Re: Life after the oil crash

From: Iain Strachan <>
Date: Sat Oct 29 2005 - 09:53:04 EDT


I don't think I'm advocating a bicycle economy. I have a car too and use it
when I need to. But it so happens I don't need it to go to work. On my first
day in my new job I drove in because I had lots of books to carry. The
traffic was log-jammed (as it is every single day) around the Oxford ring
road. Next day I went in by bike, cut across the river by a lock, and had
pretty much the same travelling time, arrived feeling more alert, refreshed

>Thus, while a bicycle economy sounds oh so noble, I am seeing one every day
and I will >guarantee you that those I see riding bikes every day wish they
had cars.

This may well be so in an economy where you can't easily get a car. I
realise I'm fortunate in living within a few miles of work - in fact part of
the motivation for changing was because an office relocation that was forced
on us would have ended the possibility of cycling. You may see people every
day who wish they had cars. But for me, every day that circumstances dictate
that I have to drive to work, I'm wishing I was on the bike instead, because
frankly it makes such a difference to how I feel that I loathe driving to
work. You also mention less time spent with your loved ones. There is also a
trade off here. Various medical associations indicate the health benefits of
cycling, in particular for the cardio-vascular system, and that one of the
biggest risks to health is the sedentary life style. If you cycle to work,
you kill two birds with one stone - commuting that you have to do anyway,
and regular exercise. If you don't get the exercise commuting, you either
risk dying younger of a coronary, thus reducing your time with your loved
ones, or you have to spend extra time in your leisure hours away from your
loved ones in taking exercise (e.g. in the gym, which is also very

With an hour's bike ride to work I realise this would not be an option (as
it wouldn't have been for me with an office relocation to 36 miles from my
home - though I was considering train-and-bike). But we're not all in the
same boat.


On 10/27/05, Glenn Morton <> wrote:
> One of the things the automobile provides over the bicycle is efficiency.
> Yeah, I could get to the grocery store in 10 minutes on my bike. But it
> would be 30-40 minutes to the nearest hardware store (and then how do I
> carry a big piece of plywood back home on my bike? another 30-40 minutes)
> China has this problem solved by the large number of tricycles they ride
> which have a back like a pickup. In Peterculter, it was a short walk to the
> post office, it would be about 20 minutes on a bike and then 20 minutes
> back. To my office in Houston it would be about an hour by bicycle rather
> than the 20 minutes of today.
> The problem with a bicycle economy is that you have to spend so much time
> doing that which is economically inefficient. While one is bicycling to the
> store, you are not with your family, you are not working, you are not
> wasting time on the internet. Our productivity would drop and our work hours
> would vastly increase.
> c
> ** wrote:
> Quoting Iain Strachan :
> > On 10/27/05, Glenn Morton wrote:
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > *Michael Roberts * wrote:
> > >
> > > Should it be a criminal offence to drive a car which does less than 35
> > > miles to the gallon (US mini-gallons) and use central heating at 70deg
> and
> > > always use air-conditioning?
> > > Will we come to that.
> > > I will now get on my bike
> > > GRM: Having lived in both the UK and the US, the US is not structured
> the
> > > same as the UK. I could walk to the nearest grocery story (4 aisles of
> > > stuff) in about 5 minutes in Peterculter. But if I want to walk to the
> > > nearest grocery store in the US it is a 40 minute walk
> > >
> > > .. or a 10 minute bike ride!
> >
> > OK it's not going to solve the world's fuel crisis, but one thing I do
> have
> > in common with Michael is apparently being an evangelical cyclist. (In
> both
> > senses.)
> >
> > Iain
> >
> AMEN TO THAT -- I add myself to the evangelist cyclist list. In fact I
> feel a
> bit like a self-righteous pharisee about this. Of course, no sooner do I
> finish
> thinking my horrible thoughts about all the "evil" SUVs (typically after
> one has
> just gone careening by me on my bike) than I remember all the intelligent
> and
> kind owners of large vehicles that have kindly offered me passenger space
> on
> this or that trip. That steadies me a bit. But I really did delight in the
> Calvin & Hobbes strip where Hobbes is musing about how Calvin's subversive
> dad
> thought of bicycles as being the pinnacle of transportation technology. I
> would
> surmise that Watterson was more than half serious with that wisecrack --
> and I
> think I woul d actually make a serious defense of that! Oil days are
> numbered &
> even more so since we have been implicitly evangelizing our oil consuming
> ways
> to the rest of the world. I was taken aback to see magazine adds from
> American
> oil companies that were actually promoting conservation. When THEY start
> talking like that -- maybe some heads are getting pulled out of the sand.
> But
> none of this will overhaul our society in any voluntary manner -- we're
> too
> addicted for that. Sorry -- you guys are the audience to my bottled up
> ranting.
> I'll try to shut up for a little while. (Lest I sound too self-righteous
> -- I
> am an automobile owner & do drive more regularly than I bike. My only
> caveat is
> that I view this as a cause for shame rather than pride.)
> --merv
> glenn
> ------------------------------
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Received on Sat Oct 29 09:56:00 2005

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