Take That, Big Gas

"When I see an adult on a
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.


natali said...

i think one day of not buy gas might actually affect gay prices. where is adam smith and the invisible hand when you need him?

Rachel said...

And don't forget the cute little quail on the bike trails! They're so silly...

natali said...

gay gas whatever.

The Holyoaks said...

When I was little, I was riding my brother's bike down our street (we lived on a hill). His bike was different than mine, in that his brakes were on the handle bars and on my bike you had to brake by reversing the pedals. He also had that straight bar from the seat to the handle bars which is typical of a guy's bike (and a crucial part of my story). I was going down the hill pretty fast and tried to brake by reversing the pedals. The pedals started spinning out of control and I lost my footing. At the bottom of the hill, the street made a right turn. I figured I'd continue straight and end up biffing on the neighbors lawn and all would be fine. I didn't take the curb into consideration. The bike came to an abrupt stop but I didn't. I didn't stop until that stupid bar stopped my flight forward. It was a very tender area to be racked by a metal bar. I bled and thought for sure puberty had arrived early. I think about that every time I get on a bike. Luckily, I am still able to bear children.

Cicada said...

Natali, I won't tolerate your homophobicness on my blog. I think that gay prices are actually very reasonable.

Rachel, I did forget the quail! There are just so many birds I see on a daily basis. Hooray, nature! I also left out pigeons but I did that on purpose.

Jill, I bit open my tongue once when I fell down a hill on my brother's bike. Not fun.

Squirrel Boy said...

Are you going to start up the birdwatching list in your sidebar again?

And even though I'm not close enough to ride to work, I'm seriously considering selling my car and buying something smaller and more efficient. It's a step, anyway.

brinestone said...

Seeing geese is not an incentive to ride a bike for me, at least today. Last night Canadian geese were trying to eat me in my dreams. I think it may have something to do with the goose Jon Boy hit when we were driving the other day. . . . Then again, I just had a word verification that said "deathme." I'm getting the jibblies.

Are there any bike trails without geese?

Cicada said...

SB, no. But I could.

Brinestone: There aren't geese on the trail. Only on the lake beside where we work. So you'd be totally safe from being eaten. Also, to date, SB has been the only one to have posted a word verification that made me laugh (it was something like "wutufk"), but today, you've done it. How is it possible that the only two word verifications that I've found amusing have come from the same couple? Strange.

Nemesis said...

Cicada, you are my bike-riding idol. I had to drive to work today because of after-work plans and I actually felt quite disappointed about it. Tomorrow I'll be biking and NO ONE will stop me!

natali said...

i learned in newsies that strikes do affect the economy. and i also learned that santa fe song. my second favorite song from a musical.

Anonymous said...

Whenever my brother starts bragging about driving a hybrid car to work, I remind him that I have been riding a bicycle to work for over thirty years.

Jenny said...

I want to be one who bikes or walks and live in a community where I am in walking or biking distance from everything. Obviously it's not realistic right now, but I'm looking for a new apt. You are so inspiring Cicada!

spart said...

I used to bike everywhere when I lived in Toronto, but now that I do not live in Toronto AND I have a car, to my shame I've been sissy-driving everywhere.

It's going to stop as of tomorrow though -- my building manager excitedly told me that the archaic bike lockup in the parking garage of our building was just cleaned out of all the old forgotten bikes, painted, and a new locking system installed. He even gave me a magnetic key card to open the garage doors so I can bike right down into it! I'm STOKED. Tomorrow is the beginning of the rest of my cycling-life!!!

abby said...

Oddly enough today's express was all about biking to work


If I biked to work, I'd probably get hit by a Metro bus. I would rather be on public transit than to be run over by it.

Noelle F. said...

I would give almost anything to be able to ride my bike to work. Or to school.

Man, another reason why California BLOWS.

Squirrel Boy said...

Last night on Fox 13 News, they did a spot on National Don't Buy Gas Day, or whatever it's called. They went to a gas station and interviewed people about it, and that was the extent of the depth they went into—no groundbreaking expose on how it's all a crock or anything like that. One guy was smart enough to say that it doesn't work, but that was it. Just You Watch the Best™, indeed.

stupidramblings said...

"When I see an adult on a BMX, I think to myself' 'Huh. Musta got a DUI.'"

Melyngoch said...

I think Brinestone and SquiB make up their word verifications. They're like that. Also I heard they're from Maine.

I am a dyed-in-the-uterus bus-rider, but all right, all right, probs I'll get a bike when I get home from Sweden.

Ginsberg said...

Power to the people, right on!

Okay, that's not one of John Lennon's better songs, but I just wanted to say way to go, Cicada. When it comes to getting to work/campus, I'm a confirmed walker, even if it does take about half an hour. Don't let the man get you down.

Did you really see a ring-necked pheasant?

Brinestone said...

Okay, to be fair, I didn't get the word verification here. But minutes before I read Cicada's blog, I posted a listing on Craigslist, and that was the word verification there. It's not quite so remarkable because Craigslist's verification words are always pronouncable (not usually real words, though). But still. Deathme?

ambrosia ananas said...

I have an unholy fear of riding bicycles. But I do wish we had some good public transit to take to work. Or that I could walk to work. For now, I'll leave the environment saving up to you.

natali said...

i wish someone would explain the gas strike to me. because i think it would work. the gas industry would lose billions of dollars in guaranteed (or so they thought) revenue. even if they get it back the next day thats a hit. i think industries like gas rely on a steady income.

Squirrel Boy said...

Melyn: You take that back!

Also, I really have no desire to find out how you managed to dye your uterus, but it is remarkable nonetheless.

Abbie Rufener said...

You have absolutely inspired me. I now want to go out and buy a bike. But I also live 1/4 mile from campus... hmmm...

daltongirl said...

You need to check out this Web site: www.slcbikecollective.org. I met this guy today and thought of you immediately.

Oh, and he's married, so I didn't think of you in THAT way. Just in the way that you should get involved in this group because you are MFEO.

AzĂșcar said...

I admit it, you made me think.

I was ready to break out my bike to go to work when I realized something: I work from home now.

Nemesis said...

Natali, I don't think the gas companies would lose anything. McDonald's wouldn't lose money if I chose to buy my weekly Big Mac on a Thursday rather than a Wednesday. Sure, the employees would be bored one day and slammed the next, but their revenue is the same and I'm just as fat.(Note: not that I go to McDonalds or eat Big Macs. It's just an example.)

Also, gay gas? Hee. :-)