Posted on 3 mins read

Quick poll. How many devices do you own that:

  1. Force you to sit down and hold still in order to use them?
  2. Regularly trap you in random locations for half an hour or more?
  3. Cost you several dollars an hour, every hour they’re turned on?
  4. Take up 100 square feet, whether you’re using them or not?
  5. Sit unused most of the day while claiming 16% of your household income?

Just your car? All right then.

Some people say owning a car is “freedom.” I don’t know what to do about that except laugh. Freedom to do what? To drive on roads the government builds, to places the government decides you’re allowed to go? To give all your money to insurance companies and oil cartels? To be in a horrific accident if some random stranger has too much to drink or looks at their phone for a few seconds? If that’s freedom, I could do with less of it.

Let’s take some questions.

Yeah, driving’s the worst, but what’s the alternative?

Great question! You already know what I’m going to say: a bike.

Isn’t biking for people who are in shape? I’m fat.

Hey, me too. Get an ebike. It’ll get you up hills without all the panting and sweating.

Isn’t biking for fanatics? I don’t even own bike shorts.

Me either. I ride in basketball shorts and a cotton T-shirt. Haven’t been arrested for it yet.

How will I pick up groceries without a car?

You’ll put them in your front basket, your back basket, your bike trailer, or your panniers.

I have kids. How will I take them to school?

Bike trailer. Back seat. Bakfiets. Trust me, it’s a solved problem.

Doesn’t biking take forever?

No. 70% of car trips are less than 10 miles, which is 45 minutes on a bike. Sure, you might get there faster in a car (or you might not, if there’s even a moderate amount of traffic) but you’ll pay a lot more for the privilege, and you won’t get any sunshine, exercise, or fun.

Aren’t bikes expensive?

Not really. A high-quality, brand-name, completely new bike is between $2,000 and $6,000 fully assembled. That may be a lot of “hobby money,” but it’s barely any “car money.” How much did your last car accident cost you?

What if I’m too old or disabled to ride?

You have my complete support if you need to drive, and I hope you’re getting everywhere you need to go. Biking is a favorite activity for many wheelchair users, octogenarians, recent surgery patients, and people with Multiple Sclerosis. But as accessible as it is, you’re right: it doesn’t work for everyone.

What if I don’t look cool in a bike helmet?

Write a letter to Congress? I don’t know. That sounds hard.