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I need encouragement and confidence to take the plunge.

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 need encouragement and confidence to take the plunge.

Old 10-03-13, 06:16 AM
  #1  
kjmillig
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I need encouragement and confidence to take the plunge.

I live in a small but very densely populated city in Taiwan with my wife and 2 daughters aged 18 and 20. I have a scooter, bicycle, and car, and my girls have a bike and an e-bike. My car is old and in need of repairs that will cost more than the car is worth, but we've grown attached to having it even though I drive it usually only once or twice a week at between 6-12 km round trip.
I've done the math and know that we can cut our transportation costs in half or more by dumping the car, even using a taxi to get to church on Sundays.
What I need is encouragement from others with families that have done it. Getting used to not having the convenience of a car? Grocery getting? Being invited to friends' homes that live too far to bike, etc.
Tell me I'll be fine, and why.
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Old 10-03-13, 06:38 AM
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I was car light for 5 years or so and just recently got rid of it a couple months ago. I haven't had one moment where I thought, "I wish I had my car." It's something I should have done a long time ago. My advice is take the money that you would have put towards your car and put it in an 'emergency transportation' fund. Park the car. Even if you use a taxi every time you would have used your car, I bet it lasts a long time. If a week or month passes and you or your wife are totally over being car free, you're just back to square one.

We get groceries every weekend. I have front and rear panniers as well as a backpack. I also have a cheap trailer that I use once a month or so if we have a lot of heavy stuff we need to buy. (Last week was dog food and kitty litter)

I'm a single dad with a full time job, for what it's worth. My 2nd grader last week opted to walk to school instead of ride his bike because, "it's only a mile, it's not that far. We don't need the bikes for that." Your perspective of what's reasonable or far completely changes.
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Old 10-03-13, 10:30 AM
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Well, I encourage you to do it. That said, I am divorced, no kids and know nothing about Taiwan, but I am car-free. The best way to know about car-free is to just start leaving your car parked, where you can access it and try getting around by bike and doing errands and see what you encounter. Keep your car until you no longer need it.

Your bike should work for most of your transportation needs. Start small and work your way up.

Here's a website about cycling in Taiwan if that helps. It's got a page on trains and bikes in Taiwan.

Here's a page about bicycles on the MRT. Multi-modal travel like that should take care of some of your longer trips to friends. Ride to the station, take the train, then ride from the station to your destination.

http://sinotour.com/tourguide/taipei...imrt/bikes.asp

From what little I read, you might want to consider a folding bike for at least some of your cycling.
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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 10-03-13, 10:40 AM
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When i lived in Toronto, i had no problem living car free, the transit and taxi system was abundant...If i would've needed to haul something big around i would have paid a service or a friend or rented a vehicle, out here in the country it's different... I would have to go miles before i had access to any kind of inadequate taxi or mass transit infrastructure so i need a car...
I say go for it...Ther money you say will be enough to get a ride in a taxi so go for it...
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Old 10-03-13, 10:48 AM
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Ween yourself from the car by taking the "convenience" factor away from it- pull the battery and store it someplace out of sight. Or if the ignition key is made of pure medal and not the kind with electronics embedded in it, place it in a ziplock freezer bag with some water in it and turn it into an ice cube.

Grocery runs could be done by the whole family at once with everybody using their bag(s) of choice, or more frequent trips with smaller loads. A trailer or taxi could be used for truly heavy/bulky items like pet food, flour, and rice.

Social gatherings will likely need a bit of logistical planning. Perhaps ride your bike(s) to a mutual friend's house and then tag along with them?
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Old 10-03-13, 11:12 AM
  #6  
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Originally Posted by no1mad View Post
Ween yourself from the car by taking the "convenience" factor away from it- pull the battery and store it someplace out of sight. Or if the ignition key is made of pure medal and not the kind with electronics embedded in it, place it in a ziplock freezer bag with some water in it and turn it into an ice cube.
For the car's sake it needs a little exercise on a regular basis. Hiding the license plates would also be good way to discourage yourself from driving, yet also leave it so you can start up the car every so often.
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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 10-03-13, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by kjmillig View Post
I live in a small but very densely populated city in Taiwan with my wife and 2 daughters aged 18 and 20. I have a scooter, bicycle, and car, and my girls have a bike and an e-bike. My car is old and in need of repairs that will cost more than the car is worth, but we've grown attached to having it even though I drive it usually only once or twice a week at between 6-12 km round trip.
I've done the math and know that we can cut our transportation costs in half or more by dumping the car, even using a taxi to get to church on Sundays.
What I need is encouragement from others with families that have done it. Getting used to not having the convenience of a car? Grocery getting? Being invited to friends' homes that live too far to bike, etc.
Tell me I'll be fine, and why.
What about your wife? Does she ride a bike?
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Old 10-03-13, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by kjmillig View Post
I've done the math and know that we can cut our transportation costs in half or more by dumping the car, even using a taxi to get to church.
You already nailed it. You'll save enough to more than cover some weird emergency, and still have some left. You'll figure ways to work around it. Rent a car once in a while if needed, and make a big grocery run for heavy stuff, go visit your friends or whatever, and then go back to saving again.
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Old 10-03-13, 05:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
What about your wife? Does she ride a bike?
She knows how but doesn't. She also hasn't driven a car since being in Taiwan because of the traffic (4 1/2 years). I also have a 125cc scooter that can get me and one passenger to farther locations when needed and haul a fair load on the footboard. Obviously not a family vehicle, but useful for many things.
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Old 10-03-13, 06:25 PM
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Originally Posted by kjmillig View Post
What I need is encouragement from others with families that have done it. Getting used to not having the convenience of a car? Grocery getting? Being invited to friends' homes that live too far to bike, etc.
Tell me I'll be fine, and why.
How did people live on Taiwan before the rise of automobiles? Is there any reliable transit? Do other people survive without cars?
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Old 10-03-13, 09:49 PM
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What city are you in? It's been a while since I've been to Taiwan, but when I was there, most people I knew were car free, though they were mostly young and single. Many of them had scooters, which are ubiquitous, and got them just about everywhere, though don't think I knew any who got around by bike. From what I remember of Taiwanese cities, they're very dense with decent pubic transportation, lots of taxis, and neighborhoods have the essential amenities. Many families still operate on the old fashioned shop every day at the local street market model vs. the weekly run to the giant supermarket, so groceries shouldn't be an issue. I would think it's a lot easier to go car free in Taiwan than in most places in the US.

As an aside, when I visited as a kid, and I'm not that old, Taiwan was decidedly poor, and private cars were a a rarity. Even air conditioning was a luxury (oy, now that was rough; imagine Kaohsiung in the summer without air conditioning). Everyone got around by bus. I even remember the old trikes pedaled by leathery old men you'd hire for short local trips. And of course there was anything like the traffic congestion that exists now. Car free in Taiwan should be eminently doable.
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Old 10-04-13, 06:42 PM
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Wilfried, from what you describe you had to have visited as a kid more that 30 years ago. I lived here in 1984-84 and, yes, there were way fewer cars and many more people got around by bike or scooter. AC in homes were almost unheard of.
Now, many homes have AC and many college grads see a car as their fist big necessity. Most families still only have one car and use scooters for almost everything. When I was here in the 80s there were lots of bikes on the road. Now relatively few. However, in town the distances are short unless you live in Taipei, Kaohsiung, or Taichung. I don't live there.
MRTs are also only found in Taipei and Kaohsiung.
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Old 10-12-13, 11:58 AM
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I was last in Taiwan in the mid 2000's, so a few years, but not decades. Scooters were not ubiquitous when I was a kid. There were probably more bikes though. I'm glad for the air conditioning, but miss the trikes.
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Old 10-18-13, 05:21 PM
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I haven't driven my car in a while now. My wife agrees with me on the cost savings. Why is it still so hard to take that final step and sell it?
That's sort of rhetorical. I know why. It's because I grew up in a car-centric society where it's just not normal to not have a car, maybe one for every driver in the household. At one point there were 6 cars parked at my parents house; Mom's, Dad's, Dad's work truck, mine, brother's, sister's. We would not have dreamed of each of us not having our own transportation.
Please reassure me we can do this.
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Old 10-18-13, 05:36 PM
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If you've already done it for a while, and it went well, you can do it longer.
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Old 10-18-13, 05:54 PM
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Originally Posted by kjmillig View Post
I haven't driven my car in a while now. My wife agrees with me on the cost savings. Why is it still so hard to take that final step and sell it?

Please reassure me we can do this.
Take pity on the car. Sitting is not what cars do well. It needs to be used. So sell it, if only for the car's sake.
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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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