Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Morning Ride to Save the Planet Earth!

Last night I watched the program Frontline on PBS—so it looks like cars since the 1970’s actually got heavier and less fuel-efficient. And, in the last 10 years more fuel has been used than any other time since the automobile was on the roads. Yeah—looks like things are going the hell pretty fast. We can’t really blame anyone but ourselves. We want the government to take care of everything—which they won’t because they’re only interested in getting re-elected and keeping shareholders happy. And—we won’t change how we live. We want everything cheap and easy—we’re complacent (lazy)

Every clueless pundit / idiot in the media—print, TV, web, and blogs tells us, among other things, to drive less and ride a bike. Are you fucking kidding me? Have they ever tried to go out and ride a bike on the streets of the good ol’ USA? It’s fuckin’ dangerous, Home Fry! Everything is made for cars and not for people—and now even that infrastructure has become strained.

The streets are crowed and horsepower is excessive—and people are really agitated because it just plain sucks to drive around here (Tucson) So don’t tell the people of Tucson to go ride a bike—until you try and ride one yourself, Fool.

It just happens that for me, all the conditions are about right to make riding a bike for commuting to the office a reality. And it does take a bit of effort on my part which can be a pain in the ass, but for the most part because I can ride the bike in I do.

First off—I have about 80% of my bike route to the office via the River Park. I would say that makes the trip fairly safe. 90% of the route has bike lanes on the street, but for some people, and I don’t blame them—they would not even dare ride in the bike lanes. It would be suicide in their view (This is in bike friendly Tucson.)

Second—I have a locker room to shower and change. If I didn’t, it would be more complicated to commute into the office but I’d still try.

Third—I have a level of fitness and confidence sharing the roads with cars. Some people I know train for races at the gym but won’t train on the road. For example I have a friend and she’ll train on the roads but that’s only because we’re in a group of riders and she feels safer. All her other base training (90%) is at the gym.

I would not even dare to venture down the road one mile on my bike to the supermarket in Dog Mtn because chances of getting hit are high. There is a narrow bike lane, but no safe way to turn left into the supermarket and other shops. People drive fast and the road is getting busier all the time. And in the supermarket parking lot, you have to be careful that somebody doesn’t run you over while you’re walking to the entrance. Drivers are on the cell or text-messaging.

The day never came when we could actually drive our cars into the grocery store and down the isles and have the illiterate service humans hand us our pop tarts and special k.

I don’t have an answer to global warming—I mean, my mom is 65 and she has to drive to the grocery store which is about two miles away. She would ride a bike if she absolutely had to or face starvation—but she is physically unable to do it, as are many others. She has no alternative.

Because I have the means to take the alternative, I try to do it. I know a lot of people can’t, so pretty much I’ve gotten over it. I used to think that those who live less than three miles from the office here, they drive in—like my boss—don’t have an excuse. Still, she tells me she would do it but the way people drive—even on the back streets of her neighborhood—she is afraid of getting run over/killed.

So to end this rant, if anyone is even reading, for those of us that can and do make the effort to use an alternative—I say to those who do drive, give us cyclists some respect, and some support. I have both our interests in mind.


bikingbrady said...

You are giving it your all Bruce and I applaud you. If only others would do the same, you'd have a prayer. Too bad we can't all have cities like Copenhagen where bikes are the norm.

Dan Trued said...

Bruce, made an observation the other day when I was walking to Bashas at Swan & Ft Lowell camp. Sun was setting in the west, the usual 6pm rush hour mania, I'm walking east. So I could really see the faces of the drivers going west on Ft Lowell. Made a count, and 7 out of every 10 were talking on their cell phones. Scary stuff.

Anonymous said...

Almost all American cities are not biker friendly. As the matter of fact, in most place there's no sidewalk for an afternoon neighborhood walking either. Outside the inner city, people are obsessing with an ideal, artificial, useless, private, green lawn (so that they can waste money and labor to maintain) in front of their so called "the American Dream". Adding the fact that the public transportation in most American cities are suck, everyone here needs a car to move around. Not having a car, or able to afford) a car, or not able to drive are always serious problems for people, such as the poor immigrants and the elderly. It had been always a problem, but no one really care. Especially in America, the place where the poor, the sick, the elderly were supposely disposable for they almost have no face, no voice, not available for labor, and may need social support. (sarcasm: Yeah, lot of people are self proclaimed compassionate Christian, attending mega church with leaders acting like a CEO of large corporation in this country). On the side note, just before Katrina, the Republican thinktank even declared that no poverty exists in American because most household owns at least a CAR (and a color TV). Of course it was a spin, but unfortunately lot of fools at that time believed in the propagandas. I remembered the so called study even included briefly on the evening news network, and I chuckled when I heard it. Of course in order of survive here, most people NEED are car. However, people have become too fat, too lazy, and want the cushy feeling of sitting on the sofa all day. Thus the birth of the leather seated, gas hog SUV.

Anonymous said...

Nice try Bruce, but I'm not biting...the issue isn't safety, or convenience, it's about discipline and revolution. People drive because they don't want to exert the energy or take a chance. So they line up like zombies on the road to diabetes. I'd rather face starvation with integrity than be a saint in the rear seat of a Ford Explosion. Automobiles are the bane of the 21st century and mankind is merely a viral blip on the radar of the universe. Get real, they told me.


Sir Bikesalot said...

In the 1950's The Automobile became the American dream. Interstates arose and crossed the deserts, prairies, and purple mountain majesty in a vast web. Images of an auto utopia featured multi-lane mega freeways. The Automobile was the answer. Slowly gas prices rose making a bump in the late seventies temporarily causing the American motor companies to think of fuel efficiency for a moment, then the SUV took over (and face it folks, if it doesn't have 4 wheel drive and high clearance it is a STATION WAGON, yes a station wagon of the modern era with craptacular MPG). Today Americans consume over 45% of the worlds oil resources and we have a much smaller fraction of the worlds drivers. China now wants it's own American dream with fast cars and stinky mobility. No new major oil fields have been discovered in a decade or more and the ones we have are declining. Eventually (thanks to the law of supply and demand), only the super wealthy will drive and the rest of us will be on bikes. Why? because the roadbike is the most efficient machine known to man. This makes it a cheap alternative. We already have a head start. Cycle commuters of the world unite! Here's to you Bruce!