“…Most of us, in my opinion, just ride for short distances and for entertainment.... not for exercise or marathons.”I agree wholeheartedly with her, and I also feel that is where the most change in the perception of bicycles as a viable and sustainable mode of transportation needs to happen. People need to see the bicycle as an alternative to the car for those short distance trips that we all make throughout the day.
Fortunately, I am not alone in this belief. Because, seriously, who would listen to a guy with a measly blog that barely manages to pull a couple dozen hits a day? Several of the major players in the bicycle industry are working on portraying the bicycle as a legitimate vehicle, and the smartest choice for short distance travel.
Energy and nutrition supplement company Clif, has created the 2 mile challenge website. They state on their site that in the United States:
- 40% of all trips made are 2 miles or less
- 90% of those trips are by car.
- 25% of CO2 emissions in the United States come from motor vehicles.
- Driving releases 20 pounds of C02 pollution per gallon of gas.
- If 1 out of 10 car commuters switched to a bike, CO2 emissions would be reduced by 25.4 million tons per year.
- The cost of operating a car per year is $5170.
- The cost of operating a bike per year is $120.
- 12 bicycles can be parked in the same space as 1 car.
- 100 bicycles can be produced for the same energy and resources required to build 1 medium sized car.
- The US has more bike owners per capita than most countries, but is near the bottom of the list for using them.
- If 1 million people replaced a 2 mile car trip once a week with a bike ride, CO2 emissions could be reduced by 50,000 tons per year.
One of the cooler features on this site, in my opinion, is that they provide you with a map showing you exactly how far 2 miles is from your house, and what services you can find within that 2 mile circle. You enter your address, and it provides a google map of your area with a big green 2-mile-diamater circle around your house, like this.
It will also show you the locations of various places you would normally travel, such as grocery stores, parks, banks, etc… and how many are within that circle. This picture shows the grocery stores in the area. .
A disclaimer, this is actually a map of my Mom’s neighborhood. This is my 2 mile circle.
Needless to say, Eagle Mountain desperately needs to work on their infrastructure. The only thing within 2 miles of my house is my kid’s elementary school, the city library, and a few parks, including the new skate park.
You can also actively participate on the site by tracking the 2 mile or less trips you make.
There are other companies that have created programs similar to this. They may become subjects for future blog posts.