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18811Positive Change

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  • sorchakeepers
    Jun 3, 2008
      When I first went car(e)free in May of 2002 most people in the US were
      still pro-war and pro-oil guzzling at any cost. My decision to go
      carfree was partly based on the blood for oil, partly on our household
      bottom line, and partly based on being a tree hugging person who likes
      to breath air and not melt our planetary polar ice caps. One of the
      memorable things that happened within the month of selling our old
      Volvo wagon and buying recumbents occurred at the grocery store. I was
      locking up bike and trailer and this old fart came up and started
      talking to me about how cool my ride was but within twenty seconds he
      was saying how I ought to put an engine on the thing and I'd get
      something 'Real American.' I think that 'Real American' ought to be
      trade marked or something. The implication was that if I had to pedal
      it I was not doing my patriotic duty or something. He thought the big
      fat seat was great, as were the chopper style handlebars and stretch
      frame (long wheel base), but that the vehicle did not remotely
      meet(his)need for SPEEEEED!!!

      Six years later I was at the grocery store(again) and I had two
      interchanges that show how far peoples perceptions have come. One was
      a man who simply smiled as I locked up and said, "that's the way to
      go!" A second man stopped to talk as I loaded up the trailer with
      groceries. "How many miles a gallon do you get on that thing?" he
      asked. I paused a moment and said, "Oh, I guess about forty miles a
      burrito." He laughed and then told me where to get the best burritos
      in town.

      I think that people are still calculating the cost of driving
      according to the price of gas not the full social and environmental
      costs of driving as laid out in such books as 'Asphalt Nation' and
      'Divorce your Car,' But more people are riding public transit as gas
      prices soar to $4 a gallon (US.) I overheard some guy on the bus say
      he had parked his car and his motorcycle due to gas prices. There
      might not be a whole lot of depth to the casual conversation with
      people asking me about my weird bike. Instead of explaining peak oil
      (which will take forty-five minutes with charts) I usually say "Hey,
      oil is going to run out. This is the ride of future!" At least people
      are beginning to see that it's not plum crazy to ride a bike; it's a
      smart financial decision. Just today a guy asked me where I got my
      trailer. He seemed interested in buying or building a trailer for
      hauling groceries. Change is in the air.

      Keep riding,

      Sorcha Keepers
      Minneapolis, Minnesota
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