I have been a bike commuter since 1988, the year I bought my first new car, and the same year I quit smoking. The car was essential for moving gear like my kayaks and canoes, and traveling. The cigarettes were easy to give up. At that time I really didn't smoke much, and I had a 48 year old secretary who chain-smoked 3 or 4 packs of no-filter Camels every day. She couldn't cross the office floor without loosing her breath, and she had constant dragon breath - it was really bad. I didn't want that for myself. So I quit smoking shortly after I met this person, and the money I saved on smokes I used to buy my first serious bike, a Trek 400 (I have had three since, and have accumulated more than 15,000 miles on them commuting to various work locations).
Bike commuting has obviously saved me a ton of money on transportation costs, less fuel, reduced insurance, less wear-and-tear, etc., and it adds up quickly. The physical and mental health benefits have been great (although, I could still afford to loose 50 pounds - i.e. drink less beer). I could go on all day about how good bike commuting is. [Note: I also own a full-size pickup truck (4x2 w/v-6 engine) for the family business; a Toyota minivan for the family; and a bright red Volkswagen New Beatle convertible (40th b-day present for my wife last year)]
I am an environmental scientist. My academic pursuits have been in water resource management and wetland studies, my professional experience has been cleaning up hazardous waste sites, managing hazmat incidents, and training people to be safe in their work environments. I deeply understand the benefit of bike commuting to our planet, I wish more people could/would. Unfortunately, the political-social-economic reality of living in a car dependant, energy thirsty world has worked to successfully characterize bicycles as toys (Federal law regulates bicycle manufacturing in the same set of consumer laws that regulates making toys), and not a valuable mode of transportation that they are.
I have a dream to own and operate a local bike shop like no others that focuses on cyclists needs, not just selling a line of "brand" bicycles. I also want to update Worldwatch Paper 90, The Bicycle: Vehicle for a Small Planet, September 1989, written by Marcia D. Lowe.
My present rides include: my daily commuter, a 15-year old Cannondale mountain bike with a 4-month old electric power-assist (650 Watt 36 Volt, Wilderness Energy hub motor); a Sun EZ3 AX recumbent delta trike (this is an Easy Racer design); a 15 year old Burley Duet tandem; a Burley kid/cargo trailer; a Trek 400; and, a knock-off brand tag-a-long attachment for my kids to ride on with me. I am presently seeking a folding bike to take on trains, planes, and other places.
New Rochelle, NY