Is a Meat-Eating Cyclist a Contradiction?

In response to James McWilliams's still-reverberating post about why more environmentalists don't promote veganism, a reader named Mary writes:

I have always wondered why environmentalists are so reluctant to promote veganism, but eager to promote alternative transportation. Many residents of the U.S. are currently locked in to their car-dependent lifestyle, with large mortgages in suburbs with no safe sidewalks or bike lanes and inefficient transit. Ditching their car is logistically much more difficult to do than buying beans instead of meat at the grocery store. Currently, the infrastructure for reducing car use is lacking in many communities, though vegan foods, like beans, grains, fruits, and vegetables, are much more easily obtained.

It's an interesting point. A few related thoughts come to mind:

When Corporate Sponsorship Backfires

From the Wall Street Journal: "When British bank Barclays PLC agreed to shell out ?25 million ($39 million) to sponsor London's new public bike-rental program, it envisioned the marketing benefits of seeing its sky-blue logo draped on thousands of cycles around the city."

Do Bike-Helmet Laws Discourage Bicycling?

Whatever the case, a downturn in bike ridership may strike some people as a grievous strike against the American character. On the other hand, it's great news for the likes of Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft.

What Do Women Want?

In recent years, replacing your car with a Schwinn has become a popular idea for reducing your carbon footprint. However, not everyone has rushed to their local bike store: fewer than 2 percent of the population relies on bikes for transportation.

Who Causes Cyclists' Deaths?

More than 52,000 bicyclists have been killed in bicycle traffic accidents in the U.S. over the 80 years the federal government has been keeping records. When it comes to sharing the road with cars, many people seem to assume that such accidents are usually the cyclist's fault, a result of reckless or aggressive riding. But an analysis of police reports on 2,752 bike-car accidents in Toronto found that clumsy or inattentive driving by motorists was the cause of 90 percent of these crashes.

Bicycle Inflation in Paradise?

When I arrived in Portland last month, the first thing I wanted to do was buy a bike and get around the way the locals do. Since I wouldn't be in town for too long, and it wasn't clear that I'd be able to take the bike with me when I left, I wanted something extremely cheap.

Are Bicyclists Free Riders?

| Do bicyclists contribute their fair share to the transportation network? An Oregon lawmaker thinks not, and has proposed a law requiring cyclists to pay a $54 registration fee every two years. A Portland bike blog interviewed the lawmaker in question, who explained the proposal this way: “[B]ikes have used the roads in this state […]

Enjoy the Free Ride While It Lasts

| Just when you were convinced that your bike is a free alternative to driving, a bill is proposed in Oregon that would require cyclists to pay a $54 registration every two years. Wayne Kriger, the bill’s chief architect (and, natch, a non-cyclist), says bike riders should help pay for the roads they use. Just […]

Lance Armstrong: Secret Weapon to Fight Global Warming?

Cycling aficionados call it the Lance Effect: Lance Armstrong‘s unprecedented seven-win tear through the Tour de France sparked a surge of interest in bicycle racing in the U.S. — and a corresponding jump in high-end road bike purchases. Armstrong’s influence is credited with upping the popularity of bike commuting as an alternative to driving. But […]

Is America Turning Into Europe Right Before Our Eyes?

Photo: Rhett Redelings Yes, it’s because of climbing gas prices. And yes, it’s because of environmental concerns. And yes, maybe I’m just noticing these things because gas prices and environmental concerns have primed us to notice such things. (This is called confirmation bias, and it probably afflicts us all.) But doesn’t it seem as if […]