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Bikes in Energy Bill Debate

Old 09-16-08, 07:10 PM
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Bikes in Energy Bill Debate

I turned on cspan radio when I got home and some guy from NM, Pierce I think, was mouthing off in a congressional debate about an energy bill. He kept talking about people suggesting riding bikes to save gas as though it were a really bad thing. Oh, its someone else talking now and he just said the same kind of thing twice as I type this sentances that riding bicycles hurts the American family. Whats going on with these people? They keep denouncing bike riding as un-american the guy from NM compared the US with the Chinese saying that they get to have energy and get off their bikes while people who don't want onshore drilling are suggesting we get on our bikes. No mention of Chinese tainted milk and pollution he just said we should have a lifestyle like the Chinese are heading for. Another guy from S. Carolina said people in south carolina are willing to sacrifice their wonderful beaches for the "infinite" supply of gas and oil on the continental shelf. Infinite? Thats what he said. Are some congressmen actually suggesting bike riding? I haven't heard one speak suggesting it but some keep saying someone opposed to onshore drilling is saying ride bikes. Maybe the congressman from Oregon who bikes to work every day? Well I'm turning the radio off, but this is such a jarring thing to hear our leaders denouncing bike riding as a threat to the American way and something that will result in higher gas prices. Infinite energy supplies if we just sacrifice our beaches to the oil companies, is that true? Congress is such a different world from living car free. What is worrisome is that that bikes are evil attitude might flow out into the wider culture.
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Old 09-16-08, 07:24 PM
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Originally Posted by gwd View Post
Congress is such a different world from living car free.
Yet another reason to ride a bike : avoid Congress!

Seriously, I wouldn't loose any sleep over it. If bicycling becomes popular as a means of getting around, the same politician will change his tune quickly. 5 years ago it was very unpopular to be labeled "green". Now the have a television network devoted to green living.
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Old 09-17-08, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by gerv View Post
Seriously, I wouldn't loose any sleep over it. If bicycling becomes popular as a means of getting around, the same politician will change his tune quickly. 5 years ago it was very unpopular to be labeled "green". Now the have a television network devoted to green living.
Well, after sleeping on it what is so disturbing is that they sounded worse than the car culture trolls who show up on LCF from time to time and since they are elected leaders there must be a vast population in the US that thinks the same way. I was expecting one of them to blurt out "How can they expect Americans to carry dog food on a bicycle!". They sounded like caricatures of paid shills for the oil companies.
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Old 09-17-08, 12:44 PM
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Something I learned from my years in politics...don't read or listen to Congressional debates, they will make you want to put a gun to your head...or stick your head in the oven if you are a Democrat.
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Old 09-17-08, 12:57 PM
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Paragraphs, please.
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Old 09-17-08, 11:16 PM
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Originally Posted by gwd View Post
Well, after sleeping on it what is so disturbing is that they sounded worse than the car culture trolls who show up on LCF from time to time and since they are elected leaders there must be a vast population in the US that thinks the same way. I was expecting one of them to blurt out "How can they expect Americans to carry dog food on a bicycle!". They sounded like caricatures of paid shills for the oil companies.
Well, there are, in fact, vast regions of the US that think that way about bicyclists. It's easy to forget this if you live in a city on one of the coasts, where bike use is increasing dramatically. Get out into the heart of red states, and you'll find, with the exception of college towns, huge regions where the only people who ride bikes are guys with DUI convictions, and maybe the very occasional child. Part of it is simply geography -if you live in a small town in North Dakota it's pretty tough being carfree- but it's also cultural. In SF, Portland, NYC, etc., you're totally okay being car-free. In Atlanta or Houston, you're a loser and/or a weirdo.

BTW, members of Congress are paid shills for oil companies. And pharma companies. And idiot financiers. And agro giants. In fact, the last eight years have been a wonderful case study of shill-dom running completely amok in the halls of what used to be government.

I'd actually be curious to know how many members of the US house or senate have used a bike for transportation in the last year or so. Or even been on a bike in the last year or so.
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Old 09-17-08, 11:38 PM
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Originally Posted by bragi View Post
I'd actually be curious to know how many members of the US house or senate have used a bike for transportation in the last year or so. Or even been on a bike in the last year or so.
I only know of one that commutes daily in DC on a bicycle; it is one of the congressmen from Oregon I think.
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Old 09-18-08, 06:38 PM
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Originally Posted by gwd View Post
Well, after sleeping on it what is so disturbing is that they sounded worse than the car culture trolls who show up on LCF from time to time and since they are elected leaders there must be a vast population in the US that thinks the same way. I was expecting one of them to blurt out "How can they expect Americans to carry dog food on a bicycle!". They sounded like caricatures of paid shills for the oil companies.
Well.. comparing these politicians to the trolls on LCF sounds like an insult to the trolls.... at least those guys know how to ride a bike! And they aren't, as bragi points out, paid shills for Exxon Mobil.
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Old 09-19-08, 06:07 AM
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Originally Posted by stevo9er View Post
I only know of one that commutes daily in DC on a bicycle; it is one of the congressmen from Oregon I think.
I've seen one of the local ones on a bike. We both stopped briefly under an overhang during a summer thunderstorm. Like an idiot I started rapping with him about how bikes are the best way to get around. I must have spooked him cause he rode away without waiting for the rain to stop. He's not all that bike friendly anyway. At a local transportation meeting he suggested that the cost of a bridge could be reduced by eliminating the bike lane- and the bike land isn't on the bridge now.
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Old 09-20-08, 08:48 AM
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Right now, were're just shrinking our vehicles and driving less. In 75 years, it will like China with the streets full of scooters. Finally in 2108, we'll all be on bicycles or horseback!
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Old 09-20-08, 09:28 AM
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I caught that on CSPAN, myself:

The Comprehensive American Energy Security and Consumer Protection Act (HR 6899). It invests in wind, solar, natural gas and other 21st Century energy sources that will create millions of jobs in the alternative energy industry. The bill was introduced by the Democratic party. The Republican party was against it, so they could argue in favor of drilling for oil. Looks like the bill passed.

One step closer to cycling as a "recognized mode of transportation in the minds of engineers, planners, and policy makers".

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Old 09-20-08, 10:09 AM
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I wrote my congressman to ask that he vote for the bill. I'm not sure if he did but I guess it doesn't matter if the bill passed! Anyone know if Bush is planning on vetoing? I'm looking forward to my bike commuter tax credit! I hope it will help people realize that bike commuting is at least as viable a method as buying a hybrid (which already gets a tax credit) for conserving gas and "being green".
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Old 09-21-08, 02:30 PM
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People are pretty scared right now, and it seems easier to blame our problems on something simple like the ban on offshore drilling. But oil will be gone soon, no matter where we drill, so don't get too discouraged. (If you really want to get discouraged, focus on coal instead of oil.)

I think the real problem is that we've been living on credit way too much. The road to wealth has been to trade one piece of paper (currency) for another piece of paper (mortgage or stock certificate). We're finally realizing that pieces of paper are fundamentally worthless, and that's causing the whole system to crash. The solution is to start investing in real things-- like our infrastructure, and manufactured goods that will help us end our foolish dependance on coal and oil.
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Old 09-21-08, 06:05 PM
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Our President is an avid cyclist.
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Old 09-21-08, 07:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Enthusiast View Post
I wrote my congressman to ask that he vote for the bill. I'm not sure if he did but I guess it doesn't matter if the bill passed! Anyone know if Bush is planning on vetoing? I'm looking forward to my bike commuter tax credit! I hope it will help people realize that bike commuting is at least as viable a method as buying a hybrid (which already gets a tax credit) for conserving gas and "being green".
My take is that we ought to eliminate all these tax credits (including big bonuses like the mortgage interest write-down... which surely must have helped fuel the current crisis). Maybe we ought to simplify the tax code, make it easier to account for and reckon the taxes you owe. Stop favoring those who can buy a hybrid car over those who are forced for various reasons to drive an old beater. (And, incidentally..., if you consider the manufacturing costs of the hybrid, you would probably conclude that the old beater is less of an impact to the environment...)

For myself, a tax break is not going to get me out on a bike... and the mere fact that I paid only $200 last year on transportation to and from work is enough of a "break".

Last edited by gerv; 09-21-08 at 07:04 PM. Reason: was a proofreader in my last lifetime..
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Old 09-21-08, 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by miamijim View Post
Our President is an avid cyclist.
That's it. I'm not riding a bike again! Question: is he also an avid walker?
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Old 09-22-08, 05:15 AM
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Originally Posted by gerv View Post
That's it. I'm not riding a bike again! Question: is he also an avid walker?
I know he rides because he likes, I'm sure he walks alot but its all probably job related. From what I've read he has a high end, U.S. made bike and goes at pretty good clip.
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Old 09-22-08, 07:01 AM
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Originally Posted by miamijim View Post
I know he rides because he likes, I'm sure he walks alot but its all probably job related. From what I've read he has a high end, U.S. made bike and goes at pretty good clip.
I thought he had knee problems from jogging so switched to bike riding for exercise on his doctor's advice.
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Old 09-22-08, 07:57 AM
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Originally Posted by gwd View Post
I thought he had knee problems from jogging so switched to bike riding for exercise on his doctor's advice.
True, but he actualy likes riding and he rides hard........
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Old 09-25-08, 05:14 PM
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Mountain bike on trails only. Nobody--not even Lance Armstrong--is allowed to drop him. Or the Secret Service will take them out. John Kerry was a road cyclist. Neither Obama or McCain rides, AFAIK.
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Old 09-25-08, 07:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
Neither Obama or McCain rides, AFAIK.
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Old 09-25-08, 08:09 PM
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Originally Posted by gerv View Post
He does not ride, nice photo op though.
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Old 09-26-08, 10:15 AM
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I think the real concern is whether we could still afford to cycle if the economy continues on it's dangerous course.
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Old 09-26-08, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Galls View Post
He does not ride, nice photo op though.
Yeah, only a total poseur would pull his kid in a trailer.
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Old 09-26-08, 01:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Galls View Post
He does not ride, nice photo op though.
*US Weekly's fashion police have cited Obama for an outfit he wore during a recent bike ride in Chicago along the shores of Lake Michigan last Sunday. Along with wearing a helmet, the magazine described him as also sporting "ill-fitting jeans, a tucked in golf shirt and big tennis shoes."

Some of us on Living Car Free are like this- we don't wear bike-fashion clothes to ride we just ride. I'd be more suspicious if he were decked out in bike specialty clothes. I too have been criticized as not being a real cyclist because I didn't wear the right bike specific clothes and shoes. Its an attitude that keeps people from using bikes for everyday transportation. If Obama wears nerdy clothes around the house on weekends why not wear the same nerdy clothes when biking around with your kids?
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