Tag Archive: car free

TransForm’s Car-Free Challenge

The folks from TransForm recently sent us their announcement for their “Car-Free Challenge” to be held between June 1 and June 7, 2010.

They even made a cute video to help advertise it…although bicycles aren’t featured, I was pleased to see bike-carrying racks on the bus used in the video:

As an aside, way back in the late 90s, I attended a wedding in my hometown, and the bride and groom left their reception on his-and-hers mountain bikes with cans and streamers attached. That SCREAMS classy — screw the gas-guzzling limo; try a great alternative!

Book Review: “How to Live Well Without Owning a Car”

I recently had a chance to read How to Live Well Without Owning a Car: Save Money, Breathe Easier, and Get More Mileage Out of Life by Chris Balish (Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed Press, 2006).

Car Free

This is a well-crafted, thorough and enjoyable book. In the first part of the book, Balish focuses primarily on the financial implications of car ownership (did you know that the “true cost of ownership” is about TWICE what you paid for your vehicle?) and the financial freedoms available to those who choose to forgo such ownership and embrace other transportation choices. But, he doesn’t stop there — this book is packed with practical advice on the “nuts and bolts” of living a car-free or car-lite lifestyle. Balish covers it all: environmental and health considerations of car ownership and the resultant benefits of choosing a car-free life, carpooling and ridesharing, bicycle commuting and strategies for most conceivable transportation scenarios.

The book is peppered throughout by “real world” stories and examples from Balish’s communications with other car-free citizens (including Tampa’s own Julie Bond). These tidbits provide a “face” to this lifestyle and really help sell the concept.

Overall, I highly recommend this book — while I already live a pretty car-lite lifestyle, I became totally gung-ho to finally sell off my car and to reap the resultant financial benefits. In this book, Chris Balish presents his case in such a way that makes this a very real and very attainable choice for most people. And he does it without forcing anything down one’s throat — everything he describes is presented in a practical, rational framework. Two thumbs up!

Oh, and I’d like to thank the readers who recommended this book to me in the comments section of an article I wrote a few weeks ago. Thanks! And, I’m always on the lookout for other bike-friendly book recommendations, so if you have some favorites to share, please leave your recommendations in the comment section of this review…

Interesting Op-ed Piece — No Compliments for Bicycles?

A couple folks sent me the following opinion piece from the Christian Science Monitor (thanks Elizabeth and Jefro!)…basically, the author laments the fact that everyone is quick to compliment folks on their choice of vehicle when they roll up in a hybrid, but no one ever compliments someone who is totally car-free and chooses a bicycle as transportation.

This short but well-written editorial ties in beautifully with our article last week about “hybrids as fashion statements”. Check out the full CS Monitor article by clicking here, and tell us what you think: have you ever been complemented on your wise choice of pollution-free transportation?

I Need Your Advice on Going Car-Free!

Well, I’m really thinking hard about selling my vehicle and going unofficially car-free, but I need some advice…

go away car!

I don’t drive my vehicle much at all, and the money I can get for it will help offset bills and other financial obligations (and allow me to add an Xtracycle to my fleet). I will still have access to another car a couple days a week, so I won’t be totally car-free. The advice I could use from you readers out there who have chosen to free yourselves from the bonds of vehicle ownership is this:

1) What was the decision-making process you used to “let go”?

2) Any potential pitfalls I should think about?

3) What else do I need to know before making this step?

Any insight, personal experiences and other useful information will be greatly appreciated. I guess that technically, I don’t really need advice, per se, but more of a reassuring chat that suggests I’m ready to take this step in my life. So, any help you could provide would be just fantastic! Just leave your thoughts in the comment area, and again, I thank you.

Green Tuesday — A Car-free Earth Day!

Yeah, I know…this is pretty late on a Tuesday for a “Green Tuesday” article, but I made it under the wire!

I hope everyone did something green and fun for their Earth Day celebrating — our family got to spend the day riding bicycles!

fun times

Early this morning, my wife decided that we should celebrate Earth Day by going entirely car-free. This is a pretty regular day for me…I only drive my car about once every two weeks or so, on average (I really need to get rid of that thing!), but it is rare that Leah and I both have a day off together, and since she works odd hours, she often drives her car to work and doesn’t get to ride her bike that much during the rest of the week.

So, we decided to do everything by bike today, and we had a lot of fun with it. First, we took our son to school by bike, something I do most days of the week but rarely together with Leah.

Then, we went grocery shopping. 5 bags of groceries fit beautifully in her Basil panniers and my Wald fold-out grocery baskets attached to my “patented grocery gitter“:


When it was time to pick up our son from school, I raced home to switch out bikes for the Redline R530. My son’s trailer hitch doesn’t clamp properly on the narrow chainstays of the grocery gitter, but the Redline’s beefy chainstay is perfect for it.

We decided that we’d stop by the local lake on the way home (Lake Roberta in the historic Hampton Terrace neighborhood of central Tampa) to feed the ducks and turtles with a sack of stale bread.

lake roberta

Here come the ducks!

here come the ducks

The lake is absolutely full of turtles, too…from cooters to sliders to really big softshell turtles and probably a snapper or two. In the evenings, the softshell turtles are more active, but they must hide during the day because we only saw a couple off in the distance. This one is either a cooter or a slider…I can never remember which is which:

cooter or slider?

All in all, we had a wonderful day — didn’t fire up the car once, got a little exercise and got to check out the neighborhood “wildlife”. Good times!