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Old 12-22-2011, 03:09 PM
 
3,948 posts, read 3,890,912 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rock_chalk View Post
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To me, that's common sense. We eat way too much here and we don't exercise enough daily. We don't walk enough and look at our portion sizes. It seems to me that our diet and exercise levels are more of a reason for our epidemic obesity than some air quality. You don't hear people saying, "Oh gosh! I've gotta stop breathing this smog air!" No, it's "I ate too much. I eat too much. I eat too much junk. I really need to exercise more. I need to start biking or walking."
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Old 12-22-2011, 03:46 PM
 
Location: California
32,638 posts, read 36,063,828 times
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When everything you do is close by, when the weather is cooperative, when we are physically able...yes, bikes are cool.

Unfortunately most of our country was built for cars and our lives adapted to that and we live in remote areas, some of which are only inhabitable by human intervention (air conditioning, heating, etc.) and physical decline is caused by more than being overweight.

Bikes will never solve all our problems.
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Old 12-24-2011, 01:04 AM
 
Location: US Empire, Pac NW
5,008 posts, read 11,306,253 times
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I personally do not want to live closer than a 15 minute drive from my workplace because near it is a huge freaking factory.

Further, there are no convenient bike paths in that vicinity.

Further, it rains 7 months out of the year here in Seattle. Making the road slippery. A coworker of mine spilled onto the pavement going 30 and his femur tendons were ripped and his femur ball joint literally popped out. Furthermore, two people have been killed recently in bike accidents from dazed out-of-towners and suburbanites in the 8000000 lb SUVs. No matter how McSchwinn wants to get me to ride a bike and eat granola, I'm not buying it.

Further, while it would be good exercise, it doesn't offset the pneumonia that would set in. See above point.

Did I mention 99% of people are constrained in their mode of transportation here?

In the end it's a matter of optimization in time. We don't want to waste any more time than we have to to get to work and do the things we want to do. And given most Americans don't want to live in hives, Asian style, with a billion people per square mile, or like San franciscans, the "density" doesn't exist to warrant riding a bike everywhere.

My big thing is the getting pneumonia and getting run over by SUVs driven by brainless suburbanites.
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Old 12-24-2011, 05:25 AM
 
Location: Central CT, sometimes NH.
3,736 posts, read 5,551,478 times
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26.6 miles each way to work through hilly terrain with 7 to 13% grades. It is not possible to ride my bike. I even have trouble piecing together enough days to take the motorcycle as it is frequently below 40 degrees when I leave the house. Even with some good riding gear I am quite cold after 45 minutes on the my motorcycle in that weather.

Bikes are great. But in the northeast they are not practical for most commuters.
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Old 12-30-2011, 01:03 AM
 
Location: Tucson/Nogales
20,221 posts, read 23,726,619 times
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Everytime I hear of someone renouncing 4 wheels for 2 wheels, I can't stop the labels from flying out of my mouth: Insensitive! Compassionless! Communist!

Just think of the industries that revolve around car owners that would suffer:

Chiropractic Clinics, Pain Clinics, Traffic Court employees/judges, Auto Body Shops, Auto Mechanics, Freeway builders, Personal Injury Attorney's, Psychiatrists, Jails, Prisons, AutoZone/Napa, Police Officers, Tow truck drivers, Meter Maids, Car Salesman & Manufacturers, Car designers, Advertisers, the entire oil industry. Did I miss something?

Yes, you could re-employ a number of these people as bike dependency would create other industries. In bike-crazy Copenhagen, Denmark they recently built a 10-story parking ramp downtown for bikes only.
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Old 12-30-2011, 03:33 PM
 
11,368 posts, read 46,978,471 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tijlover View Post
(snip) In bike-crazy Copenhagen, Denmark they recently built a 10-story parking ramp downtown for bikes only.
"bike crazy" Copenhagen wasn't built on the dreams of "green environmentalist activists" trying to save oil consumption ...

it was built on the basis of convenience and necessity to get around in an 88 square Kilometer city of over a 500,000 population with a density of well over 6,000 people per square kilometer. In other words, a practical way to get around given the density.

They've got a larger population jammed into that city than the entire state where I live, with an area of 253,347 sq kilometers.

What isn't mentioned very frequently with the statistics of bicycle useage in Copenhagen is that it's a seaside city with an exceptionally temperate climate. Daytime temps aren't much higher than overnight temps through the year, and it's a pretty mild climate overall ... with daytime highs averaging into the high 60F during the summer ranging down to high 30's during the winter.

Again, a comparison with much of the continental USA reveals a climate zone of far more extremes ... It's not unusual for much of my home state to have winter stretches of weeks where the daytime temps don't exceed zero F, and are much lower after the sunset each day. During the summer months, mid to high 90F temps present. This is along with strong gusty winds; it's one thing to pedal a bicycle in a built-up city area (think windbreaks) where the winds are strong at 20 mph compared to an open area with winds typically in the 30-40 mph range with gusts into the 50-60 mph range.

I'd defy any of you advocates of bicycling as a daily transportation option to come on out here and do any serious commuting to work in the winds we had over the last few days: 50-60 mph sustained winds with peak gusts recorded at just over 100 mph. That's on unpaved county roads, not nicely paved bicycle paths. You may be in shape and capable of riding your bicycle a few miles in those conditons ... although I doubt it ... but to survive such conditions, present yourself for work at your place of employment and work a shift ... and then ride home? At least the air temps were in the high 40's this time, but it's not uncommon for them to be in the teens F or lower, which means serious wind chill factors for any exposed skin.

Which again brings into play the road surfaces in much of the USA vs the temperate climate of Copenhagen. There's not a lot of snow and ice in Copenhagen compared to much of the USA where inclement weather conditions present and persist for many months. Hypo- and Hyper- thermia conditions aren't prevalent in Copenhagen, wind chill factors don't freeze skin in a matter of minutes, and the distances around town are relatively short.

Unless you bicycle advocates can turn the USA climate into a similar situation as Copenhagen, your comparisons of that ideal bicycling community hold little merit for residents of many States here for most of the year. I spent a fair number of years in Boulder CO, which is a fairly bike friendly town with paths, compact size, and available parking for bicycles ... and once the weather turns cold and snowy in a winter, commuter bicycling all but disappears. Similarly, I've spent a fair amount of time in Seattle, another "bike friendly" town and traveled 40-50-60 mile days around the area when the climate was favorable to do so ... but in their winter wet season and with temps in the mid-30's, it was less than a pleasure to do so. When they get snowfall/icing road conditions ... riding a bicycle there isn't just simply foolish, it's a potential for serious bodily injury; from what I've seen, area bicyclists are intelligent enough to understand that and you don't see many out in those conditions.
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Old 02-25-2012, 04:02 AM
 
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A bike will not suffice when I have a 40 mile round trip commute to work. Makes no sense at all and doesn't solve a single thing.
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Old 02-26-2012, 07:52 AM
 
Location: Central CT, sometimes NH.
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There is a middle ground and currently the US is not providing a solution. That is motorcycle-based single-occupant transportation options. A Can Am Spyder-style platform with an enclosure that includes heat, windshield wipers, and other necessary comforts could conceivably return 70 mpg if designed right.

Why we have cars like the Scion iQ and they only get 36/37 mpg is baffling. These cars should be designed to get 65 to 70 mpg given their size and weight.
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Old 02-27-2012, 01:33 PM
 
28,668 posts, read 31,275,393 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandpa Pipes View Post
It doesn't need to take a 3,000 metal box to move one person around........

How bikes can solve America’s most pressing problems | Grist
I agree with the general sentiment. But I think there are several practical hurdles to clear:

--We need more bike lanes and other bike infrastructure (bike lockers, etc).
--In some places, riding your bike just isn't feasible (like in the winter in cold winter places or in the summer in hot summer places).
--We need to reform our sprawl oriented land use development patterns. Evering is built with driving in mind. The problem is, even if we started fixing this problem, it would be a long time before we'd see results. You can't just rip out what already exists and start over.

But I do think we need to start moving in this direction, especially in mild weather places like California. Flat cities with generally pleasant weather, like Sacramento and fairly large swathes of the San Francisco Bay Area, would be ideal if they were more bike oriented.

The City of Davis, a college town not far from Sacramento, and the college town of San Luis Obispo are very bike oriented and people seem to really like them. San Luis Obispo is considered to be one of the happiest cities in America, in large part due to it's anti sprawl, pro bike, more community oriented development.
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Old 02-27-2012, 08:04 PM
 
Location: The Ranch
23,420 posts, read 26,640,125 times
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Quote:
Why we have cars like the Scion iQ and they only get 36/37 mpg is baffling. These cars should be designed to get 65 to 70 mpg given their size and weight.
They are. Their european badge gets over 50 mpg. But Americans won't buy them due to the engine being so small among other things.

http://www.insideline.com/toyota/iq/2009/first-drive-2009-toyota-iq.html
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