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Changing Mindsets as it pertains to going Car-Free/Lite

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Changing Mindsets as it pertains to going Car-Free/Lite

Old 03-30-10, 05:49 PM
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Changing Mindsets as it pertains to going Car-Free/Lite

Was just reading a couple of threads here, and thought I would share about my experience in becoming car-lite. I have been living in the city for a little over half a year now. When I first moved here, I started using my bicycle more than I had been before, but once I started working, I basically stopped. I was working in what everybody told me was the "rough" area of town. And at first, I believed the hype. The first few nights, I was afraid to even go to my car lest I get stabbed or something. So, there was no way I was going to bike over to that area of the city, especially at night!

Well, the desire to commute to work grew and grew, and the chance of me being moved to a different site that wasn't as rough was looking slimmer and slimmer. So, I finally started perusing the stats Canada website, looking at crime distribution maps, and I started realizing that, while where I work is a violent crime hot-spot, it does not take long to get out of the hot-spot by bike. Furthermore, as I talked about it with others, I started to realize that a lot of the violence is provoked, and occurs between people who know each other. The first time I tried riding there, I flatted, and was amazed at how many people stopped and asked if I needed help or needed a ride. I also enjoy just how frequently I encounter police cruisers in that area of town.

So, that was the first mind-set that had to be changed.

I think the second one was that it was too far to ride. Halfway across the city. But as I started examining maps, and learning about pedestrian walkways and other paths, I was able to really cut down on how far the commute was. Plus, the more I do it, the shorter it is starting to seem. Some of the intersections seem to arrive sooner and sooner.

Another mindset I had to break through was the mindset that it was just too cold (-30 Celsius some days). But after experimenting a bit, I have come up with a fairly fool-proof outfit that has kept me warm even in minus 30 (and that was after flatting twice in a night and waiting 1/2 an hour for a friend to come pick me up. It was only after half an hour of standing around not producing as much body heat that I started getting chilly).

Despite friends telling me that some of this was too dangerous or even a bad idea, I chose to persist, and broke some of these mindsets in order to succeed in using my car less and bike more. And as a result, even my one friend has started riding to work more.

So, I am curious, in your past or present journey towards car-free/lite, what mindsets have you had to overcome to get there?
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Old 03-30-10, 06:10 PM
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Interesting. There are many mindsets like you describe.

Even cyclists have this kind of attitude:
- Not many people are presently biking or walking to their destinations. They probably never will.
- The US will never adopt a bicycle-friendly attitude like Holland or Denmark.
- Most people who ride their cars will never accept a non-car-centric lifestyle.

For me, oddly enough, the greatest challenge is my experience. When you are younger, you rely less on experience and more on imagination. As you grow older, you start seeing patterns all over the place. Many of these patterns are useful to survival, but then... mysteriously... things change and the patterns no longer works. You need to evolve. You need to ignore useless old saws.
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Old 03-31-10, 04:37 PM
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I think the same mindsets as the OP. Besides thinking about the city as being more dangerous than it really is, I had thoughts that riding a bike in traffic is risky. And it is risky, but maybe no more risky than driving or walking. If you want to be safe you have to take a bus! They hardly ever crash.

As for being carfree, I had the mindset that people would look down on me if I didn't have a car. Maybe they do, but as long as my family members and good friends respect my choices, I don't care about everybody else.
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Old 03-31-10, 06:35 PM
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Yes, I too had to fight the stigma at work that existed in my own mind. This was back in '93. I felt awkward being seen in the halls in my biking clothes at first. In those days most staff knew me (we've since merged with other organizations and have 4 times the personnel) and I knew everyone would be well aware I wasn't broke or cycling due to a DUI, but I thought they might see me as reckless or silly. However I have only had positive feedback (or no feedback) at work and I've long since stopped feeling self-conscious. If anything I'm now a little embarrassed if I don't ride, but not enough to worry about it.

I drove to work once in 2009, only because there was an off-site meeting in the afternoon not accessible any other way. It was actually a golf day, but I took a bike in the car and I biked on a trail instead of golfing. If it is the same place next year I may skip going to the office in the morning and may try to carry the bike part way to the golf course on the commuter train, and cycle the last few km. Depends on whether the schedule is favourable. So I'm still looking for ways to increase my bike commuting!

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Old 03-31-10, 06:40 PM
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ps: Winter cycling in Saskatchewan? Brrrrrrrrrr!!!!
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Old 03-31-10, 07:35 PM
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Good points have been brought up but I don't understand it completely. I ride when and where I want to and have never run into any troubles because awareness is key.
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Old 04-01-10, 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by cooker View Post
ps: Winter cycling in Saskatchewan? Brrrrrrrrrr!!!!
Only if you are not dressed right. Once I got the clothes figured out, it was warmer that taking the car (especially when my cars heat was broken).
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Old 04-01-10, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Sir Lunch-a-lot View Post
Only if you are not dressed right. Once I got the clothes figured out, it was warmer that taking the car (especially when my cars heat was broken).
This has totally been my experience too. But many people have the mindset that a certain temperature is too cold for riding. One time a BF member from Hawaii posted on the Commuting forum that the weather was too cold for an early AM commute--"It goes down to the low 60s at the higher altitudes so I'm not riding right now." (serious)

I bet the two mindsets that stop the most people from cycling are "weather" and "traffic." And third is probably "I'm not fit enough."
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Old 04-01-10, 05:09 PM
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To the OP, I completely understand. I also work in a "rough part of town" and by that I mean the zip code averages one murder per month, and an aggravated assault about every day based on the crime logs (and yes, I did look at them before I started bike commuting!). When I started working at this office a year ago, everyone was so worried about me on my bike. A year later, nothing has happened and if anything, I feel fairly safe because I see the same people every morning: the guy opening his corner store, the kids at the bus stop, the woman walking to the subway. I'm also biking through quickly and on a well-traveled street. I do worry about popping a flat in that area, but so far so good. *fingers crossed*
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Old 04-01-10, 10:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
This has totally been my experience too. But many people have the mindset that a certain temperature is too cold for riding. One time a BF member from Hawaii posted on the Commuting forum that the weather was too cold for an early AM commute--"It goes down to the low 60s at the higher altitudes so I'm not riding right now." (serious)

I bet the two mindsets that stop the most people from cycling are "weather" and "traffic." And third is probably "I'm not fit enough."
I understand and agree that you have nailed the two most common reasons but high crime has to be a consideration for a family man. I once worked in Compton California and even today I would never ride to work in that area after dark.

But weather still has to be a consideration even if you do feel you have the right cloths. Face it we wouldnt put up with the conditions some are suggesting as reasonable to ride in if we had to stay in that coolness all day while we worked. If we cant work in those conditions why would we pretend commuting in them isnt that bad? Can anyone imagine what would happen if an employer told his employees that to save money he was going to shut off the heat and they would simply have to dress warmer and it would be the same as a heated building? In our area we have to open the government shelters to the homeless when it gets cold at night. I dont remember the temperature but I know it is well above freezing. There would be a national uproar if anyone said; all they need is the correct cloths.
I do agree we give up on cycling far too easily but the weather conditions some people consider normal astonishes me. Bicycling Magazine lists Minneapolis as number one in their poll of the top bike friendly cities. Long beach got number 23. I would easily give up 22 spots not to have to put studs in my tires and dress like little Ralphie in Christmas story. I am glad some people do but they seem more like the Amish compared to me. Honorable lifestyle but nothing I would ever hope to aspire to.
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Old 04-01-10, 10:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Robert Foster View Post
I understand and agree that you have nailed the two most common reasons but high crime has to be a consideration for a family man. I once worked in Compton California and even today I would never ride to work in that area after dark.

But weather still has to be a consideration even if you do feel you have the right cloths. Face it we wouldn’t put up with the conditions some are suggesting as reasonable to ride in if we had to stay in that coolness all day while we worked. If we can’t work in those conditions why would we pretend commuting in them isn’t that bad? Can anyone imagine what would happen if an employer told his employees that to save money he was going to shut off the heat and they would simply have to dress warmer and it would be the same as a heated building? In our area we have to open the government shelters to the homeless when it gets cold at night. I don’t remember the temperature but I know it is well above freezing. There would be a national uproar if anyone said; all they need is the correct cloths.
I do agree we give up on cycling far too easily but the weather conditions some people consider normal astonishes me. Bicycling Magazine lists Minneapolis as number one in their poll of the top bike friendly cities. Long beach got number 23. I would easily give up 22 spots not to have to put studs in my tires and dress like little Ralphie in Christmas story. I am glad some people do but they seem more like the Amish compared to me. Honorable lifestyle but nothing I would ever hope to aspire to.
Sorry, but you're wrong. A lot of people work in cold conditions. Cops come to mind right away, but there are dozens of outdoor occupations.

Believe it or not, many of us have even gone tent camping and hiking in very cold witner conditions, lived to tell about and even enjoyed it. It truly is the mindset that tells you you can't do it.
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Old 04-01-10, 11:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
Sorry, but you're wrong. A lot of people work in cold conditions. Cops come to mind right away, but there are dozens of outdoor occupations.

Believe it or not, many of us have even gone tent camping and hiking in very cold witner conditions, lived to tell about and even enjoyed it. It truly is the mindset that tells you you can't do it.
Are you trying to say cold isn’t a consideration? Would you prefer to work in the cold? Would you prefer to live in the tent or would you prefer to live in a warm building? A preference is a consideration. Simply because some people can do it doesn’t mean it is desirable. And it doesn’t mean that all people have to do is try it and they will like it.
It is one thing to do what you have to do and it is another thing to do it if you don’t have to. I contend the excuse of it is too cold is a valid one if you have a choice even if someone else decides to choose differently. I may be over simplifying it but I will contend if the majority prefers warm to cold then deciding not to ride ones bike in the cold is a valid argument. There is no inherent sin to doing things the easy way if you can or any virtue in doing things the hard way just because you can.
So while I agreed you had a valid grasp of the reasons people give for not riding in the cold I doubt if in a survey more people would decide my objections to riding or working in freezing conditions is less desirable than working in a warm building or sleeping in a warm home. I also would bet more of your fellow citizens would agree with me it is more comfortable to ride in a warm vehicle than to ride in the freezing weather on a bike. And as I said in my post, it is a matter of ease and comfort as well.
It is more than what you can and can’t do, it is what is worth doing. While the mind my limit what you will try it can also tell you if trying it is worth it. Try it before you reject it is the same statement the heads would use in the 60s. Some things people simply know they will not like. I know for a fact what I do not like. I don’t need to experience some things to be sure.
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Old 04-02-10, 12:50 AM
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Robert Foster, I don't think that your arguments are fair or valid. You seem to be saying that since living or working in the cold is undesirable and impractical, riding bike in the cold must be undesirable and impractical as well. But in the vast majority of work places or homes, one tends to do activities that do not involve a great deal of physical exertion (yes, there are some exceptions). So, if your such an environment was getting down below -20 or - 30 degrees, yes you would get cold even with layers (although, I have been plenty warm when my place is 15 degrees Celsius and have layers on). You would be getting cold because you are not physically exerting yourself enough to generate enough body heat to replace the heat being lost. On one of my first experimental rides to work, I had my tire flat twice on me at which point I gave up for the night and waited for a friend to come pick me up. It was AT LEAST minus 30 Celcius, and it was only after half an hour of just standing around that I started to get remotely chilly. Otherwise, if I am riding (and thus generating more body heat), I can stay warm (even downright HOT, which could result in being cold due to excessive sweat build up if I my commute were double or more what it is now) much longer. Also, most of us who commute to work don't work in a building that is cold. So even if we were to get a bit chilly in minus 30-40 degree whether, it is easy enough to warm up inside once you get to work.

At the end of the day, we are not pretending that riding in cold weather isn't bad: we that it isn't bad. Granted, there are different challenges to riding in the cold (the glasses fogging up can be annoying, and the higher rolling resistance of studded tires is a drag), but really, it's not horrible. I did it for a part of this winter, and I enjoyed it. Plus, I am starting to realize, one thing I like about colder weather is that it tends to keep the weirdo's indoors (and the paths free from pedestrians).

Hey, another mindset I had to overcome: Riding bike is an impractical alternative, and is too slow.


Anyway... Roody, I would be interested in hearing more about your winter camping experiences, or even winter camping in general. I may not be ready to try it just yet, but at some point in the near future, it could be a source of fun and entertainment.
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Old 04-02-10, 01:08 AM
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Are you trying to say cold isn’t a consideration?
Of course the cold weather is a consideration but I subscribe to the spirit of the classic quote (and don't ask me who made it):

There's no such thing as bad weather just the wrong type of clothes
The start of the commute is always the worst prospect but by the time I've reached work or got home I'm usually feeling pretty toastie. But weather issues are the greatest mindset for new/non cyclisits or the people who we are trying entice out of their cars.

Another barrier to be broken down is distance. And this is all in the mind. It's funny looking back now but when I started using the bike again four years ago the idea of riding 15 to 22 miles from the SE of Glasgow to Paisley was a massive hurdle in my mind and it took another cyclist to show me that it was possible. Even though I don't bat an eyelid about putting in 60 miles on Saturday or feeling phased when undertaking the 100 this mindset is all too prevalent in those who do not cycle and is probably the biggest barrier that stops them from getting out their cars and 'giving it a go'. I get a lot of people telling me, 'It's such a long way'. but it's not really once the barrier is broken down.

So on the two points above 'the cold' and 'the distance' it's all about getting across the point that these challenges can be overcome. Eventually you WILL do the distance and not lose the ability to walk for a couple of days. Eventually you will sort out the cold/wet weather clothing and not get to work with borderline hypothermia with the feeling in your hands and feet returning when it's just about time to cycle home. Whilst trial and error will lead one to a suitable solution eventually, good old fashioned solid advice is the best and this is where BF really comes into it's own (I've learned so much already).

As far as cycling through the 'undesirable area' is concerned... I live in what many would consider an undesirable area and I've never been mugged, attacked, threatened or anthing. So I already have perspective on that issue but I have to spend time telling other people who ask, 'How can you live there' that the reality is different from the perception as you noted here:

Furthermore, as I talked about it with others, I started to realize that a lot of the violence is provoked, and occurs between people who know each other. The first time I tried riding there, I flatted, and was amazed at how many people stopped and asked if I needed help or needed a ride. I also enjoy just how frequently I encounter police cruisers in that area of town.
It's amazing isn't it. There are, without doubt, truly bad areas but, in my experience they are very very thin on the ground and even then.....

Breaking down some mindsets or perceptions can be quite tricky but one broken down people tend to adapt very very quickly. I used to be mindful of walking about in spandex too but after cycling everywhere four four years I'm quite happy about showing the ladies the results. Results that are down to all the effort of being car free. Results that in fact the ladies don't complain about (it's only the car driving blokes that do).
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Old 04-02-10, 01:17 AM
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Hey, another mindset I had to overcome: Riding bike is an impractical alternative, and is too slow.
Absolutely.........another one of the 'biggies' to overcome. One can only lead by example. it can be impractical being car free but the practical alternatives to those perceived impracticalities (big word of the day) do not have to be car dependent.

As for being slow. Well i can still cut across town quicker than a car can. The extra twenty or so minutes taken to cycle a commuting distance is not time wasted as one is still undertaking physical activity. So it's not time wasted really.
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Old 04-02-10, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Surfindixon View Post
Of course the cold weather is a consideration but I subscribe to the spirit of the classic quote (and don't ask me who made it):



The start of the commute is always the worst prospect but by the time I've reached work or got home I'm usually feeling pretty toastie. But weather issues are the greatest mindset for new/non cyclisits or the people who we are trying entice out of their cars.

Another barrier to be broken down is distance. And this is all in the mind. It's funny looking back now but when I started using the bike again four years ago the idea of riding 15 to 22 miles from the SE of Glasgow to Paisley was a massive hurdle in my mind and it took another cyclist to show me that it was possible. Even though I don't bat an eyelid about putting in 60 miles on Saturday or feeling phased when undertaking the 100 this mindset is all too prevalent in those who do not cycle and is probably the biggest barrier that stops them from getting out their cars and 'giving it a go'. I get a lot of people telling me, 'It's such a long way'. but it's not really once the barrier is broken down.

So on the two points above 'the cold' and 'the distance' it's all about getting across the point that these challenges can be overcome. Eventually you WILL do the distance and not lose the ability to walk for a couple of days. Eventually you will sort out the cold/wet weather clothing and not get to work with borderline hypothermia with the feeling in your hands and feet returning when it's just about time to cycle home. Whilst trial and error will lead one to a suitable solution eventually, good old fashioned solid advice is the best and this is where BF really comes into it's own (I've learned so much already).

As far as cycling through the 'undesirable area' is concerned... I live in what many would consider an undesirable area and I've never been mugged, attacked, threatened or anthing. So I already have perspective on that issue but I have to spend time telling other people who ask, 'How can you live there' that the reality is different from the perception as you noted here:



It's amazing isn't it. There are, without doubt, truly bad areas but, in my experience they are very very thin on the ground and even then.....

Breaking down some mindsets or perceptions can be quite tricky but one broken down people tend to adapt very very quickly. I used to be mindful of walking about in spandex too but after cycling everywhere four four years I'm quite happy about showing the ladies the results. Results that are down to all the effort of being car free. Results that in fact the ladies don't complain about (it's only the car driving blokes that do).

Good post and good point. But I never said once it couldn’t be done. That idea that someone would prefer a warn vehicle to a cold bicycle doesn’t mean the person making the choice hasn’t tried or considered the bicycle. We aren’t talking about humans that have never experienced the cold before as if discovering that someone can ride a bike if freezing weather will suddenly open their eyes to something new. We are talking about a modern society that has options and choices and a vast majority has already decided some options are more comfortable than others and there is no valid reason to be uncomfortable if you have a choice not to be.
If you already have a proclivity towards cycling and cold is all that is stopping you from enjoying that activity in the cold ice and snow there may be some truth in the statement that this is a mindset that has to be overcome. But for a vast majority of our fellow citizens this isn’t a mindset it is a decision made from experience, cold and wet is less preferable to warm and dry. I have lived in a cycled in the Seattle area and I can attest that cold and wet is not something you simply get used to. Tolerate maybe but get used to no.
This is simply my point of view and I didn’t say I didn’t believe a dedicated cyclist couldn’t ride in such weather. My point is a reasoning person doesn’t necessarily have a fixed mindset that only needs a push to prove it is false. They have weighed the comfort and practicality factors and determined which one is easier and more comfortable. Like my first post indicates, modern man prefers ease and comfort to hard and uncomfortable almost every time.
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Old 04-02-10, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Robert Foster View Post
Good post and good point. But I never said once it couldn’t be done. That idea that someone would prefer a warn vehicle to a cold bicycle doesn’t mean the person making the choice hasn’t tried or considered the bicycle. We aren’t talking about humans that have never experienced the cold before as if discovering that someone can ride a bike if freezing weather will suddenly open their eyes to something new. We are talking about a modern society that has options and choices and a vast majority has already decided some options are more comfortable than others and there is no valid reason to be uncomfortable if you have a choice not to be.
If you already have a proclivity towards cycling and cold is all that is stopping you from enjoying that activity in the cold ice and snow there may be some truth in the statement that this is a mindset that has to be overcome. But for a vast majority of our fellow citizens this isn’t a mindset it is a decision made from experience, cold and wet is less preferable to warm and dry. I have lived in a cycled in the Seattle area and I can attest that cold and wet is not something you simply get used to. Tolerate maybe but get used to no.
This is simply my point of view and I didn’t say I didn’t believe a dedicated cyclist couldn’t ride in such weather. My point is a reasoning person doesn’t necessarily have a fixed mindset that only needs a push to prove it is false. They have weighed the comfort and practicality factors and determined which one is easier and more comfortable. Like my first post indicates, modern man prefers ease and comfort to hard and uncomfortable almost every time.
Problem is that ease and comfort is coming with a heart attack attached to it. I ride every day, and I often talk with my wife who drives. She knows I'm warmer. I'm warmer in the winter than she is, within the first 3 min of the ride. Her car doesn't even warm up till she's almost at her work. She drives due to time constraints, and her driving allows me to be car free, so it's a tradeoff.

Most people won't jump off a cliff, but they'll ride in their SUV's though that drivethrough right to Heart Attack land without thinking twice. Maybe easy isn't without it's own set of costs?

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Old 04-02-10, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
Believe it or not, many of us have even gone tent camping and hiking in very cold winter conditions, lived to tell about and even enjoyed it. It truly is the mindset that tells you you can't do it.
Yeah, it's kind of strange when you keep the beer in the cooler (without ice) so that it doesn't freeze, and you have to drink it fast once you open it before it freezes.
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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.
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Old 04-02-10, 04:11 PM
  #19  
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Originally Posted by Robert Foster View Post
Are you trying to say cold isn’t a consideration? Would you prefer to work in the cold? Would you prefer to live in the tent or would you prefer to live in a warm building? A preference is a consideration. Simply because some people can do it doesn’t mean it is desirable. And it doesn’t mean that all people have to do is try it and they will like it.
It is one thing to do what you have to do and it is another thing to do it if you don’t have to. I contend the excuse of it is too cold is a valid one if you have a choice even if someone else decides to choose differently. I may be over simplifying it but I will contend if the majority prefers warm to cold then deciding not to ride ones bike in the cold is a valid argument. There is no inherent sin to doing things the easy way if you can or any virtue in doing things the hard way just because you can.
So while I agreed you had a valid grasp of the reasons people give for not riding in the cold I doubt if in a survey more people would decide my objections to riding or working in freezing conditions is less desirable than working in a warm building or sleeping in a warm home. I also would bet more of your fellow citizens would agree with me it is more comfortable to ride in a warm vehicle than to ride in the freezing weather on a bike. And as I said in my post, it is a matter of ease and comfort as well.
It is more than what you can and can’t do, it is what is worth doing. While the mind my limit what you will try it can also tell you if trying it is worth it. Try it before you reject it is the same statement the heads would use in the 60s. Some things people simply know they will not like. I know for a fact what I do not like. I don’t need to experience some things to be sure.
All I'm saying is that people (human bodies) work well in cold weather. Native Americans in my area hunted in the winter wearing nothing but loin cloths. When they stopped moving around, they put on furs or blankets and sat by the fire.

I am also saying that I have never been cold in 7 years of winter cycling in Michigan (except I felt cold a few times in my first winter, before I learned the tricks of the trade of winter cycling). I'm also saying that as somebody who has actually tried winter cycling, I know what I'm talking about. You don't know what you're talking about. (Not meant in a mean way-- just a statement of fact, spoken to somebody who lives in Southern California.)

and who the hell is talking about living in a tent? I live in a house with central heating. I set the thermostat between 65 and 70 degrees and stay toasty warm. And who is talking about I have to do it? I do it because I want to do it, not because I have to do it. And believe me, I am neither a martyr nor a masochist. If I was cold or uncomfortable even one time, I would buy a car with a powerful heater and the heated seats.
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Old 04-02-10, 04:25 PM
  #20  
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Originally Posted by Robert Foster View Post
Are you trying to say cold isn�t a consideration? Would you prefer to work in the cold? Would you prefer to live in the tent or would you prefer to live in a warm building? A preference is a consideration. Simply because some people can do it doesn�t mean it is desirable. And it doesn�t mean that all people have to do is try it and they will like it.
It is one thing to do what you have to do and it is another thing to do it if you don�t have to. I contend the excuse of it is too cold is a valid one if you have a choice even if someone else decides to choose differently. I may be over simplifying it but I will contend if the majority prefers warm to cold then deciding not to ride ones bike in the cold is a valid argument. There is no inherent sin to doing things the easy way if you can or any virtue in doing things the hard way just because you can.
So while I agreed you had a valid grasp of the reasons people give for not riding in the cold I doubt if in a survey more people would decide my objections to riding or working in freezing conditions is less desirable than working in a warm building or sleeping in a warm home. I also would bet more of your fellow citizens would agree with me it is more comfortable to ride in a warm vehicle than to ride in the freezing weather on a bike. And as I said in my post, it is a matter of ease and comfort as well.
It is more than what you can and can�t do, it is what is worth doing. While the mind my limit what you will try it can also tell you if trying it is worth it. Try it before you reject it is the same statement the heads would use in the 60s. Some things people simply know they will not like. I know for a fact what I do not like. I don�t need to experience some things to be sure.
I don't agree with your reasoning. I also live in Canada and we can have some serious winters around here. In winter I also have a choice between driving my 4x4 truck or riding my bike, and do you know what I do ? I choose to ride my bicycle and yes I am comfortable doing it. I also do recreational rides in winter, ice biking is a lot of fun. Cold has never stopped me from riding. Please tell me why do people go winter camping, nordic skiing ,snowshoeing, dog sledding, snowmobiling... why do some travel across the arctic , and what about ice fishing ********** You would be very surprised how little clothing is required to keep onself warm during winter cycling.
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Old 04-02-10, 04:31 PM
  #21  
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I'm not sure how much of my transition has been a change of mindset, but not as you describe. Six months ago i was relocated across country for my job, and I decided to use this as an opportunity to move to a car-lite lifestyle. I did not move my car with me, and I was somewhat paranoid about how I would survive without the car. I already used a bicycle to commute to/from work most of the time, but I also drove the car at least once per week for something. It is now 6 months since I have made the transition. Before moving, one of the things that I checked out was the locations of car rental locations, to make sure that I could get to a rental car via public transit or bicycle. I haven't made use of that yet.
One of the mindset changes for both my wife and I is that prior to the move, whenever we had to go somewhere, the basic assumption was that we would drive, and most of the time, that is what we did. Now we rarely drive, and the car is the last resort for transportation mode.
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Old 04-02-10, 05:24 PM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by Robert Foster View Post
Good post and good point. But I never said once it couldn’t be done. That idea that someone would prefer a warn vehicle to a cold bicycle doesn’t mean the person making the choice hasn’t tried or considered the bicycle. We aren’t talking about humans that have never experienced the cold before as if discovering that someone can ride a bike if freezing weather will suddenly open their eyes to something new. We are talking about a modern society that has options and choices and a vast majority has already decided some options are more comfortable than others and there is no valid reason to be uncomfortable if you have a choice not to be.
If you already have a proclivity towards cycling and cold is all that is stopping you from enjoying that activity in the cold ice and snow there may be some truth in the statement that this is a mindset that has to be overcome. But for a vast majority of our fellow citizens this isn’t a mindset it is a decision made from experience, cold and wet is less preferable to warm and dry. I have lived in a cycled in the Seattle area and I can attest that cold and wet is not something you simply get used to. Tolerate maybe but get used to no.
This is simply my point of view and I didn’t say I didn’t believe a dedicated cyclist couldn’t ride in such weather. My point is a reasoning person doesn’t necessarily have a fixed mindset that only needs a push to prove it is false. They have weighed the comfort and practicality factors and determined which one is easier and more comfortable. Like my first post indicates, modern man prefers ease and comfort to hard and uncomfortable almost every time.
I understand that if there was a choice between walking and running people would still walk because running is far more uncomfortable. However, the fact that comfort over discomfort is the most popular option even though discomfort may pay HUGE dividends (a point alluded to by josephjhaney) would itself suggest a mindset or barrier. When discussing human nature there are no absolutes. 'Most people do A because they are B' could qualify as an absolute statement with the word 'Most' indicating there are some who exist outside of this absolute. Yet this does not make it right just because a majority of people think like this.

modern man prefers ease and comfort to hard and uncomfortable almost every time
I think this is inherently inaccurate as it is too much of a blanket statement. I would prefer to say:

the majority of people in our modern society prefer ease and comfort to hard and uncomfortable almost every time
And, as I said, just because the majority think this doesn't mean it's right. A majority of people may get put off by a spot of rain on their face but a few others may revel in the challenge of a 20mph headwind driving sub zero sleet into their faces whilst screaming 'I'M ALIVE!!!!!' at the top of their voice. between these two extremes you have all those that fit in between. You would suggest that the majority of our society exist at the 'spot of rain' end of the spectrum and I totally agree. But other demographics of varying sizes exist in between.

I'm going to bed.
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Old 04-02-10, 11:38 PM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by Surfindixon View Post
I understand that if there was a choice between walking and running people would still walk because running is far more uncomfortable. However, the fact that comfort over discomfort is the most popular option even though discomfort may pay HUGE dividends (a point alluded to by josephjhaney) would itself suggest a mindset or barrier. When discussing human nature there are no absolutes. 'Most people do A because they are B' could qualify as an absolute statement with the word 'Most' indicating there are some who exist outside of this absolute. Yet this does not make it right just because a majority of people think like this.


I think this is inherently inaccurate as it is too much of a blanket statement. I would prefer to say:



And, as I said, just because the majority think this doesn't mean it's right. A majority of people may get put off by a spot of rain on their face but a few others may revel in the challenge of a 20mph headwind driving sub zero sleet into their faces whilst screaming 'I'M ALIVE!!!!!' at the top of their voice. between these two extremes you have all those that fit in between. You would suggest that the majority of our society exist at the 'spot of rain' end of the spectrum and I totally agree. But other demographics of varying sizes exist in between.

I'm going to bed.


You may have a point. But which group has a mindset and which group has the most influence on society? Which group has a mindset that represents the future we will live to see? I believe we can agree that cycling is a minority group. Living car free is a minority within that group and cycling in the snow and ice is a minority within that group. That is a lot of mindsets that need to be reset before it is even noticed.
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Old 04-03-10, 02:26 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by Robert Foster View Post
You may have a point. But which group has a mindset and which group has the most influence on society? Which group has a mindset that represents the future we will live to see? I believe we can agree that cycling is a minority group. Living car free is a minority within that group and cycling in the snow and ice is a minority within that group. That is a lot of mindsets that need to be reset before it is even noticed.
True. However, 25 years ago most people (I believe... what I am about to say is based strictly on my own observations/experience. I have done no scientific studies or anything to support this, so there is a possibility that I am not entirely correct) had not heard about global warming. The idea that our lifestyle was hazardous to the environment was quite foreign. If they did know about it, they didn't really care, it was a far off problem. But there were scientists and activists who kept pressing the issue and gradually brought it into the public consciousness. All of a sudden, within the past 5-10 years there has been a shift in marketing and the like to promote "Green" or "Environmentally Friendly" (even if a lot of it is dubious in terms of environmental friendliness), which indicates a shift in the thinking of the public about the issue (because marketers want to appeal to the public). Now, there is still a lot of work to be done, but gradually the view/knowledge held by the minority is being disseminated into the consciousness of the majority. This generation shares a new mindset with the next generation, and some of them will catch that mindset, and pass it on to even more of the next generation (hopefully). And as a change in attitude/mindsets comes, change will happen more and more. It can be the same with cycling. Yes, the predominant mindset is one that scoffs at the idea of riding as an alternative mode of transport. But if enough of us live a cycling lifestyle, and show our friends and neighbours that it is not as hard or crazy as it initially seems, mindsets will gradually change. I get the impression that those mindsets are already starting to change, as is evidenced by some cities starting to invest more in cycling infrastructure.

As Mr. G. said: "Be the change..."
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Old 04-03-10, 08:43 AM
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Originally Posted by travelmama View Post
Good points have been brought up but I don't understand it completely. I ride when and where I want to and have never run into any troubles because awareness is key.
Originally Posted by Robert Foster View Post
I understand and agree that you have nailed the two most common reasons but high crime has to be a consideration for a family man. I once worked in Compton California and even today I would never ride to work in that area after dark.
Compton is a small enough city to pass through at the blink of an eye. I don't understand why so many feel unsafe riding through when it is dark. I do it quite often as I feel a bit safer there than here in Long Beach because there are more commuters in a concentrated area so many in cars pay attention to this.
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