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Re: Giving up car?

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  • purple_bovine
    ... compared to driving. While elapsed time may be longer, I can put that time to good use. ... ride more. ... Oh, granted. But still - I don t want to spend
    Message 1 of 18 , Apr 5 3:03 PM
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      --- In CarFree@y..., "Michael Graff" <michael.graff@p...> wrote:
      > I find that I measure travel time differently by bike or transit
      compared to driving. While elapsed time may be longer, I can put
      that time to good use.
      >
      > Cycling is free exercise. I sometimes go out of my way just to
      ride more.
      >
      > Transit (riding and waiting) gives me time to read.
      >
      > In both cases, I'm doing more than just getting from A to B.

      Oh, granted. But still - I don't want to spend half my life in
      transit, regardless of how beneficially I spend that time. It works
      out pretty well for me in getting to work - the transit time is about
      the same for bike+light rail vs. driving in heavy traffic. It's
      those other destinations that I worry about, as well as general
      impact on one's life.

      LM
    • Michel Gagnon
      ... I have always used bicycles with drop bars. Well, since 1974 (15 y.o.). Back in the days I did a lot of long distances, I used to feel numbness in the
      Message 2 of 18 , Apr 5 9:14 PM
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        > -----Message d'origine-----
        > De : purple_bovine [mailto:purple_bovine@...]>
        >

        > And a follow-up question to b) - has anyone had either Carpal Tunnel
        > Syndrome or similar hand conditions and continued bicycling? I am
        > worried that prolonged bicycling might aggravate the nerve damage.
        > Bike gloves don't seem to help too much, alas.
        >

        I have always used bicycles with drop bars. Well, since 1974 (15 y.o.). Back
        in the days I did a lot of long distances, I used to feel numbness in the
        little fingers, followed gradually by numbness in the thumb and first
        finger. Back then, we had plastic and canvas wrapping (almost as bad), and
        the gloves that were available back then were worst than no-gloves. Since
        then, I think my position on the bike has improved, Grab-on appreared...
        then disappeared, but cork tape (almost as good and much nicer) has
        appeared. Also, there are gloves with gel padding and other gloves which
        don't have stitches in nasty places in the hand.

        The key points?

        1. I place my stem shorter and much higher than the typical manufacturer or
        road racer does. See http://www.rivendellbicycles.com/html/rr_raisestem.html
        . Even for hybrids, the _principles_ explained there work.

        2. On drop bars, my wrists are never flexed, and I rarely grab the
        handlebars tightly. Sometimes I hold the bars with my thumbs, sometimes with
        my smaller fingers... IOW, I change my position.

        3. A stem of the proper height and length helps. Women typically need a
        shorter and higher stem than men of equal height.

        4. If you have straight bars, bar-ends could help reduce Carpal tunnel
        syndrome by allowing you to change hand positions, and avoiding wrist
        flexion for some of these positions.

        5. All gloves aren't created equal.
      • David Hansen
        ... Some more encouragement, all taken from Life Beyond Cars a great little book published in the UK about 5 years ago. I have met all the people mentioned
        Message 3 of 18 , Apr 6 12:02 PM
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          On 5 Apr 2002 at 17:51, purple_bovine wrote:

          > Most of
          > my activities are either bikable or accessible by public transit
          > already. I am just a little scared of making the final break, I
          > guess; and I thank all of you for easing my fears.

          Some more encouragement, all taken from "Life Beyond Cars" a great little book published in
          the UK about 5 years ago. I have met all the people mentioned below, though would not claim to
          know any of them well. All are as "normal" as anyone is, not the sort of outlandish person the
          road lobby likes to portray. Things are different around the world, but there are still insights they
          can offer from their UK perspective. Things are not perfect without a car, but then they are not
          perfect with a car either.

          =====

          "After a year or so of driving, I realised how pointless it was in urban Glasgow, so one day I
          decided to take the bike to work. I can still remember that wonderful feeling of freedom as I set
          off with my medical bag strapped to the rear carrier. I haven't used a car in my work since, and
          that first ride was 13 years ago. At first, people are baffled by seeing a doctor on a bike. In many
          other countries it wouldn't rate a mention" - Colin Guthrie.

          =====

          "We had been invited out to eat with some friends, on a farm outside Clevedon. My [car] had just
          been nicked [stolen]. For the first time in 20 years we were totally carless. On the night of the
          feast the wind howled and the rain belted in a bracing Clevedon squall. We hoiked our folding
          bikes outside and put them up in the blinding blackness. As we set off, mine collapsed under
          me, sending me, my mascara, my party frock and waterproofs crashing to the ground. In one of
          those enjoyable tricks of fate, my tights [pantyhose] were unscathed although my knee had a
          bloody great graze. In our litany of significant moments in a human powered life, this one
          features on the negative side. I should add that it's in the minority."

          "There was no immediate conversion, no dramatic cold turkey. It was an evolutionary process -
          the final sale was more of a relief than a trauma. By the time the [car] was sold it had sycamore
          saplings growing from the sills and it took four visits to the scrub-a-dub jet wash to get it clean
          enough to be offered for sale. Part of the electric wiring had dissolved through lack of use and
          Clevedon's ever-present car criminals had stolen the back light clusters."

          "The turning point was when Martin, still working in London three days a week, acquired a
          Brompton because his five mile Tube journey at the other end was taking almost as long as 140
          miles on the train [to London]. He would cycle [from Clevedon] to Yatton station, 25 minutes
          door to door, and no hills. At the other end, he cycles five miles to the City and then another five
          miles to where he stayed two nights a week."

          "We both move around a bit for our jobs. If we are travelling to London we catch the coach or go
          by train. If we go to Bristol I get the bus (Martin usually cycles). It has to be a pretty awkward
          place to be impossible to reach by a combination of these methods, so as a last resort we hire a
          car. We do all our shopping (featuring cat food for three) in Clevedon. This is assisted by
          Martin's Bike Hod, a brilliant bike trailer with a bright yellow bag, which will hold 50kg (110lb)
          and fits on to both his bikes. This wonderful contraption has also been used to pick up
          passengers from the station [Yatton presumably], with one Brompton folded on the back for their
          journey home."

          "Our social life is unaffected. We recently cycled (six of us) out for an Indian meal in Portishead
          [near Bristol]. On Bonfire Night, we went to a firework party at a house on Clapham Common
          [London], caught the last train back to Bristol and pedalled home on the folding bikes under a
          full moon. We went to two drinks parties in Bristol on Christmas Eve, clipping home along the
          lanes with no fear of flashing blue lights and a court appearance." - Lynne Curry. Now moved
          from Clevedon though still in the same general area. Yatton is the nearest railway station to
          Clevedon.

          =====

          "[Working as house sitters, looking after people's house and pets while they are away] When we
          took up the job we travelled almost exclusively by car, only taking the train when working
          separately. [Then we] halved our car use to 6000 miles a year. Like so many others, we had
          long assumed that *our* car was essential. But we gradually discovered that it was possible to
          live without one much of the time, and the feeling began to evaporate. But we still needed to get
          to remote locations once in a while, and that problem looked insoluble."

          "The real breakthrough came when we discovered the Brompton bicycle. Suddenly almost any
          destination in the south became a practical proposition, and our [car] began to take root in the
          garden. We didn't have the heart to scrap the car for a year or so, but eventually it became
          something of an eyesore and a breaker's yard took it away. Disposing of the car - albeit a rusty
          and derelict former car - proved quite a psychological barrier, but we soon adjusted to an empty
          driveway."

          "So our car-free existence, that began as a six month experiment, has become a way of life. For
          a while we felt like social outcasts, but a lot has changed in three years, we [now] find most
          people impressed by the seemingly effortless way we get around. Journeys of more than 10
          miles from a station can be tedious, particularly in hilly country, but they are rare in southern
          England."

          "Travelling by bike and train brings an inexplicable sense of freedom, and a glorious opportunity
          to laugh at traffic jams and parking fracas. Nothing can beat the sheer joy of pedalling to the
          station on a sharp and frosty morning, then relaxing in a warm and cozy seat for the rest of the
          journey. That's the theory anyway. It doesn't always work like that, but in a strange way, we've
          learnt to live life a little more by bike - taking good and bad days in our stride. By comparison
          motoring was just plain boring. Some journeys are quicker, our lifestyle is healthier, and we
          make gentle fun of 'environmentalists' who do their bit by recycling a few tins. Oh, and we
          sometimes unwind with a pint of Guiness on the train home! Try doing that on the motorway." -
          David Henshaw.

          =====


          On time - it is possible to charge customers for work undertaken while someone else is driving,
          or to do things which then leave time in the office for other more productive activities.


          I said I was going to find out about US versions of the Long John style of transporter bike.
          http://www.efn.org/~cat/longhaul.htm is the place to start. They also do other forms of load
          carrying machinery.

          A great source of information on transport cycling was Open Road, in particular their
          "Encycleopedia". Although the company was UK based "Encycleopedia" covered the globe.
          Sadly Open road went out of business due to cash flow problems. The stock was being sold off
          by a new organisation, Company of Cyclists and if they have any left it would be worth anyone
          interested in the subject getting hold of some. Even the earlier editions are interesting as they
          cover machines not featured in the latter ones. Their web site was something like
          www.companyofcyclists.co.uk, if that is not correct don't bother me, use a search engine. They
          were selling on-line.


          --
          David Hansen, Edinburgh - PGP e-mail preferred key number F566DA0E
          I will always explain revoked keys, unless the UK government prevents me
          using the RIP Act 2000.
        • David Hansen
          ... While thinking on the subject it occurred to me that there is another good example of just what it is possible to carry on a Long John. RadLast
          Message 4 of 18 , Apr 7 12:41 AM
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            On 6 Apr 2002 at 21:02, David Hansen wrote:

            > I said I was going to find out about US versions of the Long John
            > style of transporter bike

            While thinking on the subject it occurred to me that there is another good example of just what it
            is possible to carry on a Long John. RadLast (http://home.t-online.de/home/radlast/rllojoen.htm)
            have an excellent series of pictures of the Long John and several other load carrying bikes. The
            site is well worth browsing for those interested in the subject or looking for inspiration.

            I wouldn't suggest buying and or all of the bikes, unless intending to start a transport business,
            but it does illustrate what is possible. The art of carrying things by bike has largely been lost in
            "the west", but the art can be revived.






            --
            David Hansen, Edinburgh - PGP e-mail preferred key number F566DA0E
            I will always explain revoked keys, unless the UK government prevents me
            using the RIP Act 2000.
          • Mark Watson
            I ve found that a synthetic chamois ( shammy ) works much better than a cotton towel at soaking up water. And it is lighter & smaller(Especially if you trim
            Message 5 of 18 , Apr 8 10:46 AM
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              I've found that a synthetic chamois ("shammy") works much better than a cotton towel at soaking up water. And it is lighter & smaller(Especially if you trim it, you only need enough to reach/wrap around your back). Most of the water can be squeezed out & it drys quickly.

              Available at any car-parts store. Also labeled "camp towel" and found at camping supply stores(REI, etc.), usually with a higher price.

              Mark

              Imagine the world if Gandhi and Martin Luther King had played by the "rules".
              -----------------------------------------
              Mark Watson
              Carfree Seattle
              Website - http://carfree_seattle.tripod.com
              Email list - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/carfree_seattle

              --------------
              Date: Fri, 05 Apr 2002 From: "jamesjfitz" <ja
              Subject: Re: Giving up car?

              ---
              > on arrival, hop into
              > the rest room of appropriate gender and do a quick change act,
              > stuffing the damp bike gear into the same plastic bag :-)

              Don't forget to pack a big bath towel for in between getting out
              of the wet stuff and into the dry stuff.

              Jim


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