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Biking to Work
|by Subra Narayan|
I guess I will be going to Wal-Mart as soon as I finish writing this article and splurge on a well'um'a 12 speed bike!
So what's so earth shaking about buying a bike and why am I writing about it.
Well you see I am planning to use the bike not for recreation, but to commute to work and run other errands. What with the price of gas waiting to take the next quantum leap to $3 a gallon and what with oil prices dangerously hovering around the $70/barrel range, it is time to think of alternative means of transportation.
A Wall Street analyst was quoted today as saying that the markets are very nervous and the mere mention of the word Iran is enough to send oil prices soaring. In fact, T. Boone Pickens, an oil magnate himself, predicted last May ('05) that oil prices would start an upward trend and hit the $60/ gallon mark by the end of '05, when in fact other analysts were saying quite the opposite.
Er, I guess it is just like what half the experts say about the economy'it could improve this year, while the other half predicts doomsday. A little bit of the yin and yang at play. Anyway, Mr. Pickens was right on the money at the end of '05, and probably was laughing all the way to the bank. He also thinks that the Saudis are probably in lala land if they think that oil reserves are here to stay for another century or so.
The other prediction that he made last May is somewhat dire, which is that, a gallon of gas will cost around $3 by this May ('06). Now that is precisely what the headlines are saying today as we head into the warm summer months and people start coming out of hibernation and hit the roads on vacation. So Mr. Pickens is going to be twice right!
Of course, there is no need to worry, because a lot of people are obviously working on alternative sources of energy, and it is only a matter of time before a clean and efficient source of energy is identified that can be made available. 2010 was the date cited in Alan Alda's Scientific American Frontiers show, a few years ago on PBS.
Well, in the meantime if you can't afford to drive your monstrous gas guzzling SUV, then maybe you need to go to Wal-mart just like I plan to do (not because I own an SUV) and buy a bike that is made in China.
In a few years, we could have millions of people in your neighborhood doing the same; biking to work. And then it will feel like the good old days in China, where millions of bikes traversed on the roads, except that they have been replaced there now by sleek sports cars.
Biking is obviously good for your health and you can mix business with pleasure, i.e. you can get to work (maybe not on time) and get your daily exercise at the same time (too bad for my Health club). It is naturally good for the environment as smog levels will go down in big cities and global warming trends may be reversed. Wow, that would be a fantastic solution aimed at protecting the ozone layer and reducing stratospheric CO2 levels. This will galvanize towns and city mayors to build bigger and better bike lanes and you could even bike-pool to work.
Bikes would come in various shapes and designs including four-wheel surreys. Naturally entrepreneurs would set up bike-stations where you can have your bikes serviced in a short time. I can almost sense the beginning of a revolution towards a better and beautiful society. I think I am ready to head to Wal-Mart now to look at the bike I have always meant to buy at the beginning of every summer. On second thoughts, maybe I should consider taking horse-riding lessons.
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