Thursday, November 29, 2007

Don't Wait: Start Biking Now

Okay, maybe not you folks in the snowbelt (I live in Florida), but if you can, getting used to biking and using the bike for transportation now will help when gas prices make their inevitable climb above $4, then $5 a gallon. Better to learn a new way of doing things before you HAVE TO.

I took this little detour away from strictly practical cycling material today because James Howard Kunstler spoke in our town (Orlando) this morning. I've been a reader of his work for quite a few years, but his most recent book, The Long Emergency, is his most important. For those of you not familiar with the concept of Peak Oil, The Long Emergency is an excellent primer. It will explain why gas is at over $3.00 per gallon, why it will continue to climb, and why "alternative fuels" will not permit us to keep driving cars the way we currently do.

A great source of up-to-date information on this matter is The Oil Drum.

10 comments:

odograph said...

I'm a happy bicyclist, and after a 2-3 year survivor of the peak oil sites. For what it's worth, I think peak oil and bicycling are both about "risk assessment."

Bicycling is good for us (reducing health risks) if we go about it carefully (reducing accident risks).

Maybe someday it will be an immediate response to oil shortage or high oil prices, but that isn't this week. It isn't for most Americans, anyway.

To my mind the problem with Kunstler and doomerish folk, is that they go beyond the hardest science of peak oil (Hubbert's curve) and move into a nested series of dark predictions. None of those predictions are required by current events, but the deeper you nest, the more you add your own pessimism, the more you can create a bad future.

Pessimism in, pessimism out.

So, while I promote bike use in my small way (with friends, and through a League of American Bicyclists membership), I try not to sell bikes with any short-term (or even firm) worry about peak oil.

Right here in front of us we have our health and happiness to consider, and those are plenty-good reasons to ride.

Mighk said...

I don't disagree with you, Odograph. Neither am I as pessimistic as Kunstler sometimes sounds, and many at the forum this morning expressed a similar opinion. Indeed, Kunstler himself said we need to generate our own hope, and we do that by taking a clear-eyed look at the world and then taking constructive action in response to what we see.

As I noted in my initial post on the purpose of this site, there are plenty of great reasons to bike. Peak Oil is but one.

Murray said...

I often get labeled as a 'doomer' because I don't sugar-coat the physical realities of peak oil and its POTENTAIL consequences. I have been told by friends that I seem to have lost hope. I strongly disagree with that. I simply hope for something very different to what I used to.

I do agree that even if peak oil or global warming were complete fantasies there would still be plenty of great reasons to ride bikes.

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