Today, we begin with some cheap clickbait.
It has absolutely nothing to do with anything. It is the opposite of relevant to this blog. For this, I am truly sorry. Sorrier still that I found myself surprised at the existence of what I'm about to show you, because by now, we all should have forfeited our collective right to be surprised by the Internet anymore.
And so but have you ever wondered what it might look like...
if some industrious hybridophile...
actually invented shoes...
that were also...
a tent ?
. . .
here they are:
CreepTent 2.0 : A less-than-ideal addition to MBR's new Bike Camping inventory.
(If anyone wants to know the magical phrase that yielded this masterpiece from Google's search engine, it was "shoes also tent".)
Until today, I hadn't wondered what a Flesh Eating Human-Tent Hybrid Monster might look like.
Thanks again for the nightmare fuel, Internet. You never let me down.
And now—a completely uninteresting fact:
Bikes are greener than cars.
(^Easily in my top ten favorite .GIFs ever.)
I know—crazy, right?
In terms of overall carbon footprint, bicycles are more environmentally friendly than their 4-wheeled, 4-walled counterparts—specifically, cars strictly powered by mini controlled explosions of liquified dinosaurs, rather than your well-to-do auntie's new Tesla, or your more frugal (yet equally eco-conscious) uncle's new Leaf.
Wait a sec. What's that?
You... you already knew this, you say?
Now I can toss like forty-five hyperlinks in the Recycle Bin and save us both a crap-ton of time.
Like I said—completely uninteresting fact. Not exactly Wednesday Night Trivia material.
It is worth noting, however, that there still people who believe otherwise. And while I admire your resolve in the face of insurmountable adversity, you nonbelievers are most assuredly 10,000% wrong. And don't even think about bringing how much extra food a cyclist eats into this. Yes, food has a lot of embodied energy that goes into its production, transport, etc., but even the eating habits of a cyclist-Michael Phelps wouldn't even begin to tip the scales in your favor. That myth's been debunked twelve times over.
In short, the whole topic has been examined, reexamined, and then examined once more for ad nauseum thoroughness by multiple research entities, and every time they've come back with the same proverbial bike-slap: bikes win, cars lose. And these studies all incorporate the total amount of CO2 costs+output for both vehicles throughout their entire life cycles. This includes production, assembly, shipment, operation, and, yes, even the caloric intake of their operators.
You nitpicky nitpickers, you.
But if this actually is a shocking revelation for you, then your life has probably just been irreversibly, earthshatteringly, buttclenchingly altered, and I'm guessing you're already in the process of putting your Subaru up on Craigslist.
Welcome to the zygote phase of cyclehood.
Combustion engines, fossil fuels, fancy shmancy lithium-ion batteries that might actually like sort of offset the environmental impacts of the electric cars themselves—these are obviously bigger offenders than our trusty two-wheeled steeds that essentially run on fleshy willpower with feet. (And, like, carbs and protein and stuff.)
But you, dear reader, being an internet-savvy, socio-politically conscious, local-bike-shop-supporting American—you knew this already.
So let's put a legitimately interesting (and numerically impressive) spin on the aforementioned uninteresting fact, shall we? How about a nice, tidy statistic with a cute wittle bow on top that you can throw in the faces of any regressives and bike bashers that might cross your path in the future?
Because guess what:
Bikes are actually over ten times greener than cars in overall CO2 cost+output per passenger per kilometer traveled.
Now that's crazy. And actually, it's closer to thirteen times, but it's way easier to remember "over ten".
And yet, this still isn't good enough to get even some of the smartest and most well-meaning commuters out of their cars and onto bikes. I get that not everyone has a shower available at their workplace, but you don't have to be hauling that much ass to make your commute worth it for your schedule, your body, and, you know, the friggin' earth. But I digress.
As with most generational buck-passing-type issues, I'm convinced the whole thing is a matter of perceived personal impact, i.e. “My lonely effort will accomplish nothing! One bike won't make a difference!
(Just so you know, I'm exerting positively inhuman amounts of will to not let this post's intertia shift to civic responsibility. This blogger could blog his blogging blog off for days on that last part.)
Well, let’s scale it down, then. Let’s put it in the most direct terms imaginable. One person, one car-for-bike swap: what exactly is your own personal impact in, say, arboreal terms?
As in, how big of a forest equals just ONE carswap? (In CO2 terms, that is.)
And let's make this friendly stat our jumping-off point:
"If 5% of New Yorkers commuting by private car or taxi switched to biking to work, they could save 150 million pounds of CO2 emissions per year, equivalent to the amount reduced by planting a forest 1.3 times the size of Manhattan." (credit peopleforbikes.org)
. . . . . .
. . . . .
. . . .
. . .
Using NYC's 2013 census data, the city's total population is somewhere around 8,406,000, with 5% of that being 420,300.
If Manhattan is roughly 33.77 square miles, then the magically hypothetical forest in question is about 44 square miles, or, 1,226,649,600 square feet.
If we can assume that 420,300 people are responsible for 1,226,649,600 square feet of forest, then we just divide that really, really big number by that less big (but still pretty big) number and we get:
about 2919 square feet of forest per single-person car-to-bike swap.
And what else besides your own personal eco-responsibility-forest is almost 3,000 square feet, you ask?
How about this big damn house?
or THIS big damn house?
Or maybe this one?
See where I'm going with this?
And guess what? All of those are well under 3,000 square feet. Closer to 2,500, actually.
An actual 3,000 square foot floor plan looks like this:
So... Are you convinced yet?
. . .
You know what?
I think I deserve a mic drop after that.