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Environmentalism: Purpose or Perk?

by Nick

I’ve always tried to be environmentally conscious. This is a trait I seem to share with most bikers (at least those who frequent biking websites, certainly the other contributors to this site) and with the recent gas prices, there’s been plenty of talk about biking vs. driving. My position in this debate is different from most of the country, because I happen to live in a city where public transportation is readily available at all times and in most places. My wife and I don’t own a car. My own reasons for biking are not motivated by the costs of driving, and while I do value the environmental benefits of riding a bike and the fact that I’m not spending money on the subway, it’s not the reason I ride. I bike everywhere because it’s more fun than taking the subway.

So I wanted to ask the rest of you – are environmental concerns or gas costs the primary reason we commute to work, or are they just perks? Did anyone come to care about the environment via biking? In other words, do we bike because we care about the environment, or do we care about the environment because we bike?

 
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6 Responses to “Environmentalism: Purpose or Perk?”

  1. Moe says:

    I began riding to work last year during ‘Bike to work’ week. I got hooked because of the fun factor as well. I will get to work all pumped up and ready to work. As far as gas costs are concerned, my wife traded her big ass SUV (Ford Expedition) for a PT Cruiser, and I traded my Mitsubishi Lancer for a Truck. I knew I was going to be riding my bike to work, that enabled me to lease the truck. So in a way, I HAVE to ride to work because of gas prices and mileage. As far as the environment goes, it is a secondary perk. I do recycle, but I’m no ‘Green peace’ activist.

  2. RL Policar says:

    Great questions Nick. Personally I do care about air quality. My wife and I do own cars and they are both 4 cylinder. However, riding my bike is pure and simple joy. I have met a few people that cycling advocacy are their lives and they hate cars.

    But as for this cyclist, I love bicycling in general. The perks of bicycling to me are saving gas, better health, clear mind and many others.

    So in a sense my cycling does serve a purpose for my mental and physical health and the perk is ofcourse the items mentioned above.

  3. Nick says:

    This is about what I expected, and probably why it isn’t easy to convince more drivers to bike to work. I think you have to like biking to start with.

    But really, you know they’d love it if they tried it, right?

  4. RL Policar says:

    One of my coworkers had to ride his bike home from work since he dropped of his car at the shop.
    Anyhow, he was telling me how he felt like a kid again and that he would ride more often.

  5. Nick says:

    Yes! Score one for the good guys!

  6. jody says:

    I don’t ride all the time, because I just got a new job and live 30 miles from work. When I do, I do a bus bike combo.

    I like biking for a lot of reasons. The environment is a big one and one of my main drives for starting it–that, and I wanted to get into shape. But once I was out there i realized riding the bike really connects you to the world around you, the people, and the community. When you’re cruising by in a car, it’s all like wallpaper. You don’t make eye contact with anyone. You’re still in your personal space & you never have to get out into the big scary world.

    I guess I just feel like more of a human being and less of an automaton when I’m out on my bike.

    How’s that for a weird answer.

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