Monday, December 8, 2014

Walk or Bicycle

I remember back in June of 2009 when I made the decision to be CAR FREE. It was a good move.
I now have a girlfriend who has three kids and she drives a huge SUV, and needs a car, well at least she has a life style that demands it. So now there is a car in my life...but I still manage not to own one and when I am not with them I am car free.

I love living without a car. Transportation is much simpler.
Cross Country Ski

I am healthier (mentally and physically), more in touch with my community, polluting less, and saving money.

Everyday I wake up is a good day and walk out my front door ask "Do I walk or bike today?"

I hope you can enjoy this life as well.

Tell me about your life style...are you living without a car, or do you have one part time?


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Carfree American story

Carfree American story,

 I have been car-free (d. not owning a car) or car-lite(d. owning a car but using it on a limited basis) for 14 years now.

In 2000, I realized I was living my life for the wrong reasons: just to make a lot of money, accumulate things, get others to respect me for my business success who really did not care who I was or what I did.. I was also very depressed, out of shape, and very overweight.

One day I looked in the mirror and did not like what I saw-a sad, frustrated, unhealthy person.

I had always admired the people I knew who lived car-free or car-lite and thought “that is cool, maybe someday that could be me”.

Living in a car-centric suburb of Kansas City I, like most people, drove everywhere. I personally had two cars. I thrived on the fact that someone would compliment me on the cars I owned, “wow nice car, congratulations” they would say as though I just did something incredibly noble. The truth was the car was completely unnecessary for my life: I lived a block away from a grocery story, I worked out my home most of the time. I could easily bike and walk to most my destinations.

My life was filled with endless “I wants” with little considerations of what I needed-the American Dream-like eat when your not hungry, drink when you are not thirsty, buy things you do not need, if you want it-then get it as you only live once. I needed change!

I started to walk for exercise. I gave up; cars, house, and much of the junk I did not need. After a few months I dropped 50 lbs and bought a bicycle. I got rid of the last car and became car-free. Over the two and half years I spent time writing about my experiences and about changes being made in my life. I became a yoga and Pilate’s instructor, and worked in a gym and eventually lost 140 pounds.

I kept a journal of my experiences and noting what it was like to live a car-free life in a city and suburb that was not car-free friendly; poor sidewalks, no bike lanes, little mass-transit, drivers not use to cyclists, my family even gave me grief. On the other side, there were many friends who were supportive of my life style choice and a lot of people were interested in it.

In 2004 I ended up taking a new job, and a short time later starting a business. I gave into pressure from my family to get a car (even just for emergencies they said) and become car-lite. For the next six years I became car-lite and missed the car-free life. I kept riding my bike and walking most places. Even car-lite I rode thousands of miles a year for transportation purposes.

In June of 2009 I decided to go car-free again, but this time for these reasons; for my health, my way to help clean the environment and respect the Earth, support my community relationships like buying only local products, and saving money by not owning a car, around $8,000 per year- per car.

In the last 14 years I have biked a minimum of 50,000+ miles most of which was for transportation, I have also walked hundreds, maybe even a few thousand miles. I have gotten more involved with alternative transportation advocacy groups, but still strongly feel the BEST way to advocate alternative transportation is to live a life where you incorporate it on a daily basis.

Now, in early in 2014 I am even more healthy than I ever been. in the last two years I lost another 80
lbs by eating more of a plant based diet. I walk more than I bike now only because I moved an live in an area where everything is two to three miles away. I still bicycle too, but have become more passionate about walking.

There are times when I wish I had a car, only for the convinence. I do love this life style and I realize, for those who live in a big city it may not even be interesting, but for the rest of us, living with out a car is a true adventure breaking all rules of the American tradition of having a car.

So, to you, want to be an Carfree
advocate, go walk or ride your bike and let people see you do it. As Gandhi said,

"Be the change you want to see in the world."

Carfree is a good way to slow the ravaged plagued society of Obesity, Pollution, and Community degradation.

Being carfree you will be healthy in your mind and body, the health of the environment, and you will engage in a positive way in your community.

How I have benefited personally living carfree?
Bill Poindexter 2014

Here is a short list:

Healthier both mentally and physically
Doing my part for the environment
I have many friends in my community and meet more every day.
I feel great.
I am more passionate about living and life!

I hope you enjoy this site. Please let me know your thoughts or ideas on how to make this site or the world a better place. I you are living a carfree life style or want to let me know and I will share your story!

Be Healthy!


Bill Poindexter

Monday, January 6, 2014

Exploring the country by foot in 1909

Kansas Adventurers: Tramping and Camping with the Walking Woolfs

I stumbled across a very interesting and charming old book, Tramping and Camping by the Walking Woolfs, written by Dwight and Stella Woolf of Kansas City, Kansas in the early part of the 20th century. It is an account of their “journey to health”, accomplished by simply walking long distances.
Tramping and Camping
The book’s introduction explains it pretty well:
The unique experience of Mr. and Mrs. Dwight H. Woolf, the champion Long Distance Walkers, has awakened general interest throughout the United States.
In 1909, Mr. Woolf’s doctor informed him that he would have to get out in the open and stay there, or he would die. He weighed only 107 pounds, including clothes, and was growing weaker daily. Yet he hesitated about giving up his business as a music publisher — his life work; and it seemed a little short of madness to forego all the luxuries — the so-called “comforts” — of civilization.
But Mrs. Woolf, who was a brave, sensible woman, thoroughly devoted to her husband’s interests, agreed with the physician and suggested a walk to the Ozark Mountains.
That was the beginning of a most remarkable series of trips through Missouri, Kansas, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and up through the north Atlantic States to New York and Boston, then home to Kansas City — in the aggregate, a journey of about 10,300 miles.
Yet, wherever the couple went there was really but one destination—health. Mr. Woolf gained strength and, not long after starting, was able to make twenty-five or thirty miles in a day. Clad in neat khaki uniforms, he and his wife– now the leading woman pedestrian of the world — marched from city to city, accompanied by Dolly and Don, their faithful horse and dog.
The group was often surrounded by cheering crowds, or met by newspaper reporters and escorted with honor by delegations of police into the presence of mayors and other officials, who received the travelers cordially.
But the “Walking Woolfs” gained something far more valuable than honor or fame; and their advice to others who have suffered from the effects of sedentary work is: “When you get into a rut walk out of it.”
He who draws close to nature is rewarded in many ways, not the least of which is perfect health. The object of this book is to preach the doctrine of exercise and fresh air.
It’s fascinating to see how — even in the early days of the automobile and the heyday of the passenger train — walking for transportation was seen as “odd”, and yet something to be celebrated as well.
The Woolfs camped along the way, setting up a tent in the woods or in the yard or field of a friendly farmer. They encountered everyday kindnesses in the country they passed through, though not all were welcoming: “A woman who saw us and supposed that we were gipsies, pulled her children into the house for fear that we might steal them.”
The book begins with “Hints for Health”, and these are some good, pithy tips, as valid today as they were a hundred year ago:
Health comes first.
Get up early.
Go to bed early.
Get plenty of fresh air
Drink plenty of water.
Exercise daily in the open air.
Never be in a hurry at meal time.
It is better not to eat enough than too much.
Two meals a day are enough for persons employed at office work.
Don’t jeopardize your health to make money.
Wealthy men would give their riches for health.
Health is easy to lose and hard to gain.
There is a bright side to life if you look for it.
If you can’t think of something pleasant to talk about, be a good listener.
Don’t worry — get back to nature.
Don’t sleep with a closed window.
Open the window at the top.
Best Remedies — Fresh Air, Sunshine, Exercise, Water, Nature.
Remember — That the largest amount of your ailments come from the lack of exercise and fresh air.
What’s all this got to do with bicycling? Perhaps not much, but bicycle touring is just another form of the sort of tramping that the Woolfs enjoyed. It’s celebrated by some, met with derision or suspicion by others, and is simply incomprehensible to too many. It depends on the generosity and hospitality of the communities we pass through. And, like walking, it’s a marvelous way to see, and really experience, the countryside.
You can read the book online at, where it’s also available as a PDF download or an ebook for Kindle or Nook.
The Hutchinson News reported on one of their trips in 1912:
Tho Walking Woolfs Have Finally Reached San Diego. Mr. and Mrs. Dwight Woolf, who style themselves the “Walking Woolfs’, who passed through Hutchinson this summer, walking from Kansas City to tho Pacific coast, have finally reached their destination, San Diego, Calif. Speaking of their arrival there, the San Diego Tribune says “Walking down Fifth street about 10 o’clock this morning a man and n woman, both brown as berries and dressed in khaki on which the alkali dust clung in spots, came, head up and chest out, one on each side of a horse that was pulling a wagon plastered with cards and inscriptions of all sorts. The dog came trotting behind. They were Mr. and Mrs. Woolf, of Kansas City, Molly the horse who has tramped twelve thousand miles, and Don, the dog. They are known as the “Walking Woolfs”. When asked about his trip and the object of it, Mr. Woolf said it was mainly for health. “We left Kansas City May of this year,” Sir Woolf said. “We Walked across the Utah desert two hundred miles with great difficulty. When in the middle of the desert we smashed a wheel, which could not be remedied, and there we stuck for two weeks. We were beginning to get worried about the water and provisions when members of the Utah Construction company rescued us. “When we leave San Diego we go to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and then back to Kansas City, via Yellowstone Park.”
This article tells a little bit more of their story: “Finally, after having walked nearly 20,000 miles, Dwight, Stella, Dolly, and Don came home for good in November of 1915. From their daily journal, they published a 250-page book entitled Tramping and Camping by the Walking Woolfs. They also published a 34-card set of postcards from the numerous photos taken during their six years of walking across America. It isn’t known what happened to the Woolfs: What did they do throughout the rest of their lives? How long did they live? All of this is a mystery. But one thing is sure–they must have had some great stories to tell.”
Here’s one of their postcards:
Walking Woolfs Postcard
“Tramping and Camping” is the key to nature.