This is a shameless attempt to save the the most advanced civilization in
history from imminent self destruction by eliminating carbon emission,
dependence on foreign sources of fuel,obesity, hypertension and diabetes.
Cycling accomplishes all those things at once and helps us develop a better
understanding of ourselves, each other and our relationship to the cosmos.

Oh, horse puckey!
I like to ride bikes, have been doing it all my life.
The rest of that crap is just a fringe benefit,
and the blogosphere gives me a chance to share my interior
monologue with virtual rather than imaginary friends.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The mouths of babes.

 During my part-time retirement gig as a substitute teacher I had a a class of freshman students with nothing but an exam review to keep their attention.   Being scatter brained hormone laden creatures with the attention span of gnats, I had a little trouble getting them focused at first. My reputation as a notable eccentric had preceded me, so a couple of them asked me about cycling.  One asked specifically why I rode my bike to school.  I explained first that I had found over the years that riding my bike was as convenient as driving within a 5-10 mile radius of home.  I asked them to tell me why somebody might choose a bike over driving a car.
Their list of reasons was pretty impressive;  
They first listed Exercise, which would be obvious, 

One popped up with "showing off a fancy bike!"  well I'm guilty.  We're all gear snobs in our own way.  Even those on the cheap like to brag about how little they spent building their cool commuter.

Then saving money, I elaborated for them that since I drive about 10K miles per year less than average, and the IRS allows about 60 cents a mile for car expense, I have about $6000 per year to spend on other stuff.

Next, the list under Environmental issues included less gas usage, fewer resources used, as well as less pollution. 

Surprisingly one of them said it was safer (most people assume that cars are safer, but this little whipper snapper knew the truth).  I applauded and told them I was 10 times less likely to be injured on my bike than in a car according to studies by the CPSC and NTSB.

But when I asked them for more, they ran out of answers and stared.  They could come up with nothing more than 8 reasons. 

When I told them I enjoyed it, it was more fun than sitting in traffic, they simply looked shocked. That focused them, they were dumbstruck.  It had never occurred to them.

    Faced with 9 good reasons to ride a bike, I asked them why they  would choose to drive.
They came up with nothing.  Not one of 30 kids could think of a reason to justify driving a car.  There might be hope yet!  I finally suggested Social Acceptance.  They stared.  I explained we have been taught by advertising for years that we need a car to be part of society.  It's part of our identity, others drive and we want to be like them. 
     In the great scheme of things this  won't keep them from getting their licenses and impressing each other with cars their senior year, but they gave themselves something to think about and I got a quiet classroom.


  1. I love this! Thanks. Open those teenagers's minds...

  2. Brilliant exercise and kudos to you for reinforcing those who knew better and exposing those who didn't know the simple truths to a practical, sustainable, alternative option.