Gas prices and an increase in cycling?



P

Peter Cole

Guest
Bob wrote:

> 2- Horses, besides not being too welcome on city streets unless they
> are pulling a couple snuggling in a carriage or being ridden by a
> police officer, require a heck of a lot more work than does riding a
> bike. Ever mucked out a stable or unloaded a truckload of alfalfa? ;-)


Hey, I did a double-take last month when I came across one of Boston's
finest on a bike. I asked when the unit was started & he replied it was
new this year. Apparently the mayor just started riding last fall and is
now something of a convert (don't know if the two are related). He's
been talking up bike lanes and parking. The bike-cop actually seemed to
be really enjoying himself.
 
D

DennisTheBald

Guest
On May 15, 11:32 am, JCrowe <[email protected]> wrote:
> Matt O'Toole wrote:
> > On Mon, 12 May 2008 18:53:12 -0700, Bob wrote:


> I am seeing more adults riding in neighborhoods and on running/bike
> paths...not so much on the roads where I ride. There is a fear factor
> involved here, I believe. High speed auto traffic and bicycles are a mix
> that's daunting for many folks, and in suburban areas, which is where a
> significant part of the local population resides, there are a lot of
> neighborhoods connected by highspeed arteries. Out here in the burbs,
> there are no safely accessible places to shop by bicycle either.


Yep, the burbs were built to be inhabited by car people. But maybe
the can be reclaimed by humans in the post petroleum era.
 
P

Peter Cole

Guest
Matt O'Toole wrote:
>
> We'll never go "back to horses" because we never came from horses to begin
> with. This idea comes from our own car culture projected backwards. No
> one ever saddled up to fetch a quart of milk! Most people walked. Draft
> animals for pulling heavy loads were as likely to be mules or oxen as
> horses. When bikes came around in the late 1800s they were immediately
> popular among those who could afford them (about $4000, adjusted for
> inflation) -- not just for their novelty, but their transportation value,
> practicality, and economy.


I think the main problem for the bike was that it was so quickly
superseded by the auto that it never really took hold culturally in the
US. It's remarkable that only 20 years passed between the invention of
the pneumatic tire (and the safety bike) and the Model T.

As for horses, I think street cars were an important form of transport
in urban US, and until they went electric late in the 19th century, most
were horse drawn. The auto killed the bike and the street car.

Americans are technophiles, and it's a culture that we've exported
successfully. Bikes are considered backwards, not only in the US, but
the other cultures we've influenced. The Segway produced quite a stir,
the EBike, scarcely a ripple.

It's possible that energy cost/shortages may bring a short-term
boom(let) in bicycling, but that same motive (necessity) will doom it by
further connecting it with lack of status. As tempting as it is to poke
fun at "fitness" cyclists, that seems to be the only segment with real
growth potential.
 

Guest
In article <6e91e5cf-ec02-44e9-8c90-194e8bb84920
@l64g2000hse.googlegroups.com>, [email protected] says...
> On May 12, 9:53 pm, Bob <[email protected]> wrote:
> >
> >
> > I don't think there's any evidence that Americans are any more lazy
> > than the citizens of any other country.

>
> Try spending a few weeks east of the Atlantic, then returning to the
> US.
>
> I've done that a few times. Each time, the body fat walking around in
> the US airport shocks me. The difference is very noticeable.


I don't think this is evidence of greater laziness in the U.S., rather
it's evidence of urban design that panders to laziness in ways other
cultures would reject out of hand.

There's plenty of evidence that communities designed for walking promote
public health, not because the people who live there are less lazy, but
because their environment is more conducive to walking than driving.

Make walking the easy choice, and lazy people will walk, while dedicated
motor enthusiasts will drive.

Make driving the easy choice, and lazy people will drive, while
dedicated pedestrian enthusiasts will walk.

--
[email protected] is Joshua Putnam
<http://www.phred.org/~josh/>
Braze your own bicycle frames. See
<http://www.phred.org/~josh/build/build.html>
 
F

Frank Krygowski

Guest
On May 15, 11:30 pm, <[email protected]> wrote:
> In article <6e91e5cf-ec02-44e9-8c90-194e8bb84920
> @l64g2000hse.googlegroups.com>, [email protected] says...
>
> > On May 12, 9:53 pm, Bob <[email protected]> wrote:

>
> > > I don't think there's any evidence that Americans are any more lazy
> > > than the citizens of any other country.

>
> > Try spending a few weeks east of the Atlantic, then returning to the
> > US.

>
> > I've done that a few times. Each time, the body fat walking around in
> > the US airport shocks me. The difference is very noticeable.

>
> I don't think this is evidence of greater laziness in the U.S., rather
> it's evidence of urban design that panders to laziness in ways other
> cultures would reject out of hand.
>
> There's plenty of evidence that communities designed for walking promote
> public health, not because the people who live there are less lazy, but
> because their environment is more conducive to walking than driving.
>
> Make walking the easy choice, and lazy people will walk, while dedicated
> motor enthusiasts will drive.
>
> Make driving the easy choice, and lazy people will drive, while
> dedicated pedestrian enthusiasts will walk.


American obesity levels are not proof of greater laziness, but I
suspect they are an indicator.

Regarding community design: I'm lucky to live in a suburban village
that's known for its pedestrian friendliness. My wife and I (and,
back in the day, our kids) used this. My wife walked my daughter to
kindergarten, our kids walked to school, we still frequently walk to
church, to the library... and it's always drawn comments!

When my wife volunteered at the grade school, a fellow volunteer
needed to fetch something from the pharmacy, one block away. The
woman said to my wife, somewhat embarrassed, "I know you'd walk, and I
know I should, but I'm going to take my car."

But that doesn't beat the record: when visiting a friend, we watched
her neighbor walk out of his house, get in his car, back 50 feet down
to his curbside mailbox, reach out for his mail, then drive back up
and return to the house.

How would you rate laziness of different cultures? Would the
popularity of automatic garage door openers do it? The use of leaf
blowers instead of leaf rakes? Riding lawn mowers vs. walk behinds,
and self-propelled vs. push versions? Portable remotes for everything
up to and including overhead fans and digital picture frames?
Automatic dish washers?

- Frank Krygowski
 
A

Andrew Price

Guest
On Thu, 15 May 2008 22:55:59 GMT, Peter Cole <[email protected]>
wrote:

[---]

>The auto killed the bike and the street car.
>
>Americans are technophiles, and it's a culture that we've exported
>successfully.


But not the point of killing trams (and bikes) in Europe.
Fortunately.
 
M

Matt O'Toole

Guest
On Thu, 15 May 2008 22:55:59 +0000, Peter Cole wrote:

> Matt O'Toole wrote:
>>
>> We'll never go "back to horses" because we never came from horses to
>> begin with. This idea comes from our own car culture projected
>> backwards. No one ever saddled up to fetch a quart of milk! Most
>> people walked. Draft animals for pulling heavy loads were as likely to
>> be mules or oxen as horses. When bikes came around in the late 1800s
>> they were immediately popular among those who could afford them (about
>> $4000, adjusted for inflation) -- not just for their novelty, but their
>> transportation value, practicality, and economy.

>
> I think the main problem for the bike was that it was so quickly
> superseded by the auto that it never really took hold culturally in the
> US. It's remarkable that only 20 years passed between the invention of
> the pneumatic tire (and the safety bike) and the Model T.


This is true. The difference between the US and Europe on this point is
that Europe remained relatively poor for longer, with average folks unable
to afford cars until well after WWII. In the US, new development was
car-oriented as early as the 1920s.

> As for horses, I think street cars were an important form of transport
> in urban US, and until they went electric late in the 19th century, most
> were horse drawn.


This is true but the horse/person ratio was still pretty low.

> The auto killed the bike and the street car.


This is true too.

The oft-cited case is LA's streetcar system, perhaps the best in
the world at the time, supposedly killed by a conspiracy of big auto and
big oil. In fact GM/Firestone/Standard continued to run it at a great
loss with declining ridership for over a decade. The death knell
was from motorists demanding the streetcars be removed because they were
blocking traffic.

> Americans are technophiles, and it's a culture that we've exported
> successfully. Bikes are considered backwards, not only in the US, but
> the other cultures we've influenced. The Segway produced quite a stir,
> the EBike, scarcely a ripple.
>
> It's possible that energy cost/shortages may bring a short-term
> boom(let) in bicycling, but that same motive (necessity) will doom it by
> further connecting it with lack of status. As tempting as it is to poke
> fun at "fitness" cyclists, that seems to be the only segment with real
> growth potential.


You may be right, but bike/ped oriented communities are increasingly seen
as high status, desirable places to live, and the ability to ride a bike
or walk to work a luxury. In the current market, prices in these villagey
areas aren't slipping much, compared to the commuter towns and McMansion
areas.

Our sensibilities really *are* changing.

Matt O.
 
M

Matt O'Toole

Guest
On Thu, 15 May 2008 20:30:26 -0700, josh wrote:

> There's plenty of evidence that communities designed for walking promote
> public health, not because the people who live there are less lazy, but
> because their environment is more conducive to walking than driving.
>
> Make walking the easy choice, and lazy people will walk, while dedicated
> motor enthusiasts will drive.
>
> Make driving the easy choice, and lazy people will drive, while dedicated
> pedestrian enthusiasts will walk.


The problem is when walking or biking is a hard choice because the
environment is so hostile to it. Then even those who would walk or bike
will drive instead.

Matt O.
 
A

Andrew Price

Guest
On Thu, 15 May 2008 20:30:26 -0700, <[email protected]> wrote:

>> I've done that a few times. Each time, the body fat walking around in
>> the US airport shocks me. The difference is very noticeable.

>
>I don't think this is evidence of greater laziness in the U.S., rather
>it's evidence of urban design that panders to laziness in ways other
>cultures would reject out of hand.


And probably diet. The same striking difference (particularly amongst
the young) is visible between Germany, on the one hand, and France and
Italy on the other.
 
B

Bob

Guest
On May 12, 9:33 pm, Brian Huntley <[email protected]> in
response to my disbelief that Americans are any more lazy than the
citizen's of any other country wrote:

> 1: Drive through funeral homes -http://www.uwsp.edu/geo/courses/geog100/CarMort.htm
> - aren't exactly evidence to the contrary.


I've used city bus services in both France and Germany. In both
countries I've seen healthy, fit-looking people board the bus I was on
and ride just two blocks in nice weather before getting off. Lazy
bastards. One of the biggest areas of consumer demand in developing
countries is for things that make life easier. Private cars and decent
roads are high on their wishlist. Again, lazy bastards.
If you put out food for them on a regular basis squirrels, raccoons,
and birds will stop foraging for their own food, preferring the easy
dinner you provide them. Lazy, lazy, lazy!
Seriously, it isn't a matter of nationality but a simple fact of
biology. It's silly to pretend otherwise.

Regards,
Bob Hunt
 
B

Bob

Guest
On May 13, 9:30 am, Frank Krygowski <[email protected]> wrote:
> On May 12, 9:53 pm, Bob <[email protected]> wrote:
>
>
>
> > I don't think there's any evidence that Americans are any more lazy
> > than the citizens of any other country.

>
> Try spending a few weeks east of the Atlantic, then returning to the
> US.
>
> I've done that a few times.  Each time, the body fat walking around in
> the US airport shocks me.  The difference is very noticeable.
>
> - Frank Krygowski


You confuse obesity and poor diet with laziness, Frank. I've read that
here in the US the single most obese identifiable group is urban
blacks. Surely you aren't saying that means members of that group are
lazier than the less obese group you belong to? (I'm not accusing you
of racism, just making a point)

Regards,
Bob Hunt
 
On May 12, 9:05 pm, "[email protected]" <[email protected]> wrote:
> Hello,
>
> There's no doubt that we'll see astronomical gasoline prices soon in
> the future. Of course, one would think that this would lead to an
> increase in cycling.
>
> However, I think human beings (especially Americans) are too lazy for
> bicycles, and we'll probably see an increase in horses for
> transportation [according to this it's already happening:http://www.wyff4.com/news/15968363/detail.html].
>
> But, I have to admit that - yes, I'm surprised - I've actually seen an
> increase in cyclists?
>
> Have you guys too?
>
> Regards,
> Cullenwww.comatimes.blogspot.com


If "astronomical gasoline prices" = $10.00 a gallon, then maybe.
Until then, expect your average Goob to keep on SUVing 2 miles to the
grocery store. There are lots and lots of Goobs that drop $5.00+ on a
cup of StarrClucks and think nothing of it. I think the price of a
gallon of gas will need to be > the price of their daily StarrCluck
order before The Goob even really cares.

No increase in cycling here in the Greater D.C. area. Instead, I see
a few more little cars now-- Toyo Yaris and the like. That will be
the first move for the middle class Goob-- not bikes or horses.