Alternative Living, Health, Independence

How to Better Get From ‘A’ to ‘B’

In honor of Bike to Work Week 2015 here in Vancouver B.C., I wanted to talk about the ways we get from A to B.

Recently in my class I learned that we as humans use 84 million barrels of oil per day, a number that’s rising quickly as countries like India and China produce more and more vehicles and power for their some 2 billion people.As for my share, it seems pretty crazy that I require a 4000 pound vehicle to get me to work and back.

Can you imagine the manpower that would be needed to move my vehicle, with me and all my stuff, 20 km each way every day? Something like 50 strong, fit men or two big horses (which won’t even get me over 50 km/h) are replaced by a few litres of gasoline, totalling around a measly $3.

We take this massively for granted, that this unbelievably powerful substance is cheaper than bottled water! Shouldn’t we be doing something more useful with this stuff that took millions of years to make and can’t ever be replaced, than getting ourselves to the office every day?

Your grandchildren will likely find it incredible – or even sinful – that you burned up a gallon of gasoline to fetch a pack of cigarettes  ~Paul MacCready, Jr.

“Man is the animal that intends to shoot himself out in to interplanetary space, after having given up on the problem of an efficient way to get himself five miles to work and back each day.” ~Bill Vaughan

This is a huge global issue where we all need to do our part. I think as a first step it helps to at least be conscious about the gas we’re burning. Do I really need to drive across the city, expending the equivalent of a 2-litre pop bottle of petroleum in to the air and my friends’ and family’s lungs just to buy a new shirt? Burning gasoline has become so commonplace in our lives, we don’t even give it a second thought. For that matter, we never even see the gas physically going in to our car. We just turn the ignition and it works.

So what other ways can we get ourselves around? My personal favorite: the bicycle.

“The bicycle is the most efficient machine ever created:  Converting calories into gas, a bicycle gets the equivalent of three thousand miles per gallon.”
~Bill Strickland”

The bicycle is the most civilised conveyance known to man. Other forms of transport grow daily more nightmarish. Only the bicycle remains pure in heart.
~Iris Murdoch

When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments. Here was a machine of precision and balance for the convenience of man. And (unlike subsequent inventions for man’s convenience) the more he used it, the fitter his body became… Progress should have stopped when man invented the bicycle.
~Elizabeth West

Of course, using our feet is great too!

Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time.  ~Steven Wright

And of course there’s public transit but I couldn’t find any great quotes about it…I feel lucky to live in Vancouver, where there’s great pedestrian and biking infrastructure. I find it creates a stronger community, and everyone is more friendly, chatting at intersections and are more courteous compared to driving where everyone is anonymous and separated within their vehicle. Let’s make every day Bike to Work Week!


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