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Re: Car-lite and assuaging an octogenarian parent's fears.

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  • Susan
    About the zillionth time I caught myself actually answering falsely because I knew the person asking really wouldn t identify with my answer, I decided that I
    Message 1 of 12 , Jan 16, 2007
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      About the zillionth time I caught myself actually answering falsely
      because I knew the person asking really wouldn't identify with my
      answer, I decided that I was doing a real disservice. Why not
      challenge that idea that it's okay to be self-serving? And if fifty
      people a day do it, maybe they'll start thinking *they're* the weird
      ones.
      I do emphasize that it is not painful and it is not torture, and
      that I started out with just a little bit and figured even a little
      bit was a good thing... and generally people think I'm an insanely
      happy person so they are a little jealous. I know I've made people think.


      --- In rootsradicals@yahoogroups.com, Cara Lin Bridgman <caralinb@...>
      wrote:
      >
      > Amen!
      >
      > Unfortunately, most folks already think I'm a weirdo just because
      I'm on
      > a bike when I could be on a motorbike or in a car. At least one person
      > has asked "Why are you torturing yourself?" Well, most of the time I
      > don't quite see it that way...
      >
      > Health, planet, politics, oil -- all to the good.
      >
      > A member of the Christian Peacemaker Team reported on being asked
      how to
      > help solve the problems in Iraq. The answer was 'Ride your bike.'
      >
      > Meanwhile, the former Shah of Iran said 'Oil is too valuable to burn.'
      > He's right. We need it more for medicine and fertilizers and water
      > bottles (i.e. tools & containers), than we need it for transportation.
      >
      > CL
      >
      > David Chase wrote:
      > > On 2007-01-07, at 6:20 PM, richardofuller wrote:
      > >> And it will be environmental: Yes, having a steel cocoon to drive
      > >> around in
      > >> makes us safer (unless we try to travel faster than bicycles) but the
      > >> environmental consequences of this personal safety are too great. As
      > >> individuals and as a human culture, we need to be willing to accept
      > >> more
      > >> personal risk--we have over-tipped the balance between personal
      > >> safety and
      > >> system sustainability.
      > >
      > > Something in this doesn't work for me, and I think it might
      > > not work for a lot of people. I tend to look at it from the
      > > point of view of game theory (prisoner's dilemma, stag hunt,
      > > that sort of thing). At the high level, what game theory
      > > tells you is not that it is a good thing to take risks
      > > (because only suckers take risk -- you WILL lose the game)
      > > but, if a good outcome requires people to take risks, then
      > > the game is busted, and must be changed.
      > >
      > > [ And it's worth noting, if you're not that experienced,
      > > bicycling can be pretty risky. I started riding in a
      > > big way when I was around twelve, and rapidly had quite
      > > a number of the classic accidents (lots of slides on
      > > slippery pavement, thrown off my bike by railroad tracks,
      > > over the handlebars in several stupid ways). It's not
      > > an easy education, and the people designing the roads
      > > often haven't got a clue about how to make cycling less
      > > risky. ]
      > >
      > > In the short run, we don't have much choice -- too many
      > > people are playing the drive-a-lot-not-too-responsibly
      > > game, which leads them to buy larger and larger cars, and
      > > not bicycle riding. I think that there are several things
      > > that are likely to change the game for us;
      > >
      > > - we'll definitely, unarguably, hit peak oil
      > > - we'll definitely, unarguably, see the effects of global
      > > warming In either case, this will change the landscape, in
      > > terms of investment, etc. Imagine telling people that you
      > > want to plow their neighborhood under for a new highway,
      > > when everyone can see that cars are going to very soon be
      > > much more expensive to drive. If you can solve a traffic
      > > problem by waitinng five years, why bothering building a
      > > road?
      > >
      > > - drive-by-wire will get really good
      > > Automated driving will not happen for a good
      > > long time, until it happens really well. For
      > > liability reasons, no way will any company deploy
      > > it, until it works rock-solid. However the heck
      > > it works, there will surely be some way to tickle
      > > it to say "don't you dare run into me", and
      > > whatever that thing is will spread like wildfire
      > > through the regular cycling community (much as
      > > flashing high-intensity LEDs spread -- you see
      > > one, you want it, now)
      > >
      > > - Health, maybe.
      > > I'm not too optimistic about this. As a nation,
      > > our health care SUCKS. We spend tons of money (30%
      > > more than #2, 40% more than #3, is the general
      > > pattern) and we die YEARS early after spending a
      > > greater fraction of our life sick. It's very very
      > > likely that this is a combined result of our
      > > boneheaded system for delivering health care, PLUS
      > > the fact that we're all FAT. (Other effects might
      > > be that we don't consume enough olive oil, fish,
      > > red wine, and tea.) I'm on the trailing edge of the
      > > baby boom, so I would have expected to see other
      > > people already doing things to fix their weight,
      > > blood pressure, cholesterol, etc, and one of the
      > > most time- and cost-effective things to do is to
      > > ride a bike. It hasn't happened yet, at least not
      > > in a way that I can see. I do think, if we ended
      > > up with a national health care system, that it would
      > > then make sense to the people running it to encourage
      > > people to get more exercise.
      > >
      > > In terms of explaining to other people why I ride
      > > my bicycle, I find that it is easier to say "it
      > > is very good for my health, in ways that can be
      > > measured with a blood test" (and it is -- its value
      > > in medication avoid exceeds the cost of the gasoline
      > > saved by a factor of five to ten), than to say
      > > "I think cars are inherently antisocial, especially
      > > the way we use them" or "I'd like to send as little
      > > money as possible to actual Islamofascists (i.e.,
      > > Saudi Arabia)", or "I think our foreign policy is
      > > completely screwed by our dependence on oil", or
      > > "I'm pretty sure global warming is happening, and
      > > I'd like to do something about it".
      > >
      > > No, most people understand self-interest, as near
      > > as I can tell. Talk about that other stuff, they
      > > think you're a weirdo.
      > >
      > > The neat thing will be when we're running diesels
      > > on vegetable oil, we can then make head-to-head
      > > efficiency comparisons. The other other reason to
      > > ride a bike, is that we get about 1000 miles per
      > > gallon. It's the most way efficient to move
      > > people that there is -- how cool is that? (That's
      > > like 50 people carpooling in a 20mpg car.)
      > >
      > > So, to return to your original point about "taking
      > > risks" -- no, I hate that part, if I could eliminate
      > > all the risk in riding my bike, that would be great.
      > > However, to compensate for that risk, is the risk of
      > > not getting enough exercise, and all the politcal and
      > > environmental stuff. I don't like it that I'm contributing
      > > to global warming, I don't like it that I'm sending money
      > > to Saudi Arabia and Iran and Russia (Putin gives me
      > > the creeps).
      > >
      > > David
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > You're getting this message because you signed up to be an
      Xtracycle roots radical.
      > >
      > > To Post a message, send it to: rootsradicals@yahoogroups.com
      > >
      > >
      > > ride to believe.
      > > Yahoo! Groups Links
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      >
      > --
      >
      > ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      > Cara Lin Bridgman
      >
      > P.O. Box 013 Phone: 886-4-2632-5484
      > Longjing Sinjhuang
      > Taichung 434
      > Taiwan http://web.thu.edu.tw/caralinb/www/
      > ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      >
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