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How Did Your Year of Living Car Light or Car Free Go?

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.

How Did Your Year of Living Car Light or Car Free Go?

Old 01-02-19, 11:18 PM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
not following a passion or a calling to preserve some weird social distinction seems silly. if you want to play drums ... how is that less significant than wanting to ride a bike? if I said, "Don't ride bikes ... the metal has to be mined and refined, and the aluminum takes a huge amount o electricity to form and refine, so it is really very environmentally damaging---it isn't worth the personal satisfaction," you'd ignore me, and rightly so.

Same with drums. if you need a vehicle to move your drums, get a vehicle. Nobody really cares if you are "car-free." if drums talk to you, if playing drums will enrich your life ... Live. play the dang drums and do what it takes to make it work.

Funny thing ... playing bass, you would still need an amp ... and a bass and an amp are not things you could safely haul on a trailer year round (humidity, rain, road shock) and would still be a sizable load making along trips to gigs really difficult.

maybe take up singing, or a really small woodwind like a flute or soprano sax, which you could play through a the PA. Otherwise, being a working musician pretty much demands owning or at least riding in a car ... and it can be a strain on your band mates if you refuse to be self-sufficient. And also ... generally a band is a group of people working as a team, do saying "No, I won't help haul stuff---you guys get a bigger vehicle, and then come pick me up" is not really team playing. Those little frictions can matter down the road.

To me, it is quality of life, anyway. if I want to do something---really want to--I will do what i need to. i used to love MTB riding and there were no trails i could ride to---so I always found a way to borrow a vehicle or get a ride. Now I own a vehicle. The question would be, "Do I value LCF status, even if it is all in my own mind and no one else cares, more than i enjoy riding trails and seeing nature?"

Buy a cheap minivan---they are awesome. You can go on extended vacations and camp in the back if need be (Walmart doesn't have showers or continental breakfasts but they offer rest rooms,) you can bring you bikes/kayaks/guitars/hand drums, you can cruise at a reasonable pace and get good fuel mileage, you can see things you never would have seen staying home, and for less than the cost of rentals and hotels or whatever.

Or not. Some folks would do things differently. That's fine. But seriously, if your passion is to play the drums ... why not follow the call? Life is Way too short not to be living it.
Who says she values LCF for "status"? She already said she might buy a van to support her drumming, so who exactly are you lecturing?

Incidentally I wasn't suggesting she buy a bass to avoid driving - of course, it's a challenge to transport too, with the amp. Just a lighthearted suggestion that if her objective is to play gigs, bass might be the fastest way to get there.

Last edited by cooker; 01-02-19 at 11:23 PM.
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Old 01-02-19, 11:46 PM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post

Same with drums. if you need a vehicle to move your drums, get a vehicle. Nobody really cares if you are "car-free." if drums talk to you, if playing drums will enrich your life ... Live. play the dang drums and do what it takes to make it work.
Yep - that's exactly the plan!

I could really care less about car free "status". I like riding my bike, I do not like driving, my significant other let his license lapse, and we live in a town that we can walk across in less than an hour, so not having a car made sense. If we actually got good enough to gig, and said gigs were frequent enough, an old van would be the trick.

For now, the drums are happy in the basement, next to my sad road bike that is waiting for the snow to melt.
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Old 01-03-19, 04:32 AM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by wipekitty View Post
Yep - that's exactly the plan!

I could really care less about car free "status". I like riding my bike, I do not like driving, my significant other let his license lapse, and we live in a town that we can walk across in less than an hour, so not having a car made sense. If we actually got good enough to gig, and said gigs were frequent enough, an old van would be the trick.

For now, the drums are happy in the basement, next to my sad road bike that is waiting for the snow to melt.
My life changed a lot when I went from small towns to cities .... i was willing to walk an hour to work and another hour back, but not two or three each way.

I used to play alto and tenor sax ... not big chunks of wood like a bass and an amp, but big chunks of metal. Good thing I had no talent.

Not sure "The Wipekitty Stripes" is going to fly as a band name.
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Old 01-03-19, 10:44 AM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by wipekitty View Post
Yep - that's exactly the plan!

I could really care less about car free "status". I like riding my bike, I do not like driving, my significant other let his license lapse, and we live in a town that we can walk across in less than an hour, so not having a car made sense. If we actually got good enough to gig, and said gigs were frequent enough, an old van would be the trick.

For now, the drums are happy in the basement, next to my sad road bike that is waiting for the snow to melt.
Electric drums have come a long way in the last 20 years. You can get a really decent electric kit for less than a grand, add a good keyboard amp and you're ready to gig with a setup that will fit into a bike trailer. Local gigs usually are in venues small enough that acoustic drums can be (and usually are) overpowering unless you plexiglass shield/mic, and you'll still have issues with what sound makes it past and around the shield. Electric drums are pretty nice for live sound engineers. I don't gig anymore, sold my drums several years ago but investing in a good electric kit for small venues would have been really wise. I was a drummer long before I picked up the guitar but play mostly guitar now. Bass is my favorite instrument ever, however.
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Old 01-03-19, 01:58 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
My life changed a lot when I went from small towns to cities .... i was willing to walk an hour to work and another hour back, but not two or three each way.
That is a consideration as well, as I've been actively trying to relocate us to an actual city. It is a long-term process because there are not many jobs in my field to begin with, and it would need to be a better job and the right city. Still, I'm hoping to get us out in the next few years.

This would certainly bring some lifestyle changes: probably more commuter miles and less recreational riding, and more public transportation and less walking. Over the years, I've tended to ride more for fun when my commutes were shorter; when I was attempting to bike commute between Denver and Boulder, that was basically my bike ride.

2019 could be interesting if things go my way
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Old 01-03-19, 07:16 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by wipekitty View Post
Unfortunately, I took up a new hobby (drumming), which may require a van down the road ...
because drummers do need a place to live
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Old 01-03-19, 08:43 PM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by wipekitty View Post
Unfortunately, I took up a new hobby (drumming), which may require a van down the road ....
Originally Posted by jon c. View Post
because drummers do need a place to live
i thought that was why drummers had friends with couches and significant others with a lot of tolerance?
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Old 01-03-19, 11:54 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
i thought that was why drummers had friends with couches and significant others with a lot of tolerance?

One of my favorite jokes is, What to you call the people that travel with a band and take all that time setting up stands, racks and equipment? A drummer.

When I first thought of cutting back on vehicles I belonged to a world percussion group. Long time ago that we called Conundrum. I know not too catchy. I started out on the kit, a full Gretsch Catalina with racks,. hat, Piaste cymbals, and percussion mikes. I also had a percussion set of Congas, Bongos, blocks, chimes, shakers, Djembe and all of the noise makers that go with it. I was one of those people.


There were weeks and weekends I could leave the car at home and ride my bikes. There were weeks and weekends when I could play my drums. Normally they were different times. Others may be better at it than me.
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Old 01-04-19, 01:42 PM
  #34  
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If I were to ever get back into gigging, Iíd be looking at renting a rehearsal space where the gear can live. I used to have to haul my drums to every rehearsal. No thanks. One band I was in I was lucky that our bass player had a complete home studio w/drums that were good enough for practices.
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Old 01-05-19, 12:08 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by jon c. View Post
because drummers do need a place to live
Which is good until Walmart sends you off or the river floods?

I know

And same as the last 12 years.

PS Walmart here is next to the river.
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Old 01-05-19, 05:22 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by Mobile 155 View Post
Long time ago that we called Conundrum. I know not too catchy.
Maybe not all that marketable, but I appreciate it.
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Old 01-05-19, 08:04 PM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by jon c. View Post
Maybe not all that marketable, but I appreciate it.
The name is fine ... a good play on words. problem is, percussion music only works when people listen to music ... which is not how about 98 percent of the market consumes "songs." No hooks? What, no words at all?? "Subtle interplay between shifting rhythmic patterns".... what is this BS? When's the break? How many naked chicks in the video?
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Old 01-06-19, 01:30 AM
  #38  
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Itís a challenge to find a balance between whatís satisfying for a musician to play and whatís satisfying for a non-musician to listen to. Successful progressive bands like Rush (to name only one) do a good job at finding compromise, but a big chunk of their fan base are also musicians. Since music became digitized thereís a lot more supply than demand for all types and genres.
Percussion music isnít only enjoyable if profitable or marketable.
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Old 01-06-19, 05:39 AM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by Phamilton View Post
Itís a challenge to find a balance between whatís satisfying for a musician to play and whatís satisfying for a non-musician to listen to. Successful progressive bands like Rush (to name only one) do a good job at finding compromise, but a big chunk of their fan base are also musicians. Since music became digitized thereís a lot more supply than demand for all types and genres.
Percussion music isnít only enjoyable if profitable or marketable.
Well, I am all for the friendly jam sessions. Working bands pretty much have to either work really hard to build a following or produce something similar to something a lot of people are already comfortable with ... the compromise of which you speak.

I know a lot of really talented, skilled, dedicated musicians ... and a lot of them gig ... but none of them still try to make a living solely off of music. Too many hours on the road, and either too many compromises or too little income or both. The only guy i know who is still making all his money in music is a college professor teaching music.

I gave up on any sort of music career decades ago. There still is no joy higher than really making musijc ... but the folks at the bank can;t figure out how to deposit a sax solo.
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Old 01-06-19, 01:33 PM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post

I know a lot of really talented, skilled, dedicated musicians ... and a lot of them gig ... but none of them still try to make a living solely off of music. Too many hours on the road, and either too many compromises or too little income or both. The only guy i know who is still making all his money in music is a college professor teaching music.

I gave up on any sort of music career decades ago. There still is no joy higher than really making musijc ... but the folks at the bank can;t figure out how to deposit a sax solo.
Yeah - same here. I think I gave up somewhere halfway though high school, once I realized that I was a good but not incredible vocalist, and my main instrument (oboe) was hard to apply outside of classical music, which didn't really speak to me.

I know a few vocalists who went full time - primarily in musical theater and opera. My significant other knows quite a few musicians who made it in the indie/rock scene; a couple of them got huge and are still going, while others settled down and found other ways to generate income when they got a bit older.

The cool thing is that technology makes it easier to produce and distribute music. My stepdaughter already has an EP out, and her band just started last summer. In bigger cities, there are tons of opportunities to play, not for pay, but for the sake of sharing and enjoying music. So now I need to find a job in one of these places, which is hard, since my day job is probably even less practical than making music.
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Old 01-06-19, 02:55 PM
  #41  
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Very enjoyable digression about music. Thanks, all.

Back on topic ... my car-light year as usual, didn't include enough time spent riding my bike for pleasure. My car did prove invaluable in getting me to side jobs I could not have reached without some sort of motorized, enclosed, weather-proof transport (slept in the car to save hotel costs once, too.) For one of those jobs, my car also transported one of my bikes, which made getting around a lot easier. In most cases, where i work, bikes are not allowed.

The other valid use I have for a car--taking my mountain bike to a trail head--I didn't get to exercise at all. And now, having realized that ... i will start making plans to make that happen.
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Old 01-08-19, 03:38 PM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
The other valid use I have for a car--taking my mountain bike to a trail head...
The two most valid reasons for owning a car IMO are: 1. It makes money for you DIRECTLY. Like a plumber who must get a van load of tools and pipes to every location. And 2. A car is the only way to get to the trailhead!

I rent the danged things about once a month for getting to bike/skate locations, but if I owned one, I would get to my favorite trail 10x more often, and likely have my wife divorce me.
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Old 01-11-19, 01:50 PM
  #43  
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On the subject of carrying percussion instruments, my bike is a percussion instrument. I decided that this past year, my Surly Troll needed More Cowbell.


More Cowbell

Otherwise it's been a normal, bike-commuting year. I did go on one trip to Ohio, where I flew in to Cleveland with my bike, did some biking and bussing out to the edge of Cleveland, but realized I was carrying way too much, and I had to call for some car help to get me the last 20 miles before darkness and rainstorms became an issue. But after that, was able to bike around northeast and northcentral Ohio for a couple of days, camp for a long weekend, and bike into Columbus where I flew home.

Then my wife I had a mostly car-free week of vacation where we flew to St. Louis, were shuttled 150 miles down the Katy Trail in a van full of other cyclists, and spent several days biking back to St. Louis. While I don't think my wife will ever give up her car, between this trip and our GAP ride the year before, I think she is convinced that you can have a very pleasurable, car-free vacation.

Also I've made a little more use of my little, folding bike for in-state, multi-modal travel. I can't load it down like i do my touring bike, or wouldn't want to, but I found I can fit a good amount of stuff on there. Easy to get away for a couple of days if there's no camping. When my family decided to carpool some hundreds of miles to my grandmother's funeral, I was able to bike and bus to the train station and go far enough down the line to meet them on the way, and my folder fit nicely with the luggage in the van, and away we went. Not a happy reason for a trip, but it was a good example why I like having a bike that travels well.
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Old 01-11-19, 03:56 PM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by Rob_E View Post
On the subject of carrying percussion instruments, my bike is a percussion instrument. I decided that this past year, my Surly Troll needed More Cowbell.
It certainly has enough Troll.
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