Reducing car trips: the two-mile challenge
Forty percent of the trips made within urban areas are to destinations no more than two miles from where the traveler lives. That's according to Clif Bar & Company, a maker of natural foods and drinks.
Seeing the potential to encourage biking and help fight climate change, the company has launched the "2 Mile Challenge," which aims to get people to avoid 100,000 car trips. A total of $100,000 will be given to nonprofit organizations involved in bike advocacy and climate protection. To participate, individuals sign up and log their miles traveled by bicycle from May to October.
According to the US Department of Transportation "Fast Lane" blog, 90 percent of trips of two miles or less are taken by car.
At least one reader of the Fast Lane blog posted a decidedly tongue-in-cheek response to the call for more biking:
As an avid cyclist, I love to see initiatives like this. But it does disappoint me to see cost used as motivation. The fact is, it's not always cheaper to ride a bicycle than it is to drive a car. Of course it will vary from person to person primarily on what kind of car you're driving, what kinds of trips you're taking, and what kind of food you eat. At least in my situation, the operating costs of my bicycle are higher than the operating costs for my car. Fuel for the bicycle is just so darn expensive. If I ate nothing but rice and canola oil it might be a different story, but that's not a realistic diet for me.
Despite the higher cost of riding my bike, I would love to make purposeful trips on it. But I have found that impractical as well. The problem there is that bicycles are just so easy to steal. Even if you lock them up, nicer bikes are made to be very easily disassembled and adjusted. I've ridden my bike to the grocery store a few times, and I always find that I'm too paranoid about coming back out to a missing front wheel and seat post. It's much less stressful to just drive or walk. I can go for a nice, relaxing bike ride when I get back home.