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Thursday, October 2, 2008

Brookings Does Patriotic Duty, Promotes Biking and Walking

The Brookings Register covers the work of Robb Rasmussen, owner of Sioux River Bicycles and Fitness, to establish a Safe Routes to School program in Brookings. His efforts with the local SRTS subcommittee helped bring $93K to Brookings to support creating bicycle safety lanes on roads to schools, training kids in safe biking and walking, and sponsoring events like walk-to-school days.

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.


  1. Robb Rasmussen10/02/2008 1:11 PM

    Thanks Corey, Glad you noticed.
    SDSU President David Chicoine and First Lady Marcia Chicoine are riding bikes in the Hobo Day parade this year. They will be riding as the first enty in the parade right behind the flags.
    The theme this year is "Get Physical", so this ties in nicely.
    Upon finishing the parade, they are
    looping back to join as many bicycles as possible as the last entry of the parade. We will be
    riding, among other bikes, a cargo
    bike with the 1World2Wheels logo
    of the mantra about the .5% increase in cycling making a 462 million gallon yearly savings. Everyone is welcome to join us,
    meet north of the Ag Heritage museum in the motor pool parking lot after 9:00 AM. Robb Rasmussen

  2. So, what makes bike riding and walking patriotic?

  3. CAH:

    Rather than spending $700 billion dollars on bailing out banks, why not spend it on:


    Give everyone in the US an electric bike. They would be too pervasive to be worth stealing and since everyone one would have one an aftermarket/cheap parts market would develop.

    If you really want to nerd out check out the battery pack of that bike. It can be recharged 3000 times! 5-10 year useful life if charged daily!

    Now that is a way to dramatically reduce portable fuel usage.

  4. I got my blood pressure down from 150/90 to 110/70 in the past seven days! I simply gave up red meat and dairy products. No other changes. No drugs. I guess that's patriotic, too. It ought to lower health care costs! (It may also say something about our food supply.)

  5. I went from 270-280 pounds at this time last year to 190 pounds last night. I guess I'm patriotic because I'm being self-accountable for my health and well-being, as well as not forcing others to pay for my health care! LOL


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