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View Full Version : How Bikes Can Solve Our Biggest Problems



KoolKat
12-21-2011, 05:03 PM
Interesting statistics on biking and health. Portland could save $400M in healthcare costs by 2040 - imagine if more cities adopted pro-bike strategies and infrastructure.

http://atomic-zombie-extreme-machines.blogspot.com/2011/12/how-bikes-can-solve-our-biggest.html

3458

Dave X10
12-22-2011, 02:27 AM
An interesting idea Kat.

I joined this forum when building my robot, based on Brads book. The book gave me ALL the information I needed (you two do great work)... the forum gave me support. And... interested me in cycling and recumbent building.

Later I developed a foot problem and soon found myself barely able to get around. I bought a used bike thinking that sooner or later it might become part of a recumbent. The first ride scared the **** out of me. It was less than a one mile ride yet I was breathless and shaky. I had smoked for 38 years, and I was heavy.

I kept riding.

The rides got longer, and I accumulated more bicycles. Last season I rode 1346.9 miles... about the same as the year before. I am thinner, stronger, and as mobile as when I was much younger. I am retired so commuting is sorta out of the question. By I rarely drive when running my normal errands. A twenty mile bicycle ride is normal.

Bicycles have been around a very long time now. From the very beginning many had hopes that cycling would bring independence to those who otherwise could not afford conventional transportation. I regularly do see that nowadays. Poor people can [and do] buy used bikes for nearly nothing... sometimes just for the asking.

More recently the dream seems to have turned to a Euro-lifestyle. I lived in Europe decades ago... and with all respect... I have no desire to emulate their lifestyle. But we [North] Americans do need to refine our own lifestyles. Healther and more active would be better.

Cycling does change lives.

stoobie
12-26-2011, 02:16 AM
I absolutely agree that bicycling can be an important part in changing to a healthier lifestyle. My doctors sent me to cardiac rehab after a minor heart attack, (I rode my motorcycle to the hospital). Part of the regimen was riding an exercise bike and after a month of that I figured with all that effort I ought to at least be *going* somewhere! My interest in riding bicycles led me to this site and the wonderful people that frequent it.
Along with the exercise, an improved diet and a changed attitude have been very beneficial to my health. I've never been overweight, so my weight remains about the same, however my waistline has narrowed by 4 inches and the perpetual "love handles" have disappeared. I only ride about 3 or 4 miles a day on weekdays, but on weekends when I have the time, 15 to 20 is the norm. Now, I find excuses to add a few extra miles, like running to the grocery store, bank, or post office and by avoiding Phoenix traffic I can make the trips almost as fast as I can on my motorcycle. The sad part is I see people in my neighborhood driving their cars half a block to get their mail, and I know several people my age, (mid 50's) that can barely make it up a flight of stairs. Ironically, a company Health Assessment after my heart attack found ME to be the healthiest person in my department!
For me, there's been a lot more to it than just riding a bicycle, but bicycling has been the single largest influence in helping me make some positive, healthier choices in my lifestyle.

Evox_Rider
04-19-2012, 07:16 PM
It's just too bad that the majority of motorists are not in favour of sharing roadways with bicycles, that is one, if not the biggest deterrent for many people. We have some really nice bike paths here in North Bay, but unfortunately, the area where I live, we need to use a portion of busy street/highway to get the them. I keep trying to encourage my wife to join me in riding but she outright refuses to ride along the busy streets.
I know it is a costly venture, but sure would be nice to have bicycles more recognized by the governments, and seeing a bicycle lane put in, or widening of the sidewalk area to fit the lane in there. That would go a long way to opening up the use of bicycles.

Petone_NZ
04-20-2012, 05:08 AM
There are the health benefits as above, the financial benefits and the environmental benefits. But on top of all that what I really like is the independence.

We can do our own maintenance, we're not tied to one supplier for parts or fuel, parking is free, storage takes very little space (okay, maybe not for some on this forum, but you know what I mean...). There are no regulations about who can and can't ride a bike and no annual licencing fee. Insurance costs a fraction of what it costs for a car, and we're still allowed in downtown pedestrian areas as long as we wheel the bike.

There's no need to make just one bike suit all tasks because the cost of owning several isn't much more than the cost of just one - especially when you build your own.

So - a truly fine invention all around!

Dave X10
04-20-2012, 05:58 AM
I used to put my bicycle in my pick-up truck and haul it to the bike path... I love the paths. But it sorta seemed silly to drive-to-ride. So now I ride across about 10 miles of urban streets just to get to the paths. This has really helped me to increase my riding miles. But this is sport, or recreational riding. I don't save any gasoline by cycling, except when I run errands

You see a lot of data points particularly on the Internet... that are more conjecture than fact. There was a time back in the late 1950's and early 60's when car emissions were a big problem. But the problems were addressed and efforts were made. Cars and even trucks burn much cleaner now (and lead has been removed from the fuel).

Currently the greatest source of pollution in North America is volcanoes. Actually, factually, volcanoes have always been Earth greatest polluter... and very likely always will be. If you add up all the factories, cars, home fireplaces, and Bar-B-Q grills... they don't even compare to the crap put in our air by volcano's.

One obscure (I can't even remember it's name) volcano in Alaska created more pollution one recent year than all of mankind in North America. And at any given time... there are about 600 such volcanoes on Earth. Any ideas on how we tackle this problem? And before you say “oh, that's different a vocano is nature and natural” let me remind you I am a native American. I am from this planet and every bit as natural and as much of nature as a vocano. Just like a beaver's dam is part of nature.. so is what I build.

Before I retired, I had worked for the American government. Years ago there was a theory within the government that healthcare costs could be reduced by preventive treatment. Even when the theory was first introduced many who use math saw the error in the predictions.

Now after years of data collection, it's been proven that preventive measures to increase health and prolong healthy lives actually cost more. There is no healthcare savings, there never was. Dieing young and quick is the most cost effective... and the least desirable as well IMHO. But facts are facts, and we might as well be honest.

We humans are a different kind of animal. The only animal on Earth that creates machines. Believing that our machine creations can somehow transform the world we live in is in our DNA. And, maybe it's even true. However, even though I have no actual data to use for this calulation, I would guess that our human interactions are our best bet for changing the world.

redrkt
07-06-2012, 11:13 AM
I used to put my bicycle in my pick-up truck and haul it to the bike path... I love the paths. But it sorta seemed silly to drive-to-ride. So now I ride across about 10 miles of urban streets just to get to the paths. This has really helped me to increase my riding miles. But this is sport, or recreational riding. I don't save any gasoline by cycling, except when I run errands

You see a lot of data points particularly on the Internet... that are more conjecture than fact. There was a time back in the late 1950's and early 60's when car emissions were a big problem. But the problems were addressed and efforts were made. Cars and even trucks burn much cleaner now (and lead has been removed from the fuel).

Currently the greatest source of pollution in North America is volcanoes. Actually, factually, volcanoes have always been Earth greatest polluter... and very likely always will be. If you add up all the factories, cars, home fireplaces, and Bar-B-Q grills... they don't even compare to the crap put in our air by volcano's.

One obscure (I can't even remember it's name) volcano in Alaska created more pollution one recent year than all of mankind in North America. And at any given time... there are about 600 such volcanoes on Earth. Any ideas on how we tackle this problem? And before you say “oh, that's different a vocano is nature and natural” let me remind you I am a native American. I am from this planet and every bit as natural and as much of nature as a vocano. Just like a beaver's dam is part of nature.. so is what I build.

Before I retired, I had worked for the American government. Years ago there was a theory within the government that healthcare costs could be reduced by preventive treatment. Even when the theory was first introduced many who use math saw the error in the predictions.

Now after years of data collection, it's been proven that preventive measures to increase health and prolong healthy lives actually cost more. There is no healthcare savings, there never was. Dieing young and quick is the most cost effective... and the least desirable as well IMHO. But facts are facts, and we might as well be honest.

We humans are a different kind of animal. The only animal on Earth that creates machines. Believing that our machine creations can somehow transform the world we live in is in our DNA. And, maybe it's even true. However, even though I have no actual data to use for this calulation, I would guess that our human interactions are our best bet for changing the world.


I agree completely with everything being said here.

Dave just wanted to give you a little information on the comment highlighted in red.

Lead is NOT a natural part of gasoline (or oil for that matter) this was one of the biggest hoaxes ever perpetrated on the motoring public. "OH, we now have to make 'Unleaded Gas' so it costs more to take the lead out of the gasoline." Lead was ADDED to gasoline as a lubricant for the upper end (valves and springs) back in the early 1900's, and when the 'EPA' decided that we had to use 'Unleaded' they mandated that all lead be removed from gasoline, which gave the oil companies and excuse to charge us more for the gas (after all it costs more to NOT add something than it does to add it), and the motoring public bought into the hyperbole and we are still getting socked for it today.

And thus ends the lesson for today :scooter:

LuckyDave
07-06-2012, 11:28 AM
We have bike lanes in Dublin. Sort of.

Sometimes they just paint a bike lane on the side of a car lane which is already too small. So cars have no choice but to drive in the decoration which they call a bike lane.

Often the bike lanes are along the side of the road, where most road works are. Some of them are so badly surfaced that you need dual suspension to ride on them.

And in some places, the bike lanes have car parking spaces on them. Yes. I do mean people can park on the bike lane.

All of the above allow some <person> in a government office somewhere to quote how many miles of cycle lanes we have. They don't make it safer to cycle.

A cycle lane needs at the very least a kerb stone to separate it from traffic. Otherwise it's nothing more than a decoration.

redrkt
07-06-2012, 08:18 PM
Until the public in general changes their attitude's towards bikers (both pedal powered and gas powered) we will never get a fair shake in any area. Hell here in Houston I don't know of ANY area that even has bike lanes marked out. But also in the same vein as long as groups like Critical Mass and others like them continue to act like id10t's and create more problems than they solve, we will still have to deal with the same people saying that bikers (in general) don't deserve any special treatment.

river
07-06-2012, 08:54 PM
To be honest bikes will never be the answer in the USA. Electric maybe in the future if they can develop a safer long lasting battery that won't take your shirt off your back to replace it. Hydrogen may be the choice if they can figure how to produce it more cost effectively. We have so many beautiful bike paths here in Ct. allot of them are stone dust on old railroad beds. To me it perfect to ride a bike on and hike, I wish they would make a separate lanes along the highways just for walking and bikes.

Dave X10
07-07-2012, 12:28 AM
Lead is NOT a natural part of gasoline (or oil for that matter) this was one of the biggest hoaxes ever perpetrated on the motoring public. ......... Lead was ADDED to gasoline as a lubricant for the upper end (valves and springs) back in the early 1900's, and when the 'EPA' decided that we had to use 'Unleaded'
Your so right! I was around when theystopped adding the lead to fuel (and heard the concerns of hownot having lead in fuels may harm some engines... IT DIDN'T).

I think many of the current mandated "blends" arealso more hoax and bull.... than helpful to the environment.

OwnBrandCorn
12-06-2012, 09:39 PM
Running unleaded in cars without hardened valve seats can do a lot of damage. That's where all the late 80s rovers went.

Nitty
12-09-2012, 12:46 PM
But who would want to ride a bike up the hills of San Fransisco?

This problem could be solved. It was done once for the horses.........

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VkDnm-MDEo

river
12-09-2012, 01:14 PM
But who would pick up after the horses Lmao. That the only draw back on these bike paths here They ride horses on them and they leave a mess. Lucky for us there's only a few. i love horses and i ride myself, the least they and do is stop and shovel it off the bike path. In society we want to go forward not backwards. Bikes are not the answer in the USA. Cheap clean energy is. Bikes are fine in a warm climate in a city setting. To me its amazing how much progress we have made tin the last 25 years. I think that cheap clean energy is very obtainable and its just around the corner. I don't know about where you live but the air and water here are so much better now than just 25 years ago. People that think out of the box are the ones that move society forward and come up with all these amazing idea's and discoveries. We live in such a exciting time, every time you turn around there's something new and better coming out. I love bikes and i think they can be a small part of it but not the answer here that's for sure

Ticktock
12-10-2012, 07:50 AM
Theres no need to pick anything up if you catchit straight out of the factory gate!
I operated a horse drawn carriage for years in Australia, and all the mess finished up in the bag tied behind the hoerses bum--known as a bum bag in the horse world.
Not much use at a gallop, but there should only be a quiet walks on your trails.
Steve G,
Beijing

Nitty
12-10-2012, 12:55 PM
Not sure if anyone looked at the youtube vid. What it (& I) is trying to get at with my last post is, because horses couldn't pull trams up 'Sisco hills, someone developed the cable system. What the video is suggesting is a similar approach but for cyclists. IMO this could live in harmony with other traffic, could be energy efficient & environmentally friendly.

The cable car must have been a huge undertaking in it's day. Now I'm not saying this 'TrikeMover' IS the way forward but I think it is a good idea and whatever the way forward is, it too will be a massive radical undertaking (I think).

river
12-10-2012, 01:27 PM
You really have to be realistic, I don't think that is practical. I think oil is one of the cleanest burning fuels we have right now. With the technology we have today it pretty clean and it getting better. All of these alternative fuels have the own consequences and end polluting the environment just as much and in some cases more. Every one thinks electric is the way to go , but how do you make electricity. It has to be cost effective and it not there yet not even close. I think bikes work in China because of the highly concentrated area's of population. Were really spread out here and it just not practical unless you live in the city. Then your risking your life on a bike every time you use it

Nitty
12-10-2012, 05:58 PM
Something has to be done though.

I am not informed enough to know what or what isn't an efficient / pollutant / expensive / damaging fuel etc. nor do I pretend to have the answers.

We now have (on top of our existing modes) electric cars, solar cars, hybrid cars and in certain deprived areas of the UK, cars that run on used cooking oil! but at the end of the day we have Congestion!

I am not anti-car. But to get into a cold car to travel less than 1 mile to fetch a pint of milk is Criminal!

Valuable land is taken up by factory's provi
ding parking space for employees that turn up one at a time in 5 person vehicles. Cars that are parked there 9 hours doing nothing but taking up space as their owner is 'tied' to the factory.

Sorry, I'm ranting. What i'm trying to say is, Something will eventually need to be done, Yes, from a fuel crisis / congestion point of view, but I believe whatever it is won't be progressive..... It will be Radical, just like the transition to street car.

P.S. ooooooh!

Ken

Ticktock
12-10-2012, 09:16 PM
Hi River,
Bikes work in most Chinese cities for a number of reasons.
Every main road has bike lanes, some are wider than your streets. Most Cities are on flat ground. There is NO provision for car parking at work or shops! There are already too many cars, and a bike is heaps faster in peak hours over , say, 5 miles. On street parking is hard to find and costs money. Bikes are cheap and easy to park anywhere.Most on street parking is illegal, although not normally policed unless it causes a real problem. In a countfy where the cost of living , and wages , is about 1/6 that of USA, we still pay world price for fuel!
Try $6 or $7 a liter when you fill your car! That is the equivelant cost to a Chinese driver.
Cars sell at world prices, meaning a cheap car here is the same as you paying about $40,000, against a cheap bike at about $200.
It's difficult to do these comparisons because this makes the bike look expensive, but I hope you get the idea.
And we have the same problem here---most cars have only one person in them. But many bikes carry two!
Most drivers have grown up with bikes on the road, so we get a much better go than you do, even though we have our share of arrogant XXXX that should never have a licence!
Most main intersections have three sets of traffic lights--cars, bikes , and pedestrians, all timed slightly differently!
So the infrastructure supports bikes much better than the meagure attempts in the rest of the world.
But do we have "pleasure trails"---no way! The bike is meant to work!
Steve G

So there are many reasons why they work here.
Steve G,
Beijing