Rural life without a car

Our transport is heavily oil-based. What are the alternatives?

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How long do you think you could live for without a car?

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Potemkin Villager
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Rural life without a car

Post by Potemkin Villager »

My aging Seat Ibiza has been languishing at the most scenic car repair shop on the Wild Atlantic Way, overlooking Tory Island, for nearly a week now awaiting delivery of a new ignition block. This has led to me experiencing life much more from the roadside rather than from behind the wheel recently.

The first thing i noticed is just how tetchy neighbours are if you presume upon their generosity too much by scrounging lifts into town more than once or twice. Trips into town of course being to pick up life's essentials from the store.

Town is about an hours walk away and I have now made this journey 3 times with rucksack. The first couple of trips were a novelty and made me realise how little you really see of what is going on about you in an area whizzing by at 100 km/h. The third journey was less fun as I had to lug back a heavy load and it was windy and rain set in......

The second thing I noticed is that it is a lot harder to hitch a lift compared to 20 or 30 years ago. Most lifts I got were from people who know me, sheep farmers who are easy to have a conversation with as they say very little, or sales reps who are easy to have a conversation with as they do most of the talking!

Otherwise people seem very fearful of allowing male strangers into their mobile bunkers/tanks/ safe houses in which they are often the sole occupant. I fear that many of them would really freak out if they either had to share their space overmuch or were deprived of their personal transport for even a very short period of time.

For now this is manageable but what if another week passes without the supply chain providing a needed spare part? Buses are still running, people are still driving about, the artic lorry arrives regularly to replenish stocks at the store. We can still buy or borrow our way out of trouble for now.
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vtsnowedin
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Post by vtsnowedin »

I would have dusted off a bicycle and blown up the tires by now. Paid a neighbor with a large car or truck to take one trip and pick up EVERYTHING I needed for the month. A teenager with a car and the constant need for girl chasing funds would be my target. Pay him well and he'll be ready and waiting for the next trip. And yes people don't pick up or trust hitch hikers today as we don't know many people that are without a car for no good reason today while back in the 70's there were a lot of young people getting buy on $2.50 an hour.
But look at all the good the walking is doing for your health! :)
Little John
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Post by Little John »

Can't answer the question as it is too simplistic. The fact is, I could "live" as long as I needed to. But, it would be a major economic setback.
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adam2
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Post by adam2 »

It also depends a great deal on what alternatives are available.
Are there any buses ?
Can you afford the odd taxi, and are these available.
Can you minimise the need for shopping in person by utilising delivery services.
Do you have the money and the storage space to hold large stocks of consumables rather than making small frequent purchases.

I hold large stocks of consumables, partly as a doom prep, but also to save money by purchasing in bulk, and also to reduce the time and trouble spent on shopping.

As an example, many people buy toilet rolls a few at a time, at high prices, from a local shop. I buy hundreds at a time every few years and of course bulk orders are delivered.
My pet cat has a special diet, only obtainable from the vet. Visiting the vet by taxi would cost about £10. Recently I had the vet do a home visit for the annual health check and vaccinations, so I had the vet bring enough cat food for at least 6 months. No taxi fares, and no delivery charge.

Food and drink I have delivered by a supermarket. I keep a close eye on prices and think nothing of buying large quantities when prices are favourable.

The money thereby saved permits of taking taxis from time to time.

Despite not driving, I keep a reserve of petrol in case of shortages. Others may be glad of it and therefore do me a favour in return.
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Potemkin Villager
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Post by Potemkin Villager »

vtsnowedin wrote:
And yes people don't pick up or trust hitch hikers today as we don't know many people that are without a car for no good reason today
I am not quite sure what you mean by this. I think people don't pick up hitch hikers is because of a general atmosphere of, to paraphrase Hunter Thompson, fear and loathing. They feel protected inside their car and somewhat insulated from all the horrible things they imagine (and are) out there represented by somebody they see by the side of the road who "shouldn't" be there.

In my experience people generally hate, with an strong and irrational passion, anything that falls outside their idea of what is normal or challenges their quite arbitrary ideas of what they should be "entitled" to. This includes any notion of sharing their exclusive means of transport. Of course there are exceptions like bus and taxi drivers.


But yes the walking has done my health a power of good and I have dusted off my bicycle again too. I prefer walking to the bike, unless I am in a hurry, which is something I avoid like the plague, as you still miss a lot still cycling at 20 km/h compared to walking. Also the roads and drivers around here are not exactly cycle friendly.

I am most impressed A2, that you manage without a car, put your money where your mouth and organise your affairs in such a rational manner. I am coming to believe more and more that the private car is one of the great disasters of the 20th century. I am still addicted and it will be much harder to give up than say it was for me to give up smoking.

Maybe the decision will be taken out of my hands.
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emordnilap
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Post by emordnilap »

I could live a 'normal' life without a car for a long time - I'm over an hour's walk from shops but 20/25 minutes' leisurely cycle ride - but I'm in two bands, using amps etc, so that part of my life would change.

I give lifts to hitchers as often as I can, meaning when there's room in the car. I often take people to their doors if it doesn't add a serious chunk of time to my journey. :shock:
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Post by woodburner »

I fix people’s boilers. If my van stops working, as it has done, earning a living gets a tad difficult. Though I had the letter about my state pension coming soon, so I could probably survive and get goods delivered.
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Mr. Fox
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Post by Mr. Fox »

Pretty much in the same boat as Adam, here... no car for 7 or 8 years now!

As Adam suggests, we get a lot of stuff (weekly shopping) delivered, bulk purchases etc.

For short journeys, taxis and buses work quite well - anything longer (6-hour slogs up to the airport and back) I hire a car (~£40 pd - they even pick me up). Compared to the current total cost of ownership involved in having a car, it's much cheaper. Or there's the train.

The biggest single factor for me is having a decent electric bike, though.
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BritDownUnder
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Post by BritDownUnder »

I have always lived in towns or cities except as a school child. I never had a car in the UK and was there until late 20s. All items were carried by bus or bike. I saved an enormous amount of money getting fewer things. Mail order was feasible of course and internet ordering was just taking off but i only got a few things using that method in the last year in the UK. Down under I always had a car except for a year and a half in Gladstone Queensland. There I lived close to work and a supermarket as a priority. Cycling to the local mall was possible but some species of magpie was very fond of attacking cyclists from behind so i did that less. I remember I lived for seven months not venturing further than 3km from home and was fine about it. Saved a lot of money.

Since then I have had a car but drove very little. Even now when I get my car inspection the people always comment on how low the mileage is.

Living in a village without transport would be difficult. I think if I was fit enough I would probably get a tricycle if people did not laugh at me too much.
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AutomaticEarth
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Post by AutomaticEarth »

I do have a car, but TBH use it mainly to take people (eg my parents) about. I get stuff delivered and have done for the last few years. It's also been handy for moving other people's stuff about. Thats the time when I'd miss it the most but this not a frequent occurrence.
A lot of the time I do work from home so can avoid excessive train fares. As I work from an office in London, a car is out of the question for commuting.
Most of my travelling is done on a bike, with a decent rucksack to carry a reasonable amount of small items.
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Post by emordnilap »

AutomaticEarth wrote:Most of my travelling is done on a bike, with a decent rucksack to carry a reasonable amount of small items.
My experience is that back packs on bikes just put more pressure on my 'seat'!

I use bags slung low over the back wheel, which I find helps stability and means I can put on a waterproof easily, something essential in de west.
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vtsnowedin
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Post by vtsnowedin »

Potemkin Villager wrote:
vtsnowedin wrote:
And yes people don't pick up or trust hitch hikers today as we don't know many people that are without a car for no good reason today
I am not quite sure what you mean by this. I think people don't pick up hitch hikers is because of a general atmosphere of, to paraphrase Hunter Thompson, fear and loathing.
To try to clarify.
I think in the seventies and eighties there were a lot of young people that were the children of the baby boomers that grew up with not a lot of extra money and were often on foot and hitching rides. Young person in clothes suitable for being going to or coming from a job was just a fellow traveler that could use a ride and might someday return the favor. Today people trying to hitch a ride are more likely to have a bad reason for not being in their own car. Loss of license for drunk driving or drug use being the most common. Your odds of having a bad experience when picking up a hitchhiker are much higher today and the public knows it and drives by them.
Sucks if you need a ride but that is just the way it is.
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Potemkin Villager
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Post by Potemkin Villager »

vtsnowedin wrote:
Today people trying to hitch a ride are more likely to have a bad reason for not being in their own car. Loss of license for drunk driving or drug use being the most common. Your odds of having a bad experience when picking up a hitchhiker are much higher today and the public knows it and drives by them.

Sucks if you need a ride but that is just the way it is.
Oh yeah I understand what you mean of course it is also a risk for the hitch hiker getting into a car with somebody you do not know.

Well apparently the spare part is still on it's way, let us hope it arrives today or tomorrow rather than next week. Another trip into town today. One thing I find about walking is that it is a great aid to thinking, much more so than driving.

I bumped into a near neighbour I don't see often, stopped for coffee at the beach cafe, got a lift in her van and had a great chat. I spent an interesting time walking about town filling in time until the bus back arrived. Checked out the local flora including a spectacular Japanese Knot-weed on some waste ground and bumped into two friends I haven't seen for ages. So there is some upside in having your familiar patterns disturbed.

One downside I am noticing is a sort of separation anxiety of not having a working vehicle to hand to effortlessly take me where I want when I want. This is allied to a suspicion that has been forming in my mind for some time that many car journeys are not at all strictly necessary and have more to do with relieving mental pressure and stress.

https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/1 ... 18894.html

Personally I find working out of doors has much the same effect.[/b]
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emordnilap
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Post by emordnilap »

Potemkin Villager wrote:This is allied to a suspicion that has been forming in my mind for some time that many car journeys are not at all strictly necessary and have more to do with relieving mental pressure and stress.
Well, yes in a way.

I 'save up' all the jobs I need transport for. It means that, when I go out in the car, I can strike so much off my 'to get or do' list that I feel thoroughly, err, relieved?
I experience pleasure and pains, and pursue goals in service of them, so I cannot reasonably deny the right of other sentient agents to do the same - Steven Pinker
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BritDownUnder
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Post by BritDownUnder »

emordnilap wrote:
Potemkin Villager wrote:This is allied to a suspicion that has been forming in my mind for some time that many car journeys are not at all strictly necessary and have more to do with relieving mental pressure and stress.
Well, yes in a way.

I 'save up' all the jobs I need transport for. It means that, when I go out in the car, I can strike so much off my 'to get or do' list that I feel thoroughly, err, relieved?
When I was in the UK I would occasionally get use of a car for a weekend a few times per year and would do a lot of things when I had it available. Even later on I would combine several things on an outing. Sharing cars has to be the way to go. I am surprised that it has never taken off outside of close knit family units.
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