So, it is that time of year again. It comes way too quickly sometimes…..It is time to make New Years resolutions. This year I am going to make it easy. I am going to make the resolution to think of my bike more often! Now you would think this would not be a challenge for me, since I live and breath bikes. But oddly enough, I forget about my bike more often than not. It’s funny, I think of my bike when I think of things I would like to do. I like riding my bike so every day I think about how I am going to make time to ride it. So, I think of ways to rearrange my schedule to get in an hour ride here or get up early so I can bike commute to work. But I forget about my bike when I need a gallon of milk or I need to go to the copy store around the corner. Sometimes I can’t believe that I do this. It so easy to just get on the bike and ride around the corner. But in my mind, my bike has always been a recreational vehicle and something that takes time to enjoy. When in reality, I could have 10 minutes of enjoyment just riding to the store or to the coffee shop. So, my resolution this year is to think of my bike more often as a way to get somewhere instead of just getting away.
The article below in Velonews got me thinking about how easy it is to reach for my bike instead of my car keys. Hopefully, we can all do a little more thinking about our bikes this year!
Posted Dec. 31, 2008
What if there was something you could do to improve your health and fitness, save money, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, improve air quality, and reduce your carbon footprint, all at the same time—would you do it?
Maybe that’s a bit of preaching to the choir here, but that’s the idea behind The 1-Mile Solution. As Andy Cline explains,
The idea is simple: Find your home on a map…Draw a circle with a 1-mile radius around your home. Try to replace one car trip per week within that circle by riding a bicycle or walking. At an easy riding pace you can travel one mile on a bicycle in about seven minutes. Walking takes about 20 minutes at an easy pace.
Now I know Legally Speaking readers generally put in their miles every week, but the concept here is a little different. According to Two-Wheeled Wonder, an article published in the March/April issue of Sierra, “nearly half of all trips in the United States are three miles or less; more than a quarter are less than a mile.” As the Sierra article notes,
Short car trips are, naturally, the easiest to replace with a bike trip (or even walking). Mile for mile, they are also the most polluting. Engines running cold produce four times the carbon monoxide and twice the volatile organic compounds of engines running hot. And smog-forming (and carcinogenic) VOCs continue to evaporate from an engine until it cools off, whether the engine’s been running for five minutes or five hours.
Discussing the Impact of the 1-Mile Solution. Andy Cline cites research from Professor Chandra Bhat that reveals that “the transportation sector accounts for about one-third of all human-generated greenhouse gas emissions. Within that sector, travel by personal vehicles accounts for nearly two-thirds of those emissions.”
With the 1-Mile Solution, Cline proposes a simple means for each of us to reduce the impacts associated with these short trips—once a week, make a trip make a trip of one mile or less from your home by bicycle, or on foot, rather than by car. As Cline observes,
You start out small. You commit to one trip per week by foot or on a bicycle within a 1-mile radius of home. One mile is not far. At a modest pace it’s a 20-minute walk (great exercise!) or a 6-minute bicycle ride. The idea, of course, is that we’ll all see how easy one mile is and then begin replacing two trips per week. Then three. And soon enough, we’re routinely walking and riding within the circle.
Some of us are already making our short trips by bike; others have yet to make the change, or have friends and family who make all of their short trips by car. Because it’s so easy, the 1-Mile Solution is the kind of change that almost anybody can incorporate into their lives. As the year draws to an end, and a new year begins, that’s something to think about.
Wishing all of you a very happy new year,
Bob(Research and drafting provided by Rick Bernardi, J.D.)