The Sustainable Future will be created by many-in myriad forms. I’ve spent much of my time on the Ag Front-ceaselessly reading about permaculture and Sustainable Ag while I clean the compost from beneath my fingernails that I acquired by attempting to convert my .5 acre track home into the poster structure for sustainable suburban living. In between plantings I preach resource use, having found Rain Barrels to be a great “In” with people that crosses political lines to open discussion on resource cycling and conservation. The fact that they are the prime fund-er of my eco mission helps immensely as well. But there are so many thousand of other Fire Souls that are pushing the envelope in other areas while I attempt to help suburbia feed itself from its backyard.
This past weekend I found myself burning out on Ag reading, and found my random googling to be leading me back to an old love-bicycles. While I live 19 miles from work, I still dream of living life less dependent on a car. We have alot of room to improve-traveling about 35k miles a year, though we have cut 15,000 miles off annually in the past 2 years. Can we cut off another 15k? I think so, but it will take some Big Changes… and I will need help.
Luckily I am not alone-not by a long shot. In need of a pick me up? Read the mission statement of Clever Cycles of Portland, Oregon. For every fact I learn in growing food in a suburban backyard they are matching me in providing the tools to live car free. I at times bristle at the bicycle Lamers who want me to dress in Lycra (that would not be pretty)and ride a wedgie all the way to work. Clever Cycles is pushing the envelope to make and market real zero emissions vehicles that are car replacements. The Bakfeist is a great example, but how about the Z.E.M. pictured at right? It is freakishly heavy (300lbs!), but with 4 pedaling that is less an issue. Still, it needs to go on a diet and get some electric assist. I love seeing the spirit of Ben Franklin survive in the HPV world, with backyard tinkers pushing the envelope and designing some amazing vehicles. The Stormy Weather is one such bike. The velomobile is a trike, but it has articulating engineering (damn, but some people are smart!)that allows it to lean into turns and can therefore keep a narrow width and remain stable in turns. Lightfoot is still working on getting their slick gas assist to work on it, and they are estimating mileage to be in the 600+ mpg on the engine alone-with mileage going up form their depending on how much you pedal. A 1000% increase in my commuting efficiency sounds about right. $6500 is steep though.
I will leave you with some feel good links to some feel good Flicker photos from a wedding of some of the New Ped Culture elite, and a You Tube for some Euro Velomobiles in action. It is sweet to see HPV’s passing cars!
Be the Change.
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