Upon Reaching "Landmark" Birthdays and not having owned a car
I know I am not nearly the only person who has achieved a lifetime of no car payments, and I am sure I am not the oldest at all! But, I would like to celebrate the fact that I am now 30 years old, and have never owned a car.
This Blog Post declares that 14.7% of us live car-free. Go us!
That isn’t to say I haven’t driven one—for sure I know several folks and have a few good friends who have never even driven and don’t have driver’s licenses! I do drive about once a week or more for my job, and have access to a vehicle if I need it for moving stuff around. But I still haven’t deemed the stress and cost of owning a car and maintaining it as “worth it” in my life—my bike and two feet get me nearly everywhere.
At some point in my late teens I promised myself not to consider a car til I was at least 25, and when I turned 25, I promised myself no car til I was at least 30.
Now I am 30 and I am not sure when I will need one, if at all—car shares and my bike seem to be doing me just fine.
So, who else has been living car free and care free for most of their lives? Do you plan to own one one day?
Also, big thanks to Bike Pittsburgh again for making our city a better and better place to be car free. We really appreciate it
I inherited a car when I was 26, and I drove it about once a month over a little more than a year before I decided to sell it.
Now I live with someone who has a car, so I suppose that is kind of cheating, but I can’t imagine I’d own one if I didn’t. I rarely have occasion to drive this one — rare enough that zipcar would be more than adequate.
I don’t have anything against cars, I just don’t like driving, worrying about killing someone, traffic, parking, or dealing with any of the maintenance crap. Transit/bikability to work is my number one criteria for renting a house/apartment. If I can find that, I’ll probably never need a car of my own.
December 16th 2012. I hate living for the future, but I look forward to that day, putting the keys in my husbands hands and never touching them again.
I didnt’ own one until I was 25 (first “real” job was *gasp* 8 miles away! grumble mumble mutter), and have loathed it ever since. This latest one has heated seats, which is seriously the only up side.
this post actually has a much longer version on my computer in a word doc, but i do mention in that document that i dont have a hatred of cars or anything–i just dont want to deal with all the things and costs they come with. plus i just like riding or walking better. i dont judge my car owning brethren (unless its just excessive or they are jerks to me on the road!)
sorry caitlin, I tend to come across so negatively when commenting about my car experiences and feeling stuck by my own car oriented thoughtless decisions. I have had rotten experiences with them when I drive and own them, and believe the roads are much safer with me NOT behind that particular type of wheel I’m sorry I’m such a car-grouch.
and a belated Happy B-day!
edited to add: sheesh, even when I try and be less grouchy I come across unhappy, I sure hope that’s not a chronic dysfunction of mine. if anything I’m *happier* reading/commenting on this board
Happy Birthday Caitlin and congratulations!
I’ve never owned a car either, but I did drive one for two years in college. That’s when I realized I am a terrible, terrible driver and way too prone to sudden bursts of dancing which is a shitty way to be driving a huge thing.
I was a danger to everyone around me and so decided to focus my efforts on becoming a Dancing Sensation instead! That failed.
I realized when graduating that there were way too many other fun things to spend my money on – traveling, shoes, frivolous anythings, restaurants, raspberry berets, belts, things from ikea that wouldn’t last, expensive apartments and whiskey.
PS: I don’t think you’re excessively grumpy EJWME (should I call you that or your name on the board? I’m never sure)
I purchased my first car when I was 37 for a job about 20 miles away. Other than for those 6 years on that job, I have been primarily transporting by bike.
One of my brothers who is now 53 has never driven- he said one time he had to move a car in a driveway and felt a deep pain inside him when he turned the ignition on.
as of right now I was born 42 years 38 days and roughly 7 hours ago. I have never had a drivers license and doubt I ever will.
and ewjme, my response wasnt about your being grumpy at all! which i dont think you are. it was more a response to dwillen.
At various times, I owned cars for a few years. I left an inherited car sit for almost 2 years at and had to kill the wasps that had colonized it when I got it running.
My hat’s off to those who have never owned and even more to those who have never driven – Thoroughbreds!
Ocassionally, I indulge in hatin’ on car owners. Partly because car-independence is a mind set that was so foreign 20 years ago (when I was just starting to be middle aged), that it would have been impossible to make oneself understood then as anything other than mentally ill.
Thanks to all you riders and to Bike-Pgh for changing my status from “fekking bugged-out looney” to ” a little weird!”
Unfortunately my car-free-ness only lasted until I was 16, and for many years I drove 8-10k miles/yr mostly commuting to work… But, I’ve made a lot of changes in my life over the past 2 years and while I still own a car, I rarely drive it. I calculated that I saved $2300 this year on gasoline and maintenance alone, and got 80 hours of my life back. Plus it’s a lot more fun to ride everywhere!
I can’t really speak for my son, but he’s made it to 21 w/o a license, and now relies on bike and bus to do a lot of his getting around.
Myself, I went from four cars and 60,000 miles a year in 1990 to one car that I maybe touch once a week, now that I’m in my 50s. I can’t really say I’ve weaned myself off them entirely, but I am setting an example that I wish a lot of my suburban neighbors and friends would follow.
Someone gave me a book a few years ago called “How to live well without owning a car” and I kind of bristled at the time because I thought “I already AM living well without a car”.
But I just picked it up again after a long time and there’s lots of good information in there, from the perspective of someone who used to own a car and then stopped and realized how much more money they had. I’ve always taken that money for granted and spent it but it made me decide to start saving $500 a month in a fund to substitute for not spending money on a car.
The author is a bit financially optimistic but says that if you put the $800/mo you’d be spending on car expenses in a savings account with 8% interest (does that even exist anymore? this book was from ~2006), in 30 years you’ll be a millionaire.
And I suppose that doesn’t sound too bad to me. I probably won’t be a millionaire at my savings rate, but I’ll be less broke than I usually am and it will stop me from buying crap I don’t need.
I don’t know how to drive. It can be a huge pain, like having to postpone moving for a month because I can’t drive a u-haul and no one can help me (among other reasons), and not being able to get home for any holiday. But for the most part, I’m okay.
My aunt and uncle lived on the South Side most of their lives, back when it was a mill town. They then moved up the sloaps to Mount oliver, before it became a crack den. Neither had ever driven a car and never seemed to need one either. When my aunt died a dozen or so people showed up at the funeral home and my cousins didn’t know who they were. Turns out they were all Bus-friends! Some had known my aunt for 20 years, life is amazing.
My semi car free lifestyle (its hard to pick up hundreds of pounds of supplies on a bike) is somewhat recent.
I come from a family of gearheads, my dad rebuilds antique Lancia and Ferrari motors for a living, and grew up obsessed with cars. I learned to drive in an Alfa Romeo and then had a bunch of Volkswagon Vans and can righteously say that I am an excellent driver.
Three years ago I pulled my old mountain bike out of storage and fell in love again.
Besides short car trips a few times a week I ride pretty much 365 in any conditions and love it.
It is somewhat weird to have a totally different perspective on automobiles than I once did and took some getting used to. I have a ’67 Volvo 122S coupe that I am planning on restoring somewhat soon just to drive for special occasions. My love of old cars is something that will never die it seems. Sometimes I think about nerding out about antique bicycles instead…….
Edit: Just did the math and my old man currently has 9 autos and several motorcycles at his house right now. Sheesh
Mick, you’re overstating things considerably. I was car-free twenty years ago and nobody in my ivory-tower academic circles thought I was nuts. They seemed to generally respect the attempt. Blue-collar pixberg, otoh… well, that hasn’t changed all that much either
Since then, I’ve been car-free, or not, at various times. I’ve been car-free since June 28 but don’t expect that to continue for much longer. I don’t see it as something to gloat about, it’s just something I would like to do for myself.
I find Pittsburgh is just as tough for me to be car-free now as it was then. Better because there are finally some good restaurants in walking distance of me, worse because the bus service has been steadily degrading.
But then, worse bus service == more bikes on the road, so… yay?
when i met my now husband, he didn’t own a car. i really liked that about him.
unfortunately, because of logistics, i have to drive most days out of the week for my job. if i didn’t love my job so much, i would get one that didn’t necessitate at a car to get from monroeville to the north side quickly for surgery.
i applaud all of you for being car free. i’m sure it’s not easy to get on a bike when it’s near 0 degrees. and happy birthday caitlin
i was gifted my first car at 26. i needed it so i could work a farm job an hour away and return home on the weekends so my girlfriend wouldn’t break up with me. since the season has been over, i barely even use the thing. i kinda regret paying the $200 for another six months of car insurance this month. all told, i think it costs me $550 a year to own, plus gas. i still take the bus or train home for the holidays. but i am going to use the car to go deer hunting.
Southern New Jersey is no car-free environment by any stretch, but I managed to hold off until I turned 18. Because of everything I’m involved with here (consulting, contracting, transporting large things in general) can’t go car free, but I certainly use it a lot less.
nick – no hauling a deer out of the woods on a trailer behind a beefy mountain bike? pshaw.
@nick: using a car is hardly sporting. Plus it makes a real mess of the meat.
@lyle Mick, you’re overstating things considerably. I was car-free twenty years ago and nobody in my ivory-tower academic circles thought I was nuts.
Nobody? Lyle, you may have been in some magical environment or something, but I’m guessing that you are overstating the case here. I’d bet money there was someone who thought you were nuts, even if the general consensus was suportive.
well, my trailer only has a capacity of 60 lbs. maybe someday i’ll get a larger one.
@lyle, not any worse than a poorly placed gun shot.
Guns? Cars? Pshaw…real men hunt deer with harpoons. And bourbon.
last place of employment I had a coworker who, I kid you not, was working on bagging a dear by throwing a hatchet. He’d killed most everything else in most every sane way and some insane ways (he made his own flintlock from scratch and used it to take down a moose, which was very tastey). I bet he’d have a harpoon story. I bet given enough bourbon, he’d try to take out a deer on a bicycle. I mean while he was riding a bicycle. Though I’m sure he’d go for a hooved cyclist as well. I mean a deer riding a bicycle. Now I’m lost, what’s going on?
@mick: “I’d bet money there was someone who thought you were nuts”
Yeah, okay. There were lots of people who thought I was nuts, and some of them were probably right, but cycling wasn’t the reason.
On the other hand, there were a lot of people who thought I was nuts when I said I was moving to Pittsburgh…
@Guns? Cars? Pshaw…real men hunt deer with harpoons. And bourbon.
Try to understand the moral schizophrenia in the use of violence with some sentient beings and not others
Yeah, just wait by the side of Rt. 28 near Aspinwall when the deer are in heat and kinda crazy. You’ll have your pick of fresh roadkill.
Harpoons and bourbon – pshaw squared I kill deer with only my sharp wit and attitude. Although after drinking enough bourbon I once thought I was not only bulletproof but also charming and invisible at the same time.
ahhh college days…
Try to understand the moral schizophrenia in the use of violence with some sentient beings and not others
I avoid such schizophrenia by consistently advocating violence against all beings, sentient or not. Much simpler than trying to determine where to draw the arbitrary line…
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