Only Planet

One Child, One Year, One Planet. A family of three traveling around the world...

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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Bicycle! Bicycle! (Channeling Queen)

In case you haven’t heard, there are some pretty huge gas shortages in the Southeast part of our country. For a couple of weeks now there have been reports of long lines, tapped out pumps and angry people wanting their gasoline. I feel like I’m having a bit of a flashback to 1979. But a couple of things come to mind when I read about this. First—though this story did make the mainstream news the last couple of nights, this has been going on for weeks. And there’s barely any coverage. I know, the bail out and the news that our economy is going down the drain is getting a lot of press, as it should. However, since gas is second in importance to Americans—after water—why such little reportage?

And second, driving for hours to look for a station with gas seems kind of counter intuitive. Perhaps it would be best to just say “what the hell”, and pull out a bike to get to work, school, etc. Except that we’ve developed a country where sprawl, private humvees, and mini-mall blight dot our landscape. Who has time to bike when the kids have to be dropped off to school, home is a twenty mile commute from work and dodging clueless drivers adds hours onto an already packed day.

The 2008 Bike Commute challenge just finished and Andy has placed second at FEI for racking up the most miles ridden to work during September. Over the course of the month he’s ridden 500 miles, and 60% of his trips to work were on a bike. The guy who ranked #1 rode 544 miles and did 94% of his trips to work on a bike. As you can see, he lives much closer to FEI than Andy. Andy usually bikes from home (In NE Portland) to Goose Hollow, gets on our light rail (MAX) and takes that to Hillsboro where he bikes the last leg to work. Sometimes though, he bikes all the way home from work—which is a 20 mile commute. Since June he’s been biking more than driving which makes him happy, saves money on gas and leaves me the Prius for my own lazy drives around our hood—however I did bike to Milo’s yesterday! Give the girl a medal.

Whatever the reason for gas prices, or shortages, there needs to be some deliberate, thoughtful dialogue happening. I’m afraid we’re not going to get that given our current leadership and our future leadership options. The degrees to which there may be changes from either McCain or Obama will be different, but both are playing within the same paradigm--a world where EVERY American (with the exception of the blind and those with DUI's) must drive everywhere.


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