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Your Motivation For Becoming Car-Free or Car-Light

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.

Your Motivation For Becoming Car-Free or Car-Light

Old 10-22-13, 09:33 PM
  #51  
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Originally Posted by gerv View Post
A while back I read an essay by Dave Owen in which he pointed out that the average New Yorker consumes -- without considering themselves "green" or "eco-friendly" -- a lot less than any other population segment in North America, including many who have established themselves in "green" environments (for example, energy efficient housing or organic farms). For example, a green activity might entail purchasing local produce at a Farmer's Market. However, if looked at closely, procurement and purchase involves a lot of gasoline transportation. A New Yorker might instead purchase at a local market because it is simply closer.

The walk to the local market is an "elegant" solution.

The term elegant is described rather nicely here. I'm particularly impressed with engineering "elegance"
Again, have your motivations really changed or just your vocabulary?
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Old 10-22-13, 09:44 PM
  #52  
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Originally Posted by Ekdog View Post
Again, have your motivations really changed or just your vocabulary?
Vocabulary is important. If we constantly refine our thinking and choose our words with care, sometimes we discovery new things. Or we may see things with some skepticism.

I am a little uneasy when someone suggests I might be "green" or "eco-friendly" because I do a number of activities like ride a bicycle or eat as a vegetarian... .

The problem is this label gets applied to a large number of activities, some of which aren't really that resource efficient.
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Old 10-22-13, 10:02 PM
  #53  
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Originally Posted by Ekdog View Post
"Elegant"? That's an adjective that's often used in ads for cars.
I thought the term was trademarked by Apple Corporation for use in describing a rationale for choosing their overpriced products.
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Old 10-22-13, 10:04 PM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by gerv View Post
Vocabulary is important. If we constantly refine our thinking and choose our words with care, sometimes we discovery new things. Or we may see things with some skepticism.

I am a little uneasy when someone suggests I might be "green" or "eco-friendly" because I do a number of activities like ride a bicycle or eat as a vegetarian... .

The problem is this label gets applied to a large number of activities, some of which aren't really that resource efficient.
The same could be said about your newfound vocabulary. Commuting in a Cadillac or wearing a mink stole might be described as elegant. I suspect that terms like "green" and "eco-friendly" are being avoided by some because the enemies of the environmental movement have belittled folks who are concerned about what we are doing to the planet. We must be careful lest special interests put words into our mouths--and take them out.
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Old 10-23-13, 07:55 AM
  #55  
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Originally Posted by Ekdog View Post
I suspect that terms like "green" and "eco-friendly" are being avoided by some because the enemies of the environmental movement have belittled folks who are concerned about what we are doing to the planet. We must be careful lest special interests put words into our mouths--and take them out.
Quite the opposite. These enemies have applied the term to a much broader category. It's green to drive a Prius. Purchasing some greenish goo to clean your toilet is green too.

The term has been diluted. IMHO we need to keep looking for new terms, new definitions.
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Old 10-23-13, 12:25 PM
  #56  
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Originally Posted by gerv View Post
Quite the opposite. These enemies have applied the term to a much broader category. It's green to drive a Prius. Purchasing some greenish goo to clean your toilet is green too.

The term has been diluted. IMHO we need to keep looking for new terms, new definitions.
Maybe the definition of "enemies" has been expanded to include anybody/everybody who doesn't share the mindset of the person using the word.
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Old 10-23-13, 01:58 PM
  #57  
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Until cars are made of rainforest action network certified bamboo and fart out fairy dust instead of hydrocrabons/greenhouse gases I don't think anyone on this subforum is gonna be to into them. I count myself among that group .


Trucks on the other hand...
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Old 10-23-13, 05:39 PM
  #58  
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Killing the rainforest "at least in Brazil" bumps cars way off of the scale as far as the environment is concerned. We are literately cutting out the lungs of the earth and its ability to make oxygen and absorb Carbon Dioxide. http://www.washingtonpost.com/nation...y.html#photo=6

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/n...t-conservation
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Old 10-23-13, 09:18 PM
  #59  
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Originally Posted by Mobile 155 View Post
Killing the rainforest "at least in Brazil" bumps cars way off of the scale as far as the environment is concerned. We are literately cutting out the lungs of the earth and its ability to make oxygen and absorb Carbon Dioxide. http://www.washingtonpost.com/nation...y.html#photo=6

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/n...t-conservation
Then we need to work to save the rainforest AND reduce our use of cars.
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Old 10-24-13, 12:01 AM
  #60  
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Originally Posted by Ekdog View Post
Then we need to work to save the rainforest AND reduce our use of cars.
Noble sentiment. I have been interested is slowing the destruction of the Amazon rainforest since college. Thought we were making headway in the mid 2000s only see they are destroying them again in great gulps of land. How would you suggest people in our respective countries work to convince Brazil to slow down their growth and stop clearing the rainforest or get China and India to abandon their growth in cars? By the way, Brazil is one of the nations the US is working with to develop alternative fuels. Honestly I haven't any answers.
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Old 10-24-13, 12:29 AM
  #61  
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Originally Posted by Mobile 155 View Post
Noble sentiment. I have been interested is slowing the destruction of the Amazon rainforest since college. Thought we were making headway in the mid 2000s only see they are destroying them again in great gulps of land. How would you suggest people in our respective countries work to convince Brazil to slow down their growth and stop clearing the rainforest or get China and India to abandon their growth in cars? By the way, Brazil is one of the nations the US is working with to develop alternative fuels. Honestly I haven't any answers.
I don't know the answer to that. How would Brazil have stopped us from cutting down almost every tree in the state of Michigan 100 years ago? How will Brazil stop us from clear cutting old growth forests today in the western USA and Canada?

For that matter, how will China and India tell us that we should drive less? People come on this forum and say that we have no right to tell our neighbors in America that they should drive less. Then the same people tell us that we have every right to tell Brazilians what to do with their trees.

By by any measure, a North American's carbon footprint is many times larger than the footprint of a Brazilian, Chinese or Indian. And still you want to tell them that they must change while we do nothing. This moral hypocricy is very disturbing to many people in the world, especially in the developing countries.
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Old 10-24-13, 12:33 AM
  #62  
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Back to motivation ...
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Old 10-24-13, 12:53 AM
  #63  
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Back to motivation ...
Sorry, my bad. My motivation hasn't changed since I started. I just like riding a bike. Simple, clean non political and not dependent on anyone else.
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Old 10-24-13, 01:03 AM
  #64  
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Originally Posted by Mobile 155 View Post
Sorry, my bad. My motivation hasn't changed since I started. I just like riding a bike. Simple, clean non political and not dependent on anyone else.


Me too. If it comes down to it, I started commuting by bicycle when I was 6 years old. Why? It was quicker than walking, and everyone else rode their bicycles to school too. And I've enjoyed riding a bicycle from probably about 2 weeks after I first hopped on one.
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Old 10-24-13, 02:14 AM
  #65  
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Originally Posted by Mobile 155 View Post
Sorry, my bad. My motivation hasn't changed since I started. I just like riding a bike. Simple, clean non political and not dependent on anyone else.
"Simple and clean" I can understand, but don't you depend on your community to build and maintain the streets and roads you ride on? Doesn't money have to be allocated for them? Don't contracts have to be awarded? I hardly think any of that could be done without your depending on other people and political decisions being made. Am I missing something?
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Old 10-24-13, 02:28 AM
  #66  
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Originally Posted by Ekdog View Post
"Simple and clean" I can understand, but don't you depend on your community to build and maintain the streets and roads you ride on? Doesn't money have to be allocated for them? Don't contracts have to be awarded? I hardly think any of that could be done without your depending on other people and political decisions being made. Am I missing something?
Yes you are. You're missing the fact that this thread is all about describing your own personal motivation for becoming car-free or car-light ... which you have not yet done.

And this thread is meant to be encouraging ... not a series of attacks on people's personal motivation. We all have our own motivations for being car-free or car-light, and your attacks aside, people have done exactly as I had hoped ... they have talked about a variety of reasons why they were motivated to be car-free or car-light. There have been a number of really good posts here.


If you want to talk about the subjects you've brought up, talk about them in your own threads.


Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Why are you, or were you, car-free or car-light? What motivated you to take that step?
There are threads here from people wanting encouragement to become car-free or car-light ... maybe sharing what motivated those of us who have gone that route will encourage others.

Last edited by Machka; 10-24-13 at 02:41 AM.
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Old 10-24-13, 05:11 AM
  #67  
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Yes you are. You're missing the fact that this thread is all about describing your own personal motivation for becoming car-free or car-light ... which you have not yet done.

And this thread is meant to be encouraging ... not a series of attacks on people's personal motivation. We all have our own motivations for being car-free or car-light, and your attacks aside, people have done exactly as I had hoped ... they have talked about a variety of reasons why they were motivated to be car-free or car-light. There have been a number of really good posts here.


If you want to talk about the subjects you've brought up, talk about them in your own threads.
Yes, I have stated my personal motivation, which is, above all, concern about the environment and oil wars (See post number 46). I have not "attacked" anyone. I simply asked a couple of questions about one of Mobile 55's posts. Why are you so afraid of discussing all of the motivations people have for eschewing the car-centric lifestyle?

Last edited by Ekdog; 10-24-13 at 05:38 AM.
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Old 10-24-13, 05:28 AM
  #68  
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Originally Posted by Ekdog View Post
Yes, I have stated my personal motivation, which is, above all, concern for the environment and oil wars. (See post number 46) I have not "attacked" anyone. I simply asked a couple of questions about one of Mobile 55's posts. Why are you so afraid of discussing all of the motivations people have for eschewing the car-centric lifestyle?
I would like to keep this thread positive, thank you.

If you don't like someone's motivation, start a new thread about it.
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Old 10-24-13, 05:29 AM
  #69  
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
I would like to keep this thread positive, thank you.

If you don't like someone's motivation, start a new thread about it.
Nothing I have said is negative.
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Old 10-24-13, 05:43 AM
  #70  
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Originally Posted by koolerb View Post
Every time you can substitute a bike for a car on a trip you're doing a lot for your own well being, and just a little bit for the world.

That's my little ray of sunsunshine for the night. Cheers!
Well stated, sir (or madam)! I heartily agree!
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Old 10-24-13, 08:54 AM
  #71  
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I quit mostly because while I completely understand their mass appeal, cars are inherently trashy and nasty in my view of an ideal aesthetic world. I care about public spaces and what they look like and their impact on the human psyche. I care what the world I live in looks, smells, and sounds like, and I consider cars and the world created for them to be ugly in the extreme. Cars negatively impact my own life, with all their noise, smells, pollution, etc. And so it would be inconsistent for me to drive or own one.

R. Crumb did a comic back in 1979 called A Short History of America that sums it up pretty well for me, and that was now 30 years ago. It just continues to get worse.

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Old 10-24-13, 11:45 AM
  #72  
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I did it for several reason, many of you posted the same reasons.

Freedom: I never feel stuck when in traffic on my bike. In a worst-case scenario, I can get off and walk on the sidewalk

Fitness
: Okay, so I've gained back some weight, but that's partly due to living so close to everything now.... and I like beer too much. Still, I have a baseline amount of physical exercise I do every day.

Money: It's not that I can't afford a car. I had a car when I was poor, and I'm not poor anymore. It would cost me $100 per month to park at work. Gas, repairs, insurance, bleh. I'd rather spend the money on bikes, beer, and other things of my choosing.

Simple: Bikes are simple. Get a flat? Take a second to swap out the tube. Chain breaks? Grab your spare master link and toolkit, and you'll be on your way. Worst-case, walk your bike home, or put it on a bus. Cars? Try diagnosing a newer car that "just won't start". Nah. I'd rather not. I can't push the car home, unless I'm very close to home.

Stress-Free: I seldom get stressed on the bike - even in heavy traffic. I can't fully explain why, but it's true. I do get stressed in a car, even as a passenger.

Bragging Rights: It may be a character flaw, but I'm not above bragging. I love it when I ride into work in the pouring rain or covered in snow. The people at work are amazed.

However, things are changing. I'll be getting married in April (third time's a charm, right?) She owns a car. She does ride a bike - even to work sometimes, but she won't get rid of her car. I'll still get around my normal haunts (work, local bars, grocery store, coffee shop, etc) by bicycle. I may wimp out and take the car to places further out when the weather is bad.

Everyone has different reasons for riding, or not owning a car. They're all valid.
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Old 10-24-13, 11:55 AM
  #73  
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post


Me too. If it comes down to it, I started commuting by bicycle when I was 6 years old. Why? It was quicker than walking, and everyone else rode their bicycles to school too. And I've enjoyed riding a bicycle from probably about 2 weeks after I first hopped on one.
It reminds my childhood as well. When I got my first bike, not a hand me down but my own real first bike, I was about 9. It was a Schwinn knock off called a Western Auto Navajo or something like that. Big balloon tires, Single speed, sprung saddle, coaster brakes and green. I thought it was true freedom. I didn't care how the roads got there or how the foot paths got there or even who made them. All I cared about was exploring my world. I could ride all day and explore all of the Orange county town I lived in. Soon I could ride the several miles to Huntington Beach and as I did so I felt sorry for those stuffed into the buses moving back in forth on Beach Boulevard without a smile on anyone's face. But like losing Puff the Magic Dragon the care free days of youth get swallowed up by life. School, college, the military, marriage, raising a family, climbing the corporate ladder, getting bigger and better homes. Still for many years I stayed with the bike and even commuted with it for years, even when I was 22 miles away. Much better bike because it was bought with my own money. The real separation came when I moved to a mountain resort community and there simply was no where to ride unless you drove to a trail head or off the hill. It took 19 years for that to sort out.

But when I said I didn't have to depend on anyone I meant I could do things and go places on my schedule. As a kid you often had to wait for a ride from parents or friends and it was at their schedule. Same with a bus or even a train. With my bike I could just go. Knot's Berry farm was even within riding range.

After the kids are raised and life slowed down I could re-establish my relationship with cycling. I moved, as I had done from places where the weather didn't suit me. It took a while to get back into it but now we are back on my terms. I don't care if others follow me or go where I go, even though more and more people are doing just that. I just care about the wind in my face and the sun in the sky. I don't see cars as evil just overused. I didn't get back into cycling because of any environmental, Geo-political concerns I got back into for the very same reasons I did as a kid. Today I think nothing of riding 20 miles to meet a friend or friends for lunch. Many coming from 20 miles in the other direction. I have been known to ride 14 miles with 5000 feet of climbing for brunch with a friend. The sole reason for me being car light is because I want to be. Cycling is not secondary to anything in my decision to be car light every thing else is secondary to cycling being the motivator.
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Old 10-24-13, 01:39 PM
  #74  
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
I would like to keep this thread positive, thank you.

If you don't like someone's motivation, start a new thread about it.
I didn't know this was a thread for discussion of only the motivations that you personally think are positive, and you believe that environmental motivations are negative. Evidently some bikeforums member are motivated by environmental concerns and many would consider that to be a positive thing.
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Old 10-24-13, 02:14 PM
  #75  
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Originally Posted by Alekhine View Post
I quit mostly because while I completely understand their mass appeal, cars are inherently trashy and nasty in my view of an ideal aesthetic world. I care about public spaces and what they look like and their impact on the human psyche. I care what the world I live in looks, smells, and sounds like, and I consider cars and the world created for them to be ugly in the extreme. Cars negatively impact my own life, with all their noise, smells, pollution, etc. And so it would be inconsistent for me to drive or own one.

R. Crumb did a comic back in 1979 called A Short History of America that sums it up pretty well for me, and that was now 30 years ago. It just continues to get worse.
Hey, thanks for posting that! I love Crumb's work. Hadn't seen that one for quite some time. He certainly has an eye for detail.

I agree that cars are terribly anti-aesthetic. It's depressing to see them cluttering up some of our loveliest public squares here in Europe and to try to take a photograph of an ancient monument and have parked vehicles impinge on your view is the pits.

Last edited by Ekdog; 10-24-13 at 02:43 PM.
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