Saturday, May 8, 2010

Change the world: Go by bike

Along with first hand experience, and talking to many people across the country, I have truly come to gain appreciation for traveling by bicycle. The pace is perfect, we move enough to keep seeing new things, but we move slow enough to take in what we see and really admire this planet. I have been riding bikes since I can remember, my dad and I used to ride to the elementary school up the street to play on the playground, then ride to the beach where he would teach me to catch fiddler crabs, then on the way home we would stop for strawberry milk and hostess treats (funny how I still do that even on this trip). My dad's days as a two-wheeled tyrant may have passed, but mine are hitting their high right now, and he is just a part of the inspiration, but I'll throw out my thanks when the trip is over.

For now I'd like to list some very interesting facts for people who are interested in biking (which if you read this journal, I assume you are). I got into commuting last summer when I was living in RI and working for the school as well as for the Audubon society. I bought a beater roadie rig for $60, custom painted it, retrofitted some of the easier parts to fix, and road it EVERYWHERE. I loved my morning ride through Bristol, through the park, to work, and back. It became my new vehicle, and it could for you too. Enough of my talking, here are the facts:

The average person loses 13 lbs. their first year of commuting by bike.

Just 3 hours of bicycling per week can reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke by 50%.

A 140-pound cyclist burns 508 calories while pedaling 14 miles in an hour.

The U.S. could save 462 million gallons of gasoline a year by increasing cycling from 1% to 1.5% of all trips.

Each U.S. rush-hour auto commuter spends an average of 50 hours a year stuck in traffic.

In 2003, cars idling in traffic wasted 5 billion gallons of fuel.

In 1964 50% of kids rode to school and the obesity rate was 12% in 2004, 3% rode to school and the obesity rate was 45%.

Between 1960 and today the average weight of a 6-11 year old has increased 11 pounds.

60% of the pollution created by automobile emissions happens in the first few minutes of operation, before pollution control devices can work effectively.

24% of all trips are made within a mile of the home, 40% of all trips are made within two miles of the home, and 50% of the working population commutes five miles or less to work.

I would like everyone to read these over again. Some are surprising, some are startling, but either way they are ALL important. Every bit makes a difference and you could be a part of that change. Help yourself, help your planet, it's that simple, we all win. To get more info and tips about biking/commuting by bike, I encourage you all to check out some of these fine websites:

Thanks for reading and safe biking to everyone!

-Cole Bear out

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