Darn good program, and something more people, kids and adults, should do in their communities. Robb recalls riding his bike six miles each way to baseball practice when he was a kid. Now, he sees the SUV culture making kids and adults lazy. That may sound like typical curmudgeonly grousing about the woeful state of our youth, but stats back up what Robb is saying:
Forty years ago, childhood obesity in the U.S. was at 10 percent, and a reported 50 percent of students were walking or biking to school every day. Today, the obesity rate has soared to more than 50 percent, and fewer than 3 percent of students today report that they walk or cycle to school on a daily basis [Amanda Palluck, "Bikers Get 'Safe Route' Protection," Brookings Register, 2008.10.01].
Only three percent of kids get to school under their own power? Come on, kids: you're not all living 20 miles out in the country, and you're not facing a shoulder-to-shoulder gauntlet of stalkers and sex fiends on the road to school. Moms, dads, oil up those bike chains, get your kids some sturdy hiking shoes (enough with those flip-flops!), and tell your kids to hit the road!
Palluck also notes that "The U.S. could save 462 million gallons of gas a year by increasing cycling from 1 to 1.5 percent of all trips." Now the U.S. burns through 390 million gallons of gasoline a day, so maybe those savings don't sound like much. But every drop helps. Think of it this way: That decrease in gasoline usage would come from every American replacing a car trip with a walk or a bike ride maybe four times a year. You could make it a monthly habit to make up for your whiner neighbors and produce even more savings.
Once a month. You've got National Guard soldiers making their second tours in Iraq to keep the world safe from terrorism and disruptions in the flow of Mideast oil. Is pounding the pavement and the pedals once a month that much of a sacrifice to ask of you and your kids?
Park the car. Ride your bike. Use your feet. Burn fat, not oil.