Why I Bike

There is no machine known that is more efficient than a human on a bicycle.

I discovered as a kid that with a bicycle you can go anywhere.  In junior high school I used to ride 60 miles a day and I would think that was nothing, on an older steel bike—that same bicycle would be much more efficient nowadays.  


I used to wear a sign on my back that said “peddles don’t pollute.”  And the "o" in pollute I fashioned with the universal or the current symbol for the earth, the ecology symbol.  “Peddles don’t pollute.”  Huh, huh?  So if we could promote bicycling, you improve the quality of life for everybody.  

What do we have in the United States—obesity.  Everybody’s freaking out, right?  If you ride your bike a lot it reduces it, I guarantee it.  Furthermore, bicycling, you can get in between places.  You can get many more cyclists on a lane of traffic than a car.  And, of course, you’re not using fossil fuels to get around.  I mean, I have a bike I bought in 1975.  The frame is just, just right.  So there were fossil fuels used to create that steel and that paint, I gotcha.  But it’s nothing like a car, alright?  It’s insignificant, it’s trivial.  No, when you get around by bike you’re not using the earth’s resources like that.  

There is no machine known that is more efficient than a human on a bicycle.  A bowl of oatmeal, 30 miles, you can’t come close to that.  Put a bowl of oatmeal in your car, you’re not going anywhere, let alone 30 miles. The efficiency is terrible compared to a human.  

In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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