In honor of Earth Month,* please allow me to pay tribute to the humble bicycle. There are many reasons to love bikes. Here is a far-from-exhaustive list of reasons to love bikes.
- They are super fun to ride.
- Biking can improve cognitive function and your mood.
- They are a low impact way (easy on the ligaments and whatnot) of burning calories and building muscle.
- They are great for the environment. (CO2 emissions from a gallon of gasoline: 8,887 grams CO2/ gallon. The average passenger vehicle emits about 404 grams of CO2 per mile.)
- While providing much of the same fun as a horse or mule (wind in your hair, the sensation of speed) you need never share your oats with a bike.
- When the weather is beautiful, you get to enjoy it. When the weather is bad, you get to be smug about how tough you are for biking anyway.
- When you go on a long ride, you have to eat a lot in order to maintain the energy required to power your bike. It’s a glorious thing to be REQUIRED to eat a few thousand extra calories in a day, and still be fitter than you were when the day started.
- When people wish you a “Happy Earth Day,” you can respond, graciously, with “Each and every single day is Earth Day to me,” and then gesture emphatically at your bike, or, should your bike not be in your line of sight, pantomime riding a bike.
- You’ll enjoy the friendly nods you’ll exchange with people who appreciate your biking even if they are unable or unwilling to do the same.
The air inside a vehicle is worse for you than the air outside of it.
- They are great for our roads. (Despite the frustrations felt by many motorists when they are forced to slow down for upwards of a few seconds while in proximity to a cyclist, bikes ease traffic and cause nearly no wear on our roads when compared to a motor vehicle.) While I understand it is natural to be frustrated when you must decrease your speed and delay your arrival by several seconds, please only pass bikers when you can give them at least a three-foot buffer. This may mean waiting until the other lane has cleared and you can cross into it. The biker will be grateful, and you will have made the world a better place even while contributing to the decline of the atmosphere :).
- You can learn about bikes at your local library.
They are just so dang fun.
- As I said, as a devoted biker and someone who always makes sure to get every last drop of food or beverage out of its container, every day is Earth Day to me.
- In a few decades, when the descendants of the absurdly wealthy are living in an artificial atmosphere on Mars or the moon or deep inside the earth’s crust, they are likely to dedicate a whole month to remembering their home planet. They will celebrate with, respectively, Mars bars and Moonpies and pie crusts. They will bemoan their forebearers’ greed and shortsightedness. They will long for the developed ecosystems and prevalent housepets their ancestors had access to. “Oh, sweet Earth,” they’ll wail, cuddling their robot for comfort, “if only dear grandpappy had cared more about sustaining livable conditions on your surface rather than hoarding wealth, perhaps now we’d be enjoying diverse fauna and domesticated animals.”
- I didn’t write this post in time for Earth Day. However, I did write it in time for the Columbia Area Earth Day Festival where you can see our Book Bike in person.