My introduction to the CarFree Yahoo Group - Larry - RideTHISbike.com
- INTRODUCTORY PROFILE
1. I own a car but use a bicycle frequently.
2. How long have you been either car-free or used non-automotive transport as your principle means of transportation?
Only as a teenager. Since then, the realities of place and circumstances allow me to bicycle regularly but not as my principle means of transportation.
3. What inspired your decision to reduce or end your reliance on the automobile?
Met others living carfree in the French Quarter, Bywater, Faubourg Marigny, Garden District & Uptown New Orleans. Also travelled to Europe frequently where I participated in a carfree lifestyle (Venice, Italy is one of my favorite places).
4. What factors have either impeded or inspired your decision to reduce your reliance on automotive transport?
Suburban sprawl & a client base spread across metro New Orleans make occasional auto use necessary.
Internet & my home office have cut auto use dramatically.
Hurricane Katrina & the unplanned, 8 month relocation to Memphis, TN which was caused by the storm led me to reevaluate my life. I realized that there's no time like the present to take action on environmental & societal issues facing the world and decided to do what I can to foster positive change.
5. Has your transportational choices had any discernible effect on your family and friends?
6. What are the advantages and disadvantages of being car-free and/or getting around without using a car?
My primary mode of car-free transportation is a folding bike that rolls even when folded. The advantage is that I can ride right up to my destination, fold the bike & roll it... onto buses, into trains, elevators, offices, restaurants... even using the bike as my basket in the grocery store. When I fly or take the train, I place the bike in a suitcase, opening it up at the destination and bicycling away.
Some drivers of motor vehicles are completely oblivious to bicyclists. Due to the unusual bikes I ride, I draw more attention from drivers than other cyclists (that's good) but I still feel the need to stay alert when sharing the road with cars (that's sad). My greatest fear is someone opening a car door into my path so I tend to ride in the traffic lane just beyond the reach of opening doors from parked cars. Arriving sweaty is another disadvantage (temperatures in the summer exceed 90F daily in New Orleans and the humidity borders on unbearable). Another is the lack of mass transportation in New Orleans. If only buses, etc. ran frequently & on time to major destinations... Alas, mass transit in New Orleans after Katrina is almost non-existent.
7. Do you typically feel comfortable recommending car-free living to your friends and/or relatives?
No. Fifty years of relative prosperity and the proliferation of federally funded superhighways across the USA has morphed cities, towns & suburbs into interconnected megapolises that are (currently) reliant upon car culture. Rather than preach car-free living to deaf ears, I bike where I can as a personal demonstation that alternatives exist, hoping that my action will inspire others.
8. Have you experienced any adverse consequences of reducing or eliminating your automotive dependency with regard to time and finances?
Yes. I was late for a meeting across town due to misjudging the time needed to ride there by bike.
9. Have there been any benefits?
Many. Arriving energized. Feeling better. Better health. More cash in my pocket. Meeting people I would not have otherwise.
10. In an ideal world, what role should the car play in the general transportation system?
Ideally, car use would be shared in some form. In as little as 10 years, I see intelligent cars driving with little or no human interaction. A fleet of intelligent cars could be shared among a large pool of people. Such a system combined with a well thought out mass transit solution would make multimodal transportation attractive to a wider user group; nevertheless, it will be a long time (if ever) before enclosed, motorized, personal vehicles disappear.
11. Any other personal or general thoughts to share?
In the USA, other than urban dwellers in NYC, Sacramento, Portland, Seattle and a handful of other cities, bikes are viewed by the general public as toys. I want to play a role in changing that mindset.
Beginning in August of 2006 and spanning over the next 36 months, I'm embarking upon a series of bike tours to discover & profile 45 great places to go bicycling. My #1 goal for this project is to open the minds of more people regarding the use of bikes in their lives. I'll be posting updates from the bike, uploading photos & noting the locations of interesting sights & experiences on the trail, all posted in real time via cellphone or laptop to my blog (world-class-bike-trails.blogspot.com) as well as to other relevant sites on the Internet (like RideTHISbike.com) and in print publications.
I invite other members of this group to join me on a portion of my tour. Together, we can help car addicts to envision an alternate transportation lifestyle that is more peaceful, economical, enviromentally friendly and is viable NOW.
12. Where do you live (city, state, country)?
New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
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