Why bother??? Just Cycle

Check your carbon footprint before u read any further!!!

Check one of the simplest options to reduce the same… πŸ™‚

A very nice article on climate change published in The New York Times…

The Way We Live Now

Why bother? That really is the big question facing us as individuals hoping to do something about climate change, and it’s not an easy one to answer. I don’t know about you, but for me the most upsetting moment in “An Inconvenient Truth” came long after Al Gore scared the hell out of me, constructing an utterly convincing case that the very survival of life on earth as we know it is threatened by climate change. No, the really dark moment came during the closing credits, when we are asked to . . . change our light bulbs. That’s when it got really depressing. The immense disproportion between the magnitude of the problem Gore had described and the puniness of what he was asking us to do about it was enough to sink your heart.

But the drop-in-the-bucket issue is not the only problem lurking behind the “why bother” question. Let’s say I do bother, big time. I turn my life upside-down, start biking to work, plant a big garden, turn down the thermostat so low I need the Jimmy Carter signature cardigan, forsake the clothes dryer for a laundry line across the yard, trade in the station wagon for a hybrid, get off the beef, go completely local. I could theoretically do all that, but what would be the point when I know full well that halfway around the world there lives my evil twin, some carbon-footprint doppelgΓ€nger in Shanghai or Chongqing who has just bought his first car (Chinese car ownership is where ours was back in 1918), is eager to swallow every bite of meat I forswear and who’s positively itching to replace every last pound of CO2 I’m struggling no longer to emit. So what exactly would I have to show for all my trouble?

A sense of personal virtue, you might suggest, somewhat sheepishly. But what good is that when virtue itself is quickly becoming a term of derision? And not just on the editorial pages of The Wall Street Journal or on the lips of the vice president, who famously dismissed energy conservation as a “sign of personal virtue.” No, even in the pages of The New York Times and The New Yorker, it seems the epithet “virtuous,” when applied to an act of personal environmental responsibility, may be used only ironically. Tell me: How did it come to pass that virtue β€” a quality that for most of history has generally been deemed, well, a virtue β€” became a mark of liberal softheadedness? How peculiar, that doing the right thing by the environment β€” buying the hybrid, eating like a locavore β€” should now set you up for the Ed Begley Jr. treatment.

And even if in the face of this derision I decide I am going to bother, there arises the whole vexed question of getting it right. Is eating local or walking to work really going to reduce my carbon footprint? According to one analysis, if walking to work increases your appetite and you consume more meat or milk as a result, walking might actually emit more carbon than driving. A handful of studies have recently suggested that in certain cases under certain conditions, produce from places as far away as New Zealand might account for less carbon than comparable domestic products. True, at least one of these studies was co-written by a representative of agribusiness interests in (surprise!) New Zealand, but even so, they make you wonder. If determining the carbon footprint of food is really this complicated, and I’ve got to consider not only “food miles” but also whether the food came by ship or truck and how lushly the grass grows in New Zealand, then maybe on second thought I’ll just buy the imported chops at Costco, at least until the experts get their footprints sorted out.

There are so many stories we can tell ourselves to justify doing nothing, but perhaps the most insidious is that, whatever we do manage to do, it will be too little too late. Climate change is upon us, and it has arrived well ahead of schedule. Scientists’ projections that seemed dire a decade ago turn out to have been unduly optimistic: the warming and the melting is occurring much faster than the models predicted. Now truly terrifying feedback loops threaten to boost the rate of change exponentially, as the shift from white ice to blue water in the Arctic absorbs more sunlight and warming soils everywhere become more biologically active, causing them to release their vast stores of carbon into the air. Have you looked into the eyes of a climate scientist recently? They look really scared.

So do you still want to talk about planting gardens?

I do.

Visit the link for the rest of the article…

Dodo Gyan

For those of u who strongly feel the desire to put on the AC in your comfortable car/office cribbin bout the heat – just think for a moment – the weather is bad in the first place due to the CFCs emitted from the AC which is also a fuel/power guzzler. U have in the least the option to switch on the AC – a farmer out there can only commit suicide after a failed crop!!! Think!!!

I have been trying to reduce my carbon foot print for long time now – having read about global warming in the 7th grade. Funny thing is (is it really???) we all hear about it and yet our apathy as always gets the better or of us.

The best I could do is cycle as often as possible and I am glad to see the interest rising in Bangalore which was clear this weekend at the Car Free Day and a similar event on the World Earth Day.

I have been cycling in Bangalore since 2003 and to work almost all the 5 years of my career now. This is despite the history of allergic rhinitis (Hay Fever) in the streets of Bangalore rife with dust, smoke and killer (pun intended! ;)) traffic.

It would be redundant to count the many benefits of cycling but for the fastidious I did like to share my motivation for the same:

1. A 82 year old gentleman from Car Free day, May 2004: The gentleman was fit and fine – enough to cycle with us. Slim and trim without the pot bellies 40 year olds usually sport (nowadays it is commonplace even amongst 25 year olds!!!). I dunno how long my life is gonnabe but I what I do know is that I want it healthy all along for sure! πŸ™‚

2. A family cycling around ulsoor lake each day: There was this family fro – each member had a cycle and they cycled each morning the whole of ulsoor lake. I was amazed at the legs of the father – a good footballer would shy away in front of those well chiseled legs! πŸ˜‰

3. Das who I met again this Car Free day: For those who think investment this is a quintessential example – Das used to take his four wheeler daily from Sadashivnagar to Jayanagar to his office spending 120 bucks on the fuel and then spend around 4K annually on the gym. He switched to cycling and needless to say he saved all the above expenses and is much fitter now! πŸ™‚ The cycle goes free each year… Neat huh! πŸ˜€ Probably this article will substantiate it further – Gas prices boost bicycle sales. If economics don’t influence you enuf then time might – Car Vs Cycling.

4. Allergic Rhinitis: Yes the hay fever is a motivating factor since my homoeopathy doctor had mentioned the best way to fight the allergy was to get immune to the allergens. With cycling I am more than doing it in addition to the cold water bath each morning (sometimes more than once a day). The problem has been hibernating for long time now! I still get a headache due to a cigarette though!!!

5. Environment Freako within: Due to my health issues I had a tough time as a student and I made it a point to ensure that I don’t contribute an iota to messing the environment. Hence, the freako!!! I did switch off every extra light burning if I could, turn of a dripping taps, and zillion such things that most people ignore so easily. When in the air conditioned cab my mind is anything but cool but when cycling my mind is at complete peace – possibly my best visionary hours besides the pot of course! πŸ˜‰ And in the night when I crash on to the bed I get the best sleep possible effortlessly – are the insomniacs out there listening??? πŸ™‚

6. Gourmet/Gourmand that I am: I simply love eating anything – vegetarian of course! πŸ™‚ I hate to abstain from anything when it comes to food and with cycling I have been able to abstain from abstinence! :))

7. Teetotaller: I have been that for a long time now and it appears to be one species at the verge of extinction (much like the dodos! ;)). I find it strange that some people find smoking disgusting but not drinking – let’s leave that for another post. With Cycling u can’t afford these luxuries. These kill the stamina n u r better off without these any which ways! πŸ™‚

8. Water therapy: I sit in an Air Conditioned office (I wud ban it if I cud. For now I just request it to be switched off as often as possible). I rarely feel like drinking water and I believe it will take its toll some day soon in the form of failing kidneys. Cycling is a saviour yet again. My intake of water increase manifold times due to the cycling. It is a good cleansing effect and I can see the benefits already.

9. Sweat it out: I have frens who have high cholesterol at “this” age. I have had colleagues who take pills for diabetes at 26. I know of people succumbing to a cardiac arrest at 23. So we can all blame it to the the IT lifestyle or choose to exercise with some discipline in eating habits. Spend time, money and energy going to a gym – obviously in a vehicle to save time (does that not sound ironical???). An aliter – cycle where ever u go – it may obviate the need to go to a gym altogether. I m going to combine cycling with swimming to get the best results – a complete work out! πŸ™‚

10. Thrills making u road polite: Cycling in Bangalore is no less than an adventure sport (mebbe extreme ones like bungee jumping or sky diving). People don’t notice u until they ram into u. Test how watchful u r urself! πŸ™‚ U know it is dangerous so u r extra careful all the time. U learn not to be aggressive knowing how annoying it can be for others. I think I am more sensible when I m on my motor bike now than I used to be… πŸ™‚ My best adventure was the 14 km ride to electronics city to HP office. They had a shower there and I think it is a must in each office!!! I got a real kick from over-taking the kinetics and mopeds! πŸ˜‰ The service roads were made better use of… πŸ™‚

11. Anti Mugging effect:
I was always wary of the many ‘incidents’ in Blr and rarely carried much cash or any credit cards. I always felt safer as few would think that a chap on cycle would be a good prey (unless u have one of those fancy bikes!). I did get attacked once as I walking my bike and was talking to a fren on my cell. I am not sure till date if it was for money or they mistook me for someone else. Luckily for me a ‘hefty’ guy pulled over to check what was wrong and those guyz fled. Anyways they wud have got just under a 100 bucks if at all. The cycling is still on. My last cycle was stolen but the zeal persists! πŸ˜‰

12. Bad back:
I had a muscle sprain in my back early this year. Swimming has helped a great deal. I can attribute the ache to a lot of things but one that strikes most to me is rather unique and plausible – the ab muscles are not used to the fullest putting a lot of strain on the back muscles. So despite the back muscles being strong and healthy u end up with an ache since they are overworked. My back is much better sinceI started cycling again… πŸ™‚

So make sure ur belly is all worked up not just to get a 6/8 pack – butt for better reasons! πŸ˜‰ And for the guyz out there – it is a scientific fact that women are drawn more towards guyz with firm posteriors than “anything” else – and cycling can do wonders to ur… πŸ˜‰ Strong calf muscles are a measure of masculinity also – so wat are u waiting for??? Go grab an ATB, MTB, or watever else u can find! As for the gals – no point wasting urself to
Anorexia Narvarosa or letting ur worries go to ur waist. There are better ways to tone urself and fight the pollution (by killing it!:)). The disappointing thing about the Car Free day was the number of females – forces u to think if it is indeed a MAN’s world!!! Wake up the feminists and otherwise!!!

If a dozen good reasons are not good enuf… wat is??? Probably some expert advice…

See what CTC – the UK’s national cyclists’ organisation has to say

A lot of people think I nag a little too much about this whole thing… dwell on the subject all the time. I guess I do coz I find it so difficult to put across this simple point. But I m glad that at least a few people did switch to cycling after repeated exhortations:

  • A friend who used to jog 14 kms each morning got a thunder MTB to cross-train herself. She said it helped greatly.
  • A colleague who loves bikes (motor and otherwise now) is glad he got one also.
  • A dear friend in UK is now cycling daily to office (10 miles one way) and is also training for a 68 mile ride for a good cause! πŸ™‚

Many got the bikes but din’t use it enuf… Wun’t blame them given the danger involved and the bad weather (thanks to… ). The good thing is the number of cycling enthusiasts in Blr is on the rise. Some of them go for really long trails. You can find communities on orkut –

Go Cycling Bangalore
Save Petrol, Go Cycling

Nice Groups:
Bums on the saddle (U can get good advice from these folks) Their Blog
Bangalore Bikers
Bangalore Pedals
Shree (If you are looking for some inspiration – he is the guy!!:)

I love seeing the pizza delivery boyz, at pizza hut, using cycles these days – tat’s some welcome change!!! Hope some day cycling is common place in Bangalore like it is within IISc! :))

In case you are still not convinced about cycling, walking is a good option as well though the workout ain’t that good – jogging is way better. Also, in case u find planting ur own food and composting too taxing – u cud in the least switch off your monitors when not in use and shut down machines before leaving (hibernate if u need to restore ur work). There are a zillion things u cud do – so do as many as u can while u can! πŸ™‚ We owe this to our future generations in the least…

For those extremely dependent on 4 wheelers there are car pooling options:


This is a very useful site if you are interested in car pooling, knowing the bus routes, traffic situation on a particular route in Bangalore…

Use car pooling to minimize traffic on road. Check also


Switching CNG instead of petrol is a good option also. Similarly at home replace bulbs and tube lights with CFLs. Probably these deserve a separate posts! πŸ™‚

If you are convinced and you wish to go ahead and by a bike here is some valuable advice.

Happy cycling… πŸ™‚

β€œEvery time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race.” H G Wells

Author Details

Mayank Rungta

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