Design Template by Bikingtoronto

« Really?? | Main | Forest Glen Pedestrian Bridge »

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8345198c369e200d834e5125969e2

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Car or No Car, Part 1:

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

I've lived pretty easily without a car since I moved to DC 7 years ago. I bike, walk, metro, bus, taxi and use the flexcar. I also have a friend whose car I can borrow if needed. I didn't start using the flexcar until about three years ago, and it has helped, but it's not essential. I've considered getting a folding bike too...but not having one hasn't slowed me down.

As far as calculating your costs, I've taken the charts from Chris Balish's book and created an online calculator: http://www.practicalzen.com/car_cost_calculator.html

Great blog, keep posting!

Living w/o a car is very easy- especially in DC. If you live close to where you work, it is a great way to get around. The only problem is finding or equipping a bicycle to carry groceries- and making the bike ergonomic. In America, we are hung up on racing and mountain bicycles- which are really, really bad for your back. My lower back is not in the best of shape- and I had to put a handlebar extender on the bike to allow me to sit up straight. I have no need to go fast on my bike- just a need for stability,ergonomics, and cargo capacity. I have had many run ins with bike mechanics and bike store people who just dont understand that bikes can be used for EVERYDAY purposes and not just as toys, or for some kind of competition macho thing .They dont want to sell you a bike that is healthy. For me, sitting up while biking is essential- and it is very hard to find a bike in a DC area bike store that has "cruiser" bikes or bike w/ high handlebars.Thank god for the internet.You can bypass these morons and find just about anything online now.Also- a very practical thing for the tiny minority of us car-free bicyclists who DO NOT use Flexcars- I found a wonderful steering stabilizer- from a guy named Henry Cutler- in Holland- his company is called Herny's Workcycles- and this little thing will keep your front wheel from swinging over and knocking over your bike while you are busy trying to load it with beer and food.It is called a "sturrbegrenzer" and costs about $10-15- Henry sent me two of them. Small inventions like this are just not seen in the USA- and we need more bikes merchants/manufacturers - like Henry- that cater to people who NEVER or SELDOM have the need of a car- like myself.Ive been bike commuting for 16 years-and biking in DC my entire life before that- and now is no time to stop.You just need the right stuff to make it possible ..-W

Living w/o a car is very easy- especially in DC. If you live close to where you work, it is a great way to get around. The only problem is finding or equipping a bicycle to carry groceries- and making the bike ergonomic. In America, we are hung up on racing and mountain bicycles- which are really, really bad for your back. My lower back is not in the best of shape- and I had to put a handlebar extender on the bike to allow me to sit up straight. I have no need to go fast on my bike- just a need for stability,ergonomics, and cargo capacity. I have had many run ins with bike mechanics and bike store people who just dont understand that bikes can be used for EVERYDAY purposes and not just as toys, or for some kind of competition macho thing .They dont want to sell you a bike that is healthy. For me, sitting up while biking is essential- and it is very hard to find a bike in a DC area bike store that has "cruiser" bikes or bike w/ high handlebars.Thank god for the internet.You can bypass these morons and find just about anything online now.Also- a very practical thing for the tiny minority of us car-free bicyclists who DO NOT use Flexcars- I found a wonderful steering stabilizer- from a guy named Henry Cutler- in Holland- his company is called Herny's Workcycles- and this little thing will keep your front wheel from swinging over and knocking over your bike while you are busy trying to load it with beer and food.It is called a "sturrbegrenzer" and costs about $10-15- Henry sent me two of them. Small inventions like this are just not seen in the USA- and we need more bikes merchants/manufacturers - like Henry- that cater to people who NEVER or SELDOM have the need of a car- like myself.Ive been bike commuting for 16 years-and biking in DC my entire life before that- and now is no time to stop.You just need the right stuff to make it possible ..-W

Will -- Try the Breezer Town Bikes (at City Bikes and Capitol Hill Bikes). They're everything you're looking for.

Re. the car, once I decided to get rid of mine, I did the calculation. I'd had it 5 years. Insurance was $1,200 per year (so $6,000 total). Difference between what I bought it for and what I sold it for was $7,000. So, not counting gas, oil changes, and repairs (fortunately not many), costs were $13,000 over the five years.

How many miles had I gone in those five years? Nearly exactly 13,000 (and I think that was mostly friends borrowing my car).

$1 a mile!

I should have bought my dream bicyle. Plus 3 or 4 extra!

Good for you for putting your pedals where your mouth is.

Liz hits it right on the head -- most of the costs of owning an automobile are basically unrelated to how much you use it. You don't save much by using it less, but you save a whole heap if you decide just to get rid of the thing.

One tip I have is to recalibrate your thinking. Not only will you be spending less on transportation, you will be spending very differently. If you choose to live without a car, a $40 cab ride now and then is not extravagant. It's actually downright frugal if it allows you to save hundreds of dollars a month on a car payment and insurance. Hell, a limousine every now and then is probably not out of line. You haven't taken a vow of poverty, so make every effort to maintain your current level of convenience. Spend freely on zipcars, taxis, new bikes, and gifts for people who give you rides or lend you their cars. I still think you'll come out ahead.

Thanks Liz- Right now I don't need a new bike- but I'll keep it in mind- when the one I have wears out or I get sick of it .FYI- for folks interested in really great European bikes- the kinds that are hard to find here- Henry Cutler passed on this information to me:Dutch Bicycle Company
1-904-824-3416
[email protected]
http://www.dutchbikes.us/ Henry says that he exports his bikes to this company.Everyone should be made aware of the kinds of bikes Henry and Dutch bikes have- they are totally off the radar for most USA bike stores and they actually have specific work uses.Henry sells worldwide, and not just your standard USA style racing and mountain bikes.In much of the world- bikes are not just toys or for weekend bike trail excursions- they are everyday vehicles and considered both practical and necessary.I live on the Hill in DC where many people drive monster SUVs but love living in the city- and they always freak when I ride home from Safeway or Fragers with a full load of groceries or plants- it is simply seen as impossible for many folks to live with only a bicycle for transport.I guess it is seen as eccentric to carry home your groceries on your bike .But believe me- it's possible- and you don't have to load yourself up with fancy bike gear, racing regalia or funny clothes to make it happen. Just get the right bike - go at a reasonable speed, watch out for crazy drivers,and cluster your bike with lots of baskets !!!

The comments to this entry are closed.

Banner design by creativecouchdesigns.com

City Paper's Best Local Bike Blog 2009

Categories

 Subscribe in a reader