RE: [CarFree] Just getting started
- I can talk about some other Canadian cities:
Ottawa - I've lived here car-free for almost six years, and love it.
Downtown living is great, and a few older suburbs are really blooming
(Westboro, Glebe, Ottawa South). If you like suburban living but still want
to live car-free, stay withing the 'Greenbelt' - It's a band of protected
lands that surrounds the city. Everything inside this area is pretty
compact, with some sprawl at the fringes. Still has good bus service. The
city is covered with bike lanes, paths, paved shoulders and wide curb lanes
for cycling. In fact, I work for the local municipality to encourage people
to walk, cycle, bus, carpool or telework. We have a web site for this stuff
coming up soon. Car-sharing is also an option here.
Hamilton - A smaller city (600,000 or so w/Burlington + 'burbs), but it has
an extensive traditional section where it is easier to live car-free. The
'Mountain' or upper Hamilton is largely suburban and completely
car-oriented, so stay downtown.
St. Catharines/Niagara Falls - About 300,000 people when you include the
entire Region, but almost all suburban. St. Catharines might be manageable
car-free, but transit isn't very good, and inter-city travel isn't the
greatest (never mind taking a bus to the train station!).
Montreal - A great city to live in, but the ability to speak French is a
definite asset for employment. It was named #1 by Bicycling Magazine before
Toronto was. There's some light rail from the suburbs, and inner-city loops
of a metro (subway). Plenty of traditional neighbourhoods to choose from,
and even some older suburbs. Car-sharing is strong here.
> -----Original Message-----<snipped>
> From: michael and karen dudley [SMTP:umdudley@...]
> Sent: Sunday, July 09, 2000 10:27 AM
> To: CarFree@egroups.com
> Subject: Re: [CarFree] Just getting started
> If you're willing to consider moving to Canada (recently acknowleged--not
> for the first time--to be the best place in the world to live according to
> the UN's set of lifestyle inidicators), then there are a number of cities
> that provide excellent transit, and walkable mixed-use districts.
How do you deal with the cold, snow and ice in these cities. Did Bicycling
Magazine do a summer tour only ?
>I can talk about some other Canadian cities:
>St. Catharines/Niagara Falls -
>Montreal #1 by Bicycling Magazine before Toronto was.
- From what I understand, Bicycling Magazine only does a survey - no visits.
I think their survey is heavy on facilities, likes lanes and pathways,
rather than terrain, promotion or attitudes.
As for cold, snow and ice:
Cold - dress in layers, wear some warm booties and something covering the
Snow - We have a relatively dry winter, so most of the time the roads are
Ice - Major roads are well-maintained and kept clear. Salt, however, is a
problem, so people are encouraged to use a beater bike because of corrosion.
There are days, particularly after a major snowfall or when the windchill
dips down to -50 degrees Celsius, that cyclists are encouraged to leave
their bikes at home and take the bus. There is some similar encouragement
for motorists after large snowfalls, too, since the roads can be slippery
Serious winter conditions really don't start until mid December and last
until late February. Personally I retire my bike around November and bring
it out again in March, but I walk most everywhere anyway.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Ross or Judy [SMTP:rossjudy@...]
> Sent: Monday, July 10, 2000 12:02 PM
> To: CarFree@egroups.com
> Subject: Re: [CarFree] Just getting started
> How do you deal with the cold, snow and ice in these cities. Did Bicycling
> Magazine do a summer tour only ?
> >I can talk about some other Canadian cities:
> >Ottawa -
> >St. Catharines/Niagara Falls -
> >Montreal #1 by Bicycling Magazine before Toronto was.
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- In a message dated 7/10/00 5:22:18 AM Pacific Daylight Time,
> I've ranked the 100V interesting figures. Does seem like the best car-free places on the list
> Most CarFree cities, the 100 "Most Biked" cities,
are small and college oriented. And includes v few cities (Tuscon appeared
on one list!) over 100,000.
I'd jsut like to suggest Minneapolis as a bike-friendly place to (live) or
++ Green. Bike friendly, formerly (and still) great transit tradition.
- - White. ...as in snowy winter. But then many include that
Sacramento CA is also nice (no snow).
While I thank Joan & Jim from BikesAtWork for this info, I'd like to
question the statistic that San Francisco has only 0.99% cycling to work.
Recently our Dept of Parking and Traffic reported that on "Bike to Work Day"
this year, 43% of the traffic on Market St (the main drag) was bicycles.
(Maybe all those other cyclists don't have jobs?)
Ps: H of Shame -- Atlanta? San Antonio? (where all the buses *used* to go
into the center of town, before going anywhere else).
- Folder Pete said:
> V interesting figures. Does seem like the best car-free places on thelist
> are small and college oriented. And includes v few cities (Tusconappeared
> on one list!) over 100,000.Yes, and several military bases are on the lists, too. Perhaps one way to
get in a more carfree community is to join the military...:)
Actually, there are several large cities on the 100 Most CarFree list--New
York ranks #8, Washington, D.C. is #22, Boston #35, etc. All make the list
because a high proportion of people walk AND use public transit. Most of
the small communities make the list only because a high proportion walk to
> While I thank Joan & Jim from BikesAtWork for this info, I'd like toDay"
> question the statistic that San Francisco has only 0.99% cycling to work.
> Recently our Dept of Parking and Traffic reported that on "Bike to Work
> this year, 43% of the traffic on Market St (the main drag) was bicycles.Interesting. Is that level of bicycle traffic on Market St. typical, or
> (Maybe all those other cyclists don't have jobs?)
just a result of B to W Day? The Census Bureau says that respondents were
asked what is the *primary* method they use to get to work.
According to the 1990 Census, 147187 people drive to work, 43925 carpool,
4540 ride a motorcycle, but only 3634 ride a bike in SF.
Using the Census data, only 0.45% of the residents in an average community
of over 5000 people ride a bike to work. So, the percentage of people who
ride to work in San Francisco is actually more than twice the national
> Ps: H of Shame -- Atlanta? San Antonio? (where all the buses *used* togo
> into the center of town, before going anywhere else).What struck me after compiling the data was that many of the towns on
Bicycling's Magazine "Best Bicycle Cities" list rank comparatively low, if
at all. Madison, Wisconsin, for example, ranks 56 on the 100 "Most Biked"
list, while Portland and Denver aren't even on the list.
- On 10 Jul 00, at 20:01, FolderPete@... wrote:
> V interesting figures. Does seem like the best car-free places on thehttp://www.a2bmagazine.demon.co.uk has some advice on living in
> list are small and college oriented.
a car free/minimised way. Their view is that traditional towns and
cities are best. Sprawling suburbia makes it difficult to minimise or
eliminate car use due to the large distances between things.
David Hansen | davidh@... | PGP email preferred
Edinburgh | CI$ number 100024,3247 | key number F566DA0E
- In a message dated 7/11/00 5:10:21 AM Pacific Daylight Time, Jim writes:
> >Recently our Dept of Parking and Traffic reported that on "Bike to WorkYes, this would explain it. The use of bikes has *exploded* over jsut the
> > Day" this year, 43% of the traffic on Market St (the main drag) was
> > bicycles.
> According to the 1990 Census, 147187 people drive to work, 43925 carpool,
> 4540 ride a motorcycle, but only 3634 ride a bike in SF.
last two years. I myself was on a motor-bike (with trucks and car) ten years
- Thanks to everyone for the responses. I really appreciate all the
support and information.
I actually do have a history with car-free living. Straight out of
college, I got married and lived in Seoul, Korea for a year. (We were
English teachers.) While we were there, we got around exclusively by
train, subway, bus, and of course, our feet. Plus the occasional
taxi. Never had a problem. I loved it and was in great shape. Mind
you, car traffic is horrendous there and the air quality is poor, but
it was easy to get around without a car.
Then when we returned to the states, we bought just one car. My wife
usually drove to work and I would walk, bike, take a bus or catch a
ride with her to classes on campus and back home. This was Norman --
a college town. As someone pointed out, college towns tend to be a
little more workable.
But since I finished my degree and moved to Oklahoma City, I've lived
a very car-dependent life. And I miss my car-lite days in Seoul and
in Norman. I've since divorced and am now with a male partner. He
and I also share a car. Usually, he will drop me off at work so he
can have the car during the day. (He's self-employed.) I've really
been thinking about it and I'm not sure if I can get to my work
carless. My office is in about the most inconvenient possible
location right next to a busy highway. I checked the bus schedule
and found that it would take a LOT longer to get to work that way (I
would have to change buses). In addition, the last bus home would be
near my office about 5 and I usually leave later than that (5:30 or
6). So the public transit here really does stink. And my employer
discourages telecommuting. (I got to do it once during a blizzard.)
However, I also just learned that my city has a ride share program
where they can match you up with someone who either needs a ride or
is willing to give one. I might look into that. It would at least
be something. However, even if the commute doesn't work, I am
thinking that I could do a lot more about walking/biking to errands
and social activities.
Okay, that may be more than anyone needed to know. Again, thanks for
all the responses.
- "Ross or Judy" wrote:
"In my opinion, the snow free coast [of Canada] is
the only place where cycling a lot in the winter
can be comfortable, and safe."
I come from a place similar to Canada where we are innundated by snow
and cold in the winter. I find cycling in the winter to be
and safe. In fact, winter cycling is spreading in Anchorage.
Unlike twelve years ago, studded tires are now regularly stocked in
most of the major bike stores. Instead of making our own by screwing
sheet metal screws through tires, we can buy them from the store.
After a major snow, some of the major the bike trails get packed down
by pedestrians and cyclsists. I often see at least four other sets
of tire tracks through the new snow on my commute to work.
The City has actually started to gradually plow more and more of the
sidewalks. They still have a long way to go, but there has been
As for being cold, I find that sitting in a cold car waiting for it
to warm up when it is below zero (Farenheit) is far colder and
miserable than hopping on my bike and quickly working up a sweat as I
plow through a new snow fall.
The biggest problem is figuring out layerings. I get very hot with
lots of layers going up hill and then I get cold and chilled going
down. I need jackets and layers with lots of zippers, pit zips, and
quick release flaps that I can open and close.
I am still working on face coverings. If I wear my neoprene mask
over my face (needed when moving at any speed when it is below zero)
my breath tends to travel into my ski goggles and cloud them up. I
shift the face coverings around to let some venting of the goggles.
The feet are the problem. There are some nice pedal coverings that
I've seen in the stores that fit over pedal and foot. They are like
the big handlebar mits that they make for snowmachines (snowmobiles).
I am comfortable down to about zero Farenheit with all of this
layering and finagling of coverings. Below zero, it gets to be more
of a hassle than it is worth. Instead, I ditch my bike and I walk.
Walking is warmer than biking in the winter, and I've been doing much
more walking than biking during the very cold weather.
Compared to Fairbanks, we are not that hard core. In Fairbanks, the
temps stay at 30 to 40 below zero during most of January and
February. The bicyclists up there change the grease in their bearings
for the winter. Standard grease hardens and makes pedaling very
difficult when it is cold. I'm not sure what type of grease they
replace it with. There are quite a few year-round cyclists in
Fairbanks because it is a college town with the main branch of the
University of Alaska.