Why I Ride

Say what you will about cycling, but it affords time for thoughtful contemplation.

Why am I doing this?  There are plenty of reasons not, starting with it being hard compared to other forms of transportation.

That the roadways don’t accommodate — we’re at best an annoyance, leading to spats and scuffles of varying severities.

It’s not convenient to commute this way requiring time consuming preparation.

Not a particularly time effective form of transportation — much faster to get into a car and drive.

Complications on arrival not shared with motorist; attired in such a way that is comically out of place of today’s societal norms.

Summing up the pros/cons, it can be hard to make a convincing argument for daily commuting on a bike.

So why do it?  Before that can be answered we have to delve into this issue a bit deeper.  What are the cons of commuting by car?

  1. The average automobile spews about 5 metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere a year.1
  2. Driving increases stress levels and encourages a sedentary lifestyle.
  3. The cost to maintain the nation’s highways, roads, bridges and streets is hard to calculate but is probable > $100 billion US.2
  4. The yearly cost to maintain an automobile about $9,000 US.3

Back to how riding affords time to think — more questions to ponder…

  1. What happens when everyone on the planet is driving a car?  (How much longer can the atmosphere absorb the greenhouse emissions before lasting consequences)
  2. How much longer can the US government afford to spend sizable portions of our tax revenue maintaining roadways?
  3. When will petroleum run out and what then?

More riding, more thoughts… at the turn of the century (twentieth), the internal combustion engine (and its supply chain) was perfected, cycling was widespread and automobiles rarely seen on the roads.

We all know what happens next, but what if otherwise?  The bicycle the target form of personal transportation and the automobile for public and commercial usage only.  Cyclist in the majority; living close by their place of worship, study, work, entertainment, etc…  Commuters would be traveling slower and have to talk to one another — maybe better for politics and settling disputes.

What would our environment look like — still polluted with carbons?  What of our hospitals — full of unfit patients?  What of our cities — divided by giant, ugly roadways or connected by scenic paths?

Is there a middle road?  Meanwhile I ride and long for the day everyone follows…

BDB-2017-PV

Footnotes

1. Greenhouse Gas Emissions from a Typical Passenger Vehicle
2. What is the federal government’s annual investment in transportation improvements?
3. Annual Cost of Ownership`

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