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Can you live rural without a vehicle?

 
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Some how my car got a shredded tire today. I drove maybe a mile and a half or two miles at the most. It was not a blow out or a pop and nothing hit it. It was a steer tire and each time one of those has popped because something sharp or blownout on the road it was something I could hear and feel. This was just my car not accelerating right so I turned around to go back home and check it out. A little after I turned around it felt like it was deflated and I pulled off the road the first chance there was a turn off. No big deal, I'm close to a shop and my tires are new and still under warranty, so I call roadside to tow my car to the shop and walk home. My kind of tires are out of stock and it's a Friday so I have to wait till Monday to get my car back. Again no big deal, I live in town I can walk to the store if I need to, walk to the park, basically everything but the library is within a mile or two. However it's got me thinking, what if I lived in a nice rural location and my tires were not new and not covered by warranty and I had to wait till my next check to get it replaced. What if something else were to go wrong with my car etc?
Yeah I know it's best to have an emergency fund, but once I move to a rural plot of land I am pretty sure I will be broke for a while. So this has gotten me thinking, how do people get by without driving? I've had a car (or truck) since high school aside form about a year in the town I live now where everything is easily accessible (aside from the library, lol).  Rather than buying a cheap car when my truck died I saved up for a Prius as I figured the savings on fuel and maintenance in the long run would be worth it. So hypothetically speaking is it possible to live in a rural location without a vehicle? How far from a town would be logical for a bicycle or walking for basic errands? I realize for bags of feed, potting soil, dog kibble etc I would probably have find a neighbor with a vehicle to help. For regular trips into town like post office, church, library (I'm never moving to a town without a library again) , grocery store etc who here does not have a car?
 
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I live 10 miles from the closest town. While I myself could never leave my place and would be perfectly fine without a vehicle, the kids and wife are a different story. So I have an older truck as a spare vehicle incase something happens to the main one (also well used). That way we are not stranded.
 
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If you live in the United States and your name is not Dick Proenneke, then no, there is no possible way you can live in a rural area without a car or truck.

You could certainly live in a small town, and ride a bike and get rides from friends and friendly strangers, but since the Federal government gave a gigantic subsidy to the petroleum and automobile industry by building the interstate highway system with tax dollars, "rural living" has become impossible without a vehicle.

Some things to consider:

If you have to get to town, how far can you bicycle or walk in 100 degree heat?  How about if it is hailing or sleeting?  Ice on the roads?  Again, no, you have to have a vehicle unless you are extremely knowledgeable and experienced in bushcraft, which you indicate you are not.

You can get a cheap vehicle, that runs, for $1000.  Anyone should be able to figure out a way to make $1000 to scrounge up a vehicle.  

Electric cars use rare earth elements which are in very limited supply and are mined using tremendously environmentally destructive open pit mining.  You're destroying habitat and contributing to hugely elevated levels of disease among workers who work in appalling conditions.  Far better to get a gas-powered vehicle with a working catalytic converter and just DRIVE LESS.  
 
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Yeah, Marc's got it.  If you live rural with older vehicles that may cough up a lung at any time, and you don't have the financial security to replace them on an emergency basis, the trick is to have more than one old beater vehicle.  That way if your daily driver won't go and you won't be able to get it going until payday or a rich uncle dies, you've got backup.

My household has three vehicles -- 2004, 2005, and 2008 model years.  Mileage varies between 150k and 260k.  They have various cosmetic and comfort faults but they're all tagged, insured (extra vehicles don't cost much on the insurance) and drivable.  We need two cars to maximize our personal convenience and autonomy but could easily survive with one.  So that means, when something breaks or wears out, we have plenty of time to order our own parts at the best price, figure out if it's a possible home repair, figure out if we can get it fixed cheaper than at a garage via our network of family and friends who can help but may not be available right away, or shop around for a professional repair.  

I do know someone in this area who lives deep in a twisty network of country roads about fifteen miles from the nearest town, without a vehicle.  As near as I can tell, they do almost all of their shopping via internet ordering with UPS delivery, but it's never been clear to me how they handle vet visits, urgent errands, or the problem of social isolation, which is serious enough when you live in the sticks even if you do have a car.
 
pollinator
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Multiple people in my area have no vehicle, including my neighbor.

Now do they rely on others for rides? Yep they sure do. But They survive without are vehicle of their own. My neighbor has a large dog and is able to get food for him.

So you can do it.

Do you want to is anther story.
 
steward
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don't underestimate how much you can carry with a bike. on bike tours, I've often carried 50 lbs or more. back at home, a 120-lb bale of alfalfa wasn't that big a deal in my two-wheel bike trailer. purpose built cargo bikes easily carry that much and more. if you're planning ahead for a time when your knees might not cooperate, there are models available with electric assist.

if, for whatever reason, you decide that a car is a necessity, carrying a good spare tire and the tools to swap it in yourself might ease your mind a bit.

I do own a car but rarely use it. I have a good arrangement with a friend who shares the car with me and also rarely uses it. I maybe drive it once a month on average, and my friend maybe twice that but shorter distances.

whether you can get by without an automobile depends on so many things. some rural areas are sparsely populated, but still have good transit. others have roads that are pleasant to ride a bike or walk long distances on. many rural places have neither.

much also depends on your determination. if you are determined to live without a car, you'll find ways to do that.
 
Gail Jardin
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tel jetson wrote:don't underestimate how much you can carry with a bike. on bike tours, I've often carried 50 lbs or more. back at home, a 120-lb bale of alfalfa wasn't that big a deal in my two-wheel bike trailer. purpose built cargo bikes easily carry that much and more. if you're planning ahead for a time when your knees might not cooperate, there are models available with electric assist.

if, for whatever reason, you decide that a car is a necessity, carrying a good spare tire and the tools to swap it in yourself might ease your mind a bit.

I do own a car but rarely use it. I have a good arrangement with a friend who shares the car with me and also rarely uses it. I maybe drive it once a month on average, and my friend maybe twice that but shorter distances.

whether you can get by without an automobile depends on so many things. some rural areas are sparsely populated, but still have good transit. others have roads that are pleasant to ride a bike or walk long distances on. many rural places have neither.

much also depends on your determination. if you are determined to live without a car, you'll find ways to do that.



Thank you for your thoughtful and helpful reply. What kind of bike trailer do you use? I've seen the cargo bikes (I think Dutch ones) and they looked amazing and sturdy but a bit impractical if you just want to go for a ride. I love mountain biking, but have never lugged more than what fits in panniers. I would imagine with a bike trailer most errands would be possible! I also find the idea of cycling five miles to town and back a couple times a week a good way to stay up on my cardio, lol. I suppose it would just depend on the hills, curves and shoulder of the roads into town. I would not want to live without a car and love my Prius, but given I'm without it for the weekend I will be walking if I need to go anywhere. Or better yet use it as an excuse to hunker down and stay home, lol.
 
Gail Jardin
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Devin Lavign wrote:Multiple people in my area have no vehicle, including my neighbor.

Now do they rely on others for rides? Yep they sure do. But They survive without are vehicle of their own. My neighbor has a large dog and is able to get food for him.

So you can do it.

Do you want to is anther story.


In hindsight when I did not have my car I would carry back bags of dog food from the store on my shoulders and not think much of it. If walking half a mile with a forty pound bag was doable, cycling five with it in a trailer should be as well?  It would be a trip to the store just for dog food though! Plus there are always options like ordering online for the heavier/bulkier items.
 
Gail Jardin
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Dan Boone wrote:Yeah, Marc's got it.  If you live rural with older vehicles that may cough up a lung at any time, and you don't have the financial security to replace them on an emergency basis, the trick is to have more than one old beater vehicle.  That way if your daily driver won't go and you won't be able to get it going until payday or a rich uncle dies, you've got backup.

My household has three vehicles -- 2004, 2005, and 2008 model years.  Mileage varies between 150k and 260k.  They have various cosmetic and comfort faults but they're all tagged, insured (extra vehicles don't cost much on the insurance) and drivable.  We need two cars to maximize our personal convenience and autonomy but could easily survive with one.  So that means, when something breaks or wears out, we have plenty of time to order our own parts at the best price, figure out if it's a possible home repair, figure out if we can get it fixed cheaper than at a garage via our network of family and friends who can help but may not be available right away, or shop around for a professional repair.  

I do know someone in this area who lives deep in a twisty network of country roads about fifteen miles from the nearest town, without a vehicle.  As near as I can tell, they do almost all of their shopping via internet ordering with UPS delivery, but it's never been clear to me how they handle vet visits, urgent errands, or the problem of social isolation, which is serious enough when you live in the sticks even if you do have a car.


My car is almost twenty but the 'newest' vehicle I've ever owned. So far the only issues I've had have been tires blowing out, being popped etc. I had all the tires replaced last spring yet got a flat today. I'll be buying two from the shop when I get my car back, one for a spare.
I am pretty sure vehicles here can be registered as farm trucks, but I think that's only for one ton trucks or larger. I've never seen anyone get ticketed for taking their farm truck to town every now and then. I do agree that I need to review and improve basic car care skills. If I had a spare I probably could have changed it, but I should be confident about that instead.
 
pollinator
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Great honest answers.

If you have community, trusted neighbors, its doable.

If not, then two beaters = one reliable car.
 
tel jetson
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Gail Jardin wrote:What kind of bike trailer do you use? I've seen the cargo bikes (I think Dutch ones) and they looked amazing and sturdy but a bit impractical if you just want to go for a ride. I love mountain biking, but have never lugged more than what fits in panniers. I would imagine with a bike trailer most errands would be possible! I also find the idea of cycling five miles to town and back a couple times a week a good way to stay up on my cardio, lol. I suppose it would just depend on the hills, curves and shoulder of the roads into town.



mine is a Blue Sky Cycle Cart. got it from a friend many years ago after it didn't sell at a garage sale. it's worked well with heavy loads. for a couple years, I loaded my whole farmers market booth onto it. had to go real slow with big loads, though, as it doesn't have any brakes. shouldn't be too difficult to add those.

the Dutch bakfiets-style bikes are definitely not ideal for a ride without cargo. if you are moving cargo, though, they're hard to beat.

five miles isn't nothing, but it's very doable. it's a rare day that I don't ride at least 10 miles, and that doesn't feel like a lot. years ago, I rode 30 miles most days. I'm not carrying a whole lot of weight on a daily basis, but 25 lbs isn't unusual.

if you're used to getting around quickly in a car, using a bike instead might take some adjustment. I find biking to be a much better option in so many ways.
 
pollinator
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In Wisconsin, no.
 
tel jetson
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Trace Oswald wrote:In Wisconsin, no.



assuming the issue is weather: the World Winter Cycling Congress took place in Joensuu, Finland last week. I'm confident weather there is more extreme in eastern Finland than it is in Wisconsin, but over 90% of children arrive at school on bicycles in the middle of winter. of those not on bicycles, more arrive on kick sleds than in cars.

issues of infrastructure, road maintenance, and driver behavior are harder to solve, but not impossible.
 
pollinator
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How rural? In my last house yes not a huge issue, it was a mile to a train station, and from there obviously you can go anywhere, it was also the type of place where you could leave a wheelbarrow by the train station to get things home with. I will say that picking up gas canisters in a wheelbarrow is tiring and noisy but it can be done. In my present house? not comfortably. it's 7 miles to a local shop and 15 miles to a "town" there is no bus service.  The road is a main road it has no verges and no foot/cycle path and is obviously not lit. We have one car, having multiple cars would bankrupt us here, just leaving it sitting on the drive for a year costs a months income.


You can of course live without a car, but it is very limiting and also expensive. If we didn't have the car we would have to shop in the local shop which is about 20% more expensive than going into town, today we drove 100miles to pick up half a pig, we also picked up 180lb of potatoes (to plant for sale) My husband managed to need emergency surgery a year back when our car was broken, a train two buses and forcing his mother to drive the rest of the way is not easy when you can't walk. How do you take animals to the vets? the vets are not in towns here or anywhere you can get to without a car.
 
Gail Jardin
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Skandi Rogers wrote:How rural? In my last house yes not a huge issue, it was a mile to a train station, and from there obviously you can go anywhere, it was also the type of place where you could leave a wheelbarrow by the train station to get things home with. I will say that picking up gas canisters in a wheelbarrow is tiring and noisy but it can be done. In my present house? not comfortably. it's 7 miles to a local shop and 15 miles to a "town" there is no bus service.  The road is a main road it has no verges and no foot/cycle path and is obviously not lit. We have one car, having multiple cars would bankrupt us here, just leaving it sitting on the drive for a year costs a months income.


You can of course live without a car, but it is very limiting and also expensive. If we didn't have the car we would have to shop in the local shop which is about 20% more expensive than going into town, today we drove 100miles to pick up half a pig, we also picked up 180lb of potatoes (to plant for sale) My husband managed to need emergency surgery a year back when our car was broken, a train two buses and forcing his mother to drive the rest of the way is not easy when you can't walk. How do you take animals to the vets? the vets are not in towns here or anywhere you can get to without a car.



Your last paragraph was very thought provoking. I think my greatest fear would be being rural when my children are grown and having no way out in an emergency. Or if I were injured (not severely but enough to not hike/bike) and no longer had a car. I think even if I take up bicycle transportation for a while, I will keep my car. Your first location sounds ideal, rural but not remote and safe enough to leave things at the train station! Around here the train stations are few and far between and mostly in cities and not the greatest areas of the cities either.

Out of curiosity what is the weather like in Denmark this time of year. To spin off of the reply about Wisconsin being too cold to bike year round yet there being a bicycle convention in Finland. I had thought I replied with the weather in degrees Fahrenheit showing it barley being below freezing in Finland this week, yet here in the  Midwest today is the first time in days it hopped above freezing but will be below freezing by this evening.
 
Gail Jardin
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tel jetson wrote:

Trace Oswald wrote:In Wisconsin, no.



assuming the issue is weather: the World Winter Cycling Congress took place in Joensuu, Finland last week. I'm confident weather there is more extreme in eastern Finland than it is in Wisconsin, but over 90% of children arrive at school on bicycles in the middle of winter. of those not on bicycles, more arrive on kick sleds than in cars.

issues of infrastructure, road maintenance, and driver behavior are harder to solve, but not impossible.



I was pretty sure I replied to this post yesterday but now it's gone. Anyway, isn't the weather in Scandinavia usually presented in Celsius? I'm pretty sure if you look up the weather in Joensuu, Finland and Wisconsin, USA this week you will see WI has more sever winter weather. I have read many books about settlers coming to Minnesota from Sweden facing the harshest winters of their lives compared to back in Sweden. From what I have read and watched about Scandinavian countries, I would much rather spend my winters there than the Midwest, aside from the shorter daylight hours, I think it would be more suitable for homesteading.
 
Skandi Rogers
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Gail Jardin wrote:

Out of curiosity what is the weather like in Denmark this time of year. To spin off of the reply about Wisconsin being too cold to bike year round yet there being a bicycle convention in Finland. I had thought I replied with the weather in degrees Fahrenheit showing it barley being below freezing in Finland this week, yet here in the  Midwest today is the first time in days it hopped above freezing but will be below freezing by this evening.



Normally where I am it would be between -5 and -1C for Jan/feb dropping to -15 on rare days. This year we have not had a winter at all, it's 8C right now has been since early December we've only had a couple of frosts all year. What we are getting is a ton of rain, many fields are flooded and last week we had a hurricane and we have another coming over the next 3 days.
 
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This is a great thread and I have been following with interest.

This makes me think of a “neighbor” somewhat near me, as within two miles of me.  He works at a local pizza place but has no car.  He walks 9 miles one way to work during rain, snow, wind, or blazing heat and humidity.

So I think the answer is yes, you can live rural without a car, but this depends on just how rural and what type of lifestyle do you want to live.

As a younger man, I could and maybe even would have done so.  I had no trouble walking that kind of distance.  I was pretty physically fit.  My priorities were a bit different though.  I was focused on work so I could own land.  Personally, though I occasionally like to fantasize about living completely self sufficient and off grid, family responsibilities basically dictate that I won’t be doing that.  Instead I am satisfied needing a car and living in the country but still on-grid.

Eric
 
Gail Jardin
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Skandi Rogers wrote:

Gail Jardin wrote:

Out of curiosity what is the weather like in Denmark this time of year. To spin off of the reply about Wisconsin being too cold to bike year round yet there being a bicycle convention in Finland. I had thought I replied with the weather in degrees Fahrenheit showing it barley being below freezing in Finland this week, yet here in the  Midwest today is the first time in days it hopped above freezing but will be below freezing by this evening.



Normally where I am it would be between -5 and -1C for Jan/feb dropping to -15 on rare days. This year we have not had a winter at all, it's 8C right now has been since early December we've only had a couple of frosts all year. What we are getting is a ton of rain, many fields are flooded and last week we had a hurricane and we have another coming over the next 3 days.


Okay so that sounds about like the Midwest. Would the -5C or -1C be the daily average or the low for the day? Oh wow, I'm sorry to hear about the flooding! Although I don't know what you keep or grow in your fields, I hope they dry out enough to plant this spring.
 
Gail Jardin
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Eric Hanson wrote:This is a great thread and I have been following with interest.

This makes me think of a “neighbor” somewhat near me, as within two miles of me.  He works at a local pizza place but has no car.  He walks 9 miles one way to work during rain, snow, wind, or blazing heat and humidity.

So I think the answer is yes, you can live rural without a car, but this depends on just how rural and what type of lifestyle do you want to live.

As a younger man, I could and maybe even would have done so.  I had no trouble walking that kind of distance.  I was pretty physically fit.  My priorities were a bit different though.  I was focused on work so I could own land.  Personally, though I occasionally like to fantasize about living completely self sufficient and off grid, family responsibilities basically dictate that I won’t be doing that.  Instead I am satisfied needing a car and living in the country but still on-grid.

Eric



Kudos to your neighbor, I bet he burns off all the calories he gains eating pizza at work :) It almost makes me think how inactive people have become, and wonder if folks did go a few miles into town for work and school before everyone was driving everywhere. I'm researching how to improve my mountain bike and get or build a trailer at some point, I hope to stay physically fit enough to use it as I age.
 
pollinator
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Dan Boone wrote:Yeah, Marc's got it.  If you live rural with older vehicles that may cough up a lung at any time, and you don't have the financial security to replace them on an emergency basis, the trick is to have more than one old beater vehicle.  That way if your daily driver won't go and you won't be able to get it going until payday or a rich uncle dies, you've got backup.

My household has three vehicles -- 2004, 2005, and 2008 model years.  Mileage varies between 150k and 260k.  They have various cosmetic and comfort faults but they're all tagged, insured (extra vehicles don't cost much on the insurance) and drivable.  We need two cars to maximize our personal convenience and autonomy but could easily survive with one.  So that means, when something breaks or wears out, we have plenty of time to order our own parts at the best price, figure out if it's a possible home repair, figure out if we can get it fixed cheaper than at a garage via our network of family and friends who can help but may not be available right away, or shop around for a professional repair.  



This is my strategy too, but.. here insurance(a mandatory thig, available only thru gov monopoly) goes with each vehicle, there is no way to add a vehicle to it.

Insurance for my $5000 truck was about 1k+ per year; I hear it has gone up drastically due to big changes, so it may well be a lot more when I renew. To insure the other one, another 1k. To switch it between them, 50 bucks each 1-way transfer... which can only be done in person, at offices no closer than 30KM.

Still better than being without options when something blows up... but annoying.
 
Skandi Rogers
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Gail Jardin wrote:
Okay so that sounds about like the Midwest. Would the -5C or -1C be the daily average or the low for the day? Oh wow, I'm sorry to hear about the flooding! Although I don't know what you keep or grow in your fields, I hope they dry out enough to plant this spring.



It's basically the same day and night, we're too far north for the sun to do much even if it does appear. My fields are ok, we're on a hill with sandy soil overlying chalk. but others are not so lucky.
 
pollinator
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> extra car

That's practically mandatory, IMHO. Doesn't have to have road papers, just has to be there and functional in case of real need. Most local enforcement people will give a pass to somebody they know who has to use their farm vehicle in an emergency. If the problem becomes long term, then it's time to get the right papers.

Your safety net vehicle needs:

- Space on your land to live safely. Covered space is way better, but a tarp ending above the rocker panels would suffice (leave the bottom open and the space it sits one scraped down to bare gravel or, better, concrete, to discourage vermin).
-  Shades for the tires to save them from UV damage.
- 120v power to the vehicle for battery charging or other work as needed (an extension cord will be about right).
-  You should really have a decent, real, compressor for the tires. There's lots of uses for "air" around a property and they don't cost that much. Pancake compressors sold at the box stores for use with one nail gun would be fine.
-  Needs a full gas tank (to reduce condensation in the tank); coolant good for your lowest temps.
-  Needs to be driven about 20 minutes each month (get it to full operating temperature for about 5 or so minutes).

The negative battery cable s/b disconnected to eliminate the tiny drain from the computer and clock (unless you have found, by personal experience, that that isn't needed for the battery to last 2 or 3 months). I have found that on my last 3 or 4 cars cleaning the negative battery connection (the old post type) and then tightening it just barely enough so I could install it by pushing and twisting (without further tightening) ran the car just fine and allowed me to disconnect it without tools by grabbing and twisting. Won't work with the side-stud threaded connections - for those you need a small wrench.


Regards,
Rufus
 
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I live in Amish country, they have bikes with no peddels, horse and buggies, and taxi, in amish you are amish or english

So the english provide taxi rides to the amish, many taxi, I see it every day, doctors, hospital, grocery, lowes. Walmart you name it
Paul
 
Dan Boone
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Rufus Laggren wrote:
The negative battery cable s/b disconnected to eliminate the tiny drain from the computer and clock (unless you have found, by personal experience, that that isn't needed for the battery to last 2 or 3 months).



They sell for ten or fifteen dollars a small solar "trickle charger" to keep car batteries topped up against small drains.  Solar panel sits on your dashboard, small trickle of DC voltage feeds into your automotive electrical system via the "auxillary" 12 volt port inside your car (what we old people still remember as the "cigarette lighter" plug.)
 
Trace Oswald
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tel jetson wrote:

Trace Oswald wrote:In Wisconsin, no.



assuming the issue is weather: the World Winter Cycling Congress took place in Joensuu, Finland last week. I'm confident weather there is more extreme in eastern Finland than it is in Wisconsin, but over 90% of children arrive at school on bicycles in the middle of winter. of those not on bicycles, more arrive on kick sleds than in cars.

issues of infrastructure, road maintenance, and driver behavior are harder to solve, but not impossible.



I think you would have to experience a winter here before deciding it's possible. There are days every winter that are impassable in a car.  Only 4 wheel drive vehicles can get anywhere.  Schools close quite a few days every winter for snow, or just cold. Last week we had 13 inches of snow in one day, and night before last it was -17 F, -30 - -35 with wind chill. Last year we had 2 days that were -40 without considering wind chill. We have many, many days of icy roads.  Assuming the original poster was talking about the possibility of living in a rural area now, not after massive infrastructure changes, I stand by my statement that no, it is not realistically possible in this climate.

Forgot to even mention the short daylight hours in the winter. The shortest days have 9 hours of daylight. Picture riding a bike to work or school, pitch black, roads haven't been plowed yet so they are covered in snow and ice a foot deep, and it's 20 degrees below zero.  Repeat in the evening because it's dark again before you finish work for the day.
 
tel jetson
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Gail Jardin wrote:Anyway, isn't the weather in Scandinavia usually presented in Celsius? I'm pretty sure if you look up the weather in Joensuu, Finland and Wisconsin, USA this week you will see WI has more sever winter weather. I have read many books about settlers coming to Minnesota from Sweden facing the harshest winters of their lives compared to back in Sweden. From what I have read and watched about Scandinavian countries, I would much rather spend my winters there than the Midwest, aside from the shorter daylight hours, I think it would be more suitable for homesteading.



brief nitpick, because I can't help it: geographically, only a small part of Finland (extreme northwest) is in Scandinavia. culturally, none of it is.

but back to the weather. unseasonable weather happens everywhere. Joensuu was warmer than usual last week. averages, though, are a bit cooler than Wisconsin, though only by a few degrees. I only picked Joensuu because that's where the conference was held. other Finnish cities have similar bike mode share along with more extreme weather.

but I've never biked in Finland. or Wisconsin. I would like to. I have biked in Alaska at -35º F. it wasn't a big deal.

honestly, apart from irresponsible drivers, I would say it's much easier to prepare to bike in extreme cold than to drive in extreme cold. there's no engine block to freeze. no windows to scrape. no wipers to think about. nothing to heat up before you can operate it. no doors that might freeze shut. nothing to dig out of a snowdrift.

on a bike, warm clothes is about the only thing you really need to add. studded tires are available and work really well, but they're only really necessary when things are really slippery, which isn't generally the case when the weather's real cold.

but it's obviously not for everybody. choosing to drive a car instead of biking is a fine decision to make. but don't blame the weather. wherever you are, I can pretty much guarantee there are people happily biking in more extreme weather conditions.
 
pollinator
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paul salvaterra wrote:I live in Amish country, they have bikes with no peddels, horse and buggies, and taxi, in amish you are amish or english

So the english provide taxi rides to the amish, many taxi, I see it every day, doctors, hospital, grocery, lowes. Walmart you name it
Paul



As a disclaimer, my wife and I are in the multiple vehicle camp on this issue.  All purchases were used, bargain basement 4X4s with decent reliability records because we just aren't the 'maintaining' kind.  But unless I missed it, Paul's comment was the only one that had a hint of 'social capital' attached to it, although even the suggestion here was the use of standard paid taxi service.  I'm thinking though as one solution, not necessarily long term, but who knows....would be *if* you are on good terms with some neighbors and could borrow or rent from them a vehicle that is not getting much use at the time, it would give some hauling and transportation options without having to make an immediate purchase and yet might not cost the same as a rental vehicle from an agency (which for SUVs/4X4s obviously can be costly).  Just a possibility.....

Edited to add, although I can imagine much if not most of Norway/Sweden is not as bitterly cold as Wisconsin, wouldn't the northern tier where the Sami live be pretty nippy?....

Second edit to add:  Although it would be impractical for our own set-up, I can imagine some rural situations where one only needs to drive ~10 -20 miles on most occasions to a small town for supplies/mail etc.  Right now the expense of a 4X4 XUV....like the John Deere Gator, etc.....is prohibitive, but I can see where the market may become saturated enough down the road with the many brands that these vehicles will be more affordable as a used unit.  More and more I've heard of 'street packages' with these vehicles and, if purchased with a heated cab, could replace a car for most purposes in the rural setting described.  Even now, none of my vehicles are used for long highway trips....I just rent economy/midsize cars for any interstate road travel, using the saved money *not* going into a new car purchase.
 
gardener
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Living on the cusp of the Cascades I could for 7 months out of the year. Maybe with a sparka kick sled I could go all year.
 
Rufus Laggren
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The "borrow the neighbor's" option would certainly be most efficient. Assuming it's available w/in walking distance in bad weather.

Apologies. Please note: I forgot to mention a potential paper work cost of keeping a 2nd vehicle, regardless of usage, that can get very large when not attended to properly: The state often likes to see a continuous string of registration with no unlicensed periods. It would be important to know and deal with the way you state handles the continuity of vehicle registration because some states will require that all back registrations be paid in full in order to get a current registration - including all penalties and late fees (CA).   Some states (CA, at least) have a PNO (Planed Non Operating) registration for vehicles which will not be on public roads for the whole of that license period. The PNO is much less $$ than a regular registration - about 20%, and is clearly the way to handle this, in CA at least.


Regards,
Rufus
 
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Gail Jardin wrote: It almost makes me think how inactive people have become, and wonder if folks did go a few miles into town for work and school before everyone was driving everywhere.  



I have just looked up in Google Maps how long it would have taken to walk from the house of my GGgrandfather to the lutheran church they used to visit on Sundays. It was a walk of about 2 hours and 40 minutes. Not all the younger children accompanied them, but often   they all went together to a nice Beergarden that was located at about 1 h 20 minutes distance.
There were seven kids and the only time they had a horse and carriage was when the father's boss, the director of the university, went for summer vacation and let them use the carriage during that time.

In later times (20th century) it was normal to have to walk to school 30 minutes to one hour.
When I went to school in the seventies the laws had changed already and all kids that lived at least 2 - 5 km (depending on their age) away from school were entitled to have transportation by bus.

Today schools encourage kids to walk to school to have them "burn excess energy" (which helps them concentrate in class) and to avoid the awful parking situation around schools in the morning.

Re. bad weather cycling: When it is below freezing I prefer a brisk walk to cycling as cycling makes me really cold. I have friends who cycle in almost all weather in winter for about 7 km. But I have to say that the roads / bikelanes are usually cleared. Our days in winter are still shorter though, about 8 hours of daylight in December.

I live somewhat rural, there are some farms left and there are fields near my house, but there is also the suburban train to Munich. We lived here without a car for years but that is because we have very good infrastructure (supermarkets, doctor, dentist, kindergarden, pharmacy, school etc. and of course the train).
But I guess this is not what you mean with rural.

 
Neil Moffett
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I just want to comment that planning on scumming rides off your neighbors is not a neighborly thing to do, and you shouldn't do that.  Neighbors ought to help each other out, we're not your Dad.

Now, if you live in a community with other people and you all rideshare (and share in the effort and cost of maintaining however many vehicles that requires), then I would say you have a vehicle.  Whether it is parked in your garage or someone else's is just logistics.

I see a few people hinting at the idea that you can live in a place and not have a vehicle because you can just beg rides from other people.  I'm not sure anyone has come out and gone so far as to suggest doing that, but...no.  Don't be that guy.  Nobody likes that guy.
 
D Nikolls
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Neil Moffett wrote:I just want to comment that planning on scumming rides off your neighbors is not a neighborly thing to do, and you shouldn't do that.  Neighbors ought to help each other out, we're not your Dad.

Now, if you live in a community with other people and you all rideshare (and share in the effort and cost of maintaining however many vehicles that requires), then I would say you have a vehicle.  Whether it is parked in your garage or someone else's is just logistics.

I see a few people hinting at the idea that you can live in a place and not have a vehicle because you can just beg rides from other people.  I'm not sure anyone has come out and gone so far as to suggest doing that, but...no.  Don't be that guy.  Nobody likes that guy.




True. But, also unfortunate that it is not much more common for people to actively arrange equitable shared access to vehicles.

I live alone and have two trucks, one insured at a time. My neighbours have a car and a truck that stay insured, and another truck with a camper on it that gets insured in the summer. My next closest neighbour is single and keeps a sportscar and a truck insured.

So, 4 people, 7 vehicles. Fucking stupid. Realistically in a shared setup we would be fine with 4 and modestly inconvenienced with 3. But, it is not socially acceptable to deal with the hassle factors.. and there are quite a few of them.

For one, insurance here has added costs if you want other people to be able to drive your vehicle. And, ALL the vehicles will end up paying the insurance rate for the person with the worst driving record. Given how neighbour #2 drives, and lack of discount from being relatively new to the country, this could be many thousands of dollars.

Of the 5 vehicles my neighbours own between them, 3 are damn near new and immaculate, with correspondingly high insurance. My farm trucks are bigger, ugly, high mileage, and 20ish years old. My neighbours vehicles would fail, if I tried to pull 14,000lbs with them.. I fix things myself, often slowly; their vehicles are under warranty and go to the dealer.. Cosmetic things do not get fixed on my trucks. Theirs get waxed regularly. I slog through mud just to get to my truck, and the interior looks it... but I keep them parked under cover. My neighbours truck is immaculate, but it lives out in the weather.

I rely on good relationships with my neighbours, and don't believe they would survive car-sharing. Our standards, needs, and priorities are too different.

It is socially impractical without all parties being highly motivated.
 
pollinator
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Neil Moffett wrote:If you live in the United States and your name is not Dick Proenneke, then no, there is no possible way you can live in a rural area without a car or truck.



From 1492 till the early 20th century everybody lived without a car.
For umpteen generations before that the "Indians" did.
About 50 miles from me is a large Amish community without cars.
It kind of depends on what lifestyle you want and how rural you live.
 
tel jetson
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Neil Moffett wrote:Don't be that guy.  Nobody likes that guy.



I like that guy.
 
Phil Swindler
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For years my uncle gave neighbors rides to work.
They all lived in a community about 30 miles from Wichita and worked in Wichita.
The passengers covered enough of his expenses to make it worth his time to pick them and drop them off.
So, I know it can be done.  Just don't be a parasite.  Make it a symbiotic relationship.
 
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Make sure that you give back at least as much as you take from your friends.  There is a limit to the social credit you have.  It varies with individuals and over time.

I knew a girl who didn't have a license, so she "used up" friends by constantly asking for rides.  She didn't realize the time and expense of being her friend would eventually cause them to distance themselves.  It hurt her feelings, she didn't have a clue because her friends were good people who were more than willing to help out,but eventually she wore them out!

The quality of the road is important if your using a bike.  I've lived in areas where the size of the "gravel" (almost small boulders), made riding a bike potentially dangerous.  A three wheeler would probably be safer on ice.
 
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