Among the many benefits of urban cycling

There are many good reasons to use your bicycle to get around town. For instance, among the most important — in my opinion — is fitness:

Another reason is that there is no need for a smelly ash tray that must be emptied routinely, as one can just flick ashes …

… or … wait … is she perhaps offering me a drag? Oh, no. Actually it turns out she was signaling a left turn, very considerately.

* * *

Another reason to engage in what we might call urban cycling, or the cycling lifestyle, is saving money.

For example, here we are in March, and what follows is the grand accounting of money I have had to spend so far in 2011 getting from home to work and back:

  • Inner tube: $4.50
  • New bottle of Triflow: $4.95
  • Spoke: $1
  • Brake pads: $23

That last big-ticket item throws off my accounting, since it’s been two or three years since I replaced my brake pads. Actually, the Triflow is about an every-six month expense, too. So if we were being really picky we might amortize those. Still, we’ve got a grand total here of $33.45.

Granted, I am not fanatical when it comes to maintaining my bike. Here’s my rear brake the other day:

Now, we do own a car, Sharrow and I.

But I am glad that we don’t drive it much. In fact, I am currently staring at a $300 or $400 expense for a new set of tires. Which puts those brake pads in perspective.

And need I mention what else has been happening lately. Have you noticed this? If you are one of those souls who doesn’t own a car, perhaps you have not noticed.

But most people in Eugene have been noticing. Here’s the average price of regular gasoline in Eugene over the past three months:

That looks pretty bad, but those of you out there rooting for peak oil to destroy our transportation system as we know it shouldn’t get too giddy just yet. It’s worth remembering this isn’t completely uncharted territory …

After that 2008 spike, we plummeted back down to a buck-seventy-one within 4 months or so. Of course, at about that same time, a lot people’s paychecks plummeted to a buck-seventy-one, as well.

But I’ve never been one of those people who believe that rising gas prices are a sign of peak oil or that they will necessarily change the world as we know it forever.

Actually, I think $4 and $5 per gallon gasoline simply means it’s going to be cost effective for the oil companies to go roaring into the Alberta Tar Sands and the Bakken Formation guns a-blazing.

So, as an ordinary person with a bicycle, you just do what you can, I suppose.

* * *

In some other bits of news, remember the snowstorm? It was brief but was it not beautiful?

* * *

And we see that LCC has officially broken wind on its new downtown center — with classrooms and student housing. This is the architect’s rendering of what the building will look like.

The thing I love about renderings like this are the little people the architects put in on the sidewalks. Who draws these little people?

Yeah, they look like students all right, but if these things were truly realistic there would be — on such a lovely day as is shown here — a dude with no shirt riding his BMX bike on the sidewalk. So if anyone out there is responsible for creating these little figures that the architects can drag and drop onto the rendering, that’s one I think should be added.

* * *

Finally, let’s wrap up with today’s lesson in literature: Remember that strange early American writer Washington Irving?

Among his stories is the “Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” wherein a headless horseman is apparently responsible for the mysterious disappearance of our protagonist, one Ichabod Crane. Ichabod, by the way, would be a good name for a kid from Eugene.

The headless horseman, legend has it, is the ghost of a Hessian (i.e. German) mercenary hired by the British to help fight the American Revolutionary War. His head, legend also has it, was removed from his body by a cannonball fired by some member of the Continental Army. (Clearly, the horseman should have been wearing a helmet.)

Anyway, horses being somewhat out of fashion in cities these days, I think I spotted the headless one over by the fairgrounds.

A rather frightening sight, I have to say.

One thought on “Among the many benefits of urban cycling

  1. Do you think it’s possible that the guy who creates these drawings is himself a shirtless BMX rider? Perhaps he’s too modest to put his own image in his work.

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