pstarr wrote:While we are on the subject of "bike-friendly" cities, I have to remind ceph and the other greenies that little real work is done in america on a bicycle. Can you imagine dragging around a sheet of plywood, a compressor, and a nail gun behind a bike? While trying to outrace an approaching hurricane? To board up a house? I can't.
While that is true, something you leave out, is that those loads justify much higher transportation budgets than they currently consume. If fuel became very, very expensive, it might make people think twice about dragging a 2 ton piece of metal and plastic, five miles, to get a tomato. On the other hand, even at that very, very expensive point, loading up the F250 and its enclosed trailer with construction supplies and tools, and driving to the work site is still quite economical. The right way to think of fuel cost is cargo-lb * miles / gallon(or $). Even at $20/gal, you'll still be willing to get your junk to the site. You likely WILL NOT be willing to unhook the trailer, and drive the F250 another 15 miles for lunch. But that is a reasonable adaptation if you ask me; not something to be feared or worried about.
The bicycle otoh, is perfectly adequate to get Bob the Backhoe Operator to the worksite. Also works great for the med-tech to get to the hospital, the secretary to get to her office, the county courthouse staff to get in to work, etc. Most people do not drag a lot of stuff with them when they travel, most of the time. Save the ICE vehicle for when you need to move you and a bunch of other stuff.
That said, I've been worrying more recently about how dependent bikes are on industrial tech for their maintenance; having broken several spokes and overpowered a link on my chain in the last couple weeks. I replaced the rear wheel with a stronger, higher tech type, I look at it now as a huge liability. Sure, it can take all 350lbs of me+bike+cargo even when I push it to 30mph, but if it fails, there's no way I can fix it myself. So I dunno, could I tolerate cycling if I was forced to fall back to a fixie and minimal cargo carrying ability? What would be the point then? Seems even a modestly sophisticated bicycle needs quite a bit of fussy maintenance; I don't really mind, its good to fix stuff with my hands from time to time, but shipped parts and specialty tools galore are involved.