posted on Mar, 5 2013 @ 03:35 AM
Originally posted by signalfire
Not sure if you're being facetious or not, but Ivan Illich once wrote a wonderful treatise on the fact that you can never really go faster than a
bicycle. Once you factor in cost of various modes of transportation and the average amount of wage/hours needed to pay for them, a bicycle is faster
than even the Concorde or the Space Shuttle.
Properly maintained, a bike can last many decades. I still have one that's a British Raleigh (with a wonderful leather seat, I love that thing) that
was manufactured during WWII or thereabouts. Except for a few new tires now and then, it's gorgeous. The rest of your complaints are silly but you
knew that, right?
I wasn't being facetious at all, nor are any of the facts I stated "silly". The bicycle is a form of technology only possible through the use of
conscripted labor and the extraction of non-renewable resources from the ecosystem. As such, they are
bad for both human society and the
environment (as if there's a difference).
Now that doesn't mean we should go around taxing bicycles or cyclists (or anything, for that matter). My only point is that, when you dig deep enough
(no pun intended), almost all forms of technology are ecologically unsustainable and inherently oppressive, given where the materials come from and
how they are produced.
Most people reflexively scoff at the idea that bicycling could be bad for environment, when this is in fact the case. Bikes aren't as bad as
automobiles, true, but let's not step into the "lesser of two evils" trap that we here on ATS so frequently point out and ridicule.
Anyway, your reference to Illich (much appreciated) made me think of something from Thoreau's Walden
"One says to me, 'I wonder that you do not lay up money; you love to travel; you might take the cars and go to Fitchburg today and see the
country.' But I am wiser than that. I have learned that the swiftest traveller is he that goes afoot. I say to my friend, Suppose we try who will get
there first. The distance is thirty miles; the fare ninety cents. That is almost a day's wages. Well, I start now on foot, and get there before
night. You will in the meanwhile have earned your fare, and arrive there sometime tomorrow, or possibly this evening if you are lucky enough to get a
job in season. Instead of going to Fitchburg, you will be working here the greater part of the day. And so, if the railroad reached round the world, I
think that I should keep ahead of you; and as for seeing the country and getting experience of that kind, I should have to cut your acquaintance