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Old 01-07-05, 12:10 PM   #1
thomj513
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L.A. (Los Angeles, Ca) Auto Show etc.

This may wind up as being a rambling rant, but here goes. The annual L.A. Auto Expo/Show starts this weekend. Years ago I was a big fan and could hardly wait for the show to come around. The glitz and glamour of Ferrari, Lamborghini and high-end performance cars was really seductive. Oooohh to be young, dumb and totally brain-washed by the auto industry. Now I'm older, discovered bicycling and have become disillusioned and somewhat bitter about the car dominated culture that is LA. Personally I'm doing my own boycott of the show and will do everything I can to persuade others from going. My knowledge of the past/present and future damages caused by our car culture is small in comparison to others who have been in the advocacy field for a long time but my decision and feelings to "make a difference" on an individual level is something I feel strongly about at this stage in life. Will become a member of the L.A. Bicycle Coalition this year and will take a more active role in bike advocacy projects with my local bike club. Currently I'm employed as a field sales rep but am setting plans into motion to change jobs so that I can bike to work or use rapid transit. I've been using my TREK 1000 to do around town shopping chores; it works and is much more fun than driving except for weekends like the one that's coming where it will be bucketing-down with rain for 2-3 days. Good time to stay inside and work on the bike. Think I'll put on that new crankset I ordered over Christmas and clean it up. Yeah, I've rambled on...thanks for letting me vent. Thom.
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Old 01-07-05, 12:51 PM   #2
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"My knowledge of the past/present and future damages caused by our car culture is small in comparison to others who have been in the advocacy field for a long time but my decision and feelings to "make a difference" on an individual level is something I feel strongly about at this stage in life."

-- Thomj thanks for your well-worded rant. I also used to live in LA county and attend the Auto Expo. During the big gas shortage in 1972 I got my first adult bicycle and immediately became convinced of the practical efficacy of the bike as urban transportation.

My bike was a great tool in helping me overcome the problems of traffic congeston and PARKING shortages when attending a big public event like the County Fair or a concert or visiting the beach on a hot weekend. I got a bike rack and developed a "park-'n-bike" system where I would drive the first 30 miles or so, park my car in a safe place and then bike in the last few miles. What a pleasure to zip past the backed-up traffic and park near the front entrance. Hahaha
Now as it happens, I have a job where I need to drive so I have a fuel efficient 4 cylinder vehicle. I use my bicycle as my "default" vehicle for after-hours transportation.
Seems to me that the "past/present and future damages caused by our car culture" can be controlled by dove-tailing the bicycle into our transportation habits and driving the smallest vehicle necessary to accomplish our needs.

Very inspiring to read of your "conversion".

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Old 01-07-05, 12:57 PM   #3
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yep - i grew up in so. AZ and life revolved around cars. i always enjoyed biking but to NOT have a car was unheard of. all of my friends had cars, sometimes two or three (I had two for a while). we even made fun of a guy who turned 16 and his parents bought him a new bike. what a moron i was!!! now that i have a little perpective on the issues, cars just aren't important to me. been car free for nearly 5 years now and hope to stay that way.
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Old 01-07-05, 02:07 PM   #4
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If you live in NYC, a car is most likely more of a pain than it is worth. I live in the burbs and could get by without a car if not for the fact that I have to visit job sites during the day.

We all dislike cars, but I don't think preaching to car lovers is going to win you any friends or infuence them to be less car-dependent. Autos, oil, road construction contractors and many other factors are so intertwined that our dependence will be ongoing until we run out of fuel....
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Old 01-07-05, 03:11 PM   #5
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I like both cars and bikes. I appreciate cars that are designed to be friendlier toward a multimodal culture. I like to thank car manufacturers who accomplish this.

Here are some things you can do at an auto show that will make you feel good and do something positive without creating friction.

(1) Ask about new car designs that reduce injuries to pedestrians and cyclists - people *outside* the car. It is my understanding that Honda is among the manufacturers that are incorporating designs into the front end for the purpose of reducing pedestrian injuries.

(2) Ask about hybrid and other low-emission technology that reduces the obnoxiousness of idling cars.

(3) Check out the station-wagon/mini-SUVs that accommodate carrying bicycles very well. I like to take my bike with me when I travel, and I find my Honda Element is terrific for carrying a bike fully assembled and upright along with the rest of my cargo and my family. I also have a bike rack on the roof that I use when exposure to the elements and/or garage door clearance are not a concern. Talk to the reps about how popular bike racks have become as options on vehicles.
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Old 01-07-05, 05:06 PM   #6
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In the early 1970s, I joined a group of other bicyclists who staged a peaceful "demonstration" ride to and around the Los Angeles auto expo. We engaged entering and leaving visitors in conversation, talking about smog, congestion, the price of gasoline, parking woes, and the high cost of driving. I don't know whether we accomplished anything, but, as many of you know, time in the saddle is rarely time wasted, so at least part of the day went to good use.
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Old 01-07-05, 05:44 PM   #7
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LA to be the site of Bike Summer '05.

http://www.bikesummer.org/2005/
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Old 01-08-05, 09:06 AM   #8
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I attended the New York City Auto show several years ago and came away impressed by the beauty of those cars. However. The common person entering the show could not afford 70% of those cars without acquiring massive debt. It seems the manufacturers were more interested in making cars that could travel over 100 mph or more but failed to tell you this was illegal! Furthermore, there was no way anyone in their right mind would would park those luxury cars on the street because it would attract crooks like flys to honey. The insurance and monthly payments on those high priced cars would be like paying off a mortgage.

In short, it's all eye candy for the rich (who are few) and those who are not. (which are many).
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Old 01-08-05, 10:42 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve
I attended the New York City Auto show several years ago and came away impressed by the beauty of those cars. However. The common person entering the show could not afford 70% of those cars without acquiring massive debt. It seems the manufacturers were more interested in making cars that could travel over 100 mph or more but failed to tell you this was illegal! Furthermore, there was no way anyone in their right mind would would park those luxury cars on the street because it would attract crooks like flys to honey. The insurance and monthly payments on those high priced cars would be like paying off a mortgage.

In short, it's all eye candy for the rich (who are few) and those who are not. (which are many).
You could say the same about bicycles.
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Old 01-08-05, 11:46 AM   #10
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Bike shows, motorcycle shows, boat shows, and car shows are about "what's new and what's possible". It allows the industry to showcase their technological achievements in a way that is intended to appeal to the masses, e.g., it's as much about providing entertainment is it is about educating and increasing awareness.

Each person who attends any of these shows can fall into any one of many categories and your respective comments reflect your dispositions.

The hard-core enthusiast may or may not have the means to acquire what they can see at these shows, but it doesn't diminish the interest. In fact, most of the dream machines that are purchased are purchased as status symbols, not because they are practical, efficient, or will be used for racing. Moreover, the people who buy dream cars don't usually finance them; they write a check. After all, a 10k mi tune up on a Ferrari is about $9k because it's not so much a tune up as it is a rebuild of the hand-built engine. If you can't afford the maintenance, you certainly can't afford the car.

However, also on display at these shows are the emerging technologies that address squewking out more MPG from fossil fuels (SmartCars) and alternative power sources such as hybrid's with gas/electric power plants and other new innovations. Many of these efficient cars are also affordable cars. Moreover, in most cases, it is the sales revenues from all those high-dollar / high margin vehicles that pay for the research and development that fund these new technologies.

Again, everyone who rides a bike does so for their own reasons. Being a cyclist or even a cycling advocate does not predispose either to be anti-car.

Just something to consider. BTW, I'll be heading over to the Cycle World Motorcycle Show at the Cobb Galleria Center this afternoon or this evening to check out the '05 motorcycle offerings. Why? Because I'm a motorcycle enthusiast. Will I be looking to replace my faithful and dependable '98 Honda CBR1100? No. It gets 39 mpg and meets my back and forth to work transporation needs quite well, thank you very much. And, even though it is still one of the fastest production motorcycles in the world, it rarely sees speeds over 65 m/ph on public roads. However, as an enthusiast, I can still grin from ear-to-ear while riding it because it it doesn't look like a scooter, it gets 39 m/pg, it "could" do 180 mph, and because it was something I could buy with a check, not on monthly installments.

My bicycles all fit into that same category. They meet my needs as a cyclist, my wants as an enthusiast AND fit within my budget. I grin from ear-to-ear when I ride them as well. No, I'm not rich, but I like bicycles and motorcycles. My cars aren't sexy, but they meet my needs... which include hauling bicycles around.

Ride what you like and like what you ride.

Last edited by livngood; 01-08-05 at 02:07 PM.
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Old 01-08-05, 12:31 PM   #11
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I ride a bike and have a vehicle
Both are favorites for its own reasons
So I have learned to live and let live. No way in Hell Americans are going to abandon gas until it runs out or gets hugely expensive which won't happen in the lifetimes of most of the current members.
Granted here in SoFlorida lots bikes are used and I commend those who use them, and I use mine for short runs but it isn't practical for several reasons for long runs

If and when I win the lottery and can move to Paris, and then dump a vehicle, I guess I contribute to the problem, but at least I am polite and CAREFUL when in the vicinity of cyclists
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Old 01-08-05, 09:14 PM   #12
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Yes, it's true that America (and Europe--don't kid yourself) willl continue to be car-dominated for the foreseeable future. That's a shame, but a reality. I personally choose to live carfree--and would do so in southern Florida if I lived there. (In fact, between November and March I think my choice would be easier if I did live down there!) It doesn't bother me that others make different choices, but I don't understand why you think you would have to be wealthy ("win the lottery") to get rid of your car. If anything, you will save money if you ditch the car.

And livingood, I'm not crazy about motorcycles, but I do love fast and flashy automobiles, and I have often enjoyed the Detroit auto show (one of the big 3 shows, with NY and LA). What I do resent is being forced in so many ways to financially subsidize automobiles--auto plant site incentives, the petroleum industry, road construction and air pollution--when I don't even own a car! And don't get me started on the immense cost of the wars my country is waging, in large part to ensure a safe supply of petroleum.
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Old 01-09-05, 12:31 PM   #13
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Many posters on this thread, seem to be saying that biking is ok, and driving is ok. Whereas I would not dispute that on the most basic level, I find it disturbing that most Americans drive with no thought as to the environmental and social consequences. It is my business, if the groundwater is polluted, if the air is corosive to my lungs, if I have to pay higher insurance premiums because of others' slovenly poor health, and if the city is less safe( due to the disconect between neighbors, who don't see each other, except walking from the back door to thier garages).

I'm not sugesting that cars should be banned, but it would be a healthier world, if they were used more responsibly, and a heck of a lot less frequently.
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Old 01-09-05, 12:42 PM   #14
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My thoughts exactly, iceratt. Think outside the cage!
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Old 01-11-05, 07:56 PM   #15
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The problem is that most drivers have never been told (or don't care) about the damage they do to other people. One of the more encouraging things I've seen is the new pedestrian safety ratings the Europeans are introducing:

http://www.euroncap.com/content/safe...troduction.php

As manufacturers want to make cars that they can sell anywhere, we can hope that ped (and cyclist) safer cars will come to the States, too.

One of the more irritating things is to hear the Detroit (Ford) designer going on and on about how the new Ford Fusion looks. While I'm not immune to the attraction of a well-turned sedan, the Ford guy sounds like a throwback to the bad old days of fins on crappy cars.

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/01/09/au...G4-Fusion.html

Between that sort of thing and the bigger is better crowing of Bob Lutz (check out the last cite in the Amazon search on "high and mighty" bob lutz - about how he made the Hummer even more lethal to other drivers etc, just because it looks cooler that way) - it's hard not to want the big three to go out of business pronto.

I feel bad for the autoworkers that'll lose their jobs, but Lutz is the cheerleader for a design approach with lots (thousands per year ) of excess deaths to its credit and somehow that makes me feel like he's immoral.

I know, I'm obviously bent somehow - I keep forgetting that acting responsibly is only for poor people :-) Oh well...

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Old 01-12-05, 01:27 PM   #16
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going along slighty with this topic, has anyone noticed a very disturbing theme in car advertising lately. i seem to see a lot of commericals where the automobile is stuck in traffic. only you don't see that part until the end. first you see the auto flying around corners or slaming through the wilderness, but then we realize it'is just a dream and the driver is really on the freeway somewhere staring at the bumper of another car. i feel like they are trying to make traffic jams an acceptable part of daily life and the message is to just get used to it. it's really messed up.
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Old 01-12-05, 11:49 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by timmhaan
i seem to see a lot of commericals where the automobile is stuck in traffic. only you don't see that part until the end. first you see the auto flying around corners or slaming through the wilderness, but then we realize it'is just a dream and the driver is really on the freeway somewhere staring at the bumper of another car. i feel like they are trying to make traffic jams an acceptable part of daily life and the message is to just get used to it.
I think the message is that their cars are so wonderful, and have such potential, that the driver can enjoy it, even when stuck in traffic. They are not at all woried that The Masses will cast off their private metal shells on wheels. Then again, maybe I shouldn't comment, as I don't watch TV, and haven't seen the comercial.
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