The summer I turned twelve, I got my first 10-speed bike. Too impatient to walk and too young to drive, biking was a great way for a kid to get around in an area with no public transportation. To me, it meant freedom. I could go to the park or the lake or my friend’s house, using just my own human power.
As an adult, I continued to use the bicycle as my primary mode of transportation whenever possible. So when my husband asked me what I would like my next car to be, I said emphatically, “a Velomobile!” A Velomobile is basically an enclosed recumbent bicycle, to protect against the elements. Recumbant bicycles are more comfortable, more efficient, and can be faster than traditional bicycles.
Two huge problems in the US are increased obesity and its many health-related problems, and dependence on fossil fuels. According to Chevron, the world’s demand for oil will only increase in the next 20 years. Their solution? “Better ways to deliver oil and gas.” Drill for more oil. My solution to both of these problems is human powered vehicles.
In the late 1800s, bicycles were all the rage. When the car came on the scene, people embraced it as a cleaner way of getting around than horse power – no more horse poop in the street – but they had no idea of what the cost would be to our environment. Cars have become such an accepted part of our lifestyle that most people would find it difficult to imagine living without them. But with decreasing oil supply and increasing gasoline prices, now might be just the right time to start.
Not only can we use human power to turn our morning commutes into our morning workouts, we can also generate energy by exercising, or even just by being in the right place at the right time. We are only limited by our imaginations. And as Einstein said, imagination is more important than knowledge.
Just for fun, check out Greg Kolodziejzyk, who holds the world records the greatest distance by human power in one day, in both land and water. For more information on Velomobiles, check out this Velomobile guide, and the following sites: