Wednesday, May 4, 2011

10 Things I Love About Living Carfree

10 things I love about living carfree:

1. Saving money: I figured I save about $6,000.00 per year, that covers gas, car payment, insurance, maintenance, and property tax. Back in 2000, when I had two expensive cars I was paying about $15,000 per year. It varies per person and family. What would a few extra thousand dollars do for you and your family?
See article, How to Pedal Towards Financial Freedom from our guest, Tammy Strobel

2. Walking in my neighborhood: Before I started walking for transportation I would see many of neighbors through the glass from my car or they were a blurr as I rode past on my bicycle. Walking has allowed me to meet my neighbors, their kids, their pets. Every time I stop and chat with someone, my community becomes stronger, better, safer. Neighbor supporting neighbor.

3. Bus rides in my city: I love riding the bus! It reminds me of vacations as a kid because that was the only time my family used a bus for transportation. The bus, as trains and trolleys, is still a treat to me. I love conversing with people on the bus, reading, or watching my city roll by.

4. Breathing easier: Without good health I do not have anything. 10 years ago, after years of physical neglect I would get short of breath just walking on my block. For years I admired people whom walked and bicycled for transportation; they always, no matter their age, looked healthy, and happier. I like knowing I am not adding to air pollution.

5. Good use of my Time: I decided ten years ago I did not want to waste my time. I made a choice to live deliberately and fully aware of how precious life is and not waste it on things that do not matter to me.Time moves too fast! The average person may live 700,000 hours (age 80). Now subtract 8 hours/ day for sleep-now your down to 467,200 hours of life. Then take into account, eating, washing, pooping-well there is another 2 hours per day and there goes another 58,400 hours and now you are left with 408,800 hours. Then how much time do you commute to work, watch TV, surf the internet-2, 3, 5 hours per day? Then of course how old are you now, yep, subtract those hours (8760 hours per year). What are you left with and how are you going to use that time. I decided ten years ago, I would use my time left in healthy and productive ways. Living carfree allows me to engage life fully. At age 47 I figure I have about 289,000 waking and sleeping hours left, I will spend it wisely.

6. Confidence: With the recent disaster in Japan, one is reminded how easily life and standard of living can be washed away. Nothing you can do about it. If you are healthy you can get yourself out of situations some of your neighbors may not be able to. Living carfree as made me more confident that I can survive volatile weather conditions or possible future disasters. If something happened, I know I can walk or bicycle out of the area on my own terms by passing traffic. I do not need to be rescued. Everyday before I leave the house I make an assessment of what to expect; how far am I going, what is the weather going to do and could it change. So I make sure I have the right food and clothing. Living carfree is very similar to backpacking or bicycle touring. Although the distances are shorter, the basics of travel are the same. Confidence comes with being healthy and fit from walking and biking for transportation and also being prepared.

7. Using all my senses: I am aware of my surrounding when I am walking and bicycling. Spring is here in Kansas City. Everyday I; see signs of plants blooming, smell the change of the season, feel the soft new grass under my feet, and I hear the birds singing.

8. Leading by example: “That is so cool, wish I could do that.” “Still riding your bike for transportation? Your doing it right, the world needs more people like you.” “I really admire you, I see you all over the city, you are an inspiration to me.” These are some statements from people in my community every week. There are many more. I live by the words of Ghandi, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” I feel like I am making a difference, even if at a grassroots level. People see me living this way, gives them the courage to try alternative transportation, and dump the excuses not to.

9. Using my body: I love, love, love using my body for my transportation needs. In the last 10 years I lost over 100lbs, became very fit, and mentally strong. In Dr. Bob Arnot’s book, Guide to Turning Back the Clock, he calls the bicycle “the ultimate time machine.” Saying, “a bike is like and extension of your body, it replaces tired, worn joints, and inelastic ligaments. Since you can maintain heart and lung power well into your sixties, the bike becomes a fresh, elastic young new set of ligaments, muscles, and joints…riding a bike rewards you with a dynamic cardiovascular system, springy, powerful muscles, and the body of a much younger person.” Walking also has its benefits. Using my body for transportation allows me to feel great everyday, mentally and physically.

This lady crossed my path last spring while on a Greenway
10. Adventure: The best part of living carfree. I found out early on, adventure is relative to each individual. Some people go on week, month, or year long trips for adventure in far away places. I have had hundreds of adventures within miles of my home here are a few: been chased by a thunderstorm, ridden by the light of the full moon, walked and rode in temperatures from -5f to 108f, been beaten up by hail, ridden sick with a temperature of 102f, met hundreds of people-from homeless to the well to do, had projectiles thrown at me by people in cars, got caught in a funnel cloud on a overpass and was hit by rain in all directions that stung, seen thousands of animals that were killed by cars, ridden in rush hour traffic in downtown and the suburbs, been run off the road by 5000+ pound machines(cars and trucks), ridden on ice, walked 9 miles home with my bike after two flats, been caught in a blizzard at midnight with 40mph winds, heavy snow, seen sunsets and sunrises that brought tears to my eyes, seen numerous wildlife-bobcat, beaver, owls, coyote, deer, woodchucks, snakes, lizards, otter, herons, and many more all while biking or walking for transportation, and many more adventures. Whether riding a mile to the store, or farther, all these things equal grand adventure.

What are somethings you love about living carfree or carlite?

Share your thoughts here or on the Facebook page.


  1. You are truly an inspiration, Bill.

  2. I would like to add: sleeping better at night.

  3. Hey Bill.

    Just found your site. Yay!

    My girlfriend and I went carless in August. We write about it here:

    Glad to see we're not alone.

  4. This is a great list! I save enough money that I am able to travel the world every year, or not work as much because I have a lower cost of living.

    Riding a bike to and from your work place is a great time to prepare your mind for the work day and process the events of the workday before your get home.

    There is nothing like riding your bike home with your loved one on a warm summer night after a lovely evening out!

    Great post, thanks.

  5. Very good reasons all. But my favorites are saving $$$ and having an always interesting experience while riding.

    And saving $$$ is just gonna get more important as gas gets higher and the price of everything goes up.

  6. Bill, thanks for sharing the things you love... I relate to them all, especially the physical and mental invigoration from cycling. I am in love with my pedals, regardless of weather or time of day. Okay, sometimes cycling into a heavy wind can crack my resolve a bit... but no matter, more effort = more desert! :)