Thursday, April 14, 2005

Bike to Work

Have you ever gotten one of those emails that encourages a gas boycott for a specific day? Over the past several years, I recall getting a few of them. At first, it seemed like a good idea, but a little more thought made the proposition just ridiculous. Think about it: skipping gas on just one day. Even if the whole country participated it would be a useless gesture. Unless people altered their need for gas over a considerable period of time, there would be no net effect. Sure, gas stations might lose revenue for one day, but as drivers buy gas before or after the one-day boycott, the drop in revenue would be repaid completely.

Consider the Montgomery Bus Boycott. It lasted for over a year. Do Americans have the capacity to avoid using their vehicles for even a month? I know a number of people who don't own cars, and are fine with using the CTA. My point here is that any real change is not easy, and will not be achieved with one-day actions now and again, which brings me to the point of this post: biking.

I've been occasionally using my bike for commuting purposes on and off for about 12 years. I commuted to school for a while in college, I commuted to work (at The Container Store's Buckhead Store in Atlanta) for a while after that, I rode with my daughter to her day-care and then on to my job for a summer, and recently, I've been riding part-way to work when the weather is not untenable. My goal for this summer is to ride my bike the entire distance from my house to work most days, which is not that big a deal. I'm about 4 1/2 miles, one way, from work. The Chicagoland Bicycle Federation is having a "Bike to Work Week" in June. So, it's my intention to be riding the full distance from home to work during that week. I've got eight weeks to get ready. I've been riding about 1 1/2 - 2 miles each way for the past few weeks. I had to get a new bike recently, though, since the bike I've had for about 12 years, broke down.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Biking to work sounds good but how many people actually live in biking distance from their job? I had a friend that biked 23 miles to work but really, who in their right mind would do that?

9:11 PM  
Blogger Michael M. Davis said...

People don't need to bike 23 miles, but biking about 5 miles to a train station instead of taking the bus or definitely instead of driving would be beneficial in at least two ways: exercise and decreasing the use of fossil fuels.

It's a frustrating commentary on our society that we now design everything around the presence of the automobile to such a large extent.

10:56 AM