The Lure Of The Open Road

For the past week New York has been like a windowless bathroom after a hot shower, and from a cycling perspective the best way to cope with these conditions has been to wear athletic clothing while riding a bicycle on the road:

When it comes to road bikes, it can sometimes seem as though there’s a stark divide between those who prefer the simplicity and elegance of classic downtube friction shifters, and those who embrace the push-button accuracy of modern electronic systems. However, if you’ve ever longed to straddle these two worlds, this could be the setup for you:

Say what you will, but that’s the most brilliant L’Eroica workaround I’ve ever seen.

Speaking of inherently contradictory projects, here’s a family that’s saving the planet by driving:

I mean, sure, ostensibly they’re setting an e-bike world record or something in order to “promote sustainable transportation:”

But the trip apparently comes after a 25,000-mile intercontinental family road drip during which they appear to have run roughshod over Mother Nature in a truck:

Now, in the name of showing you that you can use an e-bike to replace car trips or something, the father will be riding one from Montana to Florida:

Though ironically he’ll be accompanied by a support vehicle the entire way:

This is like claiming you can sustain yourself on a steady diet of lettuce, just as long as that lettuce is surrounded by a hamburger.

I begrudge absolutely nobody their adventure, but between their previous journey and this one, they’ll be doing a whopping 31,000 miles of driving, which is an awful lot of driving just to tell people they shouldn’t be driving. I mean if I were cynical I’d suggest maybe they’re tacking on the whole environmental angle as a pretense asking others to underwrite their Griswold family fantasy:

But that couldn’t be, because absolutely nobody would use the perilous state of the planet to advance their own personal agenda.

I will admit that this video made me re-think my relationship with driving, and what I’ve realized is that I don’t need to do less of it; what I really need to do is reframe it. All this time I thought I was being selfish when I resorted to car trips, but in fact my car is merely a “support vehicle” for my model sustainable lifestyle! After all, I live in a housing collective comprised of 80 units, located on a plot of land about the size of a typical suburban yard. Furthermore, we all share precious resources such as water, electricity, and storage, I utilize shared transport in the form of electric-powered trains and zero-emissions buses, and all my bicycles are so “green” they don’t even have batteries! I mean yeah, there’s the car, but that’s just to facilitate supply runs for our ongoing sustainable lifestyle project, and for vacations family trips in which we pedal for a greener world…you know, because we carry bikes on the car. (Sort of like how bike advocates don’t own cars, they just “have access to their wife’s car.”) Trying my hardest, it takes me a good five years to drive 30,000 miles–and as I say, it’s only to inspire others with my sustainable lifestyle. So if you think about it, I’m not really driving at all.

Say what you will about life in 2023, but it’s never been easier to feel good about yourself.

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