Josh Lasky pedaling across America for the climate

For me, the story of industrialization can be summed up in one amazing fact: the energy in one barrel of oil is roughly equivalent to the energy output of one human being working a manual labor job full-time for the span of 11 years. Without a doubt, fossil fuels have made possible incredible advances in construction, transportation, healthcare, and countless other arenas, but left unchecked, it’s likely that the consumption of oil, coal, and natural gas will produce immeasurable devastation (and in some ways, already have). In the social and cultural context, fossil fuels have encouraged a somewhat unhealthy obsession with speed, not just in getting from point A to point B, but in getting to our future faster. It’s as though we’ve pushed the turbo button for civilization, and I wonder sometimes whether the pace is too fast for our own good. That thought typically passes through my head when I’m passed by a truck on the road, and seconds later hit by a massive gust of displaced air.

Josh Lasky pedaling across America

Having ridden my bike a couple thousand miles over the past five weeks, each of the handful of times I’ve been in a car during that period has been somewhat unnerving. I feel like I’m going too fast for comfort. From an early age, we’re conditioned to think that 70 miles per hour is “normal.” Commit to riding a bike every day for a few months burning Calories instead of hydrocarbons, and you might be convinced otherwise. On a bike, you are going slow enough to fully take in your surroundings, but fast enough to avoid the distraction of every crack in the road. You’re exposed to the terrain and weather, and the connection to nature is invariably more significant than being in a climate-controlled environment listening to the low hum of a 100 or more-horsepower motor a few feet in front of you. If I had to choose between the two—fast and isolated versus slow and connected—I think I have a clear preference. Unfortunately, we don’t always have the option.

Josh Lasky pedaling across America for the climate.

It’s been eight years since I’ve had a car. When you live in a city like Washington, DC, a car-free lifestyle is not only possible, it’s cheaper, more convenient, and less stressful than car ownership. I own two bikes, have a Capital Bikeshare membership, and use both Zipcar and Car2Go when I need four wheels. For trips out of town, I can take transit to either Union Station or one of three airports in the region, or I can do a traditional car rental. Climate Ride supports dozens of organizations around the country that are working to make the car-free and car-lite lifestyles possible, providing alternatives that, one day, just might become the norm.

Josh Lasky pedaling across America.

From here, I continue my trek northward-ish to Aspen, Leadville, and the Wyoming border. I’ve got plenty more miles to pedal, and with your help, plenty more dollars to raise. I’m hovering around the halfway point in my fund raising, and I’m hoping you can put me over the top. If you’re able to donate to Climate Ride in support of my cross country journey, please visit my fundraising page.

Follow me on Twitter: @joshlasky

Find me on Tumblr: http://cambiophilia.tumblr.com.

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