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Taking The Plunge - Could Use Some Support

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Taking The Plunge - Could Use Some Support

Old 05-11-08, 09:47 PM
  #1  
burbankbiker
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Taking The Plunge - Could Use Some Support

Well the time I've waited for has arrived! My car is posted for sale on craigslist and I'm hopefully just a few days away from being completely car free.

Even though I've been living without using my car for the last 6 weeks, I still find myself somewhat terrified at the thought of not even having the possibility of my car.

But on the whole, I can't wait to sell it and get that complexity out of my life. No more insurance payments. No more gas. No more looking for parking.

Is this feeling of trepidation normal though?
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Old 05-11-08, 10:25 PM
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That is GREAT that you are deciding to go car-free. I have never owned a car so I can't really relate to what you are going through in terms of fears, but I can tell you that car-free life is filled with happy, stress-free times. You will learn to live a little differently without a car. I never think, "boy, I wish I had a car." There will probably be times where friends or family think that they are being inconvenienced because you do not have a car, but you can remind them that there is no requirement or assumption that people have cars, and it will become very obvious how dependently they live on automobiles. I am sure you have already experienced some of this stuff through your first 6 weeks.
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Old 05-11-08, 10:26 PM
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Also, you likely have no idea how much extra money you are going to have. You are now a rich individual.
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Old 05-11-08, 10:50 PM
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Thanks guys.

I actually lived almost 5 years in England with no car. It wasn't until I moved back to the states that I got my car. What you said about "stress free" is totally true. Can't wait to get back to that feeling!
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Old 05-12-08, 12:48 PM
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I wish you well (even if I posted a snotty message in another thread. Sorry!)

It does seem to be normal to have some trepidation. Just remember that millions of people in America are carfree. Most of them are poor, and would have a car if they could afford one. Nevertheless, they do manage to lead meaningful lives without cars. If they can do it, then you can too, and you certainly have many advantages that they lack.

Good luck and keep us posted!
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Old 05-12-08, 01:12 PM
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I sold my car when I move to SF, and that was the best decision I made. If you have a rack and some good panniers or trailer to get groceries and other big stuff then you shouldn't have a problem. Everything in this city is biking distance, and almost always your bike will get you there faster than the bus. After a late night out at a concert or something it is nice to have your bike waiting for you so you can just jump on and get home in about 30 min, no matter where you are in the city. The late night bus can take almost an hour or more to get home depending on how long you wait (often that is about 20min+). Give me my bike any day. I won't even go into having a car and the BS that goes along with it, parking, shifting it around, tickets, and the list goes on.

A car might be nice for the occasional weekend away from the city, but it is hard to justify keeping it around for just those times. The great thing about the bay area is that you have opportunities to get out of the city with your bike. It's a short ride across the GG bridge, and once you get across you are in a great area for hiking, camping, and mountain biking. Point reyes is just about a 2.5 or 3 hour ride north to some great outdoor opportunities. Portola redwoods is about the same distance south. Take the BART to walnut creek and it's a short way to mount diablo. I could continue, but it might take all day to list all of the close beautiful places that are accessible by bike. Include caltrain into your trip and the list just gets longer.

I really do not think you will be missing your car. And if you start to panic or urgently need a car then maybe a car sharing program is right for you http://www.citycarshare.org/

Last edited by zoltani; 05-12-08 at 01:20 PM. Reason: added link
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Old 05-12-08, 02:34 PM
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I agree about car sharing! We don't use it too often, but it's nice to have the option.
We use http://www.zipcar.com/ which is another company operating in the SF Bay Area (they're actually nationwide + Vancouver and London, but we've never taken advantage of it).
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Old 05-12-08, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by burbankbiker View Post
Is this feeling of trepidation normal though?
I had some anxiety for the first week, until I got a flat tire in the rain, fixed it and went on my way. No more anxiety after that.
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Old 05-12-08, 03:09 PM
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Yeah, the feeling is normal. Walking away from the shop where I sold my last car three years ago was a shaky moment, and it was just starting to rain. You may feel the same as someone else drives off in "your" car after you sell it.

It's also normal to miss a bus here and there for the first couple weeks if you take it and are just figuring out the routes.

But it gets better quick! Now I can't imagine buying a car and don't know what I'd do with one if it was given to me, I've gotten to the point where I have no use for a car. And just wait until your insurance is supposed to be due next month but all that money stays in your bank account!
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Old 05-12-08, 03:46 PM
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Mmm... I actually felt more anxiety about our move from Los Angeles to Madison. Being car free in LA was *very* easy since the weather is so consistent. In Madison, it has been more of a challenge. I didn't have a solid selection of bad weather gear. I was out of practice in dealing with bad weather. And add in the new skills involved in using a bike to get around and . Then we had a record shattering winter, and life got very exciting! Still is sometimes, but this year is already much easier than last year. I know that summer will not be too hot. I know my rain gear is fine for spring and summer rains. And I know how I want to adjust things for colder weather.

I think it's more the change causing anxiety than the lack of car. You *will* adapt, and it will have some challenges. They're all ones you can manage tho!
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Old 05-12-08, 07:15 PM
  #11  
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You know, I think what freaked me out about it was the seeming finality of it. I had just spent a weekend getting it ready for sale, using rubbing compound to buff the damage to my back bumper somebody left for me along with a bunch of other little blemishes. I was talking to my wife and I said something like "As much as it's sucked that I lost my whole weekend to this project, at least I have a new skill that I can use to keep whatever car I have in the future clean and new looking."

That's when it hit me.

If I don't move to a sprawling city (don't plan to), I may never own a car again. That kinda blew my mind.

All this time getting ready for going car free was focused on not owning THIS car that I had completely forgotten that it was really about not owning ANY car... EVER.

But you're all right. Once I sell it I'll feel better. I've already got my insurance bill sitting on my desk to pay this month and I hate it.

oh... here's another one. I got pulled over for expired registration since I was due to register last month but didn't since I planned to sell. That's a "fix it" ticket where you need to show proof that you registered the car. You think I still need to pay for the year's registration if I'm selling? Wonder how that works. Maybe I can just show proof of sale.
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Old 05-13-08, 12:27 AM
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Getting rid of the car was the best decision I ever made. Not that is was easy at first. Well, actually, it was pretty easy. When the car went away, I felt stranded for a moment or two. Then the bus arrived, and I got to my destination 15 minutes later, about the same as driving. Then, a few weeks later, I bought a bike. Now I never worry about not having a car. Last weekend, I went to a party 15 mi from home; the trip too and from seemed pretty easy, actually. It's pretty much a matter of your mindset. If you decide that you're going to have to think a bit to get from point A to point B, and you accept that it may take 5-10 minutes longer than you're used to, car-free is incredibly easy.
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Old 05-13-08, 05:44 AM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by burbankbiker View Post
oh... here's another one. I got pulled over for expired registration since I was due to register last month but didn't since I planned to sell. That's a "fix it" ticket where you need to show proof that you registered the car. You think I still need to pay for the year's registration if I'm selling? Wonder how that works. Maybe I can just show proof of sale.
What's the fine vs. getting a renewed registration (if it's only gonna be a month or so)? It *may* be worthwhile just to pay the fine. Otherwise ask the DMV - I'm sure they get those questions all the time.
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Old 05-13-08, 07:02 AM
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Originally Posted by burbankbiker View Post
You know, I think what freaked me out about it was the seeming finality of it.
There's only one finality, and it has nothing to do with car ownership. If I ever want a car again, I can buy one. You can too. No finality about that at all.
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Old 05-13-08, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by tsl View Post
There's only one finality, and it has nothing to do with car ownership. If I ever want a car again, I can buy one. You can too. No finality about that at all.
Yeah, I could buy a car if I wanted to or needed to. But my point was that, barring some major change, I probably WON'T want to or need to. The finality I felt is probably more analogous to cold feet before a wedding day. Sure, a marriage isn't final. If you want a new spouse you can divorce and try someone else. But you're embarking on a path that has a certain amount of implied finality to it.
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Old 05-13-08, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by burbankbiker View Post
Well the time I've waited for has arrived! My car is posted for sale on craigslist and I'm hopefully just a few days away from being completely car free.

Even though I've been living without using my car for the last 6 weeks, I still find myself somewhat terrified at the thought of not even having the possibility of my car.

But on the whole, I can't wait to sell it and get that complexity out of my life. No more insurance payments. No more gas. No more looking for parking.

Is this feeling of trepidation normal though?
Just letting you know that I feel ya buddy! I am in almost the exact same scenario as you! Had the first good call on my craigslist car ad a few moments ago! Best of luck and good times,

-Grant
P.S. It's nice to know you are not alone!
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Old 05-13-08, 03:56 PM
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As tsl stated - ya can always get another one. As long as I live in the city - and work in the city - I will remain car free. And even though I grew up in the sticks and love riding there (eh, so I have to ride out of the city to get some good country road riding - more the merrier for me - lots of miles!) - and I like living in the city so I'll most always be in one! I figured I probably only rode the bus @15 times since the beginning of December - and that was due to icy conditions and lots of snow (when you ride by parked cars there's always a pile of snow there - and so the street shrinks), why would I want to play with parking it on the right side of the street than night, pay anywhere from $1.50 to $5.00 (and believe me the $1.50/day parking in the deep downtown area is not safe for your vehicle), and car expenses, insurance, blah blah ... oh, gosh not to mention gas. hehe (I just realized the other day that when I took the car off the road - gas prices were hovering @$2.00/gallon).

Yeah, there's some disadvantages - but you deal with them. When I shop I buy what can fit into my backpack ---- or panniers when I decide to be the family station wagon. I'm single and only have a cat to look after so that's a plus (when buying groceries, etc). Cat - I'll take a taxi to the vet - which is not far at all - I could probably walk there - but would stress the cat to no end!

Big shopping malls, eh - Mom loves to shop (7 hours on one Saturday is the record for me - she's 74 - don't know where she gets the energy) so if I want to I may jump a ride with her - or take a bus - I mean I can ride there but traffic really sucks - way too busy - and parking my bike ----- mmmm I don't think so.

Seeing friends in other cities, etc - I take the Grayhound or fly.

Another words - your life style adjusts to it.

My only thing is I have entered the dating scene again and to have people ask you about --- um, you DON'T have a car? oOOooOOoooOoo ..... <long pause ..... ::crickets:: ....> any problems in the past?

Ugh. And the person I just started seeing is a car person. He has a truck, gorgeous Lincoln, just sold his Harley, buying another - has a side business of of dolling up cars - and is in business with a friend - they go to car auctions and buy cars and fix and sell them .... and hehe - can I have picked anymore worse of a guy? Oy! (but he's very nice - oh yeah and he's taking a couple of nice scratches outta my year old bike ).

GOOD LUCK and keep us updated!

Oh but one thing - I have Bicyclepurchasejustonemoreosis ------ Adding number 4 to the fleet in a few weeks to supplement my mtb riding with a nice FS ---- so now with your freed up monies - you too can get bicyclepurchasejustonemoreosis --- or be more level headed and save your money

Last edited by Tude; 05-13-08 at 04:02 PM.
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Old 05-14-08, 08:25 AM
  #18  
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Car ownership is very expensive. Being car free is a great as far as having less or even no medical bills for physical or mental ailments or diseases. It helps the enviroment-both in the world and inside my head. It's really a good thing to say goodby to a car.

so I wish you the best of luck in being car free. It's a great way to live.
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