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  1. #1
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    Anyone car-less?

    I am fed up with putting money into my 94 pickup truck that is falling apart. I am seriously considering taking time off and going carless for a while. With 2009 here, it might make for a good "resolution" too. See how long I can go.

    Work is 4.5 miles away, bikeable
    Shopping is all within 2 miles.
    Only problem is visits to family (Half Moon Bay about 30 miles) would involve taking Bart from Berkeley, and having them pick me up. Kind of tricky.

    Anyway, anyone else go carless for a while?

    Pros? Cons?

  2. #2
    No-Brakes Cougar
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    You could probably bike it from Berkeley, if you have your druthers. Here are the BART Bike Rules. From there you'd have to map it out, which station to get off at, etc... Could probably take Skyline to 92?
    R.I.P. Ronnie James Dio ~ July 10, 1942 – May 16, 2010

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary the No-Trash Cougar
    You could probably bike it from Berkeley, if you have your druthers. Here are the BART Bike Rules. From there you'd have to map it out, which station to get off at, etc... Could probably take Skyline to 92?
    Yea there are rush hour rules on BART unless you have a foldup bike. Honestly, I only go over there once every 2-3 weeks anyway...I talked to my family and they don't mind picking me up. This is kind of exciting, and scary at the same time! Worse comes to worse, my truck will be parked in front of my place and if I cant stand it anymore I will get it fixed.

    Might be kind of cool to see how long I can go though...

  4. #4
    MTT
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    I sold my car over a year ago and I don't miss it. My wife and I share one car, but since it was my decision to sell my car, I go with out most days. It sounds like you are in a semi-urban area; you will be fine. You will save a ton of money, and since your commute is so short, even if the wind is 50mph you could walk right? Cars suck and I hate trucks even more!!!! Sell it you are better off............MTT

  5. #5
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    30 miles isn't bad. Especially for a trip that isn't all that often. Worst case is you have to rent a car. I've been carless since summer '06 and I live in Wisconsin.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schmucker
    30 miles isn't bad. Especially for a trip that isn't all that often. Worst case is you have to rent a car. I've been carless since summer '06 and I live in Wisconsin.
    Cool. How do you manage? Shopping? Work? Weather? Family? Fun weekends? etc etc

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by MTT
    I sold my car over a year ago and I don't miss it. My wife and I share one car, but since it was my decision to sell my car, I go with out most days. It sounds like you are in a semi-urban area; you will be fine. You will save a ton of money, and since your commute is so short, even if the wind is 50mph you could walk right? Cars suck and I hate trucks even more!!!! Sell it you are better off............MTT
    This is going to attack my inner laziness like never before

    I am thinking of times I need to go to Costco for stuff etc etc...hmmm, I can have a friend take me I mean

    Now the real question is, my truck is currently in a parking lot behind Kragen. Dead. Do I have it towed in the morning to my place? Or to work? (huge lot there, doesn't matter) Where would be less tempting or frustrating seeing the truck but not being able to use it?

  8. #8
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    I could never part ways with my car. I'm a certified car nut. I don't think I could manage without one.
    2002 Schwinn Aluminum Comp. Beater.
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  9. #9
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    Since I've started commuting, I have a love/hate relationship with my SUV. I love being able to make multiple stops all across town and load up all kind of cargo in the SUV, but I hate being in traffic (especially rush hour traffic). Whenever I'm sitting in traffic, I think to myself that I could be at my destination already if I were on my bike. Finding a parking spot in a car is a pain in the butt as well. I'm' doing ranting because I'm sure that I'm preaching to the choir.

  10. #10
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    I don't know how people drive in the city. I've never had a car, and barely even have a drivers permit. I think I would probably die if i had to drive or take the bus everywhere. Bike commuting is really easy where I live, but I would still do it if i lived somewhere else. Cars are nice to have (or its nice to have friends with cars) for long trips, hauling stuff, going to races etc etc, but I would hate myself if I drove one everywhere all the time.

    Keep your car, but use is sparingly.

  11. #11
    I Tried Them ALL... Moderator
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    The Bay Area has one of the best public transportation systems in the US. Take full advantage of it....the buses too. Man, I already miss it up there!

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  12. #12
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    I'm car-less, have been now for the better part of a full year with non at all and had one but only used it for big hauling trip to do laundry etc and that's for the last 2.5 years. I live on a small island, the roads aren't great, but the traffic is horrible, especially where I live and anytime I drive - using someone elses vehicle and get into traffic I get aggrivated sitting there and wish I was on my bike.

    Only issues I have is I don't have a properly setup commuter with permanant fenders etc, nor do I have proper rain gear so when the weather gets nasty it's hard to get about without at least getting dirty - this is something that I plan on remedying for '09 though My bros live about 14 miles away and I have no issue riding there and back, even with my recent family addition of a puppy - who used to travel in a basket, but who has quickly outgrown that and no travels in a backpack and weighs upwards of 17lbs.
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  13. #13
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    one

    I got rid of my car a few months ago. I ride to work and to shopping in the city. I use my wifes car or zipcar to go MTB, or other stuff outside the city.

  14. #14
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    4 months ago I ditched the truck myself.

    Ride about 120-140 miles a week. Good stuff..

    I haven't lost much weight, but thats because riding enables me to eat a ton of food and not gain any It certainly takes a certain amount of dedication and a large lifestyle change.. but its nice to keep it so simple. I live in phoenix arizona which is a *MASSIVE* city. I just live within 10-15 miles of everything I need. I walk to the grocery store, grab about 4-6 bags worth of food and walk it home. Sometimes I just pack up my backpack full of stuff and ride that home.

    You find ways to adapt for sure. I can't even start to count how much cash I have saved. No gas, insurance, maintence, etc etc... the bike takes its own brand of love, but thankfully its cheap.

    I am getting a motorcycle soon, but that is because I need to drive to tucson to see my sick brother. Thats about it
    2008 Specialized Rockhopper -- STOLEN! *cry*
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  15. #15
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    Ok I puckered. I was all set to take my truck to work and just let it sit there. I took it to the shop near me. Apparantly it is an easy fix, not expensive.

    THAT said however, I have decided to leave my truck at work full time anyway. Not be tempted with it at my place, and go "car lite" only using it when absolutely necessary.

    I feel good having this as a fallback, but also excited about trying to change my habits

  16. #16
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    Congrats! If you start riding full time prepare for an increase in the food bill.. when I started riding full time nothing could keep me from eating every thing in sight.
    2008 Specialized Rockhopper -- STOLEN! *cry*
    09 Stout SE(Its like your sister, cheap and fun)

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shwaa
    Cool. How do you manage? Shopping? Work? Weather? Family? Fun weekends? etc etc
    I have a touring bike with front and rear racks and Ortlieb rolltop panniers for going to the grocery store. Rarely do I need more than the rear two. I live 3.5 miles from work. It's a 12 minute commute in the summer. It can be a 30 minute commute with a winter headwind at -30F. Weather is. Buy fenders. I don't really care about my family, so that's not much of a concern. Only my parents and my grandma live in the area. So if I have to go out to my parents' place I go to my grandma's and drive her there in her car. A fun weekend for me is riding my bike. The trailhead is about seven miles away. I work weekends, but on my days off during the week I ride.

    Quote Originally Posted by OhioGuy82
    I could never part ways with my car. I'm a certified car nut. I don't think I could manage without one.
    I own a '77 Corvette and used to ride motorcycle. Cycling is much more enjoyable. Little worry about getting pulled over doing things for adrenaline on a bicycle, but quite a bit more in the Corvette. Maybe in a decade when I've had a real job for a while I'll go back to the Corvette and finish up my last project on it.

  18. #18
    No-Brakes Cougar
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    If you leave your truck at home, be sure and not leave it on the street for too long or park it in a driveway so you don't get a delinquent vehicle ticket.

    My girlfriend and I have two cars between the two of us, but we bike and/or take public transit as often as possible. I have a lot of reasons for bicycle commuting, the main one being that I simply enjoy it. I'd rather not go completely without a car as we do go on frequent road trips and have other reasons for needing a car. My GF was considering selling her car or taking it off the road for awhile. I still have 2 1/2 years until mine is paid off, so it isn't going anywhere for awhile!
    R.I.P. Ronnie James Dio ~ July 10, 1942 – May 16, 2010

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary the No-Trash Cougar
    If you leave your truck at home, be sure and not leave it on the street for too long or park it in a driveway so you don't get a delinquent vehicle ticket.

    My girlfriend and I have two cars between the two of us, but we bike and/or take public transit as often as possible. I have a lot of reasons for bicycle commuting, the main one being that I simply enjoy it. I'd rather not go completely without a car as we do go on frequent road trips and have other reasons for needing a car. My GF was considering selling her car or taking it off the road for awhile. I still have 2 1/2 years until mine is paid off, so it isn't going anywhere for awhile!
    I can leave it at work as long as I want, which is nice. Guarded lot, fenced in. No big deal.

    My truck has been paid off for 11 years which is nice. All the more reason to keep it around for emergencies, AND all the more reason to use it sparingly so I don't need a new car/ car payment!

  20. #20
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    My daughter has taken BART from dublin to SF state three times a week for the last 2 or 3 years. Shes totally converted from the bad driving habit she picked up living at moms out in the valley for a few years and rarely if ever takes her accord into the city anymore.

    Now if I could just get her back on a bike. . .

    These things take time I spose.

    Take advantage of BART and enjoy the riding. It would be really cool if there was a way to shuttle your bike up the 92 to skyline so you could glide down to the coast. Sheesh I couldn't imagine riding that now. It was hecka crowded in the 80's and 90's before I moved away.

    Good luck getting free.

  21. #21
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    I really tried to go carless this year. Despite temps getting down to around -30 at times and often wind speeds ranging from 5 to 40 mph depending on the day. The main thing holding me back was that I had one hell of a time getting to work after the first snow storm. They don't salt the roads here, instead they plow the top layer of snow away and throw dirt on the rest and let the traffic sort out the difference. It also took about 3 days for them to finish clearing off the roads. I didn't actually fall, but at one point i was sliding sidways on two wheels and one foot
    After a full summer to biking to work, i was Just plain exhausted after 5 miles of snow, battling tire ruts and cold air in my lungs. I got to work and everyone thought i was crazy, and i didn't disagree with them once. Perhaps if my city starts doing proper snow removal I'll try again.
    I am in the process of getting rid of four cars and me and my girlfriend will be sharing one.

  22. #22
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    This thread has some really good points! I'm also a certified car nut, but I've recently sold my ol porshie to pay some bills and ride the commute for a while. I live less than 3 miles from work (Arlington, VA) and 4 from downtown DC, as well as plenty of nearby shopping and paved trails throughout.
    That being said, I've also been eating everything in the fridge, and I'm worried that next season I won't be able to get to the trails/mountains when I want to. Might go car-lite like some have said, for those times I need to get my bike somewhere without too much hassle. Zipcar is a good idea!

  23. #23
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    Well I have been thinking about the car thing a lot lately, especially about getting to the trails. The few trails I get to, I ride to. They're mostly XC stuff, so the risk of damage is minimal. However, if you DH/FR/AM/etc and you have a decent chance of bike damage, OR riding there on said bike is too insane....

    then you probably need a car. It sucks, but its true.
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  24. #24
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    Im car-less since I cant get a drivers license because of my vision and decied for a bike instead of a moped becuase of the laws they are trying to pass to require a vision test for owners. So now I have a bike to commute on and I love it. Keeps me in shape so I dont have to go to the gym or track and have to pay for it( everyone on my swim team jokes because my quads and calves are the biggest and I can barely jump).

  25. #25
    ong
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    I haven't had a car for the last four years. I live in Portland, and work mainly out of my house, which obviously makes things a little easier. I have an Xtracycle for grocery shopping and various other cargo-intensive trips, and my "around-town" bike (mountain bike with drops, slick narrow tires, and full fenders) for most of my regular trips, visits to clients, etc. The main thing in the NW is having good rain gear and good fenders. Waterproof shoes are a nice thing to have, too.

    It is a drag having to ride to singletrack, because there really isn't much close to Portland -- that's my biggest regret in not having a car. But I always felt really guilty driving a bike anywhere! Driving in general has started to seem increasingly irresponsible to me -- it's only feasible from an environmental standpoint if most of the people in the world don't do it. I guess I spent the first half of my life driving around, so I'm pretty comfortable with giving it up for the second half.

  26. #26
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    I am also car-less. Being a full time student means limited income and I don't want to pay gas and insurance. So I bike.

    I want to re-iterate some good points I've read and make a couple of my own.
    First use BART, in Saint Louis we have the Metrolink but it is the same. Using this opens up a lot more of the city in terms of daily accessibility.

    Second buy fenders. The reasons become very obvious after your first ride in wet weather.

    Third - get a U lock that mounts to your bike frame. Cable locks are cumbersome. I use a Kryptonite U lock. I am sure that there are other equivalent locks.

    Fourth - Use head and tail lamps. Your safety has no price tag. Motorists text while they drive. Make yourself visible.

    Fifth - If you don't have a bike work bench, get one. Get bike tools too. Riding a bike everyday over sometimes shoddy tarmac means wear and tear. Poor maintenance will lead to broken parts. I built my own bike work bench for <$30 from these plans:
    http://journals.neebu.net/khuon/archives/000517.html

    What else do you fellow commuters do?

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by jasontkennedy

    What else do you fellow commuters do?
    Great suggestions, here are some more:

    Make sure that your bike is going to be comfortable to ride every day for extended periods. This may mean adjusting components or swapping out for larger ones, like a longer quill (or headset spacer), longer seatpost, riser bars, larger pedals, cushier seat, etc...

    Carry a small tool kit with you, including patch kit, spare tube, hand pump, tire levers, multi-tool and crescent wrench (if you don't have quick release skewers). Walking your bike when you're 10 miles from home sucks.

    Always carry at least a little water and a snack, just in case. If you're blood sugar drops too far, you won't be going anywhere.

    Always carry ID and some kind of medical alert (if necessary) in case (God forbid) something happens to you and you are unable to tell rescue workers who you are or what you need.
    R.I.P. Ronnie James Dio ~ July 10, 1942 – May 16, 2010

  28. #28
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    Thanks for the thread, guys. I have to say I`m a little envious of everyone with the gumption to live without a car these days. For me, it would be consderably more difficult than for people in city areas with good public trans systems, but still not impossle as has been demonstrated buy the ONE non-DUI adult I know around here who has never had a drivers license or car in his 50-some years on this planet. I just don`t have it in me. Anyway, keep it up- you`re awesome!

    JTK- thanks for the repair stand link. I`ve been mulling over ideas for building myself one but so far hadn`t come up with a clamping method as simple and slick as that pipe clamp. Much better than my current method- hanging my bikes by the seat off the rung of a 6 ft ladder!

  29. #29
    I Tried Them ALL... Moderator
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    I totaled my car, and got my license suspended for a full year. I took advantage of this and commuted everywhere, logging 2500 miles in the process. When the DMV decided to reinstate my license, a year later- I lost 70 unwanted pounds...the judge almost did not believe the old and new license pictures were of me!

    Just out of habit- I still ride about 100 miles a week. My suspension gave me a new hobby I cannot get enough of! The only time I drive, is to truck my XC race bike up the mountain. By making the world greener- my body got meaner...looking, that is!
    "The ONLY person who needs to race.....is the entrant"

  30. #30
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    Ride your bike everywhere you need to go for a whole year and you will love your car on those days of 100 degree heat, thunderstorms on the way to work, trying to ride threw the snow in your snowsuit and carrying goods home from the store agaist a 30MPH wind

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Byke Dood
    Ride your bike everywhere you need to go for a whole year and you will love your car on those days of 100 degree heat, thunderstorms on the way to work, trying to ride threw the snow in your snowsuit and carrying goods home from the store agaist a 30MPH wind
    Yeah, you'll love your car if you're weak.

  32. #32
    Fat-tired Roadie Moderator
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    OP, how often do you visit Half Moon Bay? Owning an older vehicle can be a money trap, and you may be able to make a good guestimate as to what the truck is costing you - insurance as a fixed expense, and gas and repairs when you're using it.

    Enterprise will rent you a car for $30/day (really more after insurance and buying gas) and Zipcar has a $70 day rate on some cars in Berkeley (although they sometimes have deals depending on when your reservation is.)

    If you visit Half Moon Bay once a month, your insurance rates are what mine are, and your truck miraculously stops requiring gas or maintenance, you'd already come out more-or-less even on using rentals or zipcars instead of owning.

    Jeeze... Now I want to sell my truck. Except I drive it about twice a week during racing season...
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  33. #33
    master blaster
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    no car, a bike has been my transportation for a bit over 3 years.
    Quote Originally Posted by ISuckAtRiding View Post
    The dude is like 120lbs, tops lol he can run any tires he wants without issues, i'm sure.

  34. #34
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    I haven't owned a car since 1981. I live in a city, which makes things easier. Commute about 15 miles 180 times a year, take public transport the rest of the time.

  35. #35
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    I have been carless a couple months...but that is ending soon...with mixed feelings I am buying a car..I will still bikecommute but tough in such a rural area to go 100% carless..I have to get out more ...It will be easier for groceries & some errands, but I probably could have got by with rides or taxi for those (there are a couple taxis about 5 miles away in the "city", all 4 blocks of it), but to go do things on weekends, visit family, friends, etc. is tough without a car. I am also not sure how I will do biking when it starts raining instead of snowing - ick! - don't know how you rainy zone commuters handle it.

  36. #36
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    My wife and I went car less for almost 8 years, and other than some of the winter commuting and grocery shopping it wasn't too bad.

    Once our oldest hit high school, and our youngest started getting into swimming we found our transportation needs outstripped the bikes and what public transportation was available. So for the past couple of years we've owned one vehicle that mostly sits, but it's nice when we have to get one or both kids someplace that doesn't jive with other means of getting about.
    If you go looking for trouble, you can be sure it's gaining from behind.

  37. #37
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    I`m not fully carless, but don`t use the car to work that often. I normaly take the buss if the snow gets too much. (like today).

    I owned a Vespa GTS250 for a couple of years to commute on. Sold the Vespa and bought a bike.

    Thats 2 years, 11,000 miles, 36 kg`s away.......
    Disclaimer. I now sell bicycles and bicycle tyres.

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  38. #38
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    I have a truck, I use it about once a week on big grocery hauls with the gf and her roomie. And maybe once a month to go home from college 120miles one way (the main reason I still have the truck)

    With summer work I put on about 6500 miles last year, excluding working during the summer I bet i put on around 2000-2500, 95% of it was going to and from school

  39. #39
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    Pretty much the same here...just that I won't see snow

    we have a car that is used a lot by the wife and when it is necessary we both jump in.

    I bought the bike and a few months later I sold a Vstar 250.

    for me that was 10 months - 1,115 commuting miles - and 10Kgs ago

    Quote Originally Posted by fux
    I`m not fully carless, but don`t use the car to work that often. I normaly take the buss if the snow gets too much. (like today).

    I owned a Vespa GTS250 for a couple of years to commute on. Sold the Vespa and bought a bike.

    Thats 2 years, 11,000 miles, 36 kg`s away.......

  40. #40
    Got A Lust for Life...
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    Been car-less for a year now. Family is a 42 mile ride. Great training.
    I am immune to your disdain.

  41. #41
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    I was car-less for 7 years. Lately, I have been missing those years, but I am too soft to reignite the commuting passion in the middle of the winter.

  42. #42
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    So I have a question for those of you who don't have cars.

    Do you ride off-road? If so, how do you get to trails? If not, how'd you find our forum?

    There are certainly circumstances in which trails are so easy to access or cars are such a pain to own that most mountain bikers in a community might not have one, like when I was in college or when I lived in New York, but I think that most mountain bikers I've known in most communities I've lived in have had cars and that not having one made going off-roading very difficult.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch
    So I have a question for those of you who don't have cars.

    Do you ride off-road? If so, how do you get to trails? If not, how'd you find our forum?

    There are certainly circumstances in which trails are so easy to access or cars are such a pain to own that most mountain bikers in a community might not have one, like when I was in college or when I lived in New York, but I think that most mountain bikers I've known in most communities I've lived in have had cars and that not having one made going off-roading very difficult.
    I consider road miles to/from the trails to be fitness miles, and I like riding them. Even though I have a car, I only drove to about 5 of the 80 trail rides I did last year. My pre/post trail road sections can be up to 16 miles, but are usually about 2~3 miles.

  44. #44
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    Jeeps are my other hobby.... I'm on my third, but I look at it differently than just transportation. With the bike as my main transport, I am able to make the Jeep more of a 'trail rig' than a road friendly vehicle, but I can still use it when I need to (like today when we got ANOTHER foot of snow overnight). Being as rural as I am, I kind of need a vehicle, and it kind of has to be a 4x4. Might as well have fun with that too...
    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

  45. #45
    Fat-tired Roadie Moderator
    Reputation: AndrwSwitch's Avatar
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    I think close to half my car trips during the summer are taking my bike somewhere - racing, trail rides, etc. I live in Seattle, so the nearest off-roading is over an hour's ride and if I'm going to spend that much time on-road, I want to do it on a road bike.

    While my friend has stories about using a bike to get to a ski shuttle to go skiing, I'd much rather just drive my truck all the way to the resort. Or at least the shuttle pickup. My gear's heavy and my skis are taller than I am.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  46. #46
    mtbr member
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    I have a lot of decent trails within 10-15 miles of my appartment, so I use the ride to warm up (the ride home can be a bit painful). Otherwise, I take the train or cheat and drive with someone who has room on his bike rack.

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