I Need Your Advice on Going Car-Free!

Well, I’m really thinking hard about selling my vehicle and going unofficially car-free, but I need some advice…

go away car!

I don’t drive my vehicle much at all, and the money I can get for it will help offset bills and other financial obligations (and allow me to add an Xtracycle to my fleet). I will still have access to another car a couple days a week, so I won’t be totally car-free. The advice I could use from you readers out there who have chosen to free yourselves from the bonds of vehicle ownership is this:

1) What was the decision-making process you used to “let go”?

2) Any potential pitfalls I should think about?

3) What else do I need to know before making this step?

Any insight, personal experiences and other useful information will be greatly appreciated. I guess that technically, I don’t really need advice, per se, but more of a reassuring chat that suggests I’m ready to take this step in my life. So, any help you could provide would be just fantastic! Just leave your thoughts in the comment area, and again, I thank you.

A fix for Douche bag drivers?

I consider myself lucky that Florence Avenue is pretty wide. It is wide enough to accommodate 3 lanes, the thing is; there’s only two. But that doesn’t stop the douche bag drivers from driving illegally on the right hand side to pass 3 or 4 cars.

The City of Santa Fe Springs must have gotten plenty of complaints because they felt compelled to install the following traffic dividers:

I don’t really understand these drivers, today a dude driving a BMW was right on my ass driving illegally on the right hand side and when he merged and passed me he gave me a nasty look! But payback’s a bitch… Florence becomes really congested where the traffic dividers are installed (I guess they sort of work) and I caught up to this dumb ass and gave him a friendly hand wave.

I think that Florence Avenue is a prime candidate for a Bike Lane. So I did some research, the amount of Red Tape that I would have to go through to request a bike lane is insane.

News Flash: BikeCommuters.com and KHS Bicycles Sponsors Bike To Work Day

Bike to Work Day 2008 – For Immediate Release
Contact: Russ Roca 562-331-1705 lbcyclists@gmail.com

Long Beach, CA – May 15th is Bike to Work Day, a national event where people from around the country are encouraged to replace their car trip with a bicycle for that one day. The movement has swept across the nation with rising gas prices and as people are re-discovering the health and environmental benefits of bicycling. The Long Beach Cyclists (LBC), the cityʼs only bicycle advocacy group, promotes cycling as a fun, valued and sustainable transportation choice in Long Beach through community, advocacy and education. LBC in cooperation with the City of Long Beach, Bikestation, Los Angeles Metro, Bikecommuters.com, KHS Bicycles and Jones Bicycle are organizing this yearʼs Bike to Work Day festivities.

There will be two simultaneous pitstops on Bike to Work Day in Long Beach, one at City Hall and another at Belmont Shore Pier. Bike commuters will be greeted with fresh apples and oranges from the farmerʼs market, bottled water, coffee and pastries from local businesses and free patch-kits and goodie bags from LA Metro.

In addition, riders that pass by the Belmont Pier stop, will also be treated to some live music, a free bike inspection courtesy of Bikestation and giveaways. Participants will have a chance to win a Dutch-inspired 3-speed bicycle from KHS Bicycles and Bikecommuters.com. Other prizes include lights from PlanetBike and cycling caps from popular Walzcaps.
khs green

The event is free and open to all community members (on two-wheels or not). The Long Beach Cyclists invites everyone to participate, even if theyʼre not riding to work. “We want the event to be a celebration of the bicycle,� says Russ Roca an LBC member.“One of the goals of the Long Beach Cyclists is to create real sense of community of cyclists in Long Beach. So, even if youʼre not commuting to work, come out and meet other cyclists and get involved in making Long Beach a more bicycling friendly city!�

Lunch gitter and why do they stare?

Every other Friday I have to drive to work; however, I always take a bicycle to take care of errands or to ride to lunch. I like to visit a local sandwich maker (with better tasting subs than Subway) that is about 1/2 mile away from work. Last Friday I took my newly-acquired and already modded Swobo Folsom to the restaurant.

I usually call in my order and the sub is waiting for me when I arrive. What I don’t get is the looks and stares of people eating at the restaurant as I arrive on any of my bikes (not just the Folsom). Their look is priceless, like ‘Did he just get here on a BIKE?, OMG!’. I also get these type of looks when I go to the pharmacy, bagel shop and other establishments.

Is it just Angelenos that are not used to seeing someone (other than the Huffy riding migrants) riding a bike to a place or does this happen to you too?

Biria “Easy Boarding Top 3” — Guest Review

Here’s a design straight out of Europe…Biria’s “Easy Boarding Top 3” city bike. With its innovative step-through frame and comfort features, the bike is ideal for around-town errands, neighborhood cruising and light commuting.

Biria Easy Boarder 3

Here are the manufacturer’s specs:

Frame – Aluminum 7005 – 40 cm (15.5″) and 46 cm (18″)
Fork – Hi-Ten unicrown
Rims – Aluminum
Tires – 26×1.75
Gear – 3-speed Shimano Nexus internal gear with coaster brake
Stem – Adjustable Aluminum
Handlebar – City cruiser
Brake – Rear coaster foot brake and front alloy v-brake
Weight – 31 lbs.
Colors – Red, pearl white, Satin Blue, Aqua Blue, brushed aluminum, black
Standard – Chain guard, kick-stand
Option – Rack, fenders

Biria’s wild stepthrough frame configuration — no leg-swinging required. Just step across and GO!

step on through!

I’ve only ridden this bike around the block a couple times…it was a Valentine’s Day gift to my wife. She’s the one who spends a lot of time on it, so we figured, “what better way to get a review of it than let her use her own words?” So, here goes:

This past Valentine’s Day, I was presented with a lovely Biria “Easy Boarder” bicycle by my most thoughtful husband. I wanted a utilitarian commuter bike that would serve as an errand-runner as well, but would also cater to my girlie need to wear a skirt if I damn well wanted to. The Biria delivers, baby!

This is not a bike designed for the “extreme�? sport enthusiast. It weighs approximately 622 pounds and does not at all make you look like an ass kicker. It does not inspire you to perform “sweet jumps�?. But it rates high on the Eurochic meter, with a very styling leather seat and matching handlebar grips. It is, indeed, easy to board with its cutaway frame, and the covered drivetrain makes grease stains on the hemline unheard of.

Three speeds are all I need on the relatively flat terrain of the Tampa urban jungle, and there’s plenty of room on the handlebars for pimping your sweet ride with a Basil basket. That basket comes in especially handy on account of the frame is too chunky to affix a bottle cage. Not a problem for me, as I’m sort of gawky (in the most charming and feminine way possible, of course) and fear colliding into whatever may be handy as I struggle to pull my squeezie bottle free. I’ve also got some flashy panniers on the backend, ‘cause I’m a girl what likes to accessorize.

The only source of irritation is the coaster braking system. For those who are in the habit of backpedaling whilst you coast, you could be in for a nasty surprise as you come to a screeching halt. It does, however, have a front brake that is of the more conventional handlebar variety, which I favor in order to avoid horrible 7th grade flashbacks.

All in all, I am thrilled that Jack beat the crap out of that 70-year-old couple that were eyeing my fine German-designed machine and snagged it for me first. I ride it to work every other weekend and get to feel invigorated while I’m looking all snazzy. Now if I could only master cycling no-handed so I could randomly flash the “jazz hands�? to passing motorists, I’d be the coolest girl ever!

Euro-chic, indeed…stylish and functional for those who aren’t in a hurry to get anywhere fast and who appreciate some comfort along the way.