I watched the movie Fuel last night. I highly recommend that you watch it. It is produced by Josh Tickell, the man driving around the country in the "Veggie Van" since the late '90s. He's been promoting and educating about the use of biofuels as a replacement for gas and petro-diesel. The movie offers a lot of good information about our fuel consumption habits in this country.
He actually, briefly, mentions using bicycles near the end of the film. And I have seen the recurring theme recently, in the writings those Cassandras that are trying to get the word out about Peak Oil and the impending effects, that the bike is NOT touted frequently as the salvation of the material world.
And it occurred to me as I watched Fuel, the bicycle will never replace heavy transport, and the scale of our economy is such that to find a solution pre-collapse we need to find alternate ways to move goods over even short distances.
Therefore, the bike is the solution for individuals. It is the best choice for those that have a choice, or who can put themselves into the position to make the choice. For the shipping and trucking industries the solution would seem to be biofuels.
I've also seen the criticism about biofuels that the production takes up cropland and leads to starvation in other parts of the world. The film also addresses that issue and I think there are viable solutions if we just accept them and at least give them a try. It's not about black and white lines drawn: here are crops grown for fuel where crops for human consumption could be grown. I think we need to examine what resources in land and space we have and make a strong effort to allocate them wisely.
Bikes (and walking and public transportation) for people; biofuels for plains, trains, trucks and ships.
I know there are "conservatives" out there who would smack me down saying I'm a socialist or that I am promoting fascism, taking away the freedoms of God-fearing, hard-working, tax paying republicans. Well, yeah, maybe that's what I'm saying.
"Freedom" is a dubious concept in our country. Freedom originally meant freedom from oppression. Today many people conceptualize freedom as little more than watered down anarchy.
The "freedom" to drive a Hummer is basically the allowance of certain individuals to make choices which others ultimately pay for.
Remember: smart people ride bikes.
Oh, and for the record, I consider myself very "conservative." But when I say conservative I am cognizant of the root: conserve.