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Old 07-27-01, 07:55 AM   #1
LittleBigMan
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Excessive power

"Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." So goes the saying.

I think motorists tend to get drunk on excessive power. What else would explain the way some of us (I drive, too) start to act
corruptly, rudely and dangerously once we get in a car?

While cycling, I have to struggle for extra power. It gives me a tremendous rush, I admit, but it's a fun thing. Not like the madness that comes from being able to accelerate from 0 - 60 in a few seconds by just pushing one foot about 3 inches.

When I see a cyclist flying (you know, 20 - 30 mph,) I admire them. When I see a motorist flying, I think, "what a foolish prank."

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Old 07-27-01, 08:24 AM   #2
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I agree, Pete. Part of the problem is marketing hype, such as the horsepower and cubic-inch wars of the past few decades. Many of today's cars are absurdly overpowered, and many motorists cannot resist the temptation to harness those extra horses frequently, instead of holding them in reserve for a true emergency situation.

The typical noncycling motorist actually resents the high-performance, hard-working cyclist who reminds him/her how guilty, lazy, and out of shape he/she is.

Being physically fit and able to accelerate rapidly does make one far more comfortable and confident when cycling in traffic, particularly for merges, lane changes, lane taking, or simply accelerating from a stoplight during a very short green phase.
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Old 07-27-01, 08:38 AM   #3
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Most people think the government builds highway and freeways so people can get from point A to point B quickly. But in reality, it is so people will have a place to drive their high-powered cars and trucks as fast as they can.
Why have all that power if you can't use it?

At least that what I've observed.

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Old 07-27-01, 11:21 AM   #4
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I get a very strong feeling sometimes about all the cars, especially on weekends: "They're not really going anywhere, they're just driving around, burning fuel."
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Old 07-27-01, 11:47 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by Pete Clark
I think motorists tend to get drunk on excessive power. What else would explain the way some of us (I drive, too) start to act
corruptly, rudely and dangerously once we get in a car?
Interestingly, I had a similar power rush this past weekend but I was bicycling and not driving a car. I looked at my strong healthy and beautiful legs powering me and the bike forward.

"These are my pistons", I contemplated. Zowie! I felt quite powerful and strong and thanked God for giving me strong pistons and a good engine.

Into my fuel tank go the bananas and peanut butter, and zoom, zoom, zoom I go on the bike.
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Old 07-27-01, 02:08 PM   #6
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Originally posted by mike
Into my fuel tank go the bananas and peanut butter, and zoom, zoom, zoom I go on the bike.
Incidentally, I agree with everything you said, Mike, and the part about your "beautiful legs" I believe in good faith!

You know that movie, "Back to the Future XII" (or maybe it was the sequel) in which the scientist (played by that "far-out" guy from "Taxi") arrives in the time machine from the future, now powered by a "Mr. Fusion" fuel generator? That describes us:
just toss in some bananas, or whatever you have on hand
and off you go!
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Old 07-27-01, 03:19 PM   #7
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I agree with John E on this one. People tend to be blinded by marketing hype quite easily that it's a little scary. I don't know how many advertisements I've seen for motorised (almost wrote moronised!) vehicles claiming that they are the greatest technological advancement in the history of mankind. I think that's the reason that people try to go so damn fast everywhere.

Of course, nobody understands the concept of traveling a little slower and actually having time to enjoy the scenery. When I was doing a tour a couple of years ago I was frequently asked if I was training for an event of some kind. I was also criticised because my destination (Tingha) is apparently not the most glamourous place to visit in Australia. Of course, they overlooked the five national parks that I visited along the way, but never mind that.

It's a shame so many people have such a narrow focus in life. Rant over.

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Old 08-12-01, 11:30 PM   #8
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Originally posted by Chris L
I agree with John E on this one. People tend to be blinded by marketing hype quite easily that it's a little scary. I don't know how many advertisements I've seen for motorised (almost wrote moronised!) vehicles claiming that they are the greatest technological advancement in the history of mankind. I think that's the reason that people try to go so damn fast everywhere.
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I thought the greatest technological advancement in the history of mankind was sliced bread.

... never did quite understand that analogy. Personally I think it's indoor plumbing, with the bicycle a close second.
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Old 09-16-01, 03:04 PM   #9
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Driving at 20mph in a car is far less interesting than going at the same speed on a bike. Also there is the big macho think (do women speed as much in cars? I wonder): look how fast I can go etc. Since it was possible to endoctrinate people that they were cool and powerful because they go fast on a car, I wonder if we could make them think it is cool to drive slowly and smoothly. Surely that must be possible (isn't that was lowriders do for fun?).
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Old 09-19-01, 07:57 AM   #10
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Today's cars are engineered for silent (for the occupants), fast, smooth cruising on interstate highways. Roadway and automotive engineering drive (so to speak) one another's evolution. During the past few decades, the most deplorable trend has been to build local roads with higher speed limits, large-radius curves, and freeway-style merges, diverges, and free right (left for Allister, Chris L., etc.) turns. We need effective traffic calming on roads which serve bicyclists and pedestrians.

I wonder whether being an avid bicyclist affects how one selects a motor vehicle. Perhaps this should be a new thread ...
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Old 09-19-01, 06:17 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by John E
Today's cars are engineered for silent (for the occupants), fast, smooth cruising on interstate highways. Roadway and automotive engineering drive (so to speak) one another's evolution. During the past few decades, the most deplorable trend has been to build local roads with higher speed limits, large-radius curves, and freeway-style merges, diverges, and free right (left for Allister, Chris L., etc.) turns. We need effective traffic calming on roads which serve bicyclists and pedestrians.
Agreed!

I think it's time to realize that heavy motor traffic is ugly, so far as neighborhood life is concerned, and that cycling and walking are friendly activities. I say, route those nasty smoke-blowers onto bypass routes and make other neighborhood routes more friendly to human powered transportation. One neighborhood has already posted signs: "No through trafffic between 4:30 and 7:00 pm." Others have those giant speed bumps, the kind that a bike can almost zoom over, but cause a car driver to bump his head if he exceeds 15 mph.

Cyclists are friendly to the rush-hour-beleaguered neighborhoods!
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Old 09-22-01, 07:06 AM   #12
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Most American 'cars' (those SUV things) seemed to be desgned for anything but travelling.

More designed for sitting in traffic, watching TV, surfing the web etc.

You're a long way from anywhere, especially reality.
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Old 09-22-01, 12:55 PM   #13
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John999 raises a painfully valid point, and this is what finally pushed my wife and me into buying our first non-American car this year. In the rush to build profitable, top-heavy, gas-guzzling SUVs and minivans, Ford's and GM's domestic divisions (and Japan's Honda and Toyota) abandoned our primary market, the compact-to-midsized sporty, safe, practical station wagon, bigger than the Ford Focus, but smaller than the Ford Taurus. Fortunately, Subaru and several European manufacturers (including Ford's Volvo and GM's SAAB) are happy to continue to fill this void, and VW got our business this year in the form of a Passat wagon.
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