Co-workers Friends Reactions to going CarFree/Lite- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Co-workers Friends Reactions to going CarFree/Lite

    So I was talking to some friends and co-workers about eventually going car free. They all reacted like it was the end of the world, and asked the usual questions. How will you get to work, buy groceries, travel, etc. Wow how car dependent we are as a society! But for me everything I do in life is within a 6 mile or 10km radius. So my ultimate plan is to sell my car and join a car sharing program or hire someone for the few times I need a vehicle.

    For me it seems a waste of resources to have a car for these short trips. Commuting to my furthest destination is takes 30 minutes.

    I would like to hear other people responses when they decided to go car free/lite

  2. #2
    I'd rather be on my bike
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    If I lived in a bigger city, I would be car free. My sister is in Chicago, and if I lived there, I would ride my bike or take the many options of public transportation. She and her husband have one car, but because of where he works, they pretty much need it. She went a few years without one. You manage with groceries, errands, etc.
    The pedals turn, not just the left one, but the right one too.

  3. #3
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    Not a practical decision for me where I live.

    One job is 22mi one-way commute. The other is about 7, but I rarely go to the office.

    Sometimes I bike commute to either, but could never go full time. I don't need a car for grocery shopping. There is a grocery store across the street. I can walk. A car share program is coming to the city this year, but I have my doubts that it will have any meaningful coverage in the part of the city where I live. Transit is not an option for my commute. Riding my bike the whole way would take less time. I do live on a major bus route, with way too many f'ing stops within walking distance (which gets at how inefficient the bus system here is).

    My wife works 20mi the other direction, in the next county over, where there is ZERO public transit availability.

    Both of us sometimes travel around the region for work. Me, moreso. I can easily drive 50 mi in a day with multiple stops making deliveried (with my personal vehicle, being reimbursed for mileage). For her, she works occasionally at other office locations for all or part of a day, and has company-wide meetings to attend on a regular basis. Some have transit access. Others do not. Either way, transit is too slow for her to be able to shift locations midday, or doesn't reach one or more of those locations.

    It's really too bad, because I like using transit when it's practical and quick enough to at least be competitive with driving.

    Worse for us, though, is that none of those options really give us the ability to mtb, hike, or paddle. Can't take a 16ft canoe on transit. Transit here doesn't go anywhere you can hike for more than a couple of hours. Rentals/car share don't have the ability to fit a rack, or are too damn expensive for just a couple of hours.

    I am in a two-car family for the foreseeable future.

  4. #4
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    We've got one car, since my wife works 10km out of town. So I do get all the benefits for grocery-runs and whatnot. But if I'm going somewhere by myself it will usually be by bike.

    The Canada-thing certainly makes things tougher, depending where you're located. There's a good couple of months where you not only need to be committed, but also prepared.

    The best example I can give is making a quick stop on the way home, when it's -20C out. You get nice and warm riding there, and then spend a few minutes doing some shopping. Then you put your slightly sweaty gloves gloves back on and head out...and within a few minutes your hands are in INTENSE PAIN and you swear you're going to die.

    I've had it happen a few times, and you do eventually figure it out. But winter definitely makes multi-tasking a lot harder.

  5. #5
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    I think the unfortunate reality is that most of the US isn't nearly bike friendly enough to go car free. I have to get on the highway to get a lot of places, and everything is just far too spread out unless I really wanted to severely limit where I could shop, eat, work, etc. I'm regularly going to my sister and mother's houses, both of which are about a 1:15 drive. I live in the suburbs so there's no car share programs reasonably close to me. That's the case for many people. I realize this wasn't exactly your question...

  6. #6
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    It's an adjustment, but completely within the realm of possibility. I've not had a motorized vehicle in over 10 years. Going car-free requires serious behavior changes. Learning how to gauge the weather and pack appropriate clothing; making more trips for less things (who doesn't like a bike ride?); there are many options for hauling large loads with a bicycle: practice, patience and planning go a long way.

    Of course, I don't have kids and I have access to motor vehicles if I need them. Sometimes it's nice to get a few hundred miles away without taking a week to do so. But even camping trips are wholly possible on a bike. The only limits are those you place on yourself.

    Before I gave up my car, I realized I was using it about once a week. Except to move it to avoid parking fines.

  7. #7
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    I think I'm almost has car lite as I can possibly go without major life adjustments. The biggest hassle I put on friends and family, is I won't go places that I don't feel safely accessible by bike.

    My major problems are for work, I work at the same location probably 75% of the time, but the other 25% I have to bring a fairly cumbersome amount of equipment that would necessitate a cargo bike or trailer. The other being Rochester's rape by urban renewal and suburban sprawl. The one silver lining is because we are an Erie Canal city, the canal path links the city with most of the suburban villages that I'd like to go to.

  8. #8
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    My Dad in NYC always said "If you can't get it below Canal St., you don't need it", which left less than 1 square mile to shop, etc. It sounds like a similar mantra would work for you snailspace!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by newfangled View Post
    We've got one car....the Canada-thing certainly makes things tougher, depending where you're located. There's a good couple of months where you not only need to be committed, but also prepared.
    Two years in Ottawa, commuted by bike in six months relatively free of snow. They pile snow over the sidewalk and right lanes. I think one would be committed - to an asylum if you tried to commute there in the winter. Assuming you did not get run over by someone driving while looking through a slit of cleared windshield. That was almost 40 years ago and maybe its doable now, but I doubt it. Public transport was pretty decent then, so multi-modal by season worked.

  10. #10
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    Co-workers Friends Reactions to going CarFree/Lite

    It's not practical for me. I am a musician by trade and work all over the uk. Without a car I couldn't work. I try to bike everywhere I can though. I don't tend to use the car for personal trips.


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  11. #11
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    For my normal day-to-day life I could probably get by ok without my car. The bulk of my driving was my commute which I am doing entirely by bike now. The only reasons I won't give up my car is for the cargo capacity for trips to the home improvement store, and to get out to the mountain bike trails.

  12. #12
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    I have realized for bulkier items you can get delivery from a lot of the big box stores, but for me that might just be a few times a year. Yeah I agree its a lifestyle choice and location plays a key factor. I started out by cycling a few days a week, then gradually all the time. As for doing errands its so nice not having to worry about parking. I still have my car for now, but as soon as I sell it I will be car free and invest the money.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by snailspace View Post
    So I was talking to some friends and co-workers about eventually going car free. They all reacted like it was the end of the world, and asked the usual questions. How will you get to work, buy groceries, travel, etc.
    My now Mom-In-Law asked my now wife "Does he even OWN a car?" when I kept showing up on a bike. They kept moving the meet place further away from my home. But I had heard the snickering so I just went with it. They couldn't believe I would ride 30 miles and show up dressed well enough for lunch. So, she finally just asked. I still laugh at that stuff!
    "...the virus is all part of the plan to take down the cabal, man! The Bushies, and the oBamas. On the reals!" - anonymous

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fiskare View Post
    My now Mom-In-Law asked my now wife "Does he even OWN a car?" when I kept showing up on a bike. They kept moving the meet place further away from my home. But I had heard the snickering so I just went with it. They couldn't believe I would ride 30 miles and show up dressed well enough for lunch. So, she finally just asked. I still laugh at that stuff!
    Now that's some series commitment to bring right. Commendable.

  15. #15
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    Currently only have one car that my wife uses since she works 40 mins away. And I commute to work but running errands it is almost impossible since the nearest store is 30 mins driving

  16. #16
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    I am trying desperately to change jobs because I hate it, but working as a commercial electrician is impossible most of the time by bike. my work sites are 10-70 miles away and I start work at 7 am sharp and work until 3:30, outdoors, in the 100+ degree Texas heat in jeans and work boots on primitive work sites with no showers or running water or places to change clothes. try pedaling 25 miles each way with your lunch, a half-gallon water jug, a 40-pound tool bag, while wearing boots (or carrying them) and jeans (or carrying those too), on highways with 75 mph traffic at 5 am. no thanks. one of the many reasons I hate my job.

  17. #17
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    Its not practical for everyone, those who can should. The farthest place I have to go is work at 6miles, those of us who do it its a lifestyle choice. Some distance is a challenge, for me it will be weather in a few months. If 90% of my commute wasn't on bike lanes or paths I wouldn't do it.

  18. #18
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    I try and limit my driving as much as possible, I'm probably in my car 3x's/week. I'm trying to lower that, but maybe I'm not committed enough. I drove my gf (who trail ran) and a buddy to the trailhead yesterday instead of riding there. I'm also driving to the trail head today because I want to ride multiple miles on singletrack, and still need to do chores. I usually ride from the house though to the trails, ride to work 90% of the time, and do the majority of errands by bike.

    My plan is to just keep using my bikes more and more and my Jeep less and less. The G.F. got a nice Subbie, so we have been taking that on road/camping trips. I'm hoping I'll slowly fade out my Jeep from usage and it'll slowly rust in parking lot.

    I think what matters is to try to continually strive to bike more than you drive. If you keep doing that you will be making a difference in your life, the environment, and maybe your happiness.

  19. #19
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    Re: Co-workers Friends Reactions to going CarFree/Lite

    When I was living in Seattle, I did almost everything by bike. I still really appreciated having a car, though. I owned it outright, so it cost me insurance and whatever gas I burned and work I needed. I thought about getting rid of it, but decided I was using it enough that a car share (hate them, BTW) or rental would cost me more. And it's pretty convenient to be able to walk out my front door and hop in my car. Now, it's even more convenient. I have a garage. I used the car to go mountain biking, which was too long a commitment, with too low a proportion of actual mountain biking, if I tried to ride to it, go to races, visit my fiancée after she moved, occasionally go to far-away jobs or drive for work, and, after my nearby grocery store closed, go grocery shopping if I forgot to on my way home.

    I never wanted to be a hair shirt environmentalist or bike commuter. So I put some effort into giving myself the option. Living in a city, I often found it convenient and a pleasurable bookend on my work/school day. For errands, I went with whatever made sense to me at the time. Often, taking care of things by bike, on my way home. But not to save the planet or anything.

    I felt like my car-free friend often needed help from people with cars, and it was a little annoying. I wanted gas money from him in a way that I didn't really care about with people who I figured would probably drive me in their cars sooner or later. Don't be that guy. I also think when people decide they're going to go car-free all at once, it's not likely to work out very well. But when people find they've been able to dial their lives not to need a car and without giving up anything I care about, in a little envious.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

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