Day’?s Verse:
Better a little with righteousness
than much gain with injustice.

Proverbs 16:8

Cookie MonsterThe illustrious Nora left a comment on my previous post about exercise bulimia. Reading the wikipedia article about it, I realized that posts about bicycling (and ice cream) have kind of dominated my blog lately. This is because I do spend a lot of time on my bike these days — last night I passed 1,000 miles on the new bike, which I started riding in late April — and I spend even more time thinking about bicycling and bike-related topics. I readily admit that over the last year, and especially with the purchase of my LeMond, I have fallen in love with bicycling as I never have with another activity.

BUT. I would like to reassure those of you who might think that I’?m endangering myself by exercising too much. Yes, let me acknowledge that I do ride my bike often, and I get a lot of exercise every day. However, I make sure to eat quite a bit over the course of the day, and more importantly, I enjoy what I eat. I do not ride my bike primarily to exercise, or to burn calories I feel guilty for consuming; instead, my first motivation is to reduce my greenhouse gas emissions and cut my role in our nation’?s dependence on foreign oil. My second motivation is to avoid driving in rush-hour traffic with half of Massachusetts’? population. Getting enough exercise that I can eat anything I want (and I get interestingly-shaped biker’?s legs) is a lovely side-benefit, but burning calories and obsessing about food simply aren’?t on my agenda.

Sadly, alternative commuting isn’?t on the agenda for most people. This morning I had the following conversation with a chemist:

Her: How many miles do you ride?
Me: It depends. Between six and 20.
Her: Wow, I could never do that.
Me: Well… [explains about the train]
Her: What time do you leave the house in the morning?
Me: 6:50.
Her: Wow. I get up, kind of fitz around, get in my car, and two minutes later I’?m at work.
Me: Hey, you could probably bike to work no problem!
Her: Yes…. Heck, I could WALK to work no problem!
Me: Why don’?t you?
Her: Er…
Me: You could save gas, cut your greenhouse gases, get out of traffic congestion…
Her: Er… I don’?t think so…

But as usual, auto-conveniences win out again. TWO MINUTES away, and still shackled to the idea of driving.

KF quality

5 thoughts on “2,766 Miles by the Odometer

  1. The conversation in this blog reminds me of one in my Environmental Science class a few years ago.
    Students A & B had spent about two weeks estimating how much CO2 was generated in transporting all the BCS Jr and Sr high students to school on just one morning. They had worked for hours collecting data on the school buses, the vehicles parked in the lot, the autos driving through to drop kids off, the length of commutes, and the gas mileage/efficiency of the different vehicles.

    After presenting their findings to the class and strongly recommending that we all work to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by making small lifestyle changes, Student A turned to Student B and asked, “Hey, haven’t you just moved into a new house that is two blocks from campus? Now you can walk to school and generate very little CO2 every day!”
    Student B responded quite guilelessly, “Why would I do that? I have a car!”

  2. Well I can see students not getting it because to teenagers having a car means independence from your parents.

    I don’t understand adults who drive when they are so close they could walk. I mean, putting aside the whole environmental issue, why wouldn’t you want to save money on gas?!?

  3. the side walk is not air conditioned. if we could fix that, and also the part where id have to do actual walking, them thats starting to sound like a good idea. some sort of escaltor tunnel? like at the airport? i suppose that runs on energy but perhaps you and some other energy conscious folks could power it, hamster wheel style.

    also, i have fallen out of the habit of capitalizing my own name, and its strange to see it like that.

  4. I hope you don’t mean to indicate that the conversation is representative of chemists.

    It is amazing the divide that can exist between what we think other people should do and what we think we should have to do. I thought that would be a good subject for a short story.

  5. Here’s a conversation I had at Disneyland a couple of years ago:
    Me: So, how far is it to the nearest Starbucks?
    Hotel counter person: Only 5 or 10 minutes! You just go (yada, yada, yada)
    Me: But how far is that in miles? I plan to walk.
    HCP: I wouldn’t walk there. It’s only 5 or 10 minutes by car!
    Me: But the difference between 5 and 10 minutes in a car can be a long ways on foot. How far is it in miles?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.