bicycle, I do not despair for
the future of the human race."
- H. G. Wells
Today, I really think the gas companies are going to feel it. Why? Because I rode my bike to work. Again.
When I rode my bike home from work yesterday, I decided to keep going a few blocks farther to go to the grocery store. On the way to the grocery store, I decided to stop by a friend's house. She wasn't there, but her roommate told me that she could give me a ride anywhere I needed to go.
Me: That's okay. I am on my bike and I was on my way to the grocery store anyway, so I'll just head there.
Roommate: But I can drive you anywhere you need to go.
Me: No, really, it's okay. I like riding my bike.
Roommate: But I could drive you to the grocery store and back if you needed.
The grocery store was literally half a block away from where we were. Half a block away. I had to very strongly assert to this girl that I really loved riding my bike and was riding my bike to the grocery store by choice.
So today, when people try to stick it to gas companies by not buying gas (Nemesis rightly points out that not buying gas for one day won't do anything, because the demand is the same and people will just buy their gas on another day), I say, stick it to the gas companies by riding a bike or walking where you can not just today but as a permanent lifestyle choice.
Benefits to riding:
Exercise. I'll be honest and tell you that I'm a sweaty person. But the moderate bike riding that I do doesn't actually make me sweat. I get to work a little flushed, but not sweaty. I just found out this weekend that the trip to work and back uses up 500 calories. How can I possibly justify driving to work? Besides which, yesterday I was chased by a pack of rabid dogs, which I think probably burned an extra 100 calories.
Nature. Even though much of my commute is on a busy street, I'm able to get onto some bike trails for the last 15 minutes. This morning, in addition to the normal birds I see every day (black chickens, starlings, robins, house sparrows, house finches, mallards, geese, red-winged blackbirds, mourning doves), I saw a meadow lark and a ring-necked pheasant.
Environment. I get to feel smug that I am in my tiniest way helping the environment by not using my car. In my tiniest way, I'm doing my part to bring down the gas prices. If everyone else were to do the same, maybe we'd make a little progress.
Here are some biking statistics that I came across last week (from this site). I don't know how accurate they are but they at least give you something to think about.
According to recent edition of "Bicycling", some 54% of Americans live less than 5 miles from their jobs.
1.67% is the percentage of Americans who commute by bicycle.
15% is the percentage of Japanese who commute by bicycle.
Approximately 12 bicycles can be parked in the space required for one automobile.
$24.3 billion is the estimated annual cost of traffic jams to commuters in 29 major U.S. cities.
There are approximately 139 million automobiles in the United States.
100 bicycles can be produced for the same energy and resources it takes to build one medium-sized automobile.
The average cost of a new bicycle bought in the United States is $385.00.
The average cost of a new car in the United States is $13,531.98.
The average number of barrels of oil consumed daily in the United States is 17 million.
43% of these barrels of oil are consumed by driving.
Industrial world cities typically use at least one third of their land for roads and parking lots for vehicles.
Commuting by bicycle is pollution-free.