Article written by Adam

35 responses to “Car-free for nearly a year!”

  1. Conflict Lovah


    I wish I didn’t have to commute 25 miles up 128 every day. I miss my bicycle days.

    As for the toll on your body, the toll on your body from driving a car instead of biking would be much higher.

    1. Adam Pieniazek

      Thanks Conflict. You’re 100% right about driving taking a greater toll than cycling. I remember when I used to drive from Boston to Chapel Hill, North Carolina for school and it would literally ruin my back and mind. Plus all that coffee and fast food couldn’t have been good for me either. Even the small commutes around town would cause my body to get stiff and tired very quickly, while I can pedal seemingly forever without too much pain (though years of football have ravaged my knees, so occasionally they yell at me).

      I certainly don’t envy your commute, Conflict, and I won’t preach to you but just know this, it can be done! It’d be rough and tough, especially for six months of the year (winter and summer), but it is possible. Check out this Canadian cyclist who commutes 180 kilometres (112 miles)! Sure it takes him 2.5 hours each way (and he only does it twice a week) but I’m sure you’ve been in traffic on 128 that takes that long to get through!

      If you ever give the 25 mile cycle commute a shot, let me know how it goes!

  2. Joseph Huang

    have you ever considered a recumbent? they are much more confortable and faster. i have a cruzbike, and i must say it is awesome.

    1. Adam Pieniazek

      I’ve considered it Joseph, but I like the height advantage I get from a traditional road bike. I usually ride in the street so being seen by vehicles and pedestrians, as well as seeing them is a big advantage over a recumbent. Plus, isn’t it tougher to go uphill on a recumbent? I don’t really have any trouble with the hills here in Boston on my single speed, but I’ve got a feeling I’d stall out quite a bit on a recumbent. Being able to recline, though, is very tempting!

      Way to be Kerry! I don’t think you’re a wuss for not braving the elements 365 days a year. There’s been times where the wind literally almost knocks me over, or just slows me down to a crawl so I emphasize with avoiding mother nature when she’s angry at us.

      I’ve turned into quite an advocate for cycling and have gotten a few people to convert. I think once one person in a group starts cycling and shows how awesome it is, more and more people will join. And though I agree with you that Conflict isn’t necessarily required to commute by car, I do understand why she doesn’t commute 25 miles (especially if that’s one way). Personally, I’d probably still ride my bike for that commute (especially if 25 miles is round trip, that’s a quick trip once you get in riding shape) but at the same time I realize not everyone is going to cycle everywhere.

      I’m 100% with you, Kerry, on companies offering work from home opportunities. It’s one of the many reasons I left my corporate cubicle job. Sometimes I really wonder if big corporations even want their employees to be productive, because a lot of them do make it tough to do so.

  3. Kerry

    I could not agree with you more. I sold my car last May and have gotten around mostly by public transportation (and bike, but not so much when it’s cold… yes, I’m a wuss) ever since. It makes such an amazing difference in my attitude and my finances, and I wish more people would take it seriously as an option. So many folks have the attitude of the commenter above: I “have to” commute 25 miles by car. Well, no, you really don’t. You could move, get a different job, work from home, carpool, take public transport, bike 50 miles a day (it may not be fun, but it is possible), or find yet another option. Driving alone is NEVER the only solution (though it may sometimes be the easiest one). I really hope more companies start offering more work from home opportunities at least a few days a week. I’m convinced that not having to deal with 2-3 hours of commuting time every day would significantly reduce people’s stress levels and improve their productivity.

    Kerrys last blog post..Monday Happenings

  4. Mike Johnston

    I don’t know how you managed to go without it. I can’t imagine being without a vehicle for that long but, having said that, you deserve a pat on the back for the effort.

    Mike Johnstons last blog post..Announcing the new public release of 8.5

  5. Adam Pieniazek

    Honestly Mike, it wasn’t too bad. There were times when it required more work on my part, but in the end it’s really a lot less hassle. I don’t have to worry about car maintenance, gas, insurance, traffic etc.

    I have two grocery stores within a ten minute walk from my house and a subway station 5 minutes away. I haven’t moved over the past year, but even then I could rent a bike trailer to move my stuff.

    Plus, if I really, really need a car for something I can always rent one, take a cab, get a zip car or ask a friend and it works out to be much cheaper than owning a car for a whole year. I haven’t needed to use any of these options yet but if need be they are there.

  6. Columbine

    I’ve lived here since 1981 and never driven. No car means: no insurance bills, no maintenance bills, no paying for gas/oil/brake fluid/etc., no car crashes, no car thieves (or thieves who just steal things out of cars), and no insanely expensive parking!

  7. Adam Pieniazek

    Wow, Columbine, that’s a whole lot of years without driving, though if you’re going to do it anywhere Boston is likely one of the best cities to live carlessly in. Good point about not having to deal with car thieves too. I never had my car broken into but my family has experienced numerous break-ins and stolen cars. It’s just another thing you don’t have to worry about when you don’t have a car.

    Even better point about the expensive and/or rare parking spots! Via bike you can literally park almost anywhere and it’s really made me start to forget just how insanely tough it is to find parking spots in this city.

    Kudos and congratulations on your nearly three decades of being carless!

  8. Joseph Huang

    a recumbent is faster going downhill, on flat ground, and has higher top speed, but is slightly slower going uphill. if you really care a lot about uphills i recommend the silvio model. unfortuantely their website is down right now… and for images see

    the model i have, the sofrider, puts you about eye level with a regular small car. i have not had any problem with car drivers not seeing me. rear visibility is achieved by using a handelbar, helmet, or eyeglass mounted mirror.

    EDIT by Adam: Here’s the link to the store for when it does come back online:

    1. Adam Pieniazek

      Hmm…the angle and geometry on that silvio model does actually look like it would be a beast going uphill!

      I’m actually very intrigued by that silvio model, I’ll have to check out where they have it in stock when their site is back up online (see all that traffic I drove them crashed their servers! hehe!). I’m honestly a little skeptical still about the visibility issue, not so much from my end but from the perspective of a person in a car. On a traditional bike, I can stand up on my pedals and extend myself to make sure that drivers in big trucks and buses can see me. Plus, that way it seems I can see further down the road too if need be, whereas my vision might get blocked by an SUV or truck being that low to the ground.

      Still, I’m all for new experiences so I’m going to check out that silvio when I get a chance. I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes.

      P.S. As an amateur economics geek, I’m a big fan of!

  9. Anonymous

    I am agree with you! I can say that I sell my car almost 2 months ago and I use a bike to going to work and it is very healthy way

  10. munca

    Yes you’re right! Walking and riding with bike are good habbits

  11. Jeff Egnaczyk

    “My transportation related stress decreased significantly, my health improved quite a bit, my wallet is fuller than it would have been and my general happiness has skyrocketed.”

    Same here. It’s funny, when I my eyes cross “carlessly” in your post I keep reading it as “carelessly”. I take the commuter rail so that’s not exactly the case all the time. I’ll take a slow ride on the train over a 30 minute drive on Route 9 any day.

    Living without a car in the Boston area is a great lifestyle choice. Nice work.

    Jeff Egnaczyk´s last blog post..Today’s Supposed to be the Day

  12. Adam Pieniazek

    Congrats on your upgrade anon!

    Right on munca, biking is quite addictive.

    Well Jeff, Boston might be a good city to live carelessly in too? We’ve got a pretty good public hospital (relatively), relatively good public education (especially the exams schools and Umass Boston is a ridiculously good value), and it’s small enough that getting around by solely by foot or bike is extremely doable.

    I’m with you on the train being better than driving. You can read a book or take care of some work or even take a nap on the train, tasks I would not advise doing while driving, though I’ve seen it done.

  13. Domy Gryfino

    Congratulations on sticking to your beliefes. I don’t think I’d be able to live completely car-free.

    Domy Gryfino´s last blog post..Dzia?ki budowlane – B?dgoszcz

    1. Adam Pieniazek

      Thanks Domy! Honestly, if you live in the right city (Boston, New York, San Francisco etc.) it’s actually easier to get by without a car!

  14. John Mc

    Welcome to the club!!! I’ve never owned a car, and enjoy living that way. There are cabs, friends, deliveries and Zipcar when a vehicle is really needed. Of course, if the Boston subway were a little more reliable…..

  15. Harveen

    O my god !! Car free for a year….it will be very difficult for me if this happens here. 🙁

    Management Education´s last blog post..sucools Intro

  16. shubhranshu

    Using personal car even for the shorter distances is certainly a bad habit. Reducing pollution has become the major concern globally. I hope you would spread this awareness among more people through various channels. Thanks for this thought provoking write-up.

    1. Adam Pieniazek

      We (all of us) certainly do need to take a close look at our lives and how sustainable they are. For too long many of us have been just living however we wish or can, without thinking about how we should live. I hope you too will spread the message shubhranshu!

  17. DP

    Great work done. I really admire your dedication.
    I have tried avoiding vehicles for about a month, and just used to run on bicycles. It was really hard. I can feel the troubles you might have faced the whole year. Keep it up. you rock.

    1. Adam Pieniazek

      Thanks DP! Even if you only sometimes ride your bicycle it’s still great exercise and will save you money each time. Keep at it and let me know if you need any tips on how to live carlessly.

  18. Berg

    I am agree with you! I can say that I sell my car almost 2 months ago and I use a bike to going to work and it is very healthy way.

    work at home´s last blog post..Ways to Earn Money Online Fast?

  19. Kristina

    I admire and envy you for going car free. I long so much to be able to do that, hence all of the law schools I am applying to are located in areas (with the exception of Vermont Law) with excellent public transportation. I considered doing that here, but in San Diego our public transportation is not so good. A 10 minute drive would take me almost an hour by bus, and the pass per month was more than my gas. It just doesn’t make sense. Hooray for you for doing this. The environment thanks you.

    1. Adam Pieniazek

      True Kristina, a lot of the public transportation in the USA is not very good. But consider that when you’re on the train or bus you can read a book or catch up on other work, whereas when you’re driving you can’t do other things (though I’ve seen my fair share of people shaving, eating, even reading a newspaper while driving).

      Still, if you get a bicycle you can then cut out a lot of those short little car trips, like going to the market that’s less than a mile away for a bottle of milk could be instead done via bike.

      Thanks Brandon, it’s 7 to 8 years, not 78! That would be quite impressive if I was 94, eh? Yeah, I find cars very claustrophobia inducing now and I don’t have claustrophobia!

  20. Brandon

    That was prolly the most interesting thing i have read in quite some time. I completely understand where you are coming from. When i think about getting in a car it makes me upset to my stomach. I was confused howerver on your 78 year career in driving, that means your 94 lol. im popsitive im missing out on something : )

  21. Chunky

    Thanks man! Honestly,it’s actually easier to get by without a car! if you live in the right city (Boston, New York, San Francisco etc.) ..gr8 effort you had put in this blog..

  22. Cirquelar

    I grew up in Quincy and traveled in and out of Boston via the T numerous times. It wasn’t until I was 26 that I bought a car; after I moved out of Mass to Ohio. Unfortunately, most cities (Boston, SF, NY excepted) are now poorly connected for public transportation. Here in Albany, NY, there are the remnants of old trolley lines here and there and they used to connect the whole tri-city (Albany, Schenectady, and Troy) region, but now are a morass of cloverleafs and multilanes that are anathema to human pedestrian/cycle traffic. For Boston, carless only makes sense.

  23. Mark

    Sadly you will discover more bike than car theives as it is easier to do as they are frequently left unlocked and to resell the stolen bikes

  24. K

    That’s cool and all, but what I see in this story is that most people don’t even consider biking as their main method of transport. You just realized that you could do it all by bike, now was it because of all the “eco” screaming nowadays… I don’t know. You just got around opening your mind… nice cars and quick means of transport have been injected into our brains since childhood. Sadly you’re only one in a million.

    1. Adam Pieniazek

      Honestly, ditching the car and buying a bicycle had little to do with being environmentally friendly. It is a nice side benefit but really I was after an economical and efficient mode of transportation. When I first took that bike out for a test ride I immediately fell in love with the feeling of fresh air hitting my face, the feeling of speed and control over the vehicle. As I kept riding the independence the bicycle granted me kept me going.

      Another big persuasion point was that I became very sick of feeling constrained inside a car and being stuck on a path with the countless other “trapped” souls in their boxes on wheels. I really think of more people gave bicycles an honest chance they’d fall in love with them too.

  25. Marina Ricci

    First : congratulations!
    You are doing a great favor to our ecological system and the quality of air we breath.
    You should try a cruzbike, it is pretty fast, eco-friendly and rather fun to ride.
    Thumbs up! More people should follow your example!

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