Author Topic: Strangers buy a $5,500 Car for a Man because they Pity his 3 Mile Commute  (Read 5784 times)

paddedhat

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Regarding the rigid definition of "town" sorry, but here in the northeast, that just doesn't add up. The reasons? Primarily the fact that many places are "ancient" by Yankee standards, and have since suffered from pathetic, or non-existent zoning since then. The town I live in is an excellent example. It started nearly 300 years ago as taverns, hotels and stables on a wagon trail from a major coastal city to a new settlement in the wilderness. It is described in old writings as a "linear village", extending nearly two miles along the trail. Expansion, starting in the early 20th century, branched off the main road to dead end streets and short streets paralleling the main street. Modern "developments" were later added with loopy roads that had no grid, and very limited entrances, since God forbid, you didn't want the commoners passing by, on their way to somewhere else. As a result this town has everything that mm1970 uses to define a town, and more, but it's useless as a place to get a few miles of walking and bike riding in. The majority of towns in this area suffer from similar issues. Oddly enough, the town I grew up in suffered from these issues, until post WW2 when a developer tripled the size of town and created a great community to grow up in, since he was marketing to the average Joe and Jane who were looking for a great place to raise a family. No "exclusive enclave" marketing, gated entrances, McMansions, or stupidity, just a great little town.

Hmm. There are some highway-centric towns in New Mexico particularly up in the mountains. I recall having seen similar ones in northern Quebec, northern Ontario, and of course the Florida Keys. It's not easy to maintain infrastructure without a sizable population base if the terrain isn't conducive to roadways.
At 2 linear miles, it sounds more like a village. Whats the population? The Town you grew up in, probably a town since it had a sizable population boom, as you point out it was triple in size compared to the other local places. If you reread, the rough guidelines are just that, rough guidelines. If you want to get technical, more details. 

Were they highway-centric towns or highway-centric villages calling themselves towns? With anecdotal evidence its very tough to classify a village vs. a town, hence the rough guidelines to allow people to use smart judgements on their own. We have several local example of both, I travel a lot in sparsely populated areas. A typical town will have a side road adjacent to the highway, a village will rely on the highway as the infrastructure costs are too large for the small population. Another common difference, towns will have dedicated police, in Ontario a village will rely on the OPP. From the little I know about various states policing services, I understand several have state troopers, its a similar concept to the OPP.

If you reread the MMM quote, you'll notice he specifically claimed "cities." Again, the OP was referencing a city, the link was a a suburb of Dallas. Most of the complaints were coming from people comparing villages to cities, its somewhat foolish to compare a village of 500 to a city of 5 million isn't it? Any reasonable person should realize villages tend to have fewer services, dedicated bike paths being one of them (sidewalks are also commonly absent in villages). Arguing against biking in cities by offering up anecdotes of villages (or towns) is an apple vs. orange comparison.

Our current town is designated as a "Borough" as was the town I grew up in. Currently, this one has 2500 residents, two major and several smaller hotels/motels, local police force, library, park system, large grocery store and another on the way, two banks, several medical facilities, etc.......... my point being, in areas that grew organically, then decide that local "good ole' boy" greed trumps smart growth, these types of TOWNS are a dime a dozen in some parts of North America. The area I recently left had a "town" of 10K, that was so poorly planned that it became famous as a case study for what NOT to do, and featured in university classes on urban planning. That town is a well documented cluster-f for anybody who is anything but sickly dependent on a car.

Khaetra

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I find that post very interesting. What if you just hate it? Should you force yourself to do it to be mustachian? (I say no) Before I was a work from home person I gave bike commuting a shot a few times because my husband was into it. I really did hate it. It was certainly possible to do but I was a nervous wreck by the time I got to work and I had to pay for a gym membership to shower. I also hated biking home in the dark through a fairly busy/small midlantic city where everyone was trying to parallel park at night. It gave me the vapors :)

When I was much younger I did bike pretty much everywhere: the beach, the mall, the movies, work, etc. but I hated every second of it.  Once I bought my first car I gave away my bike and I will not take it up again just to be mustachian.

vhalros

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American societie's car dependency is a tragedy. But it's not all down to individual choices to drive a car instead of ride a bicycle.

YoungGranny

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This just happened in my city.... a guy was walking/taking the bus to work and daycare for his son. The buses here are quite inefficient so it was taking him 1hr 45min to travel 7 miles for work (bus route was 20ish miles because it re-routed downtown first). Originally a group of people heard his story and donated a bike and trailer - he was happy! Able to get to work and daycare in ~30minutes what a life! Then people swooped in and bought in a FORD MUSTANG????!!!!! Obviously he's happy but I can't help but think about how much this will hurt his future.

startingsmall

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While I agree with your general point, pretty much every rural area is exactly like this, including where I work in South Carolina. If I were to ride my bike to work I would be solely going on 45/55 mph roads. Most roads are one lane each direction with blind corners and easy opportunities for people to speed due to lack of traffic and cops (something I even do admittedly, but make sure to stay within the lines at all times). There is no option to cut through slow neighborhood roads since this is a rural area. Sidewalks do not exist but walking would be relatively safe far off the shoulder.

Yes to this!!!  I suspect that I live not too far from you, and it's the same way here. I cannot safely bike anywhere useful from my house. Once I leave my quiet neighborhood road, I'm on a 2-lane curvy road with a 45-mph speed limit and people who frequently drive faster.  (A car probably goes by every 30-45 seconds, depending on time of day.... so not a busy road, but not a super-quiet road either.) That actually wouldn't be too awful for biking... and I do run/walk along that road sometimes for fun. To get anywhere practical, though? I'd either have to turn left from my street, go to the end of the okay-ish road, and pull onto a 2-lane 55 mph road that has tons of traffic (not uncommon to have to wait a full 2-3 minutes to make a turn onto that road, even a right turn) and zero shoulder.... meaning that I'd slow down a long line of traffic behind me, assuming they saw me and DID slow down! Alternatively, I could turn right onto the okay-ish road, ride to that end of the road, get on another okay-ish road, and that road (whether I turned right or left) would eventually take me to a different 55 mph highway. Rural areas aren't like cities... there isn't a network of connected streets where you can just jump to a different road. All of the side roads that come off the main highways in my area are dead-ends... there aren't any interconnected neighborhoods.

I could move, I guess. (Well, not really at the moment for various reasons, but let's say I could.) There actually is a small neighborhood right behind behind where I work, so living in there would allow me to walk/bike to work. That would be great, but going anywhere else we would need to go would require pulling out onto an even bigger highway.... a 4-lane divided highway with a 65 mph speed limit (traffic typically moving at 70-75) that's heavily traveled by tractor trailers and lots of car traffic. So I'd be moving to bike to work, which would be helpful, but we would still need to drive for any errands/entertainment/etc, my husband would have to drive to his job, etc.

I went to college & vet school in Gainesville, FL and biked everywhere during those years. It was a college town, so people expected to encounter people on bikes. I could find roads that weren't too bad by changing my route up a bit. It was great. When I lived in Sarasota, FL, same thing - it isn't considered a very bike-friendly town, but I never had any trouble because the streets are connected in a grid and it was easy to find a route that wasn't awful. It was great and I loved it. I hope to someday live in an area like that again.... but it's not in the cards for me right now.

Anyway, biking is great for many people but it isn't realistic everywhere. It may very well have been realistic for the guy in the original story, but I think it's unreasonable to say that it's realistic for everyone in every area.

Also, someone else (can't find the quote right now) commented that rural roads can be good for cycling. I think that's entirely dependent on the local culture. I have a friend who lives in Utah who bikes on rural roads all the time. Here in my part of NC, though, a good portion of the car traffic is jacked-up pickup trucks with Confederate flags on flagpoles mounted to their trucks... those types of individuals aren't usually too friendly towards bike traffic.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2017, 04:40:45 PM by startingsmall »

Rife

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I thought it was a good story. They didn't pity his walking but were rewarding his hard work. He said he dreamed of someday owning a car and hard work was the way to get there. He didn't take out a loan he couldn't afford or ask for pity. People just saw his comments and did something nice. Calling them out as anti-mustachian for not buying him a bike instead is a bit harsh since most people on these boards own a car.
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nara

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I heard about that story and knew the mustachians were going to have a field day with this.

Not everyone lives in a city or a suburb. Not everyone is capable of biking 3 miles in temperatures of -10 degrees, in snow, and up a mountain (this is where we live). Not everyone is capable of biking to work in over 100 degree temps and arriving to work soaked and smelly. I don't think people who live in bike friendly towns should look down upon people who really experience hardship by not being financially able to own a car. Being Mustachian is about having the financial freedom to make choices and being conscious of wasteful spending. it doesn't mean denouncing car ownership is the ideal, or even just practical, for everyone. 

Dicey

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I heard about that story and knew the a few fanatics who call themselves mustachians were going to have a field day with this.

Not everyone lives in a city or a suburb. Not everyone is capable of biking 3 miles in temperatures of -10 degrees, in snow, and up a mountain (this is where we live). Not everyone is capable of biking to work in over 100 degree temps and arriving to work soaked and smelly. I don't think people who live in bike friendly towns should look down upon people who really experience hardship by not being financially able to own a car. Being Mustachian is about having the financial freedom to make choices and being conscious of wasteful spending. it doesn't mean denouncing car ownership is the ideal, or even just practical, for everyone
 
^This^, with a few minor adjustments.

It's sad that a few narrow-minded zealots feel free to condemn anyone who does not conform to their precise standards. Oh, wait a minute: to Pete Adeny's standards. But Pete owns, operates, and otherwise avails himself of a vehicle when necessary. News flash - Pete uses hyperbole to emphasize his points, and he does so brilliantly. Yet what works for him does not necessarily work for everyone. He knows that and he's laughing the way to the bank.

Perhaps this practice of extreme zealotry should be called Bicycle Bigotry and those who espouse it should be treated like any other garden variety fanatic.
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MustachiansWitness

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I heard about that story and knew the a few fanatics who call themselves mustachians were going to have a field day with this.

Not everyone lives in a city or a suburb. Not everyone is capable of biking 3 miles in temperatures of -10 degrees, in snow, and up a mountain (this is where we live). Not everyone is capable of biking to work in over 100 degree temps and arriving to work soaked and smelly. I don't think people who live in bike friendly towns should look down upon people who really experience hardship by not being financially able to own a car. Being Mustachian is about having the financial freedom to make choices and being conscious of wasteful spending. it doesn't mean denouncing car ownership is the ideal, or even just practical, for everyone
 
^This^, with a few minor adjustments.

It's sad that a few narrow-minded zealots feel free to condemn anyone who does not conform to their precise standards. Oh, wait a minute: to Pete Adeny's standards. But Pete owns, operates, and otherwise avails himself of a vehicle when necessary. News flash - Pete uses hyperbole to emphasize his points, and he does so brilliantly. Yet what works for him does not necessarily work for everyone. He knows that and he's laughing the way to the bank.

Perhaps this practice of extreme zealotry should be called Bicycle Bigotry and those who espouse it should be treated like any other garden variety fanatic.

Wah! Wah! I'm being triggered by Bicycle BigotsTM! Just about every single thing you and the previous poster said have nothing to do with this article. As a car owner myself, I agree that denouncing car ownership is not practical for everyone. But there is one group it is absolutely practical for, people who can't afford a car. On MMM's article about his electric car he summed it up perfect with this chart: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/car-decider3.jpg.

Now to address your points one by one:
-Not everyone lives in a city or a suburb - the guy in this article does. And I cannot imagine very many circumstances that would lead to someone having no choice but to commute 30+ miles to a minimum wage job from the country for an extended period of time. Most people in the country are there by choice, and should only need a car for occasional trips to the city once every week or two. If they have to work in the city it would make much more financial sense to move into the city than to commute. (see http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/10/06/the-true-cost-of-commuting/) But that's not what this article is about anyway.

-Not everyone is capable of biking 3 miles in temperatures of -10 degrees, in snow, and up a mountain - They should be. Any terrain that is unbikeable would also be undriveable. Perhaps a couple of the steepest mountains in the US may require a dirt bike (or just walking the steepest sections) rather than a mountain bike to make it up to the top. Again, nothing to do with this article and most people in that living situation are there by choice, and someone who can't afford a car would be best advised to leave said living situation and move into an efficiency apartment.

-Not everyone is capable of biking to work in over 100 degree temps and arriving to work soaked and smelly - yeah I'm pretty sure they basically are. Unless you have a disability. I do it, and lawyers in Houston do it (http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2017/06/08/bike-to-work-houston/). As for being soaked, a solution is to keep a change of clothes and some deodorant either at work or in a backpack you take with you. Baby wipes are also excellent to wipe excessive sweat off your body.

MMM does use hyperboles in his writing, however it's pretty darn clear that bicycle transportation is not one of them. I suggest you read this article: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/05/07/what-do-you-mean-you-dont-have-a-bike/

"Even crazier is that there are readers of this blog who are sort of on board with leading a more natural and rich lifestyle, and are interested in the idea of maybe trying a bit of  bicycling someday, but just havenít gotten around to it because, you know, they donít have a bike, or they have an old squeaky one with a broken gearshift or some flat tires. Or perhaps they have managed to convince themselves that their car-based lifestyle is justifiable, and maybe that bike fanaticism that Mr. Money Mustache displays can just be ignored and theyíll just follow the rest of his advice, while ignoring the bike parts.

Itís time for this silliness to come to an end. You must ride a bike. We all must. Itís not a weird fringe form of transportation that only people in Portland and Colorado do. Itís just simply the way we all get around for moderate intra-city distances.
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