Friday, May 04, 2007

Adventures in Environmentalism

A few weeks ago my wife and I were talking about trading my car in for a Prius. As I looked into it, I found that you can get a solar roof panel that will let it go about 20 miles a day on pure sunlight. Since I only drive about three miles each way to the light rail station, I began daydreaming of having a vehicle that would get me there and back without using any fossil fuels at all.

Then I had this vision of Grandpa Pickles saying to me, "We had a thing like that in my day. We called it a bike."

So last week I bought a bike for about half what one month's payment would have been on a Prius. Funny how simple things can be. Now I just need to get in shape enough to ride it. I took it out the first day and managed to get to the top of the highest hill on my way to the MAX station, but knowing that if I kept going I'd have to go back up that hill I turned around.

I'm thinking of moving to Oklahoma. I hear they don't have hills there.

12 comments:

Chris (The Lutheran Zephyr) said...

Bikes are great . . . except in the rain, and winter, and when you're running late, and when you've got to haul more than a backpack . . . Why can't environmentalism be more convenient?

P.S. an after-thought said...

Or when your bike is stolen, like my daughters was. DH went from working 28 years only 2 miles to work and biking about 9 months of the year to driving 39 miles one way. But he drives for milage and gets in the 30's (MPG) with an OLD car. There are no good tradeoffs, I guess.

Christopher said...

Bikes are great, especially if you are just going 3 miles. Trunk space is a bit limited though...
Peace,
Chris

David said...

My pastor has a Prius and loves it. They don't get the advertised 60mpg but they do get between 45-50.

John said...

So....what kind of bike did you get? I have two: a recumbent tricycle which is good for short hauls or slow,leisurely rides and a 24 speed Electra Townie which is good for old farts like me because I can get full leg extension while pedaling, but still reach the ground when I stop. Another benefit is the upright riding position which is considerably easier on my wrists and neck.

Andy said...

It's true their are times when you just need a car. I don't think I'll be selling mine anytime soon. And I really do like the Prius. That may still be my next car, when I actually need a new car, which I don't now -- my Hyundai is still under warranty for another 6 years. I hear Toyota thinks they'll have the Prius getting over 100 mpg in about three years.

John, I got a 21-speed GT Timberline comfort bike. I took it out today and made it to the light rail station and back. I may actually be able to pull this off.

Matt said...

Don't move to Tulsa...plenty of Hills. How 'bout Kansas?

Paul said...

I always thought riding a bike to work looked perfect: you have to go to work, so that gets around the self dicipline of what can feel like the pointlessness of exercise for the sake of exercise.

Can you imagine if they redesigned the infrastructure that made this feasible for large numbers of people?

This first occured to me when I lived in Arlington just outside DC. I used to jog on a bike path and in the morning and late afternoon the bike traffic would pick up - adults with backpacks obviously commuting, and on these really great, safe, car free lanes.

But I guess the bicycle lobby isn't quite that powerful...

Lauren Gough said...

Sorry, my Lutheran brother. There are hills in OK too. You would have to move to SE TX or lower MS or New Orleans to find flat land. But then you have to deal with hotter humid weather and the threat of hurricanes.

Lauren the Lutheropalian

Andy said...

I don't know if the Ohklahoma City area is just a lot flatter or if you Sooners don't know what a hill really looks like (when I lived in western Maryland I thought I knew what a mountain was, but moving to Oregon I found out I was wrong). I spent a couple of days with family in Broken Arrow last summer and it seemed awfully flat.

Eric Stark said...

Personally, I recommend the south hills of Pittsburgh. ;-) Nice thing about a city built in the Appalachian mountains is that there are so many hills that you don't even notice them anymore! On second thought, maybe you're better off with the bike/car arrangement - it is likely to be offset by the expense of moving across the country.

I almost bought a Prius two years ago. Problem is, with the hills around here, they only get about 35 mpg. Got a Corolla instead (for much less), and it gets just about 32 mpg even in the hills. Several friends have them though, and they are very satisfied.

Good luck with the biking!

Andy said...

Hey Eric, good to hear from you. I tried the hills south of Pittsburgh (way south), and I couldn't cut it there on a bike. Especially after MI moved to Frostburg.