BikeCommuters.com

advocacy

Year-End Tallies

We had quite a year of riding…and our “club” of Bikecommuters.com readers who are also Bikejournal.com users posted some big numbers in our inaugural year.

As you can see from the sidebar (just below the links to our Interbike 2008 coverage), Bikecommuters.com/Bikejournal.com “club” members posted 41796 miles, saving $7592.94 in gasoline costs and preventing the release of 45975.6 lbs. of C02 into the atmosphere. All this from a group of 39 members…with only a dozen or so who regularly post their mileage to the club page!!! Bravo to each and every one of you!

The club leader this year was Alan Field (user “Fatall”) of Melbourne, Australia, who posted a whopping 4604 miles for 2008. For Bikecommuters.com staff members, our own Russ Roca handily led the pack, coming in at #5. Former staff member Lance Lowry came in at #7, I came in at #10, Moe was at #12 and former staff member Jeff Rossini rounded things out at #14.

Posting miles is a lot of fun, and we like to showcase our combined efforts on the sidebar there. If you are a Bikejournal.com user, please consider joining our “club” (search for “www.bikecommuters.com” in the club search area). If you’re NOT a Bikejournal.com user, please consider that…it’s free for a basic membership and it is a great way to log your ride particulars and meet new cyclists in your area.

Happy riding in 2009!

A note about the gasoline savings: Normally, when I update our club stats (done periodically throughout the year…approximately once a month), I use the current average U.S. gasoline price as published by the U.S. Energy Information Administration on their Gasoline and Diesel Fuel Update page. For the year-end tally, I used their averaged gasoline price for the entire year of 2008, which is posted at their Short Term Energy Outlook page. In all of these calculations (gas savings and C02 emissions), we use an average mileage rate of 18 MPG…

Our Annual “Winter Warriors” Article

Some of you may have noticed that the crew here at Bikecommuters.com doesn’t write too much about bicycle commuting in winter…with most of the staff in balmy southern California and myself in SW Florida, we don’t get too much experience riding in the cold.

Nevertheless, we have complete and undying respect for those brave souls out there who commute year-round…through snow, ice and freezing rain, bitter winds and chilly temperatures. Last year, we offered a couple of photographs of some of our favorite “winter warriors”. You can check them out by clicking here.

Reader James Haygood sent in a great photo for us to share with the rest of our readers. He took this photo from his hotel room overlooking Lake Michigan in Chicago:

snow bike

Click here for the full-size version

That’s an awesome sight…ice and snow is no deterrent for these hardcore cyclers!!!

Let Your Voice Be Heard!

I got the following email from faithful reader Jared Fitzgibbon:

“Now that the bottom has fallen out of the economy, Obama and his team are talking about infrastructure investments as a way to dig ourselves out. The change.gov website has a form where people can submit ideas about it. I went on a minute ago and added my own wish for cycling infrastructure. Lanes, signs, public education, routes, all that. I think if we’re going to be rebuilding infrastructure, now is the perfect time to make our voices heard as cyclists.

I’m not affiliated w/ the change.gov team in any way but I think if you and all of us readers were to submit our ideas to this site, we could really see some fantastic changes in our cities, towns, and roads all over the country. Regardless of political affiliation, this is a great moment for all of us to tell the new President what we want.”

Here are a couple of places we can let our thoughts be known and our voices heard:
http://change.gov/page/s/yourvision

http://www.change.org/ideas/view/promote_bicycle_transportation_3

http://www.change.org/ideas/view/increase_use_of_bicycles

Book Review: “Divorce Your Car” by Katie Alvord

Based on a recommendation from our friend Shek Mukherjee (and others), I picked up a copy of Divorce Your Car: Ending the Love Affair with the Automobile by Katie Alvord (Gabriola Island, B.C.: New Society Publishers, 2000).

book cover

This book is a detailed look at how the motor vehicle has affected all aspects of life, particularly in the United States. Ms. Alvord spent a lot of time researching this book, and it shows — the text is packed with details (32 pages of notes plus a long list of suggested resources and further reading on the topics at hand). The book is loaded with facts that will curl the hair of the most jaded anti-car advocates among us…details on the environmental, socio-economic and health impacts life with motor vehicles has left us with.

But that’s not all: after illustrating the many ills motor vehicles have visited upon us, the author goes on to discuss the pros and cons of alternatives to driving a car, from alternative fuel vehicles to telecommuting to using a bicycle as transportation. She points out that some of these alternatives really aren’t as good as we might imagine…particularly the use of some of the gasoline substitutes and hybrid-vehicle technology, which may offer cleaner tailpipe emissions of some substances as compared to a gasoline-powered vehicle, but little in other smog-producing compounds, not to mention no reduction in gridlock and road congestion.

Ms. Alvord’s book is not intended to be a one-stop resource in the practical aspects of saying goodbye to the car — merely a stepping-off point and food for thought. Her resources pages can definitely assist someone seeking to go car-lite or carfree, though. A few months ago, I reviewed Chris Balish’s How to Live Well Without Owning a Car, and in many ways, Balish’s book could be considered a companion work to Divorce Your Car: Ms. Alvord tells us why we should divorce the car, Balish tells us how.

Despite the exhaustive research and documentation that went into this book, it reads well — full of humor and amazing facts and is never bogged down by all those endnotes. I highly recommend this as the first of several books someone considering a car-lite or carfree life should read, as it is eye-opening and inspirational. Thumbs up from this reviewer!