World CarFree Day- Repost

A Word From CarFree Brad

September 22 is World Car Free Day, and in celebration we’ve enlisted Freight Farms co-founder, Brad McNamara, to give us some insight into his decision to become car free, and his experiences over the past few years!

I’ve been living “Carfree” since February 2011. I still remember the first day when my mom met me at the Subaru dealership on Rt.9 in Framingham after I turned in my vehicle and I needed a ride to campus at Clark University in Worcester, MA. She dropped me off outside the library and I immediately realized what I just done to my life!

The most common and pressing question I get is “Why did you do this?” and the beauty of keeping a blog during this journey is to have a window into my mind during each step of the way. This is a blessing and a curse because I can’t BS and rewrite history to make myself feel better, look better and/or seem cool.

 


WHY DID I DO THIS?

I’d like to let April 2011 Brad answer that question from a post on carfreebrad.com.

“Truth is, I don’t know and that is kind of the point of this whole experiment.  I didn’t start this with a point to prove or goal to meet.  I can’t say exactly what I hope to gain from all this or where it might take me.  I don’t know if it will open doors for me or slam them in my face.

I’ve been getting the question, “So you don’t use cars at all?” more often than I had expected.  The answer is, I have nothing against cars. They serve a very distinct and good purpose in my life and I embrace that.  My mission is very simple, to live my life without a car and using other forms as my first mode of transport to see how my life is changed and document my struggles good, bad or indifferent.  My entire life has been so car-centric, I want to see if I can shift to a new modus operandi.  I can’t say I’ll never own a car again but at this point, I can say that my life is possible without it!

The way I see it, if an MBA student with every intention of making obscene amounts of money someday, likes khakis and a sweater vest (argyle is best) and constantly makes fun of patchouli (even though I don’t really what it is) can take a step to being part of the solution, anything is possible.


NO SERIOUSLY, WHY?

“I love driving! Always have, always will.  I’ve grown up as many people have, with a car.  A car is just part of me, it never seemed to be a choice to me.

So why would someone dependent on having a car realize it is a choice and then choose to go without. I made this choice for many reasons, and to be honest, none of them are noble, brave, or even for a greater good.  In fact, most of them are just plain selfish.

I try not to be, but find that I plan and run my life according to logic and reason (most of the time) and this major life change is no different.

Reasons

  1. Lease is up

  2. Clark & multiple degrees are EXPENSIVE.

  3. Insurance is expensive.

  4. Gas is expensive

  5. I own a bike (2 actually) and consider myself to be able bodied.

  6. I live on campus and/or within 3 miles.

  7. Electric cars are the new black.

  8. To prove that I can live without it.

  9. Put my money where my mouth is.

  10. I got it in my head that someone like me couldn’t, shouldn’t, wouldn’t give up his car.”

Those that know me well may not be surprised to find out I made this choice because it is a sound financial decision.  But most importantly, it flies in the face of who I am. I never like to be self-righteous and rarely like to be serious so I try to let me actions speak for me.

FOUR YEARS LATER- No Regrets!

The last four years haven’t been all roses and rainbows.  Off the top of my head, I’ve been hit by two cars, put my hand through the side of one taillight, broken 3 bikes, had at least a dozen lights stolen from my bike and fallen around 5 times on my own accord.

In the face of these facts, I’ve never regretted the decision.  I’ve had more than a few days (most mentioned above) in which I cursed bikes, biking and my stupidity for choosing to do this to myself. The longer I’ve been living my life “CarFree”, the more I confident I am in my decision all those years ago.  I could write some prolonged description of the all the things that this life choice has done for me but that’s not really my style and I’d much prefer to point out what I think it has done for others.

  1. Safety- I’ve had more than one car driving friend tell me that they used to “hate bikers” and wish they could just hit them…until they learned that I could be that biker! Now they just go about their business and secretly hate the biker but give them some space and try to coexist.

  1. Awareness- Biking IS an option. It often comes up in conversations with friends, family and colleagues and I always enjoy preaching the benefits of only having two wheels…and I feel a sense of joy when someone I know trades in their car keys for a bike lock.

  1. Community- I’ve only known one person so far that didn’t have fond memories of riding their bike as a kid. Everyone else I’ve ever met immediately relates to that original sense of freedom that your first bike gives you. The biking community has grown significantly over the past few years, and even though we may choose this mode of transportation for different reasons there is an overarching sense of comradery that in incredibly refreshing. Also by traveling via bike, I get to familiarize myself with parts of the city I didn’t know existed. I’ve ridden through streets and parts of town I would have never considered before. In many ways, I feel connected to these areas in the same way many of us feel forever connected to the neighborhoods we grew up exploring as children.


WHY YOU SHOULD TRY IT

It’s easier than ever in many communities to get started without much effort.  In the Boston area, the growth of bike sharing programs like Hubway makes is really easy for anyone to try biking without any pressure.  Pick a nice day when the weather behaves and start small.  There are stations all over the city so you can ride for 1 block or 1 hour.

Give it a try, embrace that freeing feeling of being on two wheels and before you know it you’ll be getting an annual pass or finding yourself looking at bikes online during lunch!

For more information about how to get involved with the Massachusetts Clean Air Challenge, visit their website!

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Posted in Bike commute, brad on a bike, Car Free, carfreebrad, carfreebrad.com, freight farms, Urban Bike | Leave a comment

Long Time Coming…keep waiting!

In my last post(months ago), I hinted that my Carfree life and work was about to go to the next level.  That was a very true statement that I’ll be elaborating on soon(I sorta’ promise) but for now you’ll just have to trust me.

It’s not that I’ve lost my inspiration to write posts on a regular basis but 100% of my focus has been on Freight Farms.  It’s what I’ve internally refer to as a “life sprint” where I focus like crazy, get a TON accomplished but recognize that it’s not sustainable for the long haul.

With that, I’m ready to bring a lil balance back to my life.  If you’re expecting grad school level attention to blog posts, DON’T!  But get ready for a more regular dose of the unique perspective, humor and atrocious spelling/grammer that is the CarFreeBrad blog!Tour Team Car

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Might be on a new level….

The CarFreeBrad journey may have just reached a whole different level of awesome with the convergence of life, biking and Freight Farms.

I’ll be happy to conclude this post when details reveal themselves. Stay tuned…….

Posted in Bike commute, brad on a bike, Car Free, carfreebrad, carfreebrad.com, freight farms, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What’s an acceptable “ThankYou”?

As soon as the weather turned this year I began to look for better places to store my bike while at home.

We have less than 500 square feet of usable space in the apt and while she is endlessly understanding, the GF couldn’t love a bike(especially one covered in water/ice/snow/mud) taking up valuable space.

Our building has a garage as the first floor and although we don’t have a spot in it, we can access it to take out trash etc.

With this, I found a little slice of space along a wall and began to park my bike there. I knew it wasn’t “my space ” but it was open and appeared to have been for some time.

Contrary to what I would have expected, the rightful owner if that space.
A) Noticed
B) Left me a very nice note around the holidays. Letting me know the space is deeded to him but he doesn’t use it and I’m welcome to continue using it.

It might seem small but I really do appreciate his generosity and understanding. I’d like to find a nice way to say thank you that fits my budget and isn’t creepy(keep in kind we’ve never met and have only interacted via his note taped to my seat).

20140103-164457.jpg

THANKS RICK!

Posted in Bike commute, brad on a bike, Car Free, carfreebrad, carfreebrad.com, Urban Bike | Tagged | 2 Comments

2013 in review- Not Bad for 6 mths!

 

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,400 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Posted in Bike commute, brad on a bike, Car Free, carfreebrad, carfreebrad.com, freight farms, masschallenge, techstars, Urban Bike | Leave a comment

Selfishness. How much is too much?

Startup and Triathlon.  Life, family, friends.  Seems to be one or the other

This is the first 2 sentences of a post I started to write last summer as the tri season was in full swing and I hadn’t done even one lil sprint.

As you can tell, I was torn. Well, long story short. Startup won!

I’m now the proud owner of a cardiovascular system that can’t power up a flight of stairs without feeling it.

Can’t say it’s all bad. That same system got said startup to this point. 2014 gonna be a big year fir Freight Farms!

Hopefully, I can parlay it into a competitive year as well(realistically, I’ll shoot for participation).

Posted in Bike commute, brad on a bike, Car Free, carfreebrad, carfreebrad.com, freight farms, Uncategorized, Urban Bike | Leave a comment

Off to a Great Start. Black Ice Down!

It was almost as soon as I began to think about a all the ice around. Boom! Down I went.

It wasn’t a bad fall or even my worst on the last year. It was just ironic that as I started to think that I was being too cautious and needed to trust my tires and make the turn then down I go.

Good news, there was a lot of ice so after my bike slid out, I slid out and as a tangled mess we slid slowly to a stop.

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Christmas Gift to Myself

As it’s been quite some time since my last post and life at Freight Farms has really taken off, I’ve been thinking of good ways to get back in the carfree saddle. 

 

After opening gifts this morning, I’m considering making Carfreebrad even more free form thwn ever before. How you ask?

By going 100% mobile only posts. I know it doesn’t sound le much but I think it will force me to get right to the point and focus on the main idea of each post. 

 

Let eat me know what you think.  Image

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My Unexpected Life….

As you well know, my post writing frequency has dropped off dramatically but I WILL NOT apologize for that.  Sure I’ve gotten some feedback from people missing my witty internal dialoque being broadcast for the world to read but I’ve also had a lot of support from people that are happy to see me not write CarFreeBrad.com. I appreciate the support either way.

I previously outlined all the reasons I wouldn’t be/couldn’t post as much(Freight Farms, School, fill in lame excuse here) but my excuse of the day is my current lifestyle as seen through the eyes of my friends and family.

From a certain perspective, to describe CarFreeBrad today as “Living a transient life doing weirld stuff” would be 100% correct.  Freight Farms is progressing at a rocket ship pace, Techstars has proved to be just as intense as advertised and living 3 nights a week in Brighton is an interesting twist but this has all been expected.

What has been completely unexpected are Freight Farms customers and supporters, affectionately known(as of now) as Freight Fans.  We knew going in that food is a huge problem that touches everyone and that people care deeply about it but I had no idea how deep and intense that passion ran until I began to really get to know the Freight Farms community.  The community is very specific to Freight Farms including our customers, team, advisors and investors but also includes so many people that support the various aspects of Freight Farms outside of food like small business development, job creation, technology, innovation and personal empowerment.

The moral of this borderline preachy rant is that I haven’t been able to post on a regular basis because I’m totally enthralled with hearing from every person that has an opinion or thought about Freight Farms, meeting our customers and generally living a life in overdrive that must appear really weird to many and very fulfilling to a few.

And don’t worry, I managed to pick up a new bike during this time as well!  Pictures forthcoming.

Posted in Bike commute, brad on a bike, Car Free, carfreebrad, carfreebrad.com, freight farms, techstars | Leave a comment

It’s BACK! A real post & HUBWAY!

It’s been a whirlwind few weeks with Freight Farms joining the TechStars family.  If you’re not familiar with Techstars, don’t worry you’re not alone, but it’s what you might call “Kind of a Big Deal”.  Without going into, because I’m exhausted after this week, I’ll simply say I can see why they crank out winners.  Everyday is like a week in the real world!

Back to the task at hand.  I’ve been more than a little down lately because the frequency and quality of my blog posts have been directly correlated to my bike rides.  Short and Sucking!

Don’t cry me a river just yet because I saw the most glorious sight I’ve seen in a while, the HUBWAY stations are back!  No bikes yet but just the idea that the racks are out is like when the calendar tells you it’s the first day of spring.  It can be 10 degrees and you haven’t slept in a 3 days but the energy is palpable!

It looks like I’ll be staying in Brighton at least a few days a week now so you better believe, I’m gonna’ ride the hell outta’ Hubways this season.

 

Posted in Bike commute, brad on a bike, Car Free, carfreebrad, carfreebrad.com, freight farms, techstars, Urban Bike | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment
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