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Looking to start living car-lite in Phoenix

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Looking to start living car-lite in Phoenix

Old 02-13-19, 09:29 PM
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Looking to start living car-lite in Phoenix

As the title says, I'm looking to start living car lite here in Arizona, and I've already got a start in it. Been riding to work exclusively for about 2 months now, figuring out grocery and Costco runs... Figured out pretty quick I can't do a Costco run on my commuter, despite the porteur rack and 2 large panniers. For that I'm planning on ordering a Surly Big Dummy with the full rack and bag kit, along with the Specialized Pizza rack (porteur rack with pannier capability for the win!) Plus the 2 child set up for the back of the bike (and marathon plus tires. Because Phoenix and #*!%ing goat heads) and I'm thinking of the surly Bill trailer in case i need more cargo room.

Anyone else here in the valley car lite or car free?

I can't go car free entirely, can't see moving the my tool boxes with a bike. The truck will stay in case of catastrophic failure or heavy loads needed moved
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Old 02-13-19, 10:06 PM
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Car lite is a great option, especially if you have the work commute in your favour. Before moving to my current locale, which was great for schools for my kids but out of range for any commercial shops, I lived in a central location that basically allowed me to go car free weekdays and save the car for the weekends. Within a reasonable radius I had food shops, drugstore, city hall, library, coffee shop etc...

Depending on your long term goals you might look at making one day your big haul (costco) long distance vehicle run day and save on all the trailer/big dummy stuff. Even car free with one child I found a basic commuter bike and kid trailer combo sufficient. We had a Norco ABS 26" trailer that was pretty indestructable. I don't know about crime in your town but leaving an expensive hauling rig, even locked, in my locale would be a prime theft target for the homeless population who look for those things to haul their stuff on. I would need a super good lock for the bike and a lock for the trailer to the bike at a minimum.

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Old 02-14-19, 01:49 AM
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Surly Big Easy is coming soon, e-bike version of Dummy
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Old 02-14-19, 10:31 AM
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I was car lite for several years before I just recently got rid of the car. Give yourself plenty of time to figure things out; it's not a race. I actually do my Costco runs on my bike with a Burley Travoy - but then it's only 6 miles to Costco so no big deal if I can't carry all in one trip. I can carry my 40 lb bag of dog food on the Travoy, along with TP and smaller stuff in the top bag, using their strap system. Won't work for a big family, though. A flat bed trailer would probably work best for someone with a big family; you can stack on top and use tie downs or a huge cargo net. If you haven't yet checked it out, go look at the Bike Friday Haul - a - day. Full function in an easier to park and store package. Electric options as well. Plus, the frame is adjustable so it can be ridden by any adult and even most kids!!! https://www.bikefriday.com/folding-b...day-cargo-bike You can carry anything on the HAD that you can on a Surly and there are different packages for rear carge or different age kids.

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Old 02-14-19, 01:47 PM
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My in-laws are in Scottsdale. Spent a week out there and took my bike and was pleasantly surprised by how bike-able the city was. It was spring, so weather was perfect. I'm sure it gets a little rough in the summer, but without the humidity, it might be about as tolerable in August there as here. Costco runs and toting kids, though. That's next level. Totally do-able, I'm sure, but more than I've tackled. I'm looking for an excuse to buy a Big Fat Dummy, too, and you have some good excuses. And based on my limited experience visiting there and the info I get from my family that lives there, it seems like Phoenix would be a great place to go car-free. I was having a blast going all over the place on the canal trails. Although I'm sure it's another story when you have to get specific places. I was just exploring. Until I found a brewery right off the canal.

Good luck.
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Old 02-14-19, 04:09 PM
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I had never seen the Surly Big Dummy before--pretty interesting but the bags could extend farther forward and be a lot bigger without much worry for heel-strike, i think. it actually looks like it would be kind of fun to ride. Ad front panniers and a shelf and you could haul a Lot of stuff---even bulky stuff. I might be tempted to make some front bags which could each hold 48 rolls of toilet paper---weight would be low enough.
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Old 02-15-19, 02:47 PM
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The summer can make it hard. I ride daily to work (11mi each way) and do some errands with bicycle.
In the summer I can just barely make it home, but can't get back out in the heat afterward to say get groceries.
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Old 02-15-19, 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by noisebeam View Post
The summer can make it hard. I ride daily to work (11mi each way) and do some errands with bicycle.
In the summer I can just barely make it home, but can't get back out in the heat afterward to say get groceries.
whereabouts do you live/commute? I'm by the I17/101 interchange, about 5 miles from work/equal distances to the stores
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Old 02-15-19, 03:42 PM
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I am around the 101/60 interchange and commute south to Chandler.

I used to use bicycle much more, near 100%, but as my son aged, he is 10 now, there were just too many places scattered around SE Valley to take him making cycle transport impossible. For example soccer practice is 2x/wk and which field it is on can change by 10 miles each week.
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Old 02-15-19, 09:34 PM
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Originally Posted by linberl View Post
I was car lite for several years before I just recently got rid of the car. Give yourself plenty of time to figure things out; it's not a race. I actually do my Costco runs on my bike with a Burley Travoy - but then it's only 6 miles to Costco so no big deal if I can't carry all in one trip. I can carry my 40 lb bag of dog food on the Travoy, along with TP and smaller stuff in the top bag, using their strap system. Won't work for a big family, though. A flat bed trailer would probably work best for someone with a big family; you can stack on top and use tie downs or a huge cargo net. If you haven't yet checked it out, go look at the Bike Friday Haul - a - day. Full function in an easier to park and store package. Electric options as well. Plus, the frame is adjustable so it can be ridden by any adult and even most kids!!! https://www.bikefriday.com/folding-b...day-cargo-bike You can carry anything on the HAD that you can on a Surly and there are different packages for rear carge or different age kids.
I'm honestly working toward going car lite, don't think I'm going to accomplish it by this summer due to heat and the fact we are expecting another little one in the worst of summer. My district and vaya will do me fine for a bit, the Big Dummy is kinda something I'm saving for at the moment. Besides, it accomplishes another facet: I can do full loaded self supported touring on it.

I looked at the Haul-A-Day but it just doesn't do it for me... Aesthetic plays a large part of my choices and I simply can't get myself to like the HAD
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Old 02-15-19, 09:38 PM
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Originally Posted by noisebeam View Post
I am around the 101/60 interchange and commute south to Chandler.

I used to use bicycle much more, near 100%, but as my son aged, he is 10 now, there were just too many places scattered around SE Valley to take him making cycle transport impossible. For example soccer practice is 2x/wk and which field it is on can change by 10 miles each week.
yea, after living in several different states it kinda clicked why cycle-commuting and going car-lite in Arizona is difficult, at least in Phoenix. Everything is so spread out here that it seems kinda daunting
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Old 02-15-19, 09:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
I had never seen the Surly Big Dummy before--pretty interesting but the bags could extend farther forward and be a lot bigger without much worry for heel-strike, i think. it actually looks like it would be kind of fun to ride. Ad front panniers and a shelf and you could haul a Lot of stuff---even bulky stuff. I might be tempted to make some front bags which could each hold 48 rolls of toilet paper---weight would be low enough.
do it! Im grasping here, but N+1 is calling... I gotta save up for it but it's squarely in my crosshairs. If I dont do the Big Dummy I'm going to get the Troll I think... It can haul the Bill Trailer on the dedicated trailer framelugs
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Old 02-15-19, 11:30 PM
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Originally Posted by suncruiser View Post
I'm honestly working toward going car lite, don't think I'm going to accomplish it by this summer due to heat and the fact we are expecting another little one in the worst of summer. My district and vaya will do me fine for a bit, the Big Dummy is kinda something I'm saving for at the moment. Besides, it accomplishes another facet: I can do full loaded self supported touring on it.

I looked at the Haul-A-Day but it just doesn't do it for me... Aesthetic plays a large part of my choices and I simply can't get myself to like the HAD
Take your time going car lite, like I said it's not a race. You'll know what fits and when. And nothing is better than getting your kids started on biking from an early age. My son, now 31, has never owned a car and rides 50 miles a day minimum on weekends and 20 every night after work, has 2 bikes in his apartment. I used to ride with him til I got too slow, haha. As for the HAD, I'm a big Bike Friday fan (I own some) but I totally get the aesthetics part. Funny how I never had that "car love" so many people do have, but I can lust after bicycles, lol.
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Old 02-16-19, 11:39 AM
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Not really car lite but commute 50-70 mi/wk. Live near Camelback & I17, work near downtown. The commute's not too bad. I take 15th Ave most of the way.
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Old 02-16-19, 03:46 PM
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Originally Posted by locolobo13 View Post
Not really car lite but commute 50-70 mi/wk. Live near Camelback & I17, work near downtown. The commute's not too bad. I take 15th Ave most of the way.
Off topic slightly: what tires are you using? I seem to find every goatshead thorn and staple going down 15th, so I kinda avoid it now. Been considering the marathon HS440 for my commuter but I can't justify a new set until my green compounds wear out
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Old 02-16-19, 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by linberl View Post
Take your time going car lite, like I said it's not a race. You'll know what fits and when. And nothing is better than getting your kids started on biking from an early age. My son, now 31, has never owned a car and rides 50 miles a day minimum on weekends and 20 every night after work, has 2 bikes in his apartment. I used to ride with him til I got too slow, haha. As for the HAD, I'm a big Bike Friday fan (I own some) but I totally get the aesthetics part. Funny how I never had that "car love" so many people do have, but I can lust after bicycles, lol.
I think I'll start with commuting every day once we move, the commute home takes too long at the moment to feasibly be able to get my daughter from daycare (ride home, drop bike off, drive to daycare... The big dummy would fix most of this, just ride to daycare then home)
My daughter is 3 now and asks to ride every day after daycare... Makes me so proud!

I have been into both cars and bikes as long as I can remember, and I work in the auto industry (tech at chevy) so I kinda lust after both. Bike more than cars, but oh well
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Old 02-16-19, 10:06 PM
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Originally Posted by suncruiser View Post
Off topic slightly: what tires are you using? I seem to find every goatshead thorn and staple going down 15th, so I kinda avoid it now. Been considering the marathon HS440 for my commuter but I can't justify a new set until my green compounds wear out
I'm riding a 29er. The tires are Hardrock Flak Jackets. I use the thorn resistant tubes.

Every flat I check the interior of the tire all around. Most of my flats appear to be small wires. But the goatheads are definitely there.
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Old 02-17-19, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by suncruiser View Post
As the title says, I'm looking to start living car lite here in Arizona...The truck will stay in case of catastrophic failure or heavy loads needed moved
Yeah, I would love to have a motor vehicle at my disposal for certain things. Got by with rental cars until recently. I often could get $10/Day weekend specials from Enterprise during certain off-seasons. Now I can't seem to find a car for under $75/Day. Crazy. May end up getting a car again. I just don't use cars enough to keep them happy. I might use it every weekend for a month, then no usage for a couple of months. Cars don't dig that schedule too much.

So welcome aboard! Sounds like you are making quite a commitment to car-light. Don't let other posters get you all hung up on definitions. Some will try. I haven't OWNED a car since 1989. However, I used to rent cars at least one weekend per month. So am I "Car-Light" or "Car Free"? And if I were wealthy there would certainly be a motor vehicle in my life somehow. I would pay someone to care for the freaking thing. I HATE that part.

Anyway...good luck! Keep us posted now and then. Just do what makes YOU happy, not the rest of us! Cheers!

(If you are new here, this place can be ROUGH).
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Old 02-17-19, 07:11 PM
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It's fun now when you've forgotten about the Phoenix summer heat until you die on your first ride in June and leave the bike in the garage and never touch it again for a few months until the same time next year. Also though in addition to the Schwalbe Marathons I also double up with the puncture resistant inner tubes. Michelin Airstop.
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Old 02-17-19, 10:30 PM
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Originally Posted by NeedARealBike View Post
It's fun now when you've forgotten about the Phoenix summer heat until you die on your first ride in June and leave the bike in the garage and never touch it again for a few months until the same time next year. Also though in addition to the Schwalbe Marathons I also double up with the puncture resistant inner tubes. Michelin Airstop.
I actually don't mind riding and commuting in the heat. Had to for a couple months in 17, right when the temps were between 117-122. was kinda brutal but I still made it! I'm a native to Phoenix, the heat is just kinda another aspect of here. Not reason to stable the bikes
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Old 02-18-19, 10:24 AM
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Do people in Phoenix use e-bikes when it's hot like that? Just so they can still ride without turning into gummy sweatballs?
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Old 02-18-19, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by JoeyBike View Post
Yeah, I would love to have a motor vehicle at my disposal for certain things. Got by with rental cars until recently. I often could get $10/Day weekend specials from Enterprise during certain off-seasons. Now I can't seem to find a car for under $75/Day. Crazy. May end up getting a car again. I just don't use cars enough to keep them happy. I might use it every weekend for a month, then no usage for a couple of months. Cars don't dig that schedule too much.
yeah, I just had to buy a new battery. I forgot to unplug the old one and the car sat for about eight months and fully drained it a trickle a day, all day Ö.. Cars are fine just running for 20 minutes in the driveway every couple months otherwise.

Like yourself, when I need a car I need a car Ö and rentals donít add up. Even rent-a-wreck (which we donít have out here) is expensive nowadays. Even with the cost of insurance, owning a car makes more sense for me Ö so long as I unplug the dang battery.

Originally Posted by suncruiser View Post
I actually don't mind riding and commuting in the heat. Had to for a couple months in 17, right when the temps were between 117-122. was kinda brutal but I still made it! I'm a native to Phoenix, the heat is just kinda another aspect of here. Not reason to stable the bikes
I have done a bunch of hiking in that weather Ö. It wasnít too bad. But then I used to live near Orlando, Florida, where 99 degrees and 99 percent humidity was the norm all summer. The body adapts Ö not to say it feels good, but the body keeps functioning.

Since you are already acclimated, you would be alright. For me, if I went back to that kind of heat, I would need a year of slowly increasing immersion before I would dare daily riding.

Hope everything works out exactly as it should.
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Old 02-18-19, 04:24 PM
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Some people only commute by bike when the weather is nice and drive or catch a bus when the weather sucks. There are no rules except the ones you assign to yourself.

Just make sure that if you ever go "Car-Free" that you live on a desert island, or the Moon, where cars are not available so you don't get called out by other BF members who love to troll here.

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Old 02-18-19, 06:17 PM
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I grew up in Phoenix and unless you are living near what you want to do it's got to be challenging to have no car. Where I lived, behind Thunderbird park, it's pretty built out, but it's still 3 miles to any store. When I was a kid, before they built 101 and then some stuff further north, it was five or six miles to anything.

You must not discount the heat on a summer afternoon. It can be miserable.
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Old 02-18-19, 10:55 PM
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Originally Posted by linberl View Post
Do people in Phoenix use e-bikes when it's hot like that? Just so they can still ride without turning into gummy sweatballs?
once the summer heat hits I see less e-bikes than I do normally. I think past about 105F the batteries and electronics start having issues with overheating since there's no active cooling system involved.
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