Friday, April 17, 2009


I’m naïve enough to believe that the bicycle could just about save the world. If more people—in the USA, at least—rode bikes to get where they were going more of the time, at least three of our country’s biggest problems would be ameliorated, if not solved completely.

First, our reliance on the dreaded “foreign oil,” with all the attendant foreign policy implications would be reduced. No longer would we be held so tightly in hostage to the corrupt leadership of foreign lands who have the misfortune of having “our” oil under their soil and the avaricious appetites of corporations who procure it.

Second, the environmental impact of transportation, including its contribution to human-induced global climate change would be mitigated. Car traffic on our roads and highways wouldn’t be so heavy and that couldn’t help but improve people’s psychology as well as their surrounding environment.

Third, the obesity epidemic would be stemmed. Health care costs would be reduced as fewer people would need to be treated for diseases that are caused, at least in part, by being overweight.

And, of course, there would be all sorts of additional benefits: life would be quieter, somewhat slower, fewer people would die in flaming auto wrecks, and chances are, bicycle fashions would improve, as well.

The chances of this coming about—in my lifetime, at least—seem pretty slim, and I guess I’m somewhat ambivalent about the prospect, anyway. Clearly, one of the things I like about being a cyclist is that it’s slightly out of the mainstream; if everyone commuted on two wheels, I’d just be one of the herd, instead of being able to imagine—rightly or wrongly—that I’m special.

Still, I think I’d take a better world for all even if it meant there would be aspects slightly more annoying for me. Besides, if I still wanted to rebel, I could always do something really radical, like, I don’t know, maybe riding the city bus.


Post a Comment

<< Home