Has anyone gone car free?

by mcfchris   June 6, 2010  

I'm new here, but I am on a couple of other forums. Just stumbled across a topic else where (which I responded to) How many people have actually gone car free??? The C2W scheme is selling a lot of bikes, but most of the people I know use it as a way to get a cheap bike and never actual ride to work. I am the exception (I think) I actually sold my greedy 3ltr V8 and now cycle almost every where... I'm slimmer, I have a tan and lots of spare cash that I used to pump into the wretched car. Anyone else out there made the FULL change??? Thinking

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i was quite a few years ago for at least 10 years (and TV free for that matter) but since marriage, kids etc i now seem to have all the trappings of a car (tax, mot) while my wife uses it.. Thinking

Fringe's picture

posted by Fringe [1093 posts]
6th June 2010 - 14:18


Gotta be honest, my missus still has a car and I have a banged up old jeep just in case it snows, but I never use it, may cost £200 a year or so to keep it.. Since I went car free, I have not had a single day off sick.. it's amazing.. Exercise actually is good for you.. Only problems I had was security for the bike at home and work. Without taking them inside the buildings.

posted by mcfchris [6 posts]
6th June 2010 - 14:21


I never use my car but after a cycling accident it has been a lifesaver for shopping till I heal up.

Zaskar's picture

posted by Zaskar [137 posts]
6th June 2010 - 16:13

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I haven't so much gone car-free as never been car-shackled... haven't so much as had a single driving lesson.

And when the missus moved over from the US, she let her Texas drivers' license expire without doing the necessary to get a UK one, only ver driven over here once.

So we are a car-free couple, which was fine when we lived in London, but after moving to Oxford a few years back and, more recently, out into the Cotswolds, this may be the year when we finally get round to changing that.

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [9231 posts]
6th June 2010 - 17:56


We went car free for a year, and I'd happily do it again saved me a fortune and a load of hassle, even though I barely drive the car now. My wife doesn't drive, but her and the kids were not so happy about our car free lifestyle, my arguments about shopping online and hiring cars or getting the train didn't cut it.

The main complaint was the lack of spontaneity it imposed, but also in my kids' case I suppose they didn't like always relying on their friends parents to give them lifts etc. which I understand – Dave had to do all the driving when we travelled for work which wasn't very fair either.

I reckon though that if we'd had our car free year when they were younger they might have just accepted it as normal. Mind you, I'm an optimist me.

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4201 posts]
6th June 2010 - 22:06

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I've never owned one. My parents never had one so I never got too attached to one. I do have a driving licence though, and it's useful to be able rent cars or borrow my GF's occasionally.

posted by Chuck [472 posts]
7th June 2010 - 18:57


My wife and I were car free for many years and relied on public transport, rental cars and our mountain bikes. Then we had kids.


posted by OldRidgeback [2515 posts]
9th June 2010 - 8:49

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Soon after moving to London I became car free. It didn't take long before my car started looking battered even though it had been largely neglected, practically abandoned. I was worried that I would see a 'Police Aware' sticker on it because it hadn't moved for so long. There are still plenty of times that I would like to have a car like bringing stuff back from DIY centres, plants and big pieces of wood etc And like Tony said relying on someone to give you a lift is a ball ache and unfair on the person who has a car (I was that one person in my friend circle who owned a car) but living in a city where it is so accessible by bike I can't justify the added expenditure just for the spontaneous convenience. If I had kids or had to travel lots for work then this would be different.

p.s. I do still own a beach buggy which is in storage, does that count?

It's not just about the size of your cog.

TRs Blurb n Blog's picture

posted by TRs Blurb n Blog [270 posts]
9th June 2010 - 9:30


good for you, great to hear it!

i've been car free for nearly 2 years. It's like giving up smoking (did that too) - the first few weeks are hard, after that you wonder why you didn't do it years earlier.

I use trains and bikes for transport now. i miss some of the spontenaity and ease of doing some things that a car offers, but i really don't miss the boredom of driving, the jams, the stress / idiot drivers, the expense and the feeling of being tied into a system that drives the profits of companies that screw the planet so openly.

but i appreciate it's easier for some than others to go car free, i don't have kids and if i did i may have to use a car, i'd avoid it as far as possible though. all in all, it's one of the most liberating things i've done despite the lack of weekend trips i do these days compared to a few years ago. even that has made me appreciate my local riding a lot more as a bonus.

posted by james-o [223 posts]
9th June 2010 - 14:41


We are a family of four living car-free in Havering; possibly the most bike-unfriendly borough in the UK.
I take our two kids aged 3 & 5 to school/nursery every day by bike and do all our shopping with it or on-line.
We also travel the UK and Europe regularly using only public transport or plane, rarely even a taxi.
We moved from Melbourne 2 years ago where we had a similar arrangement, using a car-share scheme when we wanted.
Everything is possible without a car, it just takes a mind shift and good planning.
There's no lack of spontaneity for us and we seem to travel and go out more than most people we know who do have cars. It is annoying sometimes that many events seem to assume every attendee is car-bound, but we're used to this and make allowances.

"Inside every car is a pedestrian, just Waiting to get out..." S.J.L.

scotter's picture

posted by scotter [64 posts]
9th June 2010 - 14:41

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Yep, it's all possible we did all our shopping online, and hired cars too but we found it more complicated as our kids and extended family are older - particularly as our children get more independent and start leading lives of their own, the buggers.

It's definitely an advantage that your children are growing up in such an environment, but what happens when they are 13 and 15. Even I had to admit I wasn't happy having my teenage daughter making her way home from a party/club/whatever late at night, on her own, on public transport, by cab or on foot. Mind you, even that is work around-a-ble.

I can see though that it would be easier for us to go car free again in a few years when they are all off setting the world to rights.

Havering though? That's hardcore, as I recall most of that isn't even on the tube.

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4201 posts]
9th June 2010 - 17:42

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Made it to 35 without a car, then we had a kid and a mate gave us his car for free because he knew we would never get around to buying one. Yes, he is a very nice guy.

So we've had it for five years now. It's just a box with wheels to me and I intend to run it until it dies and then we'll see how we get on without one for a few months (in London on a tube, so we'll use streetcar top ups). I suspect we've been spoiled rotten now though...

What astonishes me is that people actually judge you by the car you drive. I find this incomprehensible. What bike(s) you ride says a lot about you... but a car? I have riding mates who talk about their cars while out riding... arrrgggghhhh... who cares what you drive?! A car is work a bike is pleasure, pure and simple.


alotronic's picture

posted by alotronic [390 posts]
10th June 2010 - 8:30


alotronic wrote:
A car is work a bike is pleasure, pure and simple.

and even when a bike is for work its still a pleasure Big Grin

Fringe's picture

posted by Fringe [1093 posts]
10th June 2010 - 13:21


"What bike(s) you ride says a lot about you... "

In some ways, but just the fact you ride one says all anyone really needs to know Smile

posted by james-o [223 posts]
10th June 2010 - 17:08


I have a 26 year-old camper van that's rarely used and three bikes that are used constantly. But I wouldn't want to do without the van, both because it's fantastic to camp in and because I like having the option of driving it, even if I feel better and am better off when I don't exercise that option. I suppose this means there are parallels between my camper van and a nuclear deterrent.

Martin Thomas's picture

posted by Martin Thomas [620 posts]
10th June 2010 - 17:34

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Wow I've never had a post that had so many responses before!!! Yes car free rules ... Last night I cycled through the Yorkshire Moors with some friends on the way from a days work... sunshine,scenery, bunny rabbits, cows, sheep and 3 mates chatting about the woes of the day.. what more could you want?? Cool what a way of life if only it could be all the time.

posted by mcfchris [6 posts]
15th June 2010 - 13:45

1 Like