Published Somedays

The 2012 FAC Ride Video

(updated: Nov 5, 2012)

Every day millions and millions of people in the US get into their cars and drive to work, for work, school, to go shopping, run errands, for fun ... whatever. And every day the US uses 19.1 million barrels of oil, about 25% of the world's total consumption. And much of it is colossal waste of a one-time energy gift. In the debates when the President was asked what the greatest security threat facing our country was, he replied, "terrorism". What a nincompoop. It's energy, period. That's the true currency. That's what makes economies run and grow. And we've been living an age of abundant oil, a giant cheap-oil-fueled bonanza. But those days are over.

That's why I created the FAC ride, so people can see that you can actually ride a bike and cover large distances efficiently. Or any distance –- let’s just talk short trips, which make up the majority of driving. Or maybe I should just stop at “... you can actually ride a bike”. Or perhaps, “... you can actually ride a bike and not die”. I’ll go with that.

The transition to an expensive oil future isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it could be great. But people need to be shown these things, because most people are trapped by dogma (as Steve Jobs used to say). The dogma that there is no alternative to driving, so we have to waste all the country’s remaining wealth on ill-conceived infrastructure designed only for automobiles and then trying to figure out how to keep all the cars running. What a bunch of bullshit.

Actually, the FAC ride really just gives me an excuse to ride my bike all day, because I love riding my bike. And if people want to join me, that's great. If not, maybe someday. Maybe I will invite down-and-out Lance for next year's ride because he’s not allowed to race at any sanctioned events anymore (you think I'm kidding).

Check out this article about a woman in Portland who has six kids, no car, and ferries them around by bike (in essentially a bike flotilla): With six kids and no car, this mom does it all by bike. This woman also shows you what's possible. Now granted, it's Portland. Is this possible in places such as Wilmington ... right now? Someday perhaps local residents will figure it out. After all, she spent $4000 one time on that bakfiets, and I spend nearly $4000 each year on gas.

Am I going to be the one to do it here in Wilmington? Not likely. Not without help. I ride mainly for recreation. I do make a lot of trips to the nearby stores but that's about it. The real heroes of cycling are the people I see riding their bikes to their jobs -- down Market St. in the morning, along the 17 Bypass; dealing with mentally incapacitated motorists every day. I used to see this one guy ride his Huffy down dangerous Gordon Rd every morning so he could earn a living, while I dropped my kids off at school in the safety and comfort of my vehicle. This guy is a hero. Not me, not Lance Armstrong, not the triathletes, adventure racers, endurance racers, or fill-in-the-blank racers.

I snapped this photo the other day (from the comfort of my tank-like SUV), of this woman crossing S. College Ave. on a busy Saturday afternoon. This woman is a real cycling hero (either that or she had one too many DUIs).

Although I do like to think I am ahead of the curve in terms of predicting what is coming (as my energy rant above would indicate), I work in the energy industry so I know a thing or two.

About the ride...

First of all, it's a ride. Not a race, not a Fondo, Fondu, Fred-fest, or whatever the terminology du jour is that things have to be labeled with in order that people will buy ten-thousand dollar bikes, drive 600 miles, and pay exorbitant entry fees to participate in.

Second of all, there are no rules. There's no leader, no specific type of bike you need (although we recommend large volume tires that can travel on sand, otherwise you'll get about as far as a slug in a snowstorm). Let the terrain dictate the bike to ride, not the other way around. Laugh at my frankenbike if you will, but it works.

Thirdly, we would like more people to participate. You can enter and exit anytime and at any point you choose. This is fine because it is a very difficult ride; this year especially difficult because of the beach conditions. If enough people participate, non-cyclists will start noticing and then try to shut the whole thing down. The media will publish something about it, and the cyclist bashing will begin. "Cyclists don't obey the rules. They don't belong on the roads. Cyclists shouldn't ride on the beach. This is a private island .. . yada, yada, yada." And then the banning will begin. With success you sew the seeds of your own destruction. And that goes for automobiles as well, which is the point.

That's fine by me. We can let everyone continue to build huge monuments to the auto culture while I plan my escape out of this bat-shit insanity, or we can show people a better way. I am merely a vision of what could be. Just a glimpse. Or maybe I'm something that you saw while squinting too hard after a long night of partying and heavy drinking.

The FAC Ride. Fuck Automobile Culture. At least one day a year anyway.



2012 FAC Ride video from Sir Bikes on Vimeo.

If video above no longer works, click here.

Still shots

Ed and Michael on the Cross-City Trail:
Cross City Trail

Old Baldy:
Old Baldy

John, Ed, and Michael at Ft. Fisher:
Ft. Fisher

UNCW Campus Trails:
UNCW Campus Trails

Ft. Fisher to Bald Head:
Ft. Fisher to Bald Head

On the way back from Bald Head, Michael saved two adults who were caught in a rip-current.
Ft. Fisher to Bald Head


Reading on odometer at the end. Didn't quite make 100 miles, but felt like I rode 200.

Filed Under: Ride Reports > North Carolina > Wilmington


1. Michael said...

Erol, you did a great job on this video! I know it takes many hours to complete. So when's the next FAC Ride? A winter one perhaps?? It would be nice to have some new riders join in. You don't know what you're missing!

Nov 8, 2012 @ 9:08 PM

2. Sir chuffs-a-lot said...

i've always wanted to join in on one of the FAC rides, but the timing has never worked out. i'll keep checking this site and maybe things will align.

Nov 12, 2012 @ 11:21 AM


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