July 5, 2010

Bicycles Are Perfect For The NBA Life

My bicycle is the perfect vehicle for a not buying anything lifestyle. I acquired it about 20 years ago for $500 dollars, and since then have spent no more than $100 dollars keeping it going. Operating it has kept me fit, and in touch with the surrounding environment. My bike has covered thousands of kilometers and produced 0 tonnes of harmful gasses.

I bought my 1995 small truck in 2000 for sixteen thousand dollars. Gas, maintenance, insurance, parking, fines, and taxes for roadways have cost me many tens of thousands of dollars. Driving requires very little physical effort - it does not promote healthy living. While driving everything outside our rapidly moving cells of glass, plastic and steel flies by largely unnoticed.

My truck has rolled over 189 000 kilometers, and has spewed many thousands of tons of poisonous gases into the atmosphere. Then there is the high speed insect slaughter on the grill and windshield. So violent. You may not think about that, but I bet that Jains do. Jain monks and nuns walk barefoot and sweep the ground in front of them to avoid killing insects and other small creatures.

To be fair, my murderous truck has taken me to many beautiful places. But I wonder at what cost? First of all, owning a vehicle puts a huge dent in your wallet. Then there is the whole Gusher in the Gulf thing that each of us has contributed to through our demand for oil products.

Unless you are living in it, owning your own personal polluting vehicle doesn't seem rational. It is feeling like a scam that we have all fallen for, and are now addicted to. We are starting to make efforts toward alternatives, but the best alternative already exists. It is technology from the 1800's. The bicycle.

The bicycle can go a long way to freeing us from our addiction to cars. Although it may not be appropriate in some cases, the majority of our vehicle trips can easily be replaced by cycling. Or walking, bus, taxi or train. If a personal vehicle is required for a trip the need can be met by car-share cooperatives. These have been implemented world-wide, and are convenient to use. They have been shown to cut the cost of car use dramatically.

But my favorite solution remains the humble bicycle. I hardly have to buy anything, it is the most efficient use of energy in the known universe, and being on a bicycle is good, plain fun.

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