which are loads of fun, by the way!). Another has worked as a semi-truck driver. My parents have always had two vehicles, for as long as I can remember. Me and my sibblings each got an automobile when we got our license. My family is not rich.

I'm not against car ownership personally. I own an old geo prizm, which is about dead. Once the next repair comes along I'm gonna scrap it and get another car. I commute by bike often these days.

I always wanted to be a race car driver as I was growing up. Still like the idea, but I'd probably sooner get into road cycling.
Foofy is offline  
Old 05-12-09, 12:37 PM
  #23  
noglider 
aka Tom Reingold
 
noglider's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: West Village, New York City
Posts: 37,089

Bikes: 1962 Rudge Sports, 1971 Raleigh Super Course, 1971 Raleigh Pro Track, 1973 Raleigh Twenty, 1974 Raleigh International, 1975 Viscount Fixie, 1982 McLean, 1996 Lemond (Ti), 2002 Burley Zydeco tandem

Mentioned: 420 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5384 Post(s)
Liked 90 Times in 69 Posts
The difficulty of living car free varies a lot, depending on where you live. I grew up in Manhattan, where a car can be more of a liability than an asset. So we didn't have one. When we needed one, one of my parents rented one.
__________________
Tom Reingold, tom@noglider.com
New York City and High Falls, NY
Blogs: The Experienced Cyclist; noglider's ride blog

“When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments.” — Elizabeth West, US author

Please email me rather than PM'ing me. Thanks.
noglider is offline  
Old 05-12-09, 02:37 PM
  #24  
The Big Wheel
Oooooooofffff SALESMAN!
 
The Big Wheel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Local trails
Posts: 241
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
What does car insurance, gas, oil changes and maintenance cost a month? Say it's $416 a month.

Take that $416 a month and invest it in a ROTH IRA.

You have two options.

Either start at age 22 and invest $5,000 a year for 7 years and let that money sit until you're 62 and end up with $1,570,820

or

Wait until you're 29 and invest $5,000 a year for 34 years to earn $1,505,730 at a 12% return rate.
The Big Wheel is offline  
Old 05-12-09, 03:04 PM
  #25  
I-Like-To-Bike
Been Around Awhile
 
I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Burlington Iowa
Posts: 27,695

Bikes: Vaterland and Ragazzi

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 11 Post(s)
Liked 64 Times in 46 Posts
Originally Posted by The Big Wheel View Post
What does car insurance, gas, oil changes and maintenance cost a month? Say it's $416 a month.

Take that $416 a month and invest it in a ROTH IRA.

You have two options.

Either start at age 22 and invest $5,000 a year for 7 years and let that money sit until you're 62 and end up with $1,570,820

or

Wait until you're 29 and invest $5,000 a year for 34 years to earn $1,505,730 at a 12% return rate.

OOH, OOH! Where do I sign up for that 12% return rate guaranteed for the next 34 years? Plus the guaranteed financial security not to ever need it before retirement?
I-Like-To-Bike is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.