We Quit Our Jobs to Ride Our Bicycles

I heard about Jim and Shane while on a teardrop trailer gathering in northern California and just their simple Facebook name said it all: We Quit Our Jobs to Ride Our Bicycles. The bicycle tour is still going on, but once they hang up their helmets—the tiny house building will commence.

The two men from Northern California had both been raised in mountain communities and wanted to return to the land after working for several years. The idea of quitting their jobs and riding around the U.S. on their bicycles coincided with their love of the outdoors, gardening and working with their hands.

“We were growing tired of living in the mundane and felt the need for a dramatic change,” Jim and Shane said. “The idea of traveling by bicycle was appealing to both of us from the stand point of its simplicity, its affordability and the exposure to possibilities. With traveling by bicycle, you see and experience so much more in the slow pace of pedaling than you ever could in the enclosure of a speeding car. We also were interested in exploring the country in search for new ideas and a new place to live, one that would accommodate our dream of building tiny homes.”

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Jim has an interest in small structures and Shane has a strong background in sustainable living. After stumbling across Lloyd Kahn’s book “Tiny Homes, Simple Shelter” in a small book store in San Francisco, they decided that they would build a tiny home for themselves after finishing their trip.

“Our experience with bicycle touring has solidified our interest in simple living and has taught us the virtues of getting by with just the basics,” they said. “We have a particular interest in the salvaged aspect of the Texas Tiny Homes and the ones that emphasize outdoor living and engagement with the surrounding environment.”

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Their tiny house idea has expanded further to become a tiny house community. They want to create a bicycle centered communal living space that includes several tiny homes, a common meal and meeting space, large garden and greenhouse, gray water system, bicycle powered laundry machine, and photovoltaic and water heater panels. They also want to build with salvaged materials. The men recently spent a few weeks building a greenhouse with recycled materials for a host family in Pahrump, Nev. After their pedaling tour, they will be on the lookout for a town to host their tiny house community.

“Finding a town that is willing to work with us on our idea of tiny home community has proven to be a challenge,” Jim and Shane said. “We want to find a place that is in need of affordable living and be able to provide it in the form of tiny homes.”

You can follow their tour and see their beautiful photos on their Facebook page and on TrackMyTour.com.

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Photos by Jim and Shane of We Quit Our Jobs to Ride Our Bicycles

 

By Christina Nellemann for the [Tiny House Blog]

 

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Dean - July 28, 2014 Reply

Tiny homes are NOT sustainable. Much like RV living fulltime, people do it for 2-3 years, get sick of the small space and go back to their normal lifestyle and home.

    kim - July 28, 2014 Reply

    Dean, I am not sure why you would make such a comment.

      Bev - July 28, 2014 Reply

      Kim, I would guess that some folks would change their minds about tiny home living, but that’s truth with just about anything. Tiny Homes are sustainable under the right circumstances. Dean, I think anything that includes downsizing, reusing, and buying less stuff is a step in the right, sustainable direction. Small steps. Not everyone knows how to do that, and a lot just won’t. But do a lot do, and it does make an impact.

      daniel - July 31, 2014 Reply

      Dean probably made such a comment because it’s true. Tiny home living isn’t all cute and glorious like these blogs make it appear. Most of the ideas are thoughtful and clever but in reality it’s quite a hassle.

    Bob Mena - July 28, 2014 Reply

    Dean: I think you have not taken many variables into consideration, for one, economics has much to do with the shift from big to tiny. It may surprise you but the cost of just having a “normal” home (basic maintenance, taxes and such) is enough to LIVE in a Tiny home. If you add the living costs from the “normal” home, you have more than enough to have a much better life all around and still have left over money to be able to enjoy it.

    alice h - July 28, 2014 Reply

    “Individual results may vary”.

    Llia - July 29, 2014 Reply

    That could be common if these people that get sick of something only after a few years, also;
    – find it hard to stay in a relationship with the same person.
    – buy a new car/tool/appliance rather than fix the one they have.
    – are what they own, meaning they sell themselves through their belongings.

    Dennis Stroba - July 30, 2014 Reply

    Living small is extremely possible I did it for sixteen years in a tent while in the military and there is no difference between a tent or a fixed dewing. Your comment is un-substantiated. I would have to say the people that you know who gave up on living small were not ready for it in the first place.

    Kevin - August 1, 2014 Reply

    I think Dean is correct that some people don’t sustain the tiny house lifestyle, but my impression is that they rarely go back to the “normal lifestyle” that they considered normal before the downsizing. It’s a form of hitting a massive reset button. Going from a 2400 sq. ft. home, two cars, and an unaffordable mortgage to a tiny home and no car is a difficult change. But once you’ve don’t that for a few years, and gotten out of debt, going back up to a 600 sq. foot home and a used Prius will be pure luxury, and will be sustainable.

    Joyce - January 16, 2015 Reply

    Yes some people will try to live tiny, feel cramped with such small space and move to a larger space. Not everyone can adapt to ‘tiny’ depending on how small or tiny they may have tried.
    People have a variety of ‘adjustment attitudes’ and abilities to make those adjustments. Whether or not a partner is involved and the type of job and even the amount of debt or financial income has a strong bearing on a person’s ability to adapt. Praise to those who can adapt with little problem. Encouragement goes to those who want to and succeed in making some positive changes in the right direction.
    If you can think or dream of living a smaller more sustainable life, it is possible to find a method to help you to achieve that goal.

judy s. - July 28, 2014 Reply

They can come stay with me if they build me that green house. Coming to Syracuse anytime soon?

judy s. - July 28, 2014 Reply

They can come stay with me if they build me that greenhouse. Coming to Syracuse anytime soon?

Deborah - July 28, 2014 Reply

How inspiring! I would recommend the Albuquerque NM area for creating a tiny house community. There is a need for affordable housing, and there is also a progressive attitude. I applaud these forward thinking folks!

Marvin - July 28, 2014 Reply

These are unique cool guys with lots of courage. Taking complete control of one’s life in such a dramatic way requires a very well defined sense of self and a certain fearlessness most simply don’t have. Bravo and thanks for being an inspiration to others.

Sue - July 28, 2014 Reply

I own two bikes, no car, & in the planning stages of building a tiny home/finding a community. But being in my 60’s, I MIGHT not qualify for this type of biking community. Still….LOVE the concept & all the ideas for this one. Go Jim & Shane! 😉

    ladysuegg@gmail.com - July 28, 2014 Reply

    Hey Sue, 59 in few weeks
    I have been looking at tiny house for awhile now lost all in recession I have been unable to find location to build a house I what one on grid but seem like zoning will be issue how is it out there
    ladysuegg@gmail

      kim - July 29, 2014 Reply

      There are lots of places in Alaska where you can be on grid but kind of off the map. We are doing it in wasilla alaska. The only permit we needed was for the driveway. We cashed out our big house with our junk mortgage and will be mortgage free. The new place will take time to finish , but I already feel better. Good luck with your hunt for that perfect place.

Bob Shock - July 28, 2014 Reply

Tiny houses and bicycles are perfect together! A big concern of urban planners is that tiny houses will increase traffic and parking problems. In cities with good public transport (or lots of bicycle riders), this is not a problem.

Allison - July 28, 2014 Reply

The term affordable scares communities. That is an unavoidable fact. People who are into the tiny house lifestyle tend to be more intellectual and involved in their communities. The tiny house movement is growing at a rapid pace and a tiny house village would be a boon to any community in terms of the tourism it would attract. These are the benefits that should be presented to the potential communities. The word affordable should be avoided at all costs.

Ann - July 28, 2014 Reply

Great article! I love the idea of a small house community. I never understand how towns will not accept this idea, it would help so many people. Good luck guys!!

marc morrison - July 28, 2014 Reply

I admire what you are doing – not many people have the guts to follow their dreams!

Michelle Wolff - July 28, 2014 Reply

The Facebook page says it cannot be found when I click the link.

Jason - July 28, 2014 Reply

Slab City?

My wife and I would love to help!

kim - July 28, 2014 Reply

Consider Madison, WI. The housing prices here are more expensive than most areas in WI. Also, paying for a mobile home lot is about the same as renting a 250 square foot studio. I would much rather be in a tiny house community where it is more like a condo community, where I own the land and house and share gardening and storage space, etc. The challenge would be finding an area that is close enough to the city center to be bikeable and/or busable without a huge commute time. I wonder if one of the mobile home parks would be interested in rennovating a portion of their park for the concept. (I think they might if you have an interest. I could check into it with one of them.)

    Jim & Shane - July 29, 2014 Reply

    This is an intriguing idea. We’ve wondered what the real differences would be between a mobile home park and a tiny home community. If you’re willing to take the time to look into that, we’d love to know. That would be an interesting project.

      Jeff Hitchcock - July 29, 2014 Reply

      Hi guys. Will you be coming anywhere near Provincetown, MA? If you do on your adventure please look me up. I am a huge fan of the movement and would love to get together. I also do a lot of traveling in the winter. Jeff Hitchcock 774-216-0408

Crystal - July 28, 2014 Reply

I love these guys and their vision! Small space/tiny house living can definitely be challenging but I also believe it to be incredibly satisfying.

Lydia - July 28, 2014 Reply

Hey, nice to have a job that you can choose to quit. The rest of us are struggling to keep our jobs so that we can pay for our high medical insurance, gas, food prices and everything else that is skyrocketing.

    J - July 28, 2014 Reply

    Jealousy and hatred bring nothing but the same.
    We all pick our struggles, and our dreams.
    Kudos to Jim and Shane for making their dreams happen.

      Shane - July 28, 2014 Reply

      Thank you for the support. Some comments can be hard to read, but we really appreciate the encouraging ones.

      Llia - July 29, 2014 Reply

      That didn’t seem to me to be a solid tone of jealousy or hatred. It’s easy to misvoice replies.
      I took it as congratulatory and somewhat realistic situation humor.

Shelley - July 28, 2014 Reply

We are planning a shift to Tiny House living and are considering Fort Bragg or Mendocino, CA. I would love to live in your car-free Tiny House community.

    Jim & Shane - July 29, 2014 Reply

    We’ve considered both Fort Bragg and Mendocino as well. Do you know anything about the area as far as zoning?

Gwen smith Patterson - July 28, 2014 Reply

Madeline Island,WI is progressive and desperately needs affordable housing. There are many of us trying to figure out how to build a tiny house community. As for the sustainability comment, I’ve been living tiny for three years here on the island in my own property and have no plans to expand. I love it!

Gwen smith Patterson - July 28, 2014 Reply

Madeline Island,WI is progressive and desperately needs affordable housing. There are many of us trying to figure out how to build a tiny house community. As for the sustainability comment, I’ve been living tiny for three years here on the island and love it!

MJ Mora - July 28, 2014 Reply

Jim and Shane: Congratulations on your journey. I would love to be part of the Tiny House Community…..count me in. Live right now in the Bay Area, but plan on retiring in a year or so….just need to know the ‘where to go’ and I am so with you gentlemen. Take care and best of luck, mj

scott barnes - July 28, 2014 Reply

Kudos to Jim & Shane!!! What a great adventure. I believe so many of us are realizing that you only go around once in this life and the rat race some of us have been stuck on is just not bringing joy to our lives!!! Having said that, I am in the midst of creating an organization in Southern Maine with the Mission of creating small affordable homesteads with the intention of eventually creating community as well. For the time being the homesteads will be about 500 sq feet, with an attached greenhouse and raised gardens. Approximately each on 3 acres. There are lots of zoning regulations and Maine is also on the right path but there is much change needed to enable new visions! Congrats to Shane & Jim and enjoy your view and people you meet on your journey!!!

Regards.

Scott

Elizabeth Taylor - July 28, 2014 Reply

As a bike rider and a person that essentially quit my job I can relate. Not all parts of the US are as friendly to live in California or Texas in the winter. You see I am a native to North Dakota! However I do see the possibilities of your living plans and actually know people that live here in Lincoln, Nebraska that would love to move out there. Of course having no job is in and of itself somewhat of a job! I work hard at it myself since I am “self-employed” as a paralegal, property owner and now . . . a Realtor®. Good luck to you and your community.

carrie - July 28, 2014 Reply

I’m in!!!

Cindy - July 28, 2014 Reply

Live your dreams!
Good Luck and stay safe out there

scott barnes - July 28, 2014 Reply

Kudos to Jim & Shane! What a great adventure! I love the idea of creating small housing centered around community. I think people really want to get back to more simple living! You only go around once and I know I want to spend it doing things I enjoy and bring simplicity to my life. I too am on a mission to create small housing and have established an organization in Maine where we will be building small homesteads with an attached greenhouse. I envision beehives, raised gardens, goats, yoga in the pastureland and sharing with neighbors. I am excited to get back to the land! We all can make it happen!!!

sharon d - July 28, 2014 Reply

Jim and Shane, you guys look so happy! Count me in too when you figure out how to get your community off the ground. There are ALOT of us older gals out there who want to live simple so we can travel, go visit our kids/grandkids, and just do without the hassle of growing old saddled with a bunch of “schtuff”! Think about us and keep us posted, please!! Keep having fun and be safe!

    Georgia Sullivan - July 30, 2014 Reply

    I so agree with you Sharon D. I am older too and all the “schtuff” is wearing me down…I thought I needed a family home and lots of stuff when I was raising my kids. Heck, my holiday decorations took up almost a double closet all by themselves, but the kids are grown and now it is just me. I have been looking at the whole Tiny House phenomenon for several years now, and I am convinced it is for me! I have made some plans for a one bedroom house. No loft for me due to my age and a loft just would not work. I would love to keep an eye on the communities which I know will be cropping up everywhere!

Gary Neel - July 28, 2014 Reply

These two young men are so awesome and so full of life. A true inspiration to be around.

It is one thing to have a dream, it is another to do it, and it is catapulting when you have people who believe in you.

May many avenues open up for their dream, talents and energy.

Need more people in this world like these two.

Best of Luck.
Gary & Teresa

    Jim & Shane - July 29, 2014 Reply

    We miss you guys back home, and look forward to catching up when we get back. Thanks for all your support!

Jean - July 28, 2014 Reply

Come to Corvallis, Oregon. We have great, free public transportation (well, Monday through Saturday anyway–no buses on Sunday), a bike friendly community, and are in desperate need for affordable housing. I have been toying with the idea of a tiny house community for 2 years now and have done some (very) preliminary research. Lloyd Kahn will be here on Thursday 7/31 and I hope to get a better idea of the support for such a project at that event.

    Jim & Shane - July 29, 2014 Reply

    Jim went to school at University of Oregon, so he is familiar with both Corvallis and Eugene, and we think both towns could have potential for such a project as ours. Let us know what you learn Lloyd when you meet him, we are very interested in what he would have to say. Keep in touch!

Gail L. Van Luvanee, Architectural Designer Drafter - July 28, 2014 Reply

Well, this is a good idea; i like it for a temporary structure —- the biggest problem would be privacy and modesty. But that could probably be solved by hanging tarps/tents/etc. ~~~ Note to others above: I live in a manufactured home that is 896 sq. ft. and it is still too big for me. I’d love to go smaller if i could … sort of a big studio. Of course it is just me and i don’t have any dogs or cats … if i were married and/or had children then i would probably want a larger house (LOL to keep from going CRAZY LOL). As a designer/drafter, my focus and passion is on tiny and smallest houses and “patchwork” houses, tiny houses that have additions added to them as the family grows (like we used to do), and making them as beautiful as the larger houses that are done. I have a dream to also design tiny/smallest/small churches for small congregations who don’t want the usual concrete block boxes that most small congregations end up with.

    Jim & Shane - July 29, 2014 Reply

    If you are referring to the sketched image above of the community layout, this does not fully represent the vision we have. That was just something we drew up for a meeting we had with the city counsel of Crested Butte, CO in order to provide some context to our ideas and proposal. We’ve envisioned this project to take on larger plot of land that would provide more personal space per unit and allow for other communal amenities and gardening spaces.

      Mike Glodo - July 29, 2014 Reply

      That was my immediate concern – not enough distance for privacy, gardens, blocked sunlight etc.

      I strongly recommend Christopher Alexander’s “A Pattern Language”. See also http://www.cohousing.org/ for some good ideas. Bravo, guys!

Llia - July 29, 2014 Reply

Love the idea, just need to get off this overpopulated island first.

Llia - July 29, 2014 Reply

What troubles me is the use of the word “mundane”. Boredom is a mindset hard to escape by simply moving shop.

Lesa - July 29, 2014 Reply

Come to Cottonwood Arizona.
There is a need as well as a bike friendly community with bike trails. The community is open and conscious for recycling and all. ..I came here as a vandweller and would love to have an opportunity for a tiny pallet house community.
Check out our area.

dewhit - July 29, 2014 Reply

Everyone would like to be free and have no schedule and commitments and responsibilities.
It seems that quite a few want the above and their dream on someone else’s dime too.
Working for wages is not evil.

I just see too many these days preaching “lifestyle” in everything and passing the plate until a new fad or responsibility kicks in.

Sepp - July 30, 2014 Reply

Where was the last Picture taken?

Joy Nebel - July 30, 2014 Reply

How did you both support yourself after you quit your jobs ? Just wondering ?

Jane Kostopoulos - August 6, 2016 Reply

I’d rather live in a tiny home away from annoying neighbors with barking dogs, screaming kids and ones that smoke cigarettes which seem to be everywhere. Jim and Shane, good luck to both of you and if it was ever possible my sister and I would love to join both of you on this awesome idea. We both love bike riding, nature, gardening…

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