Lately I’ve relaxed into more gasoline use. It is easy to drive when the weather is bad. It is nice to see friends, go skiing or grab a bite to eat. All possible without driving, but hopping in a car expands the possibilities. So why do I jump on my blog to write about a post from a local bicycle advocacy blog recommending a 150-mile road trip to watch a film about bicycling? I don’t think they mean to pedal there.
There was a time in my life that I wouldn’t have been bothered by the suggestion. I probably would have offered to drive. Then a friend changed the way I thought about bicycles. Roughly twelve years ago I invited this fella to go for a ride on a local rails to trail route. I had a roof-rack which held four bicycles and the trailhead was only thirty-minutes away by car. He made a counter offer to pedal around the city. Why put a bicycle on a car to go for a ride, he asked? He asked just the right way and I heard him. Using bicycles shouldn’t increase your use of cars. We pedaled around the city and had a grand time. I had met my first bicycle advocate. He wasn’t loud about it. Probably didn’t consider himself an advocate, either, but for him bicycles were not only about recreation (as they had been for me).
Seems strange now that I didn’t always think of bicycles as a way to reduce gasoline use. I can’t think otherwise now, but I still drive cars. Not 150-miles to see a movie, but I have considered driving a piece of hifi equipment the same distance for a repair just so that I don’t have to subject it to the abuses of shipping. An online carbon footprint calculator indicates my footprint is about half that of the average American (which already isn’t saying much)… until I add in my plane travel for work (at which point my footprint grows to DOUBLE that of the average American).
I’ve some work to do.