Sunday, July 23, 2006

Tour de America

While the world watches hyperathletic bicyclists churning across France, some devotees are using bikes more practically in the USA. They may never win a yellow jersey, but they do have a yellow car. Check out their fledgling blog at:

World’s Most Efficient Vehicle? A Bicycle.

“Comparing energy used per passenger-mile (calories), they found that a bicycle needed only 35 calories, whereas a car expended a whopping 1,860. Bus and trains fell about midway between, and walking still took 3 times as many calories as riding a bike the same distance. They also looked at a measurement called: ‘Persons per hour that one meter-width-equivalent right-of-way can carry’. In this case Rail scored tops with 4,000 persons, but ‘autos in mixed traffic’ still managed the worse rating with only 170 people. Bikes did pretty well, relative to cars, achieving 1,500 persons per hour. This is the sort of impact that Critical Mass rides around the planet try to demonstrate on a regular basis. The stats also inferred that cycling contributes to a nation’s health. For example, they found that only 1% of urban travel in the US was by bicycle, a country with 30.6% of adults considered obese. This contrasted with the Netherlands where 28% of urban travel was via a bike, and only 10% were obese...“

(There is a lot of conservation stuff at the Efficient Vehicle site.)

Even the devotees' yellow car has an interesting feature – it runs on recycled fryer oil. That’s vegetable oil that would otherwise have been landfilled.

Alternative fuels and conservation are starting to get some notice. What could you do as an individual immediately? Well, walking as much as possible instead of turning on an engine for short distances. Even if you do have to make vehicle trips, try to minimize them, and multitask. Simply planning the most efficient trip can pay dividends for the planet.

Fuel Conservation No Idle Matter at UPS

“You wouldn't think of something as benign as avoiding a left-hand turn could conserve fuel, but Atlanta-based United Parcel Service (UPS) swears by it. In fact, the parcel carrier has technology in its systems that help map this out routes that minimize the number of left turns the driver has to make. According to spokesperson Steve Holmes, avoiding left turns at intersections reduces idling which in turn lowers fuel consumption. "It seems small, but when you multiply it across 88,0000 vehicles making nearly 15 million deliveries every day during the course of a year, it adds up."...”


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