Are you ready to go to BAT for the planet?
It's baseball season, but that wasn't the sport I was watching today. Instead it was Tri-madness here in the Bay area. Bookended with the Accenture Escape from Alcatraz (and yes that is the full name, it was funny to hear one of the announcers forget Accenture, and redouble to make sure it was included) in San Francisco. This is a international field event where participants swim from Alcatraz, ride around the beautiful Presidio and Golden Gate Park and finish a run and back in the Presidio. Down South, participants tested their mettle at the San Jose International Triathlon. Hats off to all the athletes that participated.
Triathlon is a gear crazy sport, the top athletes spend the gross domestic products of many small countries on their kit, mostly on their bikes. These are impressive pieces of machinery, specially designed for fast flat courses. Most every triathlete is a pretty competent bike rider. But one thing almost all rely on is an extra piece of gear. A car! Despite their fine tuned bicycling physiques, most triathletes fall into the category of recreational riders. They ride their bikes for exercise or competition. So to ride their bike they put their bike on or in an automobile Now I'm not going to just pick on triathletes, the same goes for mountain bikers as well. Heck, I've been guilty of putting my bike into my car for a training ride. It's a shame since most of them could easily bike their commute without literally breaking a sweat (though they may want to pick up a beater bike).
But to make an impact on the environment, it might make sense to exchange some of those training miles for some commuting miles. We have to start thinking of "Bikes As Transport" or BAT. Bicycling as a means for us to get around in our daily lives. Once you get up to shape, the riding isn't that difficult. If you're putting 30 - 40 mile training rides, a 10 mile bike commute isn't going to kill you. I decided to ride to San Jose to attend an extracurricular event that I normally would have driven (25 miles). Difference in time 30 minutes if you include the time it would have taken to park the car. I didn't have to pay for gas or parking and it ended up being my (albeit a little light) training ride for the weekend.
As fun as bikes are to race, I think Grant Petersen got it right way back in 1992:
In 1992 you said the following on the future on cycling:
“The best use of a bicycle is commuting, it’s not racing or competing or recreation or anything like that. Ultimately its best use is getting cars off the roads and the government is not sympathetic to that idea at all.
Now before readers think hey your some super athlete, no I'm not. My times are very middling, so what I propose is not limited to the super-athlete.
It's summer, so you ready to step up to the plate and take a swing at BAT?