I'm going to tell you how the bike can save the world.
Fracking. I recently wrote about watching Josh Fox's documentary GasLand. The film made me mad. The only films in recent history that have made me as mad, in fact madder, we're Deep Down and The Last Mountain, both about mountaintop coal mining.
Radical thought have gone through my mind, frustration abounds, feelings of impotent rage well up and almost spill over...but what can a husband and father of two do to fight such blatant evil? Especially since the damaging effects don't acutely affect my family's health and well-being?
The solution? I'll tell you. I thought of this while riding my bike: Riding a bike.
The reason tar sands, mountaintop mining and other unconventional extraction methods are becoming so prevalent is because those methods are cost effective only when energy prices in general are high.
So I revert to human energy sources in righteous protest. Bike is the new black, subverting even green as the rightful heir to the cool color throne.
As...consumers...our only true power these days is where we choose to divert our dollars. By riding my bike and using my hands to do work I can direct fewer of my dollars to those practices I see as evil. By being cognizant of the impacts of all of my choices I gain power over the tyranny and oppression of corporatism.
When the demand for oil and natural gas falls, so does the price, and those devastating unconventional extraction methods cease to be profitable.
The downside to that scenario is that for the most part the damage is done, and cleaning up the mess is less economically palatable to Big Oil and Gas than those expensive extraction methods. So the mess we have so far would remain.
On one hand I hate to turn the bike into a political machine. I ride because I enjoy riding. The secondary reasons of economic and political benefit are positive, but, for me, the real reasons are out of my pure enjoyment of riding the bike.
On the other hand, because I love riding so much, what better political machine could I choose?