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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.

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Old 03-07-14, 10:04 PM   #1
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Car-free plan B?

There was a thread a while back on the Commuting forum asking how people get to work if they don't bike. The most common answer was driving.

So, car-free (and light) folks: let's expand the topic a bit! What's your plan B (or C or D) if you can't bike? What circumstances might make it impossible or undesirable to bike places? Does your location lend itself well to a lot of backup plans, or does it limit your options?

My own situation is nearly ideal: I live in a very small urban area, not very far from work, a decent grocery store, and two hospitals, and a short (5 mile) trip from the larger stores with cheaper supplies. My plan B is just walking, and I hung up the bike on a few of the high wind/low visibility snowfall days this winter. The worst injury I had (I got hit by a van 5 1/2 years ago) kept me off the bike for several weeks, but I was still able to walk. If I couldn't walk, I'm not sure what I would do: I'd probably have to get my partner to wheel me around on foot.
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Old 03-07-14, 10:13 PM   #2
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Plan B is riding another bike. Plan C is either walking or riding the bus. Plan D, once I stayed overnight in a motel next to work when the buses quit running and the streets were too treacherous for walking or riding. And I was the first person at work the next morning.
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Old 03-07-14, 10:26 PM   #3
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Walking. Where I live really limits me to just biking and walking, mostly.
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Old 03-07-14, 11:28 PM   #4
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I use bus and walking as my Plan B. For a while I was using taxis fairly often, especially when my son was ill. Now I would say taxis are Plan D or E. And honestly, now that my family lives with me and they have a car, the car is part of Plan B.
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Old 03-08-14, 12:17 AM   #5
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For me too, Plan B is my other bike. But when I crashed and shattered my shoulder, I spent 8 months going to work by walking 1.75 miles to the train station, taking the train 4 stops, and then walking another .75 mile to work. There was bus service for the first leg of the trip, but walking actually proved to be faster. Total commute time was about 3.25 hours a day.

I now live much closer to work, and could walk the entire way if need be. If I couldn't walk, I would probably have to telecommute or take a taxi because the bus only covers about half of the trip. For most other things I'd need, there's pretty good transit service.

I live in suburbia now, but there are three supermarkets, medical and dental services, a library, restaurants, a rock climbing gym with yoga classes, bowling alley, bike shop, shopping mall, and various other amenities within a mile radius of my apartment. Logistically it's easier than when I lived in the heart of San Francisco.

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Old 03-08-14, 12:34 AM   #6
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Plan A in town is mostly walking; bikes are for longer journeys and are plan B. Plan C is public transit (bus if close, train if over 100 miles), and then only if I can't use a bike or walk. Plan D is to rent a car. Plan E came into play the other night, which is to borrow a car. (Good friends came down with a serious bout of norovirus. They called to have my wife and I bring one of their two young children to our house while her father went to the hospital. Since we are no longer well set-up for transporting toddlers, we borrowed a friend's car.)
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Old 03-08-14, 05:01 AM   #7
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When I was completely car-free, I lived 6.5 km from work, and closer than that to shopping, library, church, Dr, etc.

I cycled to and from work unless the snow was too deep. In those circumstances, I took the bus or walked.

And I usually walked to shopping, library, church, Dr, etc. although I occasionally I rode my bicycle or took the bus.

Occasionally I used a taxi ... for getting to the airport, and when I seriously injured myself in 2001.

Every now and then I would rent a car.

And I use delivery services ... especially when I seriously injured myself in 2001.
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Old 03-08-14, 05:33 AM   #8
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There was a thread a while back [see below] on the Commuting forum asking how people get to work if they don't bike. The most common answer was driving.

So, car-free (and light) folks: let's expand the topic a bit! What's your plan B (or C or D) if you can't bike? What circumstances might make it impossible or undesirable to bike places? Does your location lend itself well to a lot of backup plans, or does it limit your options?

My own situation is nearly ideal: …The worst injury I had (I got hit by a van 5 1/2 years ago) kept me off the bike for several weeks, but I was still able to walk. If I couldn't walk, I'm not sure what I would do: I'd probably have to get my partner to wheel me around on foot.
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Occasionally you can't or don't feel like riding to work (weather, health, bike failure/loss...). How do you go to work, then, usually? (This is a poll)

Also (not in the poll), what's the degree of your unhappiness when you have to use other means to commute than bike? e.g. I'm very unhappy to take the smelly, dirty, crowded subway that is not only unreliable (schedule-wise) but also sometimes dangerous.

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Bike ~ 60%, car~ 30%, Train ~ 10% going to work; going home, if not driving, I take the train with bike...

Unhappiness: Car>>>>Train>>Bike.
After reading this current Car Free Living thread, I recalled that a taxi is one of my last ditch (plan E) alternatives, though basically a variant of driving a car. As a car of course, taxis are subject to those limitations, such as traffic jams, or bad weather with icy snowy roads, where a bike may actually triumph.

I’m fortunate that taxi availability is pretty optimal. My neighborhood, Kenmore Square, is a transportation nexus with continuously roaming taxis, and a hotel taxi stand one block away. The suburban town where I work has three in-town taxi services so I can easily call for one, for usually within about a half hour at most.

Another car variation is a rental, and agencies are closely available in downtown Boston and at my workplace. The latter will pick me up and return me to work. Taxi and car rentals are meant for seriously urgent and important work issues. The taxis are expensive; to take one to work is about $70. Car rentals are more time consuming during my busy day requiring about an hour to and from the rental office.

I was off the bike for about two months after returning to work from a bike accident that severely limited my walking ability. I would take a subway near my home to the Commuter Rail station in Boston. Then it was a two block walk from the suburban station to work. There was also a train stop about six blocks away, and I would get off there, and use the extra four blocks for some rehabilitative exercise.

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...The only "guilt" I have felt for being a cyclist is toward my fellow cyclists, rich or poor, because I have it so good...

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Old 03-08-14, 06:52 AM   #9
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After reading this current Car Free Living thread, I recalled that a taxi is one of my last ditch (plan E) alternatives, though basically a variant of driving a car.
Yes.. I'd have to make a taxi somewhere around plan E. But when I do need to reach for plan E, I'm glad I have the cab company number safely stashed. I probably spend less than $300 in cabs in one year, but it is a nice option to have.
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Old 03-08-14, 06:58 AM   #10
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If I cannot cycle someplace I drive... my ability to walk any distance is limited.

Today I am working 18 miles west of the city and would ride this distance in the summer but today I'll fire up the bikemobile which is also full of bicycle parts.
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Old 03-08-14, 08:43 AM   #11
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Yes.. I'd have to make a taxi somewhere around plan E. But when I do need to reach for plan E, I'm glad I have the cab company number safely stashed. I probably spend less than $300 in cabs in one year, but it is a nice option to have.
I also get down to Plan E once in a great while.

One time my bike (Plan A) was in the shop so I was taking the bus (Plan B) to work. While waiting for the bus one of those sudden Great Lakes rain squalls struck out of the clear blue sky. It was like standing under Niagara with accompanying violent winds. I was drenched to the bone. I ran home and changed just as my bus arrived. If I walked (Plan C) I would be more than an hour late. It was also much too late to call my son for a ride (Plan D). So I called the cab company (Plan E) for a ride. I explained my situation to the dispatcher and a taxi arrived shortly, so I was late for work by just a few minutes.

I've noticed that a lot of car drivers don't have backup plans. It's not that uncommon for a co-worker to call and say they can't make it in because their car broke down. I'm thinking, you only live a mile from work, why not just walk?
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Old 03-08-14, 09:15 AM   #12
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I also get down to Plan E once in a great while...

I've noticed that a lot of car drivers don't have backup plans. It's not that uncommon for a co-worker to call and say they can't make it in because their car broke down. I'm thinking, you only live a mile from work, why not just walk?
I have occasionally used plan E (taxi) when riding my bike and I have an irreparable problem. Once my pedal broke off at 6 AM about ten miles away from work, and I got a taxi. Fortuitously, a thundershower occured during the cab ride.

The major problem with using a taxi as a backup, besides availability and carrying cab fare (no problem for me with a cell phone and an ATM card) is transporting the bike. Invariably it has to go into the trunk, but doesn't fit. Fortunately I always have a bungee cord to keep the trunk lid from flapping about too much.
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Old 03-08-14, 09:30 AM   #13
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I never understand these posts. And... I am sure at some time in a distance future... some digital anthropologist will ponder these types of posts also. Why on Earth are so many people still traveling to work in the digital age? In America today... huge numbers of workers... work at home.

If someone chooses to actually forego motorized transportation why work at an occupation that requires regular appearances?
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Old 03-08-14, 09:58 AM   #14
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I never understand these posts. And... I am sure at some time in a distance future... some digital anthropologist will ponder these types of posts also. Why on Earth are so many people still traveling to work in the digital age? In America today... huge numbers of workers... work at home.

If someone chooses to actually forego motorized transportation why work at an occupation that requires regular appearances?
Wow. I cannot wrap my mind around the idea that it is a no brainer to you that its actually possible that every person who forgoes a car should have the option of the telecommute. So should the car free be a special breed who has the luxury of sitting at home at a screen in their pjs, and when they want to eat out, go to the grocery, or visit the zoo, go to the bank, whatever, they would rely on a service person who HAS to drive to that point because its hard to flip a burger at a restaurant from your own kitchen?

Possibly I am biased because everything I do is so physical. Worked in a foundry, at universitys, Have done that Oh so low brow thing like Growing Food on a farm, Jeeze. To bad I am not awesome enough to do and have done so many of the things from my own home that telecommuters find they cannot do without when they do leave their dens.
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Old 03-08-14, 10:08 AM   #15
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And on topic, in a pinch I can take a cab to the airport, 120 dollars each way. And I could have my packages picked up every day by the postman, though there are sometimes a lot of them.

There is a trolley system in the town I live near, seasonal, so in the summer I could ride part way to the post office and library with the tourists, but would have to walk or get a ride four or so miles to where the closest stop is.

Like some others here, when I was smashed up from a wreck, I did use my vehicle more over three months than I usually do. Walking was not really an option because of various injuries.
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Old 03-08-14, 10:10 AM   #16
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Wow. I cannot wrap my mind around the idea that it is a no brainer to you that its actually possible that every person who forgoes a car should have the option of the telecommute...

Possibly I am biased because everything I do is so physical. Worked in a foundry, at universitys, Have done that Oh so low brow thing like Growing Food on a farm, Jeeze. To bad I am not awesome enough to do and have done so many of the things from my own home that telecommuters find they cannot do without when they do leave their dens.


Well said. I work in a hospital and have to go there to administer the healing arts.
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Old 03-08-14, 10:11 AM   #17
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Yes.. I'd have to make a taxi somewhere around plan E.
So far, my use of taxis has been restricted to traveling to and from the airport when I have a late or early flight. It's a foreseeable need.

The reason I didn't use a taxi that one time I took a room in a motel was that driving conditions had gotten bad enough that taxis weren't picking up people any more.
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Old 03-08-14, 10:20 AM   #18
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Well said. I work in a hospital and have to go there to administer the healing arts.
Yes, I was trying to think about something really critical like paramedics or firemen, hospital workers. There are also construction workers, road repair, the guys who deliver your Amazon packages with your new carpel tunnel syndrome braces for typing on the keyboard all day...
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Old 03-08-14, 10:30 AM   #19
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In America today... huge numbers of workers... work at home.

If someone chooses to actually forego motorized transportation why work at an occupation that requires regular appearances?
“Getting there is half the fun.” (Cunard Cruise Lines)

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…BTW, one other enjoyable advantage of my job is that I have a nearly perfect commute and the ride to work is a pleasant part of the job. Indeed, I usually go into work on Saturday for a few hours by way of a long training ride during the nice weather, and even during the winter, partly to have a destination to ride.

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...when asked by my colleagues in my suburban work place, “Why don’t you move closer?” (than 14 miles distant from my home in downtown Boston), I reply that it’s a perfect distance for a morning bike ride...

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Old 03-08-14, 10:33 AM   #20
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Wow. I cannot wrap my mind around the idea that it is a no brainer to you that its actually possible that every person who forgoes a car should have the option of the telecommute.
Telecommute? Really? Did I use that term? I believe you might have a problem wrapping your mind around hew ideas. The idea of people trudging off to work is pretty much limited to the industrial revolution. It's OK to free your mind to modern ideas!

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To bad I am not awesome enough to do and have done so many of the things from my own home that telecommuters find they cannot do without when they do leave their dens.
I haven't a clue as to what it is you imagine "telecommuters find they cannot do without when they do leave their dens". Sort of reads like you have issues with telecommuters. I am sure you're plenty "awesome enough" (as you put it)... to earn income without having to drive somewhere to earn it.
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Old 03-08-14, 10:39 AM   #21
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Well said. I work in a hospital and have to go there to administer the healing arts.
You should move to America! Here in America we allow our citizens to actually decide for themselves what occupation they want to work in (and where to live). We don't have government assigned jobs here... that people "have to go to" like many/some countries do. No victims of occupations here!
However.... unfortunately we do have those who are victims of their own paradigms. That is what much of this reads like... at least from my perspective.

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Old 03-08-14, 10:50 AM   #22
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…I work in a hospital and have to go there to administer the healing arts.

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You should move to America! Here in America we allow our citizens to actually decide for themselves what occupation they want to work in (and where to live). We don't have government assigned jobs here... that people "have to go to" like many/some countries do. No victims of occupations here!
Actually, in hospital parlance one is granted privileges to administer the healing arts.

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Old 03-08-14, 10:57 AM   #23
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Plan b,c,d is use a different bike
Plan e take a bus
Plan f drive
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Old 03-08-14, 11:40 AM   #24
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I never understand these posts. And... I am sure at some time in a distance future... some digital anthropologist will ponder these types of posts also. Why on Earth are so many people still traveling to work in the digital age? In America today... huge numbers of workers... work at home.

If someone chooses to actually forego motorized transportation why work at an occupation that requires regular appearances?
Sometimes you have to take the job that is available... and quite a few of them cannot be done from your ass on a couch.

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Old 03-08-14, 01:25 PM   #25
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My plan B is my girlfriend's car. She drives and has no plans to give it up regardless of cost, but she rarely goes any place other than work so her car is always in the driveway. Where I live, there's no public transportation - even cabs are a rarity around here, although I do see one pass by on the main road every now and then. I was curious one day on what the cost would be to take a cab from home to work (20 miles), one day I decided to check just in case and it was $200. Damn, my monthly rate for insurance for my 18 year old car was less than that. That said, if my girlfriend didn't insist on having her car, I'd probably put my car back on the road.
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