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

The automobile: nothing more than a tool?

Notices
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.

The automobile: nothing more than a tool?

Old 09-28-13, 10:02 PM
  #1  
Ekdog
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Ekdog's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Seville, Spain
Posts: 4,403

Bikes: Brompton M6R, mountain bikes, Circe Omnis+ tandem

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 145 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 4 Times in 3 Posts
The automobile: nothing more than a tool?

I've noticed a trend in Living Car Free: more and more posts are appearing in which the motorcar is likened to a simple tool. Any time its myriad drawbacks (slaughter on the roads and highways, air pollution, global climate change, wasted resources...) are brought up and possible solutions are put forward as to how we might get by with fewer vehicles, someone will reply that the car is nothing more than a tool and that we car-free types should "chill out" and learn to live with them because they're here to stay.

I'd like to hear your opinions about this. Are cars innocuous instruments or a blight on society? Do you think there are concrete measures that can be taken to lessen their impact? Would failure to do so represent a moral failure? I look forward to a vigorous but civilized discussion.

Last edited by Ekdog; 10-15-13 at 05:55 AM. Reason: typo
Ekdog is offline  
Old 09-28-13, 10:17 PM
  #2  
Yo Spiff
Carpe Velo
 
Yo Spiff's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
Posts: 2,520

Bikes: 2000 Bianchi Veloce, '88 Schwinn Prologue, '90 Bianchi Volpe,'94 Yokota Grizzly Peak, Yokota Enterprise, '16 Diamondback Haanjo, '91 Bianchi Boardwalk, Ellsworth cruiser

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Liked 11 Times in 10 Posts
I'm not anywhere close to car-free, at the moment I am primarily a recreational cyclist, but I expect to see the beginning of the decline of the internal combustion engine within my lifetime. I don't think we will ever completely abandon the personal automobile, and there are other means of propelling them besides gasoline engines. We are choking our cities and something has got to give. I think we are just seeing the start of it, but there is a lot to overcome.

My own attitude toward my vehicle has always been "tool". I've never been someone who bought a new car just because he wanted one. I keep a car/truck as long as I can keep it running. My present vehicle is a 13 year old small pickup with almost 300k on it now. It was previously my company vehicle.
Yo Spiff is offline  
Old 09-28-13, 10:40 PM
  #3  
daihard 
Just a person on bike
 
daihard's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 1,938

Bikes: Specialized Roubaix Sport

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 27 Post(s)
Liked 3 Times in 2 Posts
I used to be one of those young guys who'd spend most of their income on car parts. I enjoyed "attacking" the local twisties. I don't do that kind of driving anymore, but I still take my GTI out for a spin late at night once in a while. Driving on the empty freeway is fun. My wife likes it, too.

I hardly ever drive in the daytime, though. I ride my bike or take the bus to commute. I also live in an area that has pretty much everything either within walking distance or near bus stops. The only time I drive these days is to carry heavy stuff or to go to a place with no bus access on a rainy day.
__________________

The value of your life doesn't change based on the way you travel. - Dawn Schellenberg (SDOT)
daihard is offline  
Old 09-28-13, 11:02 PM
  #4  
fietsbob
Banned
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 43,599

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 197 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7607 Post(s)
Liked 1,322 Times in 832 Posts
the Industries that benefitted from their destruction of public transportation made out like bandits.
fietsbob is offline  
Old 09-29-13, 03:38 AM
  #5  
Alekhine
1. e4 Nf6
 
Alekhine's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: 7844`W, 4246`N
Posts: 872

Bikes: Mercian KoM with Rohloff, Bike Friday NWT, Pogliaghi Italcorse (1979)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Ekdog View Post
I'd like to hear your opinions about this. Are cars innocuous instruments or a blight on society?
My opinion is yes.
____________________________

On balance, I don't think the various horrors of cars and their function as "just a tool" are mutually exclusive things. I also believe it's possible for something to be simultaneously both wonderful in one way and truly awful in another. Cars fit this categorization for me: I consider the invention a marvel of human ingenuity that fulfills a great human desire to travel and transport heavy things over large distances quickly - okay, great - but it's also one of the most abused and overused things, to the point where they're more dangerous by their sheer ubiquity, aesthetically ugly and loud and ever present, smelly and polluting, and I dislike how the engineering of our public spaces takes cars into consideration first and foremost. I also think people often take them for granted and don't consider other options for short utility purposes in the US. I lived next to a sorority house for 2 excruciating years, and the same kids who would jog 4 miles to nowhere for exercise wouldn't be caught dead walking the quarter mile to the store for a sixer of lite beer.

I personally favor gas rationing, mass transportation alternatives, and putting the world on a fuel diet as a rational step for humanity, but fortunately for car owners everywhere I neither have nor do I seek power over others in such a way. In the words of Vonnegut, so it goes.
Alekhine is offline  
Old 09-29-13, 03:59 AM
  #6  
Blue Belly
Senior Member
 
Blue Belly's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Vermont
Posts: 1,200

Bikes: Pinarello Montello, Merckx MX Leader, Merckx Corsa Extra, Pinarello Prologo, Tredici Magia Nera, Tredici Cross

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 2 Posts
Cars represent a level of independence to us that is tough to achieve, otherwise. Go get a gallon of milk & a doz eggs, 6 miles away, on a rainy day.
Tge automobile is an engineering marvel, even to this day. People love their mechanical machines. I think we can all appreciate that. The bicycle is a much stripped down version of a car.
my thoughts on the automobile are this. I'm an avid car enthusiast. I don't wish to see the gasoline engine be come extinct. I do, on the other hand, hope to see the electric car become much more prevalent. I believe that the hybrid car is a sham. I refuse to buy a car that has two power sources which add to my maintenance costs & still feeds the oil industry & creates pollution, even if at a reduced rate. If not for the hybrid there would be a bigger push for the all electric car with a greater range of travel.
If I had my ideal, we can have our own ideal(right?), we'd all have electric commuter cars. Those of us who want or need, could have our gasoline engine powered vehicle for pleasure, or any other use where electricity isn't sensible.
Best case scenario, we use less gasoline & we use alternative modes of transportation more often(bicycle, walk, train, etc).
Blue Belly is offline  
Old 09-29-13, 06:38 AM
  #7  
GodsBassist
Senior Member
 
GodsBassist's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Odenton, MD
Posts: 660
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Blue Belly View Post
Cars represent a level of independence to us that is tough to achieve, otherwise.
I could not disagree with this statement more. We've become so dependent on cars as a society that our mobility is defined by it. A full one third of Americans are ineligible to get a driver's license due to age or ability and are made immobile because of it. The remaining two thirds feel so much pressure either socially or because it's the only infrastructure that there is that they feel like they have to own a car, further perpetuating the cycle. This is the exact opposite of independence.

Clearly, I fall in the 'blight' category but cars are also tools, as Alekhine said. I don't know that we should regulate cars out of existence, as everybody has the right to choose that route. I DO wish that we would stop incentivizing them and subsidizing them. Any mode of transportation should be fully borne by the purveyors of that mode. This includes parking and roads. I suspect that if motorists were forced to pay for the entire infrastructure in up-front and transparent usage fees, the car would be extinct in a decade.
GodsBassist is offline  
Old 09-29-13, 06:42 AM
  #8  
B. Carfree
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Eugene, Oregon
Posts: 7,048
Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 509 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 8 Times in 8 Posts
Originally Posted by Blue Belly View Post
Cars represent a level of independence to us that is tough to achieve, otherwise. Go get a gallon of milk & a doz eggs, 6 miles away, on a rainy day. .
Independence? Relying on the fossil fuel extraction industry for basic mobility functions that are readily achieved by human power is hardly independent, IMO. While a powered wheelchair does indeed greatly expand the horizons of a disabled person, it is not quite the same situation when an able-bodied person chooses to restrict their life to what they can do in the same wheelchair. By the way, I do all my shopping without using a car and several of the stores I frequent are five miles away. (We do get a bit of rain in Oregon.) In fact, yesterday's grocery haul did indeed include a dozen eggs and one and one-half gallons of milk, as well as some produce. And yes, it was raining.

Originally Posted by Blue Belly View Post
Tge automobile is an engineering marvel, even to this day. People love their mechanical machines. I think we can all appreciate that. The bicycle is a much stripped down version of a car..
I appreciate that love is blind. Other than the fact that they both move, it's hard for me to see much similarity between a bike, which augments muscle power, and a car, which relies almost entirely on fossil fuels to move a person. A car could be thought of as a device whose primary function appears to be to translocate reduced carbon compounds from underground onto the bodies of humans.


Originally Posted by Blue Belly View Post
my thoughts on the automobile are this. I'm an avid car enthusiast. I don't wish to see the gasoline engine be come extinct. I do, on the other hand, hope to see the electric car become much more prevalent. I believe that the hybrid car is a sham. I refuse to buy a car that has two power sources which add to my maintenance costs & still feeds the oil industry & creates pollution, even if at a reduced rate. If not for the hybrid there would be a bigger push for the all electric car with a greater range of travel.
If I had my ideal, we can have our own ideal(right?), we'd all have electric commuter cars. Those of us who want or need, could have our gasoline engine powered vehicle for pleasure, or any other use where electricity isn't sensible.
Best case scenario, we use less gasoline & we use alternative modes of transportation more often(bicycle, walk, train, etc).
Since commuting is only 20% of American car use, using different types of motor vehicles for commuting and pleasure isn't much of a change. Also, where do you think those electric cars get their energy from? The American electrical grid is about half coal-fired. Any significant increase in demand, like for personal transportation machines, is far more likely to be met with increased burning of coal than any other means. Do you think the emissions from burning coal are clean? Or, worst case, burning wood? Locally, much of our electricity is now being generated by burning wood and our air quality has suffered greatly since the wood burning plant went in.

There's no free lunch. We're using up millions of years worth of energy resources per year in what is clearly not only a needless gluttony, but is damaging our personal health. Back when a typical American household had about half the cars of today's homes, we didn't have an obesity epidemic and type II diabetes was nearly unheard of, especially among young people. Quite aside from the 35,000 direct deaths and 2.4 million injuries per year, we are quite clearly driving ourselves to death. I find nothing to love about that. I feel like I am watching millions of my fellow citizens commit slow-motion suicide.
B. Carfree is offline  
Old 09-29-13, 06:50 AM
  #9  
Blue Belly
Senior Member
 
Blue Belly's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Vermont
Posts: 1,200

Bikes: Pinarello Montello, Merckx MX Leader, Merckx Corsa Extra, Pinarello Prologo, Tredici Magia Nera, Tredici Cross

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 2 Posts
Originally Posted by GodsBassist View Post
I could not disagree with this statement more. We've become so dependent on cars as a society that our mobility is defined by it. A full one third of Americans are ineligible to get a driver's license due to age or ability and are made immobile because of it. The remaining two thirds feel so much pressure either socially or because it's the only infrastructure that there is that they feel like they have to own a car, further perpetuating the cycle. This is the exact opposite of independence.

Clearly, I fall in the 'blight' category but cars are also tools, as Alekhine said. I don't know that we should regulate cars out of existence, as everybody has the right to choose that route. I DO wish that we would stop incentivizing them and subsidizing them. Any mode of transportation should be fully borne by the purveyors of that mode. This includes parking and roads. I suspect that if motorists were forced to pay for the entire infrastructure in up-front and transparent usage fees, the car would be extinct in a decade.
You make some good points. My point of view is based on having owned & then not owning a car. The ability to get in the car & go anywhere at any time is tough to lose. We have a very limited range when we are w/o the automobile. That's great for some people in certain situations. Not for those of us who live up a mountain road where winters can get rough or the grocery store 6 miles out & 1200' down a 3.5 mile dirt road. We have cars now. I haven't been w/o for many years. Can't imagine being w/o.
I think that things need to change. I can't imaging cars disappearing unless we absolutely can't afford them.
You make a great point about the continuing over production. I often wonder why we allow this. It's quite disgusting. A well built car isn't difficult to maintain. & almost no car is well built these days.
Blue Belly is offline  
Old 09-29-13, 07:04 AM
  #10  
Blue Belly
Senior Member
 
Blue Belly's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Vermont
Posts: 1,200

Bikes: Pinarello Montello, Merckx MX Leader, Merckx Corsa Extra, Pinarello Prologo, Tredici Magia Nera, Tredici Cross

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 2 Posts
Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
Independence? Relying on the fossil fuel extraction industry for basic mobility functions that are readily achieved by human power is hardly independent, IMO. While a powered wheelchair does indeed greatly expand the horizons of a disabled person, it is not quite the same situation when an able-bodied person chooses to restrict their life to what they can do in the same wheelchair. By the way, I do all my shopping without using a car and several of the stores I frequent are five miles away. (We do get a bit of rain in Oregon.) In fact, yesterday's grocery haul did indeed include a dozen eggs and one and one-half gallons of milk, as well as some produce. And yes, it was raining.



I appreciate that love is blind. Other than the fact that they both move, it's hard for me to see much similarity between a bike, which augments muscle power, and a car, which relies almost entirely on fossil fuels to move a person. A car could be thought of as a device whose primary function appears to be to translocate reduced carbon compounds from underground onto the bodies of humans.




Since commuting is only 20% of American car use, using different types of motor vehicles for commuting and pleasure isn't much of a change. Also, where do you think those electric cars get their energy from? The American electrical grid is about half coal-fired. Any significant increase in demand, like for personal transportation machines, is far more likely to be met with increased burning of coal than any other means. Do you think the emissions from burning coal are clean? Or, worst case, burning wood? Locally, much of our electricity is now being generated by burning wood and our air quality has suffered greatly since the wood burning plant went in.

There's no free lunch. We're using up millions of years worth of energy resources per year in what is clearly not only a needless gluttony, but is damaging our personal health. Back when a typical American household had about half the cars of today's homes, we didn't have an obesity epidemic and type II diabetes was nearly unheard of, especially among young people. Quite aside from the 35,000 direct deaths and 2.4 million injuries per year, we are quite clearly driving ourselves to death. I find nothing to love about that. I feel like I am watching millions of my fellow citizens commit slow-motion suicide.
Like it or not, the idealist attitude doesn't work for everyone & your argument on fuel type only represents only one angle. There are surely going to Be drawbacks for any path we choose. We aren't going to force everyone to live in self contained skyscraper cities, as "efficient" as it sounds.
I agree with you about our societal problems. I might argue that electronic media has a close relation, in timeline, that the auto. We have serious issues to face, in many spectrums.
Blue Belly is offline  
Old 09-29-13, 07:40 AM
  #11  
wolfchild
Senior Member
 
wolfchild's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Mississauga/Toronto, Ontario canada
Posts: 6,854

Bikes: I have 3 singlespeed/fixed gear bikes

Mentioned: 22 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2297 Post(s)
Liked 1,101 Times in 556 Posts
I do believe that cars are tools for getting from point A to point B, but not everyone needs those tools. Public transit bus or train are also vehicles and they're just tools like a car. I think the problem in our society is that cars have become objects of adoration and a status symbol for a lot of people. Some people have become slaves and prisoners to their car and they just don't see any other alternative, they think it's impossible to get around without their machine...Lifestyle choices determine if you need a car or not. I also believe that there would be much less obesity and population would be much healthier if more people rode their bikes and walked instead of driving everywhere.
wolfchild is offline  
Old 09-29-13, 07:49 AM
  #12  
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: 43 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 6 Times in 5 Posts
Originally Posted by Blue Belly View Post
I'm an avid car enthusiast. I don't wish to see the gasoline engine be come extinct. I do, on the other hand, hope to see the electric car become much more prevalent. I believe that the hybrid car is a sham. I refuse to buy a car that has two power sources which add to my maintenance costs & still feeds the oil industry & creates pollution, even if at a reduced rate. If not for the hybrid there would be a bigger push for the all electric car with a greater range of travel.
I personally see the car as a tool. It's just not currently in my tool box.

But, obviously, it's an extremely important tool to many people. In fact, it's so important that it evokes a visceral emotion... sort of at the level where you equate my car with some extension of your body... like "my foot".

Blue Belly's response characterizes that feeling well. Strong thoughts about cars and the direction it is taking.

I can sort of empathize because I tend to feel that way about my bicycles.
gerv is offline  
Old 09-29-13, 07:54 AM
  #13  
wolfchild
Senior Member
 
wolfchild's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Mississauga/Toronto, Ontario canada
Posts: 6,854

Bikes: I have 3 singlespeed/fixed gear bikes

Mentioned: 22 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2297 Post(s)
Liked 1,101 Times in 556 Posts
Originally Posted by Blue Belly View Post
Cars represent a level of independence to us that is tough to achieve, otherwise. Go get a gallon of milk & a doz eggs, 6 miles away, on a rainy day.
Actually I feel a lot more freedom and independence when on a bicycle then inside a car. When I am on a bike I don't have to ride on the road all the time, I can ride pretty much anywhere I want to and take short-cuts that I could never do in a car...Being stuck inside a car every single day for most of your life is not really independence, it's slavery. I don't have a problem renting or borrowing a car once or twice per year when making a long trip out of town, but I wouldn't want to be stuck in one every single day.
wolfchild is offline  
Old 09-29-13, 08:12 AM
  #14  
Blue Belly
Senior Member
 
Blue Belly's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Vermont
Posts: 1,200

Bikes: Pinarello Montello, Merckx MX Leader, Merckx Corsa Extra, Pinarello Prologo, Tredici Magia Nera, Tredici Cross

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 2 Posts
Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
Actually I feel a lot more freedom and independence when on a bicycle then inside a car. When I am on a bike I don't have to ride on the road all the time, I can ride pretty much anywhere I want to and take short-cuts that I could never do in a car...Being stuck inside a car every single day for most of your life is not really independence, it's slavery. I don't have a problem renting or borrowing a car once or twice per year when making a long trip out of town, but I wouldn't want to be stuck in one every single day.
I agree that we won't all agree. We all like & dislike different things. We all have different situations. I don't love the car as many use it, but I sure do need it. & I sure do like taking a day trip to a destination 4 hrs away, on a whim. I don't see a car as a vice. That's pretty extreme thinking. Especially considering the location of things I need on a regular basis. If I was, or wanted to be, a city dweller, it could make perfect sense to go w/o. Not all of us have, or want, that lifestyle.
Blue Belly is offline  
Old 09-29-13, 08:20 AM
  #15  
Machka 
In Real Life
 
Machka's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Down under down under
Posts: 52,061

Bikes: Lots

Mentioned: 140 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3177 Post(s)
Liked 464 Times in 273 Posts
I may wade into this later ...

But for now, we've been using our tool to move almost everything we own into storage, and tomorrow, we're going to use our tool, to take the rest of our stuff with us to a new state to start a whole new life.

Thank goodness for our tool.
Machka is offline  
Old 09-29-13, 09:32 AM
  #16  
350htrr
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Canada, PG BC
Posts: 3,850

Bikes: 27 speed ORYX with over 39,000Kms on it and another 14,000KMs with a BionX E-Assist on it

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1022 Post(s)
Liked 51 Times in 44 Posts
My truck has "become" a tool for me, I basically only use it for camping fishing getting stuff home from the store, but my car er cars, were an extention of myself. 90+% of every mile I put on my car was for "fun/excitement"... I used to just rip around endlessly enjoying the thrill of speed and cornering and being faster than most anybody... 4.7 sec. 0-60, 12.9 sec. 1/4mile in my daily driver...
350htrr is offline  
Old 09-29-13, 09:35 AM
  #17  
Roody
Sophomoric Member
 
Roody's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Dancing in Lansing
Posts: 24,221
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 711 Post(s)
Liked 5 Times in 5 Posts
If there were no cars, the grocery store would not be 6 miles away. It would be 6 blocks away, or less, within a few minutes' walking or cycling distance. There would be a streetcar stopping very close to your front door that would take you to the thriving central shopping district within a short time also.

One of my interests is old maps. I have studied them and seen how much our cities and small towns have changed in order to accommodate the cars. People don't stop to think how our entire world is built up with the car in mind. When we talk about a carfree city of the future, we're talking about something very different than what we have now.
__________________

"Think Outside the Cage"

Last edited by Roody; 09-29-13 at 09:40 AM.
Roody is offline  
Old 09-29-13, 09:44 AM
  #18  
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: 8 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 7 Times in 7 Posts
Originally Posted by Blue Belly View Post
Cars represent a level of independence to us that is tough to achieve, otherwise. Go get a gallon of milk & a doz eggs, 6 miles away, on a rainy day.
The automobile is an engineering marvel, even to this day. People love their machines.
Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
Independence? Relying on the fossil fuel extraction industry for basic mobility functions that are readily achieved by human power is hardly independent, IMO.

I do all my shopping without using a car and several of the stores I frequent are five miles away. (We do get a bit of rain in Oregon.) In fact, yesterday's grocery haul did indeed include a dozen eggs and one and one-half gallons of milk, as well as some produce. And yes, it was raining.
You are both right. For most people, a car does represent independence, because it allows them to go where they wish, when they want to. In a local perspective, it does achieve independence for them.

But it is at a terrible cost, a global one. One that has been shifted away from the benefit to the extent that most people don't make the connection.

So many people lead such small lives. If they can participate in their family, go to work and back and have a beer, they are good. That's the extent of their horizon and they like it.

Others who are waking up, will protest the Keystone pipeline, and drive to the rally. Even the best of us must accept the car's role in getting the goods and services to our home. I mean we must accept it, even if we don't want to, we have no choice. We may eliminate our personal use of the car, but even local food comes by truck and is grown by people who show up in their cars to pick the food.

It is a tool. A very high priced and dangerous tool. We can discuss the issue among the choir like now and acknowledge the costs. We can set good examples. We can write to our congressmen and attend rallies against the worst of the symptoms. I'm not sure we can address the whole problem. Simply because too many people with power are invested in it and it would take a redesign of our entire infrastructure to overcome the problem.
__________________
"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 09-29-13, 09:48 AM
  #19  
Blue Belly
Senior Member
 
Blue Belly's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Vermont
Posts: 1,200

Bikes: Pinarello Montello, Merckx MX Leader, Merckx Corsa Extra, Pinarello Prologo, Tredici Magia Nera, Tredici Cross

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 2 Posts
Originally Posted by Roody View Post
If there were no cars, the grocery store would not be 6 miles away. It would be 6 blocks away, or less, within a few minutes' walking or cycling distance. There would be a streetcar stopping very close to your front door that would take you to the thriving central shopping district within a short time also.

One of my interests is old maps. I have studied them and seen how much our cities and small towns have changed in order to accommodate the cars. People don't stop to think how our entire world is built up with the car in mind. When we talk about a carfree city of the future, we're talking about something very different than what we have now.
I like your thinking. I don't think the population would support that here, or many of the places we live. I live in a state of 600,000 people. Most of those are condensed into a small area. It would take a huge re dispersing of wealth & another huge change in our society, in general. While some of those changes would be really awesome, a large majority of our population would laugh at us with their votes.
Blue Belly is offline  
Old 09-29-13, 09:54 AM
  #20  
Smallwheels
Senior Member
 
Smallwheels's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: I'm in Helena Montana again.
Posts: 1,402
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 19 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Tools improve life and accelerate technological progress. Where would we all be without any type of motorized vehicle ever being invented? I imagine that people would still be living in small cities. Larger cities would be along coastlines and along rivers. Sail powered travel would be more prevalent. Horses would be everywhere. Horses are expensive tools to own and maintain. They also pollute a lot.

International cultural exchanges would be more difficult than today. Even amongst people living in the USA there would be big differences between the eastern and western parts of the country. Perhaps an internet would have been invented sooner than it was. Maybe telephone service would have blossomed faster than it did.

One huge impediment to technological growth would be the efficient gathering of raw materials needed to make things. Transporting those things would also be much more difficult.

Cars and other motorized vehicles have created the society we now have. The speed with which one can move information, products, and raw materials is the measure of a society. It governs the power of society.

Transporting people via cars is part of that equation. Cars allow the right people for the right job. Without cars there would be a barrier for some people to fill jobs that suit them. Imagine a scientist or engineer refusing some jobs because they live too far away. Of course such barriers could be overcome but not everybody wants to travel longer distances to work without a car. We know that already by observing our coworkers who won't ride a bicycle just one mile to get to work.

Horses just couldn't take the place of cars.

Cars are beneficial tools of our society. Without them we would still be in the iron age.

I was involved in a car wreck that ruined my career as a musician. The injury damaged my neck which affected my fingers. I didn't start hating cars. I just hated the idiot who ran a stop sign because he wanted to save five seconds on his way home.

Automobiles might be one of the greatest tools ever put to use in the world. That doesn't mean they aren't abused or over abundant. Some of them are objects of art. That just makes them more fun. Even with that being said, there are no automobiles out there that I just really desire enough to buy.
Smallwheels is offline  
Old 09-29-13, 09:59 AM
  #21  
Roody
Sophomoric Member
 
Roody's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Dancing in Lansing
Posts: 24,221
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 711 Post(s)
Liked 5 Times in 5 Posts
Originally Posted by 350htrr View Post
My truck has "become" a tool for me, I basically only use it for camping fishing getting stuff home from the store, but my car er cars, were an extention of myself. 90+% of every mile I put on my car was for "fun/excitement"... I used to just rip around endlessly enjoying the thrill of speed and cornering and being faster than most anybody... 4.7 sec. 0-60, 12.9 sec. 1/4mile in my daily driver...
Is a truck the best tool for camping, fishing, and grocery runs? It sounds like using a sledge hammer to hang a painting. If you don't think a bike is an adequate tool for these activities, maybe you could try something like a Honda Civic with AWD. Just a suggestion... I don't know what your personal needs/wants are, but maybe this would save you some money and pollute a lot less. And the groceries would travel better than they do in the bed of a pickup.

And you don't enjoy riding your bike fast? Try hammering down a hill on a performance bike... If there's a curve on the hill, you will discover what "cornering" really means! I find that the "sensation of speed" can be as great on a bicycle as in a sports car. YMMV.
__________________

"Think Outside the Cage"
Roody is offline  
Old 09-29-13, 10:13 AM
  #22  
Roody
Sophomoric Member
 
Roody's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Dancing in Lansing
Posts: 24,221
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 711 Post(s)
Liked 5 Times in 5 Posts
Originally Posted by Blue Belly View Post
I like your thinking. I don't think the population would support that here, or many of the places we live. I live in a state of 600,000 people. Most of those are condensed into a small area. It would take a huge re dispersing of wealth & another huge change in our society, in general. While some of those changes would be really awesome, a large majority of our population would laugh at us with their votes.
Well, it will only be a few years before people from NYC and Boston are moving into Vermont to escape rising sea levels and worsening storms caused by excess carbon in the air. Maybe then Vermonters will quit laughing at those who were trying to warn them.

I think many people who live in Burlington could do quite well without owning cars. However, I doubt if cars and trucks will ever disappear entirely from rural areas. The population is too small to bother with. If there are 600,000 (lucky) people living in Vermont, that's equivalent to the population of my metro area, which is only the third largest in my state.
__________________

"Think Outside the Cage"
Roody is offline  
Old 09-29-13, 10:24 AM
  #23  
Blue Belly
Senior Member
 
Blue Belly's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Vermont
Posts: 1,200

Bikes: Pinarello Montello, Merckx MX Leader, Merckx Corsa Extra, Pinarello Prologo, Tredici Magia Nera, Tredici Cross

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 2 Posts
Originally Posted by Roody View Post
Well, it will only be a few years before people from NYC and Boston are moving into Vermont to escape rising sea levels and worsening storms caused by excess carbon in the air. Maybe then Vermonters will quit laughing at those who were trying to warn them.

I think many people who live in Burlington could do quite well without owning cars. However, I doubt if cars and trucks will ever disappear entirely from rural areas. The population is too small to bother with. If there are 600,000 (lucky) people living in Vermont, that's equivalent to the population of my metro area, which is only the third largest in my state.
hit Art Hop in Burlington & you'll see the number of people who move around on bikes. It's impressive. If I worked & lived there, is be on the bike as much as possible. I don't think NYC types would love the lifestyle here too much. Then again....
Blue Belly is offline  
Old 09-29-13, 10:28 AM
  #24  
I-Like-To-Bike
Been Around Awhile
 
I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Burlington Iowa
Posts: 28,543

Bikes: Vaterland and Ragazzi

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 11 Post(s)
Liked 594 Times in 384 Posts
Originally Posted by Roody View Post
Well, it will only be a few years before people from NYC and Boston are moving into Vermont to escape rising sea levels and worsening storms caused by excess carbon in the air. Maybe then Vermonters will quit laughing at those who were trying to warn them.
What is your definition of "it will only be a few years"?
I-Like-To-Bike is offline  
Old 09-29-13, 10:39 AM
  #25  
350htrr
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Canada, PG BC
Posts: 3,850

Bikes: 27 speed ORYX with over 39,000Kms on it and another 14,000KMs with a BionX E-Assist on it

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1022 Post(s)
Liked 51 Times in 44 Posts
Originally Posted by Roody View Post
Is a truck the best tool for camping, fishing, and grocery runs? It sounds like using a sledge hammer to hang a painting. If you don't think a bike is an adequate tool for these activities, maybe you could try something like a Honda Civic with AWD. Just a suggestion... I don't know what your personal needs/wants are, but maybe this would save you some money and pollute a lot less. And the groceries would travel better than they do in the bed of a pickup.

And you don't enjoy riding your bike fast? Try hammering down a hill on a performance bike... If there's a curve on the hill, you will discover what "cornering" really means! I find that the "sensation of speed" can be as great on a bicycle as in a sports car. YMMV.

A truck is the only way to move my camper/boat, I don't want/need a 2nd vehicle for driving around anymore, thus I use the truck for what needs to be moved, since I don't use my truck for thrills I actually use less fuel by about 60% than I did with my car... I get as much thrill from my bike as I used to get in my car, so I'm not missing anything.
350htrr is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.