Pedal Power

For the last five months Fiona and I have been increasing our cycling activity, this is for many reasons and all of them sound and complimentary. Firstly its possibly the most sustainable of all the forms of transport we have available to us today, buses and trains offer us tried and tested way of travelling over longer distances but as we move closer to Peak Oil these are going to become luxuries. Day to day travel for food shopping, visiting family, friends and doctors etc will all become far less possible in a personally owned car and taxis will be prohibitively expensive. The only really viable alternative will be the bicycle, even as land owners a horse will be a less likely an alternative to our car, the energy to produce the hay and grains to feed a horse will be far more than the energy it takes us to pedal a bicycle, and as energy both from fossil fuels or plentiful amounts of good nutrition will undoubtedly become scarcer commodities, more and more people will have to consider the outstanding advantages of the bicycle. The production of a car will use on average 20 barrels of oil during its manufacture a bicycle will use less than half of one barrel, some people say the Bike is as dead as the car once we pass Peak but I think we will still be cycling in 200 hundred years but we won’t be driving in 30 years so it makes sense to see how far we can push our own use of the bicycle.

We started by doing a couple of circuits on local roads to get our fitness up and condition our leg muscles for the longer journeys we had planned. We explored a seven kilometre circular route with a few hill in it and even got our dog Moss to run along with us on a couple of occasions. A week later we tried out the trip to Aigurand a twenty kilometre roundtrip for the first time on a Friday morning, this is our local market town with a supermarket and hardware store as well the Friday morning produce market and the Café we visit JJ’s Bar. We can catch up with neighbours and buy some locally produced vegetables, fruit and plants. We now do this trip most Fridays and sometime one other day in the week if we need anything from the shops in the town.

Prior to Moss’s death we had purchased a small bike trailer so Moss could come to the market with us, and now we have Jazz our border collie puppy who is far too young to do much running alongside us we make good use of the trailer. Jazz still gets to do some running on quieter roads to build up his strength and give our legs some respite on the steeper hills. We have managed to get to most of our local sightseeing attractions on our bikes, the lake a twenty kilometre round trip, Crozant a twenty eight kilometre round trip plus a five kilometre walk by the river when we get there, Fresseline an eighteen kilometre round trip with a very hilly return journey, but worth every revolution of the pedals for the scenery along the way.