Friday, June 22, 2012

A simpler life

You've all heard stories about how much simpler life was many moons ago.  I think I was one of the last people in America that had a cell phone.  I still claim I do not have one.  We use it for emergency purposes, and I do not carry it on me.  This is just one of the many unnecessary tools that we spend money on each and every month.  Cable TV, phone, and Internet can easily cost you $150 per month.  If you only make like $30,000 a year that is 6% of your income. 

Growing up we didn't have cable TV.  I remember turning that knob through the 12 different channels including channel U.  I think that was the station we know as PBS.  I remember walking to school everyday, and riding my bike for fun.  We used to ride bikes everywhere.  The grocery store was within walking distance, along with the bank.

Since life has become seemingly more complex, stressful, burdensome, etc.  We have become stuck in this terrible loop of an existence.  Going back to seems like a lot of work.

The funny thing is that going back to basics could be quite easy, and much more enjoyable than people can imagine.  This is probably why it isn't happening.  No real leadership to help give people a vision of what their lives could be like.

Think about this for a minute.  People spend countless hours in the gym.  Running and walking to nowhere, lifting weights and for what purpose?  Well, because we want to stay in shape.  However, Americans today are fatter and more out of shape than ever before! 

Most people live within walking, running, or biking distance to work.  A rare exception are those who do not.  This means within 15 miles.  I can get to work and back riding my bike within 50 minutes.  If I drive it takes me about 35 minutes to and from work.  If I ran, then I could get to and from work in probably 2 1/2 hours in my current physical condition, however if I did this everyday I'm certain I could get it down to about 2 hours or less.

Of course, that would cut into a few companies business.  Companies like restaurants and oil companies would lose revenues if enough people did this kind of thing.  It would also require less maintenance on roads and cars.

Why do people not do this?  I have come up with a few reasons.
  • People feel riding bikes or running isn't safe
  • Riding most bikes are uncomfortable
  • You sweat, and would have to take a shower before working
  • People don't want to get wet
  • Too cold/hot
  • Laziness
  • Peer pressure (few people do it)
It makes no sense as to why more people do not use bikes or their legs to get to work and school.  My daughter and I could ride our bikes to her school, then I could continue to ride to work.

With my recumbent bike it takes care of a few of the reasons I came up with.  The bike is comfortable.  I could ride for miles without any aches and pains of a "normal" bike.  In the morning I do not even break a sweat riding to work.  The bike does most of the work.  With the exception of hills, I'm practically just steering the bike.

If I were in charge of a city, I'd figure out a way to give incentives to ride, walk, and run to work and school.  I can think of several ways to fund it.  Getting several cars off the road would mean less money for maintaining the roads.  Those people who ride should receive cash rewards for not using the roads.  I'd also widen the berms and put a bike lane.

The city I live in put all of these extra wide sidewalks in that hardly anyone even uses.  In my opinion it was an incredible waste of money.  People who ride do not even use them.  Bike riders do not want to ride on cement sidewalks where they can feel a bump ever second from the grooves in the walkway.  Plus most sidewalks go nowhere.  The purpose of roads and walkways to to allow people to get from place to place with the least amount of resistance, and be safe doing it.

Tomorrow I'll be riding my bike to work for the first time this year.  I hope to do this much more.


  1. You know it's illegal to ride your bike on the sidewalk. Bikes are supposed to follow the same rules of the road as cars do, staying to the right, stopping at red lights and stop signs, etc. I agree that there needs to be more accommodation of bikes on the roadways.

    1. S. are correct. It is illegal to ride your bike on the sidewalk in certain cities. You'll have to check with your city ordinance. It's also illegal to drink and drive, speed, run stop signs, run over bike riders and hit pedestrians. You do not win any prizes for doing these things mentioned above. That being said, I'd like to know the statistics on fatalities from people riding bikes into people walking on the sidewalks. I'm sure it is less than 1%. However auto fatalities...well in 2 years there were more auto fatalities than the entire Vietnam war (U.S. fatalities only). Thanks for your comment, and be safe out there!

  2. Glad to see that you are back to riding your bike to work. Picked the hottest time of the summer. Want to see a more fit you.


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