Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Yes, it's been a while since I posted anything here. I've been sick for a bit, but since I'm feeling better, and have thought of a bunch more things to write about, here we go again.

This is another topic I can't believe I haven't written on long ago. Well, I did write bit about it in my post on Transportation (8/17/09, part of my series on our real needs), but I think it deserves its own post. I will try not to duplicate much of what I wrote in my Transportation post.

How is riding a bicycle part of social change? To start with, if you believe in peak oil, human powered vehicles (such as bikes) make a lot of sense. Bike riding doesn't contribute to climate change. Better yet, bicycle riding is simple as well as sustainable.

I ride very frequently: to work (in the nicer weather), to Boston to be involved in activities, to the co-op and farmer's market for shopping (in the Transportation post I mentioned my delight in living in a house where we have a bike trailer that can carry six bags of groceries), and even to my relatives, who live many miles away, but I can take a commuter train to stations relatively near their houses, and then bike the rest of the way (since bicycles are allowed on the commuter rail). I don't own a car and while I do have to pay for occasional bike repairs, I don't have to pay for: gas, insurance, parking, parking tickets, traffic citations, car repairs, maintenance, etc. I think that using a bike rather than a car probably saves me hundreds of dollars a year. Not to mention what it saves the environment.

It may save me money on doctor's bills as well. At the least, it's great exercise. And at one point I needed to go to see a specialist in a distant part of town about a question about my lungs. When she found out how far I had biked to see her, she said that she didn't think that I needed extensive tests, considering how 'athletic' I was. (Which is the first and only time I've heard that word applied to me!)

Imagine how different things would be if most people biked instead of riding in cars.

And if you think that you are too old to learn to ride a bicycle, my friend Susan McLucas runs a Bicycle Riding School which specializes in teaching adults how to ride. (She's had students as old as in their 80s and from all across the US.)

Yes, I think that bicycle riding is part of social change, if only because the automobile is so much a part of the society that we're trying to change.

Quote of the Day: "McLucas is an activist who has protested more than one war and who 11 years ago started the nonprofit Healthy Tomorrow to end the mutilation of women's genitals in Mali. Teaching people to cycle is a sort of activism, too: 'It's part of getting rid of cars,' she said, 'and making bikes rule the world.'" - Emma Brown

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