Author Topic: Strangers buy a $5,500 Car for a Man because they Pity his 3 Mile Commute  (Read 5316 times)

MustachiansWitness

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http://www.cbsnews.com/news/strangers-buy-car-for-20-year-old-who-walks-3-miles-to-work-in-texas-heat/

It's a touching story I suppose, but I had to laugh at this when a bicycle could have solved his problem. I was even so bold as to share the video on social media along with my opinion about the car centric infrastructure in the United States. Needless to say I received heavy criticism about being an ignorant privileged fatcat who went on vacation to Europe this year and rides an expensive looking bike and therefore can never understand the struggles of self-induced poverty.

paddedhat

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i wouldn't pass judgement before I really understood the whole picture. This exact same scenario happened, here on the forum, a few years ago. I was living in very rural mountains in PA. where there was a month long manhunt for a cop killer. One poor young guy was walking to work, several hours each way, and was continually being stopped, harrassed, and even beaten once, by an asshole state cop. A funding project raised IIRC about $20K. The young man wisely bought a used car and put the balance in savings.

Several members here claimed that everybody failed in overfunding the project, and that the young man should of been responsible enough to buy a bike, not a car. Several of us, who knew the area, attempted to point out that the area has no safe roads to ride on, bike trails, paths, or other ways to commute without risk of being killed. The commute was on narrow dark and VERY poorly maintained mountain roads with no shoulders, and aggressive drivers. Once snow plowing starts, the road surface is often bermed with snow, leaving no room for two larger vehicles to safely pass each other, and black ice often remains in shady spots for days.This was pretty well accepted by most here, but some hard core bikers were not having any of it. Car drivers WILL yield to bicycles since it's the law, and there are no unsuitable bike commutes if you're tough enough, was their claim. One chucklenut from San Francisco was particularly aggressive in his defense of something he didn't have a single clue about.

I agree that this situation is a lot harder to defend, especially given the short distance, but I still would want a better understanding of everything before I developed an opinion. You must of done a fine job of cranking the little people up, eh? Hell, I have never been accused of being an "Ignorant, privileged fatcat". Sounds serious.........LOL

WhiteTrashCash

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I would laugh too, except it gets really hot in Texas in the summer. Like really, really hot. Like you can bake cookies on your driveway hot.

kayvent

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i wouldn't pass judgement before I really understood the whole picture. This exact same scenario happened, here on the forum, a few years ago. I was living in very rural mountains in PA. where there was a month long manhunt for a cop killer. One poor young guy was walking to work, several hours each way, and was continually being stopped, harrassed, and even beaten once, by an asshole state cop. A funding project raised IIRC about $20K. The young man wisely bought a used car and put the balance in savings.

Several members here claimed that everybody failed in overfunding the project, and that the young man should of been responsible enough to buy a bike, not a car. Several of us, who knew the area, attempted to point out that the area has no safe roads to ride on, bike trails, paths, or other ways to commute without risk of being killed. The commute was on narrow dark and VERY poorly maintained mountain roads with no shoulders, and aggressive drivers. Once snow plowing starts, the road surface is often bermed with snow, leaving no room for two larger vehicles to safely pass each other, and black ice often remains in shady spots for days.This was pretty well accepted by most here, but some hard core bikers were not having any of it. Car drivers WILL yield to bicycles since it's the law, and there are no unsuitable bike commutes if you're tough enough, was their claim. One chucklenut from San Francisco was particularly aggressive in his defense of something he didn't have a single clue about.

I agree that this situation is a lot harder to defend, especially given the short distance, but I still would want a better understanding of everything before I developed an opinion. You must of done a fine job of cranking the little people up, eh? Hell, I have never been accused of being an "Ignorant, privileged fatcat". Sounds serious.........LOL

I get the feeling that many people on this forum don't know what dealing with a four-month winter, where one can get a meter of snow in a week, is like. I live in one of Canada's largest cities and near a hospital and two major roads, yet, will sometimes not be able to leave the house for a day or two. Wait, correction. We got one and a half meters (five feet) of snow in one week earlier this year.

Regardless on whether there could have been a better option (i.e. a bike) this is a remarkable benefit to the man. A three mile walking commute is an hour each way. A three mile driving commute is six minutes? So he gets two extra hours a day to sleep, prepare meals, relax, etc...As someone who used to be in that same boat, I can sympathize with this guy. I took the bus for our four kilometer commute to work & daycare because my daughter couldn't walk it. I later got a car and a bike and saving an hour and a half each day was amazing.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2017, 06:32:20 AM by kayvent »

MustachiansWitness

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Wow, I thought this was a forum for Mustachians? All I see is a whole bunch of complainypants replies! I grew up in Houston, it's not that bad. Have you all not seen MMM's article earlier this month (http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2017/06/08/bike-to-work-houston/)? Unable to leave the house due to winter conditions? Well then you probably aren't going to be driving to work either. Not trying to be rude, but those type of comments are what I expect to hear just about everywhere else I go but here.

And I did embellish a bit with the fatcat, but I was insulted by several "poor" people on my friends list who also regularly whine about their car maintenance bills and how they wish they could afford to eat healthy and exercise.

eddie

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I can see both sides of the argument.  But I agree that biking in a city in Texas is a feasible thing to do.  I went 1.5 years in Tulsa, OK (very similar weather and road networks to TX) without a car in my mid twenties.  There are some excellent bike paths, but the streets in general are not bike friendly.  No bike lanes or shoulders, inconsistent sidewalks, but I was a 20-something male so I just did it anyways.  I flipped off a lot of people in that year and and half.  I can also name at least a half a dozen people I know who have been hit by a car in Tulsa in the past 5-8 years.  I'm very active in the local running/cycling community so I know a lot of people who bike.  The car always wins. 

A three mile commute with a bike is not a big deal in the South, if you can do it safely.

paddedhat

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Wow, I thought this was a forum for Mustachians? All I see is a whole bunch of complainypants replies!

Nicely done. You are an absolute poster child for the attitudes I discussed. Depending on very specific local conditions, bicycle use many be an excellent option, or it may vary from impractical to nearly suicidal, buy it you aren't "man" enough to do it, well your just too soft to be worthy of this forum. Sorry, but that's bullshit. 

libertarian4321

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I can see both sides of the argument.  But I agree that biking in a city in Texas is a feasible thing to do.  I went 1.5 years in Tulsa, OK (very similar weather and road networks to TX) without a car in my mid twenties.  There are some excellent bike paths, but the streets in general are not bike friendly.  No bike lanes or shoulders, inconsistent sidewalks, but I was a 20-something male so I just did it anyways.  I flipped off a lot of people in that year and and half.  I can also name at least a half a dozen people I know who have been hit by a car in Tulsa in the past 5-8 years.  I'm very active in the local running/cycling community so I know a lot of people who bike.  The car always wins. 

A three mile commute with a bike is not a big deal in the South, if you can do it safely.

I'm wondering how "safe" riding a bike would be.  The city where this guy lives is part of the Dallas-Ft Worth metroplex (a massive urban area, roughly 7 times the size of the Tulsa metroplex).  There ain't a chance in Hell I'd ride a bike in Dallas, no matter how young or fit I was.  That's probably why the guy was walking in the first place- he'd probably be dead if he rode a bike.

I do wonder about the "deal" the car dealership gave them on a 2004 Camry at "$5500," though.

A standard 2004 Camry with average miles would be worth about $2,000.  $5,500 seems kinda pricey for a car that old.


BlueMR2

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My wife and I cringed watching that on the news.  Helping people by giving them things is such a double edged sword.  Yet, it's the first thing so many in society rush to do without considering the whole picture.

OK, now the guy theoretically has more time each day (minus time spent on dealing with car related repairs/issues).  That's good.  Maybe he can do something useful with the time.  He's also got better protection from the elements getting to/from work.  Less chance of getting mowed down by an oblivious driver too.

However, you've just saddled this guy that doesn't have a lot of money with more expenses he has to handle now.  You've also told him that his daily exercise was "pitiful".  Maybe he'll go to a gym instead (whoops, there goes more money), but statistically we see that he's most likely to become sedentary which includes a whole host of health risks.  The risk of being run over has now been replaced with a collision risk (and given that people that have cars tend to travel more, there's more mileage exposure).  Oh, and the expense of going places/doing things.

It's a great feel good story if you don't know any better.  If you do know better, it just brings up a whole bunch of questions and concerns that can't be answered without know this guy's life in detail.  Maybe this is the perfect thing for him?  Odds seem to run towards it being a net negative though.  I'll probably never know...  Shouldn't have wasted my time watching the news that day and introducing this one more thing to think about into my life!

mm1970

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Wow, I thought this was a forum for Mustachians? All I see is a whole bunch of complainypants replies! I grew up in Houston, it's not that bad. Have you all not seen MMM's article earlier this month (http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2017/06/08/bike-to-work-houston/)? Unable to leave the house due to winter conditions? Well then you probably aren't going to be driving to work either. Not trying to be rude, but those type of comments are what I expect to hear just about everywhere else I go but here.

And I did embellish a bit with the fatcat, but I was insulted by several "poor" people on my friends list who also regularly whine about their car maintenance bills and how they wish they could afford to eat healthy and exercise.
I dunno, I grew up in rural PA.  I wouldn't bike on the roads there.  The drivers are nuts!  I do walk on the roads there with my sister, but we often have to leap into the bushes/ weeds on the side of the road because there are no berms, and the speed limit is 55 mph.

They have a number of old RR tracks that are becoming bike paths though.  Except where they cross land where people don't want them.  In that case, they build fences, houses, etc on them.  Even though that is illegal because the state technically still owns the right of way.  THESE are the guys that are going to try and run you down on your bicycle.

paddedhat

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Actually in PA. and maybe elsewhere, the railroad commonly owns the right of way, forever. The great rail trail down the Pine Creek canyon has/or had notes in brochures and signs that they have have a revocable lease with the rail line, and if economic conditions warrant, they could start service again. No real chance of it ever happening, due to the massive cost of new bridges and trackage, but it leads to another issue you mentioned. A lot of people assume that, once train service is decommissioned, the ROW automatically reverts to the landowner. Unfortunately, in most cases, there is no sound basis for this idea. Decades ago, when that trail was first built, there were landowners who ended up getting carted off to jail since they were threatening surveyors and construction crews.

Totally agree on how dangerous some of the rural roads are. Funny how some of these folks have never ridden more than five miles from a Starbucks, but just know that narrow, poorly maintained farm and woods roads from the 1930s, in a place they
 have never been, are perfectly safe to bike on. I guess the couple of dozen bicyclists and pedestrians who are killed on the back roads of PA. every year, just weren't tough enough..................... In the last few weeks in my county, one 27 YO male was killed on a bike, and three people were severely injured when their horse and wagon were blasted to bits by an inattentive driver. If it's a typical year, we will see a few more of these events before the new year.

mm1970

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Actually in PA. and maybe elsewhere, the railroad commonly owns the right of way, forever. The great rail trail down the Pine Creek canyon has/or had notes in brochures and signs that they have have a revocable lease with the rail line, and if economic conditions warrant, they could start service again. No real chance of it ever happening, due to the massive cost of new bridges and trackage, but it leads to another issue you mentioned. A lot of people assume that, once train service is decommissioned, the ROW automatically reverts to the landowner. Unfortunately, in most cases, there is no sound basis for this idea. Decades ago, when that trail was first built, there were landowners who ended up getting carted off to jail since they were threatening surveyors and construction crews.

Totally agree on how dangerous some of the rural roads are. Funny how some of these folks have never ridden more than five miles from a Starbucks, but just know that narrow, poorly maintained farm and woods roads from the 1930s, in a place they
 have never been, are perfectly safe to bike on. I guess the couple of dozen bicyclists and pedestrians who are killed on the back roads of PA. every year, just weren't tough enough..................... In the last few weeks in my county, one 27 YO male was killed on a bike, and three people were severely injured when their horse and wagon were blasted to bits by an inattentive driver. If it's a typical year, we will see a few more of these events before the new year.
I have a lot of friends and family members still in PA.  One classmate rides his bicycle a lot, but he's in the Lancaster area.  I think there is quite the bike culture there, and eventually you find relatively safe places to bike.  (But he still has stories!)

There are some back roads near my family that are relatively safe.  I mean, if you are local and they know you, they aren't going to try and run you down on purpose.  But there are still a lot of blind corners and hills.  When I was a kid, we could ride our bikes on the road we lived on, as long as we were careful about the trash trucks (our road had a dump) and the construction trucks.  It was pretty lightly traveled.  But then, it was only about 2 miles long. On foot, it's much safer - about the only thing my sister and I worry about on our 3-7 mile walks are the loose dogs and the mosquitoes, and crossing the big road.

Now, horse and buggies, it seems like at least 4-5 times a year there's an accident between a car and one of those.  Sometimes, it's really dark, sometimes, the car driver is drunk.  It's a shame really.

The right of way is a funny thing.  They are still in the process of converting the rails to trails in my home town.  There are some pretty long sections, and at least the rails have been removed everywhere.  But right in the middle of two completed sections is a spot where the landowner around it does NOT want people and he's constantly doing things like putting a building there.  On the other hand, there are issues with people on 4-wheelers destroying the tail with their vehicles (they are not allowed either).  Even my stepfather is fighting rails to trails.  He's happy that my sis and I now have a safer way to get started on our walk (we used to walk on the big road), but he doesn't want anyone else there.  It's right past his backyard.  You can see it from the back porch.  Sorry man, you don't own the land.

kayvent

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I'll reiterate that while a car may not be an optimum solution, it is far better than walking two hours.

OK, now the guy theoretically has more time each day (minus time spent on dealing with car related repairs/issues).  That's good.

Not, it is not good. As someone who was in a similar situation: it was fucking fantastic. Think about it. Two hours of walking per shift replaced with a twelve minute commute. Say he works five days a week. That's 1080 minutes saved a week. Or 468 hours year. Or nearly 20 days per year (29 days per year if you only count days as 16 hours.)

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Maybe he can do something useful with the time.  He's also got better protection from the elements getting to/from work.  Less chance of getting mowed down by an oblivious driver too.

However, you've just saddled this guy that doesn't have a lot of money with more expenses he has to handle now.  You've also told him that his daily exercise was "pitiful".  Maybe he'll go to a gym instead (whoops, there goes more money), but statistically we see that he's most likely to become sedentary which includes a whole host of health risks.

The man walked two hours per shift. I believe strongly in the hedonic treadmill; I could be wrong but it would be surprising if the man who walked two hours per shift now develops a strong yearning to watch Friends reruns with a bag of crisps every night.

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The risk of being run over has now been replaced with a collision risk (and given that people that have cars tend to travel more, there's more mileage exposure).  Oh, and the expense of going places/doing things.

Agreed. Kinda. For me, my expenses went down after getting a car. It is tiring to travel for a long time. One may decide to sedate that exhaustion by buying quick-to-get comfort food (i.e. fast food, restaurants, the corner store) instead of a meal that takes twenty minutes to cook.

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It's a great feel good story if you don't know any better.  If you do know better, it just brings up a whole bunch of questions and concerns that can't be answered without know this guy's life in detail.  Maybe this is the perfect thing for him?  Odds seem to run towards it being a net negative though.  I'll probably never know...  Shouldn't have wasted my time watching the news that day and introducing this one more thing to think about into my life!

I agree things can be complicated but I'd disagree that the average outcome, with the facts we know, would be net negative. This may be my own personal bias but it was a tremendous benefit to get an extra hour and a half each day with my daughter. The ability to go grocery shopping in a half hour instead of three hours was another bonus. And with more energy due to the reduced travel time, my mind was free to explore other ways to improve my left. Better cooking. Exercising. Going outside more often. Deciding I should learn how to ride a bike. And so forth.

kaizen soze

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This conversation reminds me of the joke where a doctor, a minister, and an engineer are golfing. The grounds keeper asks them how it's going and they say it's great except this foursome ahead of them is really slow.  The grounds keeper explains that they are a group of firefighters tragically blinded while putting out a fire in the clubhouse. Now as a small token of thanks they play for free whenever they want. Moved by the story, the minister says he will have his congregation pray for the firefighters. The doctor says he will reach out to a world-famous eye surgeon who may be willing to help restore their sight.  They turn to the engineer who considers the situation and asks "why can't these guys play at night?"

I'm an engineer, so I can say it. Someone here should start a fund to buy this guy a bicycle. Put money where your mouth is etc.

Cassie

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I think it is great they bought him a car.

paddedhat

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The right of way is a funny thing.  They are still in the process of converting the rails to trails in my home town.  There are some pretty long sections, and at least the rails have been removed everywhere.  But right in the middle of two completed sections is a spot where the landowner around it does NOT want people and he's constantly doing things like putting a building there.  On the other hand, there are issues with people on 4-wheelers destroying the tail with their vehicles (they are not allowed either).  Even my stepfather is fighting rails to trails.  He's happy that my sis and I now have a safer way to get started on our walk (we used to walk on the big road), but he doesn't want anyone else there.  It's right past his backyard.  You can see it from the back porch.  Sorry man, you don't own the land.

Sad part is, once you remove the stubborn, tin foil hat nuts, most folks are smart enough to actually see it as a benefit. I have been is some stunningly remote communities where an entire cottage industry develops around rail trail visitors. Places with B&Bs, small stores selling ice cream and drinks, bike rentals, cabin rentals, etc.... places that would of dried up and blow away by now, if that foot and bicycle traffic never appeared.
 
Crazy part is that most of the fools who are demanding control of their land either, have lived on the family property for a lifetime, and the permanent ROW was signed (or forced on) their ancestors long before they were born. Or, they sat down at the closing table, signed the damn documents that clearly stated that the property they are purchasing has an irrevocable easement, and now they decide to ignore reality, because 'Merica, and I knows my rights...............
« Last Edit: July 03, 2017, 07:36:05 AM by paddedhat »

marielle

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Man, a $5,500 car? I've never owned a car that expensive! ;)

In all seriousness, I think we should all do our part in promoting safe cycling culture. The more we promote it, the more people see it as a viable commuting option. Before reading MMM, I never would have considered it as an option. Maybe on campus in college, but that's it.

MustachiansWitness

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I can see both sides of the argument.  But I agree that biking in a city in Texas is a feasible thing to do.  I went 1.5 years in Tulsa, OK (very similar weather and road networks to TX) without a car in my mid twenties.  There are some excellent bike paths, but the streets in general are not bike friendly.  No bike lanes or shoulders, inconsistent sidewalks, but I was a 20-something male so I just did it anyways.  I flipped off a lot of people in that year and and half.  I can also name at least a half a dozen people I know who have been hit by a car in Tulsa in the past 5-8 years.  I'm very active in the local running/cycling community so I know a lot of people who bike.  The car always wins. 

A three mile commute with a bike is not a big deal in the South, if you can do it safely.

Awesome to see another Oklahoman! I live in Bartlesville, about 40 miles north and frequently bike in Tulsa. Tulsa is a great place to ride a bike, as is Houston where I grew up. Sure there are better, and Bartlesville definitely has less accomodations being a small town of car clowns, but even there you can get just about anywhere without having to ride more than half a mile on a moderately busy street. I will say that humidity in Houston is substantially worse than Tulsa, but not nearly as bad as all the whiners make it out to be.

MustachiansWitness

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I'm wondering how "safe" riding a bike would be.  The city where this guy lives is part of the Dallas-Ft Worth metroplex (a massive urban area, roughly 7 times the size of the Tulsa metroplex).  There ain't a chance in Hell I'd ride a bike in Dallas, no matter how young or fit I was.  That's probably why the guy was walking in the first place- he'd probably be dead if he rode a bike.

I do wonder about the "deal" the car dealership gave them on a 2004 Camry at "$5500," though.

A standard 2004 Camry with average miles would be worth about $2,000.  $5,500 seems kinda pricey for a car that old.

Dallas is also a great place to ride a bike. I just visited a friend there a couple months ago and brought my bike. Also to my pleasant surprise, I met several friends along the way who were local bicycle commuters in the city center. Just like in Houston, there are bike paths in the form of neighborhoods, parks and streets that are almost empty due to low speed limits and everyone taking the clownway. The bike excusitis is strong here.

MustachiansWitness

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Man, a $5,500 car? I've never owned a car that expensive! ;)

In all seriousness, I think we should all do our part in promoting safe cycling culture. The more we promote it, the more people see it as a viable commuting option. Before reading MMM, I never would have considered it as an option. Maybe on campus in college, but that's it.

Yeah, and from the looks of it a pretty crappy one too. As someone said before, a 2004 Camry typically would go for 2k. The top range for a top of the line 2004 Camry was 3k. That Camry better have been previously owned by a Mustachian who kept it in a climate controlled garage 95% of its life and only drove it 2k miles a year!

And yes, that's absolutely right about promoting bicycle culture. I'm hoping I will have opportunities to get involved with the community and promote it this year in my town, as we really need it here. I did convince several members of my cycling group to ride to the meetup point, instead of driving their SUV's, so I am making some progress!

MustachiansWitness

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Wow, I thought this was a forum for Mustachians? All I see is a whole bunch of complainypants replies!

Nicely done. You are an absolute poster child for the attitudes I discussed. Depending on very specific local conditions, bicycle use many be an excellent option, or it may vary from impractical to nearly suicidal, buy it you aren't "man" enough to do it, well your just too soft to be worthy of this forum. Sorry, but that's bullshit.

paddledhat, when I said that I was referring more to the other replies about Houston being too hot and biking in "winter condishuns". The situation you described with the Mountain town in Pennsylvania sounds awful, and hopefully that guy was quickly able to move away from such a horrible place. That however, is an exception to the general rule that bicycle transportation is very feasible throughout most of the United States. You say "Depending on very specific local conditions" which makes it sound like you subscribe to the mainstream car clown belief that biking is only possible in very select places like Portland, Seattle or Austin, TX, and that is not the case.

Khaetra

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That however, is an exception to the general rule that bicycle transportation is very feasible throughout most of the United States. You say "Depending on very specific local conditions" which makes it sound like you subscribe to the mainstream car clown belief that biking is only possible in very select places like Portland, Seattle or Austin, TX, and that is not the case.

Biking is not friendly where I live.  At all.  We've had a number of bicyclists (both kids and adults) hit this year, some not surviving.  Granted there are some bike-friendly places around the country, but sadly it is very true that only some select places are good for it and others are not.

MandalayVA

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I saw this on Facebook, and what made me roll my eyes wasn't the car--it was the jerks filming themselves and literally crowing about what good Christians they were because they bought the poor disadvantaged black guy a car.
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MustachiansWitness

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My wife and I cringed watching that on the news.  Helping people by giving them things is such a double edged sword.  Yet, it's the first thing so many in society rush to do without considering the whole picture.

OK, now the guy theoretically has more time each day (minus time spent on dealing with car related repairs/issues).  That's good.  Maybe he can do something useful with the time.  He's also got better protection from the elements getting to/from work.  Less chance of getting mowed down by an oblivious driver too.

However, you've just saddled this guy that doesn't have a lot of money with more expenses he has to handle now.  You've also told him that his daily exercise was "pitiful".  Maybe he'll go to a gym instead (whoops, there goes more money), but statistically we see that he's most likely to become sedentary which includes a whole host of health risks.  The risk of being run over has now been replaced with a collision risk (and given that people that have cars tend to travel more, there's more mileage exposure).  Oh, and the expense of going places/doing things.

It's a great feel good story if you don't know any better.  If you do know better, it just brings up a whole bunch of questions and concerns that can't be answered without know this guy's life in detail.  Maybe this is the perfect thing for him?  Odds seem to run towards it being a net negative though.  I'll probably never know...  Shouldn't have wasted my time watching the news that day and introducing this one more thing to think about into my life!

Yep, the collision risk is a very real one that many people seem to forget. I just read several replies saying something along the lines of "5 people were killed by cars on their bicycles this year where I live". Do you know how many were killed in car accidents? The point is driving is a very dangerous activity to everyone in society. For those who missed this, bicycling is actually safer than driving. (https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/06/13/bicycling-the-safest-form-of-transportation/)

I also agree with you about introducing more expenses. According to the story, he was putting away money and saving for a car before this happened. So without owning a car, even a fast food worker can start building a stache with a few thousand dollars. If he knew about MMM, he might change his priorities and use that money to buy an education instead of a car. Now that he has a car the costs of gas, insurance and maintenance have been added to his shoulders, and when this car breaks down he will have to replace it with another one and likely go into debt. Suddenly he's become like most other fast food workers, completely broke and "barely able to get by". The point is, excessive commuting by car is the leading cause of self-induced poverty in the United States. Car commuting's effect on your wallet is like smoking's effect on your health.

MustachiansWitness

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That however, is an exception to the general rule that bicycle transportation is very feasible throughout most of the United States. You say "Depending on very specific local conditions" which makes it sound like you subscribe to the mainstream car clown belief that biking is only possible in very select places like Portland, Seattle or Austin, TX, and that is not the case.

Biking is not friendly where I live.  At all.  We've had a number of bicyclists (both kids and adults) hit this year, some not surviving.  Granted there are some bike-friendly places around the country, but sadly it is very true that only some select places are good for it and others are not.

I'm sure there were a number of drivers in accidents as well, some not surviving. In case you missed MMM's article (https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/06/13/bicycling-the-safest-form-of-transportation/), bicycling is actually safer than driving.

Khaetra

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Again, it depends where you live.  If you like biking and it's practical where you live, great.  Where I live it's not safe, nor is it practical.

GrumpyPenguin

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I'm just not badass enough to bike to work.  Bad weather? The streets scare me?  Too far? I'm not going to blame anything else, it's due to a personal weakness, the hell I'm going to be a complainypants about it.

MustachiansWitness

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I'm just not badass enough to bike to work.  Bad weather? The streets scare me?  Too far? I'm not going to blame anything else, it's due to a personal weakness, the hell I'm going to be a complainypants about it.

Well at least you have a good attitude about it. I really recommend trying it though. See if you can find a route that mostly cuts through neighborhoods, low speed limit roads and unpopulous areas.

As far as specifically going to work goes, I've found that like MMM says it really pays off to live very close, particularly if the weather is less than ideal. I live less than a mile from work, so on the rare occasion that there's rain at the time window I go to work I just walk. Even in light rain and snow biking is feasible, but I'm a roadie and don't own a separate "commuting bike" so I prefer not to get my road bike wet.

SeaEhm

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OP! I totally agree!

They should have just given him this!


Just here to feel guilty about my purchases which are often irrational, wants, and in an atypical budget.

Prairie Stash

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Don't most of you walk and bike the same routes? The link was for a guy who had a 3 mile bike route to work in Texas, a place I've never been. Do they have laws saying you have to bike in dangerous conditions and the sae routes are reserved for walking?

If biking is dangerous along a road, so is walking. If biking can't be done in the heat, walking is equally hot. For all the naysayers, are you suggesting the route you can't bike is okay to walk? Or are you grinding a personal axe about a personal situation? Paddedhat, I agree with you, but was the route safe to walk? Kayvent, you can't walk in 5 feet of snow any more than you can bike, obviously that doesn't apply in Texas where this man lives.

I really don't understand all the people who are saying biking is dangerous but walking is somehow safe. The article was about a guy who was safely walking to work for a long time to save money.

mm1970

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Don't most of you walk and bike the same routes? The link was for a guy who had a 3 mile bike route to work in Texas, a place I've never been. Do they have laws saying you have to bike in dangerous conditions and the sae routes are reserved for walking?

If biking is dangerous along a road, so is walking. If biking can't be done in the heat, walking is equally hot. For all the naysayers, are you suggesting the route you can't bike is okay to walk? Or are you grinding a personal axe about a personal situation? Paddedhat, I agree with you, but was the route safe to walk? Kayvent, you can't walk in 5 feet of snow any more than you can bike, obviously that doesn't apply in Texas where this man lives.

I really don't understand all the people who are saying biking is dangerous but walking is somehow safe. The article was about a guy who was safely walking to work for a long time to save money.
Depends, but where I live bikes belong on the road and are legally *not* allowed on sidewalks.

So, if there's a sidewalk, it is safer to walk than bike, because you are sharing the road with cars that are going 55 mph.

In my rural hometown, walking is safer because you are walking facing traffic, can see and hear cars coming, and can leap into the weeds if you need to.  If you are biking, you are sharing the road with cars, and are less likely to hear them due to wind factors.

Khaetra

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My area would be the exact same that mm1970 described.  You're not allowed to ride on the sidewalk but walking anywhere would be much safer than riding a bike.

kayvent

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Man, a $5,500 car? I've never owned a car that expensive! ;)

In all seriousness, I think we should all do our part in promoting safe cycling culture. The more we promote it, the more people see it as a viable commuting option. Before reading MMM, I never would have considered it as an option. Maybe on campus in college, but that's it.

....
Yeah, and from the looks of it a pretty crappy one too. As someone said before, a 2004 Camry typically would go for 2k. The top range for a top of the line 2004 Camry was 3k. That Camry better have been previously owned by a Mustachian who kept it in a climate controlled garage 95% of its life and only drove it 2k miles a year!

Read the article before commenting. They paid for insurance for a year. Oil change for two. A 500$ gas card. If he only drives to work with the car, that would last him about 16 months. (Recalling the above from memory, may be wrong on some of the numbers.)

Prairie Stash

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Don't most of you walk and bike the same routes? The link was for a guy who had a 3 mile bike route to work in Texas, a place I've never been. Do they have laws saying you have to bike in dangerous conditions and the sae routes are reserved for walking?

If biking is dangerous along a road, so is walking. If biking can't be done in the heat, walking is equally hot. For all the naysayers, are you suggesting the route you can't bike is okay to walk? Or are you grinding a personal axe about a personal situation? Paddedhat, I agree with you, but was the route safe to walk? Kayvent, you can't walk in 5 feet of snow any more than you can bike, obviously that doesn't apply in Texas where this man lives.

I really don't understand all the people who are saying biking is dangerous but walking is somehow safe. The article was about a guy who was safely walking to work for a long time to save money.
Depends, but where I live bikes belong on the road and are legally *not* allowed on sidewalks.

So, if there's a sidewalk, it is safer to walk than bike, because you are sharing the road with cars that are going 55 mph.

In my rural hometown, walking is safer because you are walking facing traffic, can see and hear cars coming, and can leap into the weeds if you need to.  If you are biking, you are sharing the road with cars, and are less likely to hear them due to wind factors.
Don't most of you walk and bike the same routes? The link was for a guy who had a 3 mile bike route to work in Texas, a place I've never been. Do they have laws saying you have to bike in dangerous conditions and the sae routes are reserved for walking?

If biking is dangerous along a road, so is walking. If biking can't be done in the heat, walking is equally hot. For all the naysayers, are you suggesting the route you can't bike is okay to walk? Or are you grinding a personal axe about a personal situation? Paddedhat, I agree with you, but was the route safe to walk? Kayvent, you can't walk in 5 feet of snow any more than you can bike, obviously that doesn't apply in Texas where this man lives.

I really don't understand all the people who are saying biking is dangerous but walking is somehow safe. The article was about a guy who was safely walking to work for a long time to save money.
Depends, but where I live bikes belong on the road and are legally *not* allowed on sidewalks.

So, if there's a sidewalk, it is safer to walk than bike, because you are sharing the road with cars that are going 55 mph.

In my rural hometown, walking is safer because you are walking facing traffic, can see and hear cars coming, and can leap into the weeds if you need to.  If you are biking, you are sharing the road with cars, and are less likely to hear them due to wind factors.
Leaping into the weeds...I'm not sure I would go around telling everyone how safe it is to walk when you imply that people need to leap into ditches to avoid cars. I think that falls into the other category I described; not safe for walking, not safe for biking.

Prairie Stash

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Again, it depends where you live.  If you like biking and it's practical where you live, great.  Where I live it's not safe, nor is it practical.
In the context of the article, its safe, legal and practical. In most parts of the continent, kids are allowed to bike on sidewalks and roads, the privilege is extended to adults. I'm curious, how do the children in your area learn to ride bikes? Do they simply not ride?

http://dallascityhall.com/departments/mobilitystreetservices/bikeway/Pages/faqs.aspx
This is for Dallas, notice the picture of the people cycling. Rockwall is a suburb of Dallas, it too has bike paths for the regular cyclists. In Dallas cyclists are permitted to ride on sidewalks except in the downtown area (local bylaw). In Texas they have regular bike paths for all the people who cycle, even in the heat of Texas. I don't live there, I'll believe the locals who actually ride though.

MustachiansWitness

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Glad to see some common sense, Prairie Stash! I was starting to worry that car clowns had hijacked the forum! As I mentioned earlier, I have biked in Dallas myself and find the city quite appealing for bicycling.

Quote
So, if there's a sidewalk, it is safer to walk than bike, because you are sharing the road with cars that are going 55 mph.
Really, so there aren't any streets in your area with speed limits lower than 55 mph? Every single street is full of fast moving cars? If that's the case that sounds like a very dangerous and unpleasant place to live, and if you truly value your safety you should quickly move away from that location.

As far as biking on the sidewalks, even if it is illegal I highly doubt that law is enforced anywhere. I do tend to think it should be avoided, due to the risk of hitting pedestrians and generally being less visible to cars turning into driveways than you would be on the road. But it is a solution to be considered for covering any short distances where you may have to be on a high speed road. I've biked all over the US though, and rarely find the need to be on a road with a 45+ mph speed limit for more than a mile.

I have a feeling that most of these people who claim their area is unsafe for bikes really mean "we don't have designated bike lanes on every street here, and it would be dangerous to bike the route I take driving my SUV to work, so it's not possible to ride a bike here. Oh well, guess I'll have to postpone my retirement by 10+ years."

If that is you, I think there are several more MMM articles you must have missed, in addition to the one about bicycling being the safest form of transportation:
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2016/07/13/making-space-for-badassity/
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/04/22/curing-your-clown-like-car-habit/
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/06/07/safety-is-an-expensive-illusion/
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/05/07/what-do-you-mean-you-dont-have-a-bike/
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/04/18/get-rich-with-bikes/

Khaetra

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Glad to see some common sense, Prairie Stash! I was starting to worry that car clowns had hijacked the forum!

Then I would suggest you not visit this thread ;) https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/what-common-mustachian-things-do-you-refuse-to-do-and-why/msg1569292/#msg1569292

Like a PP stated, they also donated oil changes, insurance and gas money to go along with the car.  Maybe this kind gesture will allow him other opportunities in life, maybe it won't.  I just see it as it was, a kind thing to do for someone.

marielle

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Glad to see some common sense, Prairie Stash! I was starting to worry that car clowns had hijacked the forum! As I mentioned earlier, I have biked in Dallas myself and find the city quite appealing for bicycling.
Quote
So, if there's a sidewalk, it is safer to walk than bike, because you are sharing the road with cars that are going 55 mph.
Really, so there aren't any streets in your area with speed limits lower than 55 mph? Every single street is full of fast moving cars? If that's the case that sounds like a very dangerous and unpleasant place to live, and if you truly value your safety you should quickly move away from that location.

I have a feeling that most of these people who claim their area is unsafe for bikes really mean "we don't have designated bike lanes on every street here, and it would be dangerous to bike the route I take driving my SUV to work, so it's not possible to ride a bike here. Oh well, guess I'll have to postpone my retirement by 10+ years."

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. I'm not using it as an excuse to not bike, it is still my goal to commute to work by bike as soon as I find a rental close enough. Unfortunately I have the opposite problem of a lot of people, it is easier for me to buy a house or land close to work while very difficult to find a rental. Land is easily found for about $20k. But for now I'm stuck commuting by car due to being too far away, as much as I hate how much I'm spending on my car.

mm1970

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Glad to see some common sense, Prairie Stash! I was starting to worry that car clowns had hijacked the forum! As I mentioned earlier, I have biked in Dallas myself and find the city quite appealing for bicycling.

Quote
So, if there's a sidewalk, it is safer to walk than bike, because you are sharing the road with cars that are going 55 mph.
Really, so there aren't any streets in your area with speed limits lower than 55 mph? Every single street is full of fast moving cars? If that's the case that sounds like a very dangerous and unpleasant place to live, and if you truly value your safety you should quickly move away from that location.

As far as biking on the sidewalks, even if it is illegal I highly doubt that law is enforced anywhere. I do tend to think it should be avoided, due to the risk of hitting pedestrians and generally being less visible to cars turning into driveways than you would be on the road. But it is a solution to be considered for covering any short distances where you may have to be on a high speed road. I've biked all over the US though, and rarely find the need to be on a road with a 45+ mph speed limit for more than a mile.

I have a feeling that most of these people who claim their area is unsafe for bikes really mean "we don't have designated bike lanes on every street here, and it would be dangerous to bike the route I take driving my SUV to work, so it's not possible to ride a bike here. Oh well, guess I'll have to postpone my retirement by 10+ years."

If that is you, I think there are several more MMM articles you must have missed, in addition to the one about bicycling being the safest form of transportation:
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2016/07/13/making-space-for-badassity/
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/04/22/curing-your-clown-like-car-habit/
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/06/07/safety-is-an-expensive-illusion/
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/05/07/what-do-you-mean-you-dont-have-a-bike/
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/04/18/get-rich-with-bikes/

Here, let me be more specific:

Where *I* live (Coastal Southern California), we have a wide variety of biking options.
- City streets, with speed limits of 25 to 55 mph
- City streets, with speed limits of 25 to 55 mph AND a dedicated bike lane
- Dedicated bike paths (paved)
- The occasional dirt path

Depending on where you live and where you need to go, you may need to go on any combination of those.  Now, my husband and I actually bike to work a couple of times per week, schedule permitting (summer camp Tetris is making that difficult these last few weeks, but will improve in mid-July).  We generally choose the shortest route, which starts in our neighborhood (no bike path, speed limit 25-35, generally pretty safe) to riding on larger streets with a bike lane and a 50 mph speed limit.  There is a section where you are in "town" and it's two lanes in each direction, parking on each side, and no bike lane.  That's a little iffy, but if you time it right, then you are fine.  The last little bit is, again, a bike lane on the side of the road and a 45 mph speed limit.

Now, there are sections of town and roads where the speed limit is 55 mph and there is a very small bike lane, or no bike lane at all.  And people have died.  So, depending on where you live and where you need to go...you might not be able to avoid that road.  So, what is your risk tolerance?  My personal risk tolerance was a little higher before I had two kids.  I personally know 3 people who regularly biked to work who have been hit in the last 3 years.  One guy twice, the other two guys once, and the recovery time was LONG.

Yes, the police here actually enforce no biking on the sidewalks, on occasion, though they generally give a pass to the beach area.  Which is hilarious, because the beach area in the one place where they have a road AND a dedicated bike path AND a sidewalk.  Just crazy.


In my home town, it is very rural.  All of the roads are 55 mph speed limit with no berm or bike lane.  "Maybe you should move" is pretty hilarious.  People grew up there, have jobs, have homes, they are hardly going to move just so they can bike to work.

But that's okay, I can totally see how you are an absolute expert of every single town, city, rural area in the entire US and its bike-ability.  Tell us all about it.

MustachiansWitness

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Quote
Most roads are one lane each direction with blind corners and easy opportunities for people to speed due to lack of traffic and cops

Lack of traffic, so it shouldn't be too dangerous to bike then! I actually do solo road bike rides out into the country on a weekly basis for exercise, since I live in a small town in Oklahoma. Sometimes with a friend and sometimes solo. Drivers are generally courteous and move over, even if they are speeding. I also think it's worth noting that as MMM has pointed out in his article, the per hour risk of driving at that speed vs. cycling is roughly equal.

I understand that living in such an area may require frequent driving of long distances to the nearest city. See if the city has any places available to park your car and ride your bike the rest of the way. Many cities now have this. I often go to Tulsa, OK on weekends where there is free parking downtown, and that is where I park my car and don't move it until I'm headed back home.

Good luck finding a place closer to work!

Debts_of_Despair

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Man, a $5,500 car? I've never owned a car that expensive! ;)

In all seriousness, I think we should all do our part in promoting safe cycling culture. The more we promote it, the more people see it as a viable commuting option. Before reading MMM, I never would have considered it as an option. Maybe on campus in college, but that's it.

....
Yeah, and from the looks of it a pretty crappy one too. As someone said before, a 2004 Camry typically would go for 2k. The top range for a top of the line 2004 Camry was 3k. That Camry better have been previously owned by a Mustachian who kept it in a climate controlled garage 95% of its life and only drove it 2k miles a year!

Read the article before commenting. They paid for insurance for a year. Oil change for two. A 500$ gas card. If he only drives to work with the car, that would last him about 16 months. (Recalling the above from memory, may be wrong on some of the numbers.)

Yup, and wouldn't he have been better off if they gave him a bike and put the rest in a S&P index fund?  Am I on the wrong  forum?


GrumpyPenguin

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I'm just not badass enough to bike to work.  Bad weather? The streets scare me?  Too far? I'm not going to blame anything else, it's due to a personal weakness, the hell I'm going to be a complainypants about it.

Well at least you have a good attitude about it. I really recommend trying it though. See if you can find a route that mostly cuts through neighborhoods, low speed limit roads and unpopulous areas.

As far as specifically going to work goes, I've found that like MMM says it really pays off to live very close, particularly if the weather is less than ideal. I live less than a mile from work, so on the rare occasion that there's rain at the time window I go to work I just walk. Even in light rain and snow biking is feasible, but I'm a roadie and don't own a separate "commuting bike" so I prefer not to get my road bike wet.

I'm a very sweaty guy, there's no shower at my work, and it's very hot and humid here... I'm just not badass enough to cope with that :).  I do take mass transit and always have, and haven't owned a car for 5+ years.  I'm FI now and don't plan on working for another year anyhow.  At that point, I definitely plan on biking more for recreation and to the store.

MustachiansWitness

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I was reading through the comments section of the old gem http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/04/18/get-rich-with-bikes/, and found a quote from MMM that sums it up well, in response to a bike excusitis victim:

Quote
From what I can tell, such a city DOES NOT EXIST IN THE UNITED STATES OR CANADA, except in the minds of non-bikers. As soon as you let go of this expensive illusion, you can start living a much better life. Iíve also heard people say this about every city Iíve ever lived in or visited with bikes Ė and of course it was never true.

You donít need a sidewalk or a bike lane to ride a bike. You donít need a street with no other cars. Drivers are statistically very equal in skill in all regions of the country according to the Insurance Institute and NHTSA.

You just need a bike, and the curiosity to poke around on Google Maps and in real life to find a safe route to get anywhere you need to go.

Still, I would enjoy being proven wrong. If anyone can name an unbikeable city in the US, Iíll study it on the map and read about it on cycling discussion forums.

If necessary, I will travel there myself, strap a camera to my head, and record myself biking between any two points in the entire city just to prove how easily it can be done.

I wonder if he'd still be up to that challenge today!

Prairie Stash

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I was reading through the comments section of the old gem http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/04/18/get-rich-with-bikes/, and found a quote from MMM that sums it up well, in response to a bike excusitis victim:

Quote
From what I can tell, such a city DOES NOT EXIST IN THE UNITED STATES OR CANADA, except in the minds of non-bikers. As soon as you let go of this expensive illusion, you can start living a much better life. Iíve also heard people say this about every city Iíve ever lived in or visited with bikes Ė and of course it was never true.

You donít need a sidewalk or a bike lane to ride a bike. You donít need a street with no other cars. Drivers are statistically very equal in skill in all regions of the country according to the Insurance Institute and NHTSA.

You just need a bike, and the curiosity to poke around on Google Maps and in real life to find a safe route to get anywhere you need to go.

Still, I would enjoy being proven wrong. If anyone can name an unbikeable city in the US, Iíll study it on the map and read about it on cycling discussion forums.

If necessary, I will travel there myself, strap a camera to my head, and record myself biking between any two points in the entire city just to prove how easily it can be done.

I wonder if he'd still be up to that challenge today!
I would assume he is. No one on this thread has identified a single city that isn't bikeable, I'll explain why.

I also think he can tell the difference between rural areas and the "city", some people seem to confuse the two. I've rarely heard a rural town used correctly, its a bit of an oxymoron. Are they meaning a small town, perhaps a village? A town surrounded by farm land? a hamlet? Unincorporated town? Generally people have little idea of the differences, until they live in a hamlet, or village, or a true rural community (I grew up in a rural community).

mmm1970 mentioned a rural town with only one road at 55 mph, I've never seen such a thing. That's usually a sign they misused the term town, more likely it was a rural community. Towns typically have side streets or acess roads next to highways.

For clarification, a town is smaller than a city and larger than a village. Often cities have towns surrounding them, they in turn are surrounded by villages, hamlets and communities. Each is generally smaller in population, the reason for all the names is it serves to quickly inform people the expected level of services available (which are population dependent). Communities rarely have services, villages might have a gas bar, towns have overnight lodging and often police services, cities have everything. Perhaps to understand each other people should figure out what kind of place they're actually living in. Obviously there are exceptions, these are rough rules to get people aware of the basic concepts.

For instance; I grew up in a rural community; 15 miles from a village and 25 miles from a town. When I grew older I moved to a city with a University. All four terms tell an educated reader the approximate population density of each and the level of services.

mm1970

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Quote
mmm1970 mentioned a rural town with only one road at 55 mph, I've never seen such a thing. That's usually a sign they misused the term town, more likely it was a rural community. Towns typically have side streets or acess roads next to highways.

I guess you'd call it a rural "area" but all of the "towns" are considered "villages".  The villages have a few scattered houses, and houses are scattered along the roads (main and back roads) between villages.


kayvent

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Man, a $5,500 car? I've never owned a car that expensive! ;)

In all seriousness, I think we should all do our part in promoting safe cycling culture. The more we promote it, the more people see it as a viable commuting option. Before reading MMM, I never would have considered it as an option. Maybe on campus in college, but that's it.

....
Yeah, and from the looks of it a pretty crappy one too. As someone said before, a 2004 Camry typically would go for 2k. The top range for a top of the line 2004 Camry was 3k. That Camry better have been previously owned by a Mustachian who kept it in a climate controlled garage 95% of its life and only drove it 2k miles a year!

Read the article before commenting. They paid for insurance for a year. Oil change for two. A 500$ gas card. If he only drives to work with the car, that would last him about 16 months. (Recalling the above from memory, may be wrong on some of the numbers.)

Yup, and wouldn't he have been better off if they gave him a bike and put the rest in a S&P index fund?  Am I on the wrong  forum?

He is better than when he was walking to work. The perfect solution does not demean a good solution.

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. 

TheGrimSqueaker

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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.
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Prairie Stash

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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.

StarBright

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I was reading through the comments section of the old gem http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/04/18/get-rich-with-bikes/, and found a quote from MMM that sums it up well, in response to a bike excusitis victim:

Quote
From what I can tell, such a city DOES NOT EXIST IN THE UNITED STATES OR CANADA, except in the minds of non-bikers. As soon as you let go of this expensive illusion, you can start living a much better life. Iíve also heard people say this about every city Iíve ever lived in or visited with bikes Ė and of course it was never true.

You donít need a sidewalk or a bike lane to ride a bike. You donít need a street with no other cars. Drivers are statistically very equal in skill in all regions of the country according to the Insurance Institute and NHTSA.

You just need a bike, and the curiosity to poke around on Google Maps and in real life to find a safe route to get anywhere you need to go.

Still, I would enjoy being proven wrong. If anyone can name an unbikeable city in the US, Iíll study it on the map and read about it on cycling discussion forums.

If necessary, I will travel there myself, strap a camera to my head, and record myself biking between any two points in the entire city just to prove how easily it can be done.

I wonder if he'd still be up to that challenge today!

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 :)