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

Related Articles

How schizophrenia is linked to common personality type

Both schizophrenics and people with a common personality type share similar brain patterns.

(shutterstock)
Mind & Brain
  • A new study shows that people with a common personality type share brain activity with patients diagnosed with schizophrenia.
  • The study gives insight into how the brain activity associated with mental illnesses relates to brain activity in healthy individuals.
  • This finding not only improves our understanding of how the brain works but may one day be applied to treatments.
Keep reading Show less

Human skeletal stem cells isolated in breakthrough discovery

It's a development that could one day lead to much better treatments for osteoporosis, joint damage, and bone fractures.

Image: Nissim Benvenisty
Surprising Science
  • Scientists have isolated skeletal stem cells in adult and fetal bones for the first time.
  • These cells could one day help treat damaged bone and cartilage.
  • The team was able to grow skeletal stem cells from cells found within liposuctioned fat.
Keep reading Show less

How exercise helps your gut bacteria

Gut bacteria play an important role in how you feel and think and how well your body fights off disease. New research shows that exercise can give your gut bacteria a boost.

National Institutes of Health
Surprising Science
  • Two studies from the University of Illinois show that gut bacteria can be changed by exercise alone.
  • Our understanding of how gut bacteria impacts our overall health is an emerging field, and this research sheds light on the many different ways exercise affects your body.
  • Exercising to improve your gut bacteria will prevent diseases and encourage brain health.
Keep reading Show less