I'm not green. I eat food, our food supply isn't remotely green. Even if you only shop Trader Mings and avoid meat. The cost of my daily meals is extreme when measured in natural resources and environment impact. I live in a house much too large for two people, even two people who need a lot of space... I heat that house to 69 degrees all winter. My dogs eat mostly meat. I read somewhere that a 90 lb dog requires more petro a year than driving the 12,000 miles a year the average american drives their SUV. My 3 dogs alone probably burn up enough gas a day just to lay around and exist than I would towing my camper to every race I do this year. I don't really care, I love the dogs.
I recently calculated that my inefficient ass gets slightly worse gas mileage than the mini cooper. Seriously, assuming that I eat the typical american diet (and who am I to argue otherwise) the 1000-1200 extra calories I burn each day on my commute require more fossil fuels than would be utilized in driving the mini cooper. In fact, I'm closer to the Tahoe than I am the Mini.
I'm not cheap. I pay for that food, it costs me a lot. Most of my budget that doesn't go towards that, too large, house or those, too many, dogs goes towards feeding my ass. I have XTR and Dura-ace bike parts. I have a carbon road bike. The bars on that bike alone retail for over $400. I commute on a bike many people would love to have as their race bike. It has carbon bars/stem, a thomson post etc. etc. all kinds of unecessary crap. I think that crap makes me more likely to ride it (in fact, it does! and my knee doesn't hurt) but the more I ride it the less "green" I really am and the more money I spend. It's easy to justify it- I've got 770 miles on the Nokians I bought this fall for $95. That is 12 cents a mile. 700 miles on the nexus 7 speed hub I paid $125 for already built into a wheel, 17 cents there. In fact, I can tell myself the entire bike, through all it's iterations since I purchased it this spring, has only cost me about 11 cents a mile. So what? In the end biking costs me and the world/environment more than driving would.
I'm sick of people thinking that I ride because I'm cheap or green. I'd like to be better at both, but I'm smart enough to know that my biking habit isn't helping a whole lot.
I'm sick of people who think they are cheap and green just because they bike.
I'm loving it how more and more people in Rochester seem to accept that I ride without questioning why. I've been here for four years and commuted most of the time. I feel like over the last year things have really changed for the better. It's pretty awesome. Every week this winter it seems I get fewer weird looks. Life is good!
Why do I ride?
It gives me a purpose and it makes me happy. I make extra laps through downtown Rochester just to see the beauty of the lights almost every night. Here are some crappy pictures.
I hope you ride for some of the same reasons. I hope you think about the actual costs (and benefits) of your riding. If you are riding to be cheap or green, make sure you are. If you are riding because you love riding, good. If you are riding because it is keeping you sane and saving your soul, even better.
List of Postcards - In the interest of letting folks know that I received their card (without the hassle of emailing each and every one of you... not that it is too much work....
2 days ago