Back in college, a buddy of mine gave me an old Sears-Roebuck bicycle in a partially disassembled state. Using my mechanical skills, I re-assembled the bike and have been riding is everywhere since. Despite being nearly 50 years old, the old girl still gives me lots of fun.
Phoenix experiences perfect bicycling weather about 7-8 months of the year. I live a part of town where easy bicycling access exists to many parks, shopping areas, and leisurely neighborhoods. Within a 15-minute ride I easily visit libraries, stores, restaurants, and bars. If I desire a longer workout, I am able to see many different parts of this large city, all the while increasing my health and spirit. Now that I am out of work, I put more miles on my bicycle than I do my car. Unless the weather is bad or I need to carry more than one or two bags, I take my bike.
Unfortunately, I can’t say the same thing about the rest of the Phoenix metro area. The newer areas towards the edges of the city are so spread out, a 15-minute ride would only get you to the nearest nothing. For the people in the outskirts, they are almost forced to drive. I’m not so sure most suburban dwellers like it that way, but that is the way most developers think we should live. I don’t think I could live like that again. Different people have different motivations about where they live. For me, I want easy access to activities, restaurants, and stores. I just can’t stand pissing my life away in traffic, listening to an annoying radio DJ, and cursing at the diver in front of me. Others prefer the more isolated feeling of the suburbs. To each his own.
When people talk about “alternative energy”, they often refer to new technology such as wind and solar power, fuel cells, or hybrids. Yet, perhaps the most effective alternative energies are passive and old. Live closer to where you like to go, and don’t forget human and pedal power. Your body and spirit will thank you.
PS, the title of this post came from an old Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd song, “Bike”, released about the same time my bike was made.