Bike Commute Diaries: Spare Our Air

02 Oct

When the thermometer rises toward triple digits and sends the ozone to the unhealthy levels, my crankiness rises accordingly. Officials kindly request that we all telecommute, bike, carpool or take transit to reduce car emissions. Before I bike commuted, I’d drive to work as usual and skip after work trips. Now I resent breathing bad air when I see people stacked up on the freeway, business as usual. Transit, bike or carpool, anyone?


About the Bike Commute Diaries: Launched in May 2012 for National Bike Month, this series explores the unexpected and surprising things I’ve learned about bicycling for transportation.


Posted by on October 2, 2012 in Commute Diaries


14 responses to “Bike Commute Diaries: Spare Our Air

  1. Ken Dickson

    October 2, 2012 at 7:01 am

    Looks horrendous. It’s not just the fumes that annoy me, it’s the noise pollution too.

    Good luck on your commute!

    • ladyfleur

      October 2, 2012 at 7:08 am

      Noise pollution from traffic is the most underrated bad effect of cars, in my opinion. And it doesn’t go away with electric cars at high speeds.

      They removed a complete neighborhood of 500 houses from this area due to airport noise and crash threat. But I honestly think the car noise is worse than the airplane noise because it persistent.

  2. Frank Peters

    October 2, 2012 at 7:25 am

    Great photo, again!

    • ladyfleur

      October 2, 2012 at 7:40 am

      Thanks. My little iPhone 4 doesn’t take the best landscapes, but this one turned out. I can only imagine how much better it would have been with a real camera.

  3. djconnel

    October 2, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    It is such a rare and wonderful joy to be truly out of range of car noise. Not counting when it’s replaced by airplane noise…

    • ladyfleur

      October 2, 2012 at 8:44 pm

      It’s weird when noisy places get quiet. When Caltrain broke down last night the engine completely died. It was so quiet that I felt I should turn off the sound on my phone lest everyone in the car hear my clicking. I wish the Guadalupe trail were so quiet.

  4. l*

    October 3, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    In many countries , they are making great efforts to limit ‘second-hand cigarette smoke’ inhalation and ignore/ not paying any concern for the greatly more damaging emissions from thousands and thousands of motorised vehicles. The most selfish and anti-social are the ‘single (driver only) – passenger ‘ motorists who drive to work.

    • ladyfleur

      October 3, 2012 at 8:23 pm

      I do believe I’m living in one of those countries. It is interesting how everyone freaks out over cigarette smoke but ignores automobile pollution.

      It’s shameful that we in the US haven’t done more to prioritize non-motorized forms of transportation and public transit. There’s a lot of talk, but no one is willing to be the bad guy and do what’s necessary to force people out of old habits. It’s easier to deny the negative effects of designing cities so that only people with private automobiles are full-class citizens.

      The negative results go far beyond unhealthy air. There’s noise of all these cars, lack of regular physical exercise by people driving them, and of course the economics and politics of oil.

      I’m guessing you are a European?

  5. sevencyclist

    October 7, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    That picture is just amazing. It is a real stark contrast, with the bike in the foreground, and gridlock all around. I just wish more people would make bicycling a routine, rather than just on Spare the Air days or on smog alert days.

    • ladyfleur

      October 8, 2012 at 3:36 pm

      I was surprised how bad the traffic was. I usually don’t come up from trail to check. I hate to admit this, but I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t more visible smog. Just for the sake of the photo, of course. Some days you wouldn’t be able to see downtown San Jose so well from this distance due to smog.

      • sevencyclist

        October 8, 2012 at 6:49 pm

        I used to live in LA, so I was used to smog. No matter how bad we complain about it, we have nothing on air in the far east, like Korea or China. I guess that’s one positive to take away from it.

  6. sevencyclist

    October 7, 2012 at 9:46 pm

    Reblogged this on Sevencyclist's Blog and commented:
    The picture of the bike in the foreground, amidst traffic gridlock is just amazing. I just wish more people would consider bicycling as a valid form of transportation, and not just on a Spare the Air day.

    • ladyfleur

      October 8, 2012 at 3:33 pm

      Thanks for the reblog! I’m not sure that anyone bikes or takes transit more on any given Spare the Air days. People who drive will still drive that day, and people who already take transit or bike will do that on those days.

      But I think perhaps that repeatedly hearing about this days might make people think about it for the long term.

      • sevencyclist

        October 8, 2012 at 6:47 pm

        I think it would be an interesting stat, but I agree, there probably isn’t more alternative commutes done on Spare the Air days. All we can do is keep our presence out there to promote the bike.


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