Published Somedays

Cyclists beat jet plane

(updated: Jul 19, 2011)

This is a good story. It's getting wider attention now so you may have read about it already, but if not you can find the story all over the net (I've provided some links below).

The National View: Why Carmageddon (and the Wolfpack Victory) Matters

"Over the weekend, a team of bicyclists beat an airplane from Burbank to Long Beach, California.

The closely watched, 40-mile race was a thrilling climax to a story that’s been unfolding for weeks now. “Carmaggedon” — the weekend closure of the 405 freeway — was about car dependency and how the temporary unavailability of a single highway was going to turn a city upside down. (Streetsblog’s Damien Newton got invited to appear on the local Fox affiliate for predicting — correctly, as it turned out — that the traffic nightmare would fail to materialize.)

When they set out to prove cycling could be faster than a $4 flight offered by JetBlue, a group called the Wolfpack highlighted the insanity of the situation brought on by our overbuilt, carbon-fueled transportation system."

I ran across this story reading some comments on It proves that the current thinking that permeates in America, and notably around here -- that widening roads and building bigger highways will relieve traffic congestion -- is simply false. This also goes for the corollary: that taking away car lanes or car parking for bike lanes, sidewalks or paths will lead to more traffic and hurt business. Thus taking away the bike lanes down in Carolina Beach is a temporary solution at best, and more of a knee-jerk reaction by people subsumed by the current dogma.

The Real Lessons of Carmageddon – Angelenos Aren’t Idiots, We Have Too Many Highways

"There are two theories to transportation engineering and traffic. One theory is that traffic is like a raging river. If you block it in one place, it will flow someplace else. If you add more space for it to flow, it will flow more smoothly. This theory has dominated traffic and transportation plans for years.

This theory got kicked in the shins over the last weekend."

More on the story:
It’s on! Wolfpack Hustle Rides in Daylight Against Jet Blue
Cyclists, subway rider, and rollerblader all beat jet during Carmageddon

A related story: St. Louis, 2008: Another “Carmageddon” That Wasn’t

Coincidentally, I also came across a report at work today, about how much CO2 is released per passenger from flying. It was astonishing. According to one calculation, on a full flight from LAX to EWR, each passenger contributes 800lbs of CO2. Yesterday I had hauled four bags of cow manure, about 50lbs each, 200lbs total, so that weight (and smell) was fresh in my mind. But 800lbs! And that's in gaseous form - that's unbelievable to think about. You can play around with an interactive version here: Flight Carbon Emissions.

So yes, a $4 ticket to fly from Burbank to Long Beach or LAX to Long Beach or basically any super short flight is absolutely ridiculous and nothing more than a publicity stunt or marketing stunt or whatever you want to call it.

I admire the cyclists for having the idea, taking them to task, and hopefully opening peoples' eyes to a better way. We could use a little of that in my neck of the woods, here in Porter's Neck SUVtopia.

Meanwhile, stay in the bike lanes (if you're still one of the 10 people you haven't seen this yet).


The Matrix is a system, Neo. That system is our enemy.
When you're inside, look around. What do you see?
The very minds of the people we are trying to save.
But until we do, these people are still a part of that system, and that makes them our enemy.
You have to understand. Most of these people are not ready to be unplugged.
And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system that they will fight to protect it.

From The Matrix, 1999

Filed Under: General Entries


1. Jake said...

I hope stories like this make people more aware. I ride through Carolina Beach and see people using the bike lanes and wonder why anyone would what to go back to the way it was. The town has such a relaxed, friendly vibe with the bike lanes. People can be so short sighted. I hope they realize what they are giving up before it's too late.

Jul 20, 2011 @ 2:37 PM

2. Neon Vincent said...

Thanks for linking to my post about Carmageddon on Crazy Eddie's Motie News!

Jul 26, 2011 @ 1:09 AM


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