I've been hearing and reading scientists and meteorologists cautioning against this type of thinking for years. They keep telling us that weather and climate are separate concepts and should not be compared. That doesn't stop anybody. Most people accept that it is happening but argue over why; is it a naturally occurring cycle or does Al Gore deserve a Nobel? Personally, I think it's all about sex, it's so much fun that there are too many people buying new shiny stuff and not thinking ahead, consequently Greenland is going to melt and we are all going to drown. I guess that's happened before. There are a lot of really old books which mention it and all kinds of marks on rocks around the world that verify it. So what does this have to do with bicycling? Less than you might think. It reminds me of people like our chief PR consultant Dorothy who has grown up to become the demented witch of Wall Street. She and her paper like to deny environmental problems while she criticizes cyclists for being self righteous about our environmental conscience. If there is no problem, how can we have a conscience about one. I don't know who she talks to but there aren't that many cyclists for whom the environment is the primary consideration. Most American cyclists are athletes who just like the activity. Let's face it, riding around the country side like a herd of spandex hamsters on a weekly basis is hardly helpful for the environment. Building and buying expensive plastic/epoxy/titanium toys is hardly an environmentally friendly activity. It's only an environmental advantage when it replaces cars and most of us do that because it's more fun than driving.
As I mention in the introduction to this blog, it's one of several fringe benefits, but it's not fun. Cycling is fun. I hear critics and right wing pundits complain about the smug self righteousness of cyclists who think themselves "forward thinkers" and "progressives."
I hear cyclists talk about the killer rush they got on a single track in the national forest,
or the view from the top of the climb before a dizzying descent.
Those of us who do it are selfish fun lovers, self less treehugging is just a part time job. Hopefully we don't need to rely on the environmental crisis to justify having fun. Yes, the numbers indicate that cycling could, in the future, eliminate more than 50% of our energy expenses and consumption. But we are a long way from that, or are we? Does the status quo, Dorothy, Larry and Co, and Fox and Friends feel so threatened that they must put words in our mouths? Maybe that is what is happening. To us the environmental advantage of cycling is just an unmentioned truth we take for granted. The opposition sees a threat to the car- centric society, the core of their values. The advertising industry keeps the fuel on the fire by sprinkling bicycles throughout their ads for everything from cars to antacids. I think we should keep riding, enjoying ourselves, and let the paranoids worry that their values have failed. Maybe they will, maybe they won't, I'm still having fun.