There's a number of reasons why I encourage people to use a motorcycle for transportation as much as possible. One really big one is that the quality of the experience is much higher than in a car. Another big one is the smaller footprint we leave. There are other vehicles, such as hybrids and electric cars that are attempting to do the same thing.
I can't help but think that in many ways motorcycles are still more successful in the effort to use less resources.
Linn Benton Community College has been working on some energy saving improvements. One of the projects has been the addition of some charging stations for electric vehicles.
There are three of these things available. At this point the charging stations are functional and ready to use. Demand has been almost non-existent. I'm presuming it's because there aren't really many hybrids or electric cars being driven to the campus. Part of it might be that there's also a bunch of construction containers and equipment stored right next to the charging stations.
At the moment a driver can use the charging stations free of charge. A card is issued from the college which activates the unit. I haven't seen one, but I think the cards must be more of a circuit board covered in protective hard plastic. The cards are supposed to have cellular phone type communication abilities. When the car is fully charged the card receives a signal that notifies the driver.
The system is a great start. For cars that run totally on electricity, these kind of charging stations are going to have to be plentiful and convenient.
I applaud the efforts folks make to ease the strain on our planet. I still think motorcycles are an excellent way to do the same. Perhaps even better in some ways.
I don't know all the ins and outs about this global warming stuff, for example. Some studies claim that our pollution is causing harm to the weather patterns. Others claim the opposite. Or, at least, that the warming trends are part of a cycle that happens naturally over many years. Like I say, I'm not sure what to believe. I do know some things, for sure, however.
Whatever resources are on this planet are there in finite quantities. Whatever waste is produced from driving, manufacturing, and so on has an effect on the earth. And most of that effect isn't very good for the environment. So whatever we can do to mitigate the consumption and excretion process has to be a good thing.
It kills me when hybrid drivers look down on me for riding a motorcycle. I don't know about you, but it happens a lot to me. It's probably a combination of the smugness inherent in some people and the negative stereotypes of motorcyclists that people still harbor. Is it the motorcycle or the fact that I'm not drving a hybrid or electric car? Do they think I'm pouring pollution into the atmosphere? I don't get it but sometimes their superior attitude gets a bid old.
In the long run, it doesn't really matter to me. What they think of me doesn't change who I am. When I go to bed at night I'm still me. I must be a bit hacked off, though, if I'm prompted to write this after a recent encounter. I'll leave out the details. One of those times when if we lived in the Old West I could have just taken some smart mouth's head off. Instead, I have to swallow my bile and hope the bastard realizes how lucky he is to be able to walk away unscathed.
Some people just can't be reasoned with and hurting them isn't worth going to jail for. In a rare circumstance, I remained silent and retreated.
Coincidentally, I was reading about some remarks made by Pat Egan, vice president of customer and community affairs for Pacific Power. This is the power utility that serves our area. Pacific Power, in turn, is part of Mountain States Power. It's a large utility.
Pat stated at a Chamber of Commerce lunch that Pacific Power still generates 58% of its electricity by means of coal fired plants. The rest comes from natural gas, with a small percentage being generated by wind turbines. We do have a few dams in the area and I don't know how much electricity they produce. Whatever amount that is figures into the 42% balance.
Electric power in cars doesn't create emissions, but the production of much of the electricity does. When a hybrid car is cruising down the freeway it's using internal combustion the same as my bike. I'm probably getting better mileage which means Elvira's fuel injected engine is probably running cleaner. Since the the vast majority of my riding is at speeds where a hybrid is using the engine, would I really be doing much good if I drove one? Better fuel mileage has to translate to fewer emissions, at least in my book.
My bike takes a lot less resources to produce in the first place. All that metal, upholstery, glass, and so on requires manufacturing waste to be produced. There's just flat out less material used for a motorcycle.
There may be some advantage when the car is running on battery power at slow speeds. I don't know. The batteries have a relatively short life. Do you want to talk about cumulative hazardous waste disposal at the end of an electric car's life compared to a motorcycle when it dies?
All in all, I feel pretty good about the ecology of riding. The post may not make much sense but it's my rant. I feel better, now. Go ride and feel good about it! Speaking of which, I've got to go. I have a meeting an hour North of here. It will mean riding in the drizzle but I'm going to celebrate every mile. I'm going to give a cheerful wave to every Prius driver I see today. Just to mess with them.
Miles and smiles,