It’s simple: Cars are the problem.by Alexander on April 28th, 2014
A study by the University of Cambridge has shown that modern Humans are profoundly weaker and less mobile than our stone-age ancestors. The journal article can be seen here. I think we all also know that the problem is getting far worse. Our physical strength seems to be falling off a cliff edge. Even things like bags of cement are getting smaller. As a species we have become so week, we are not allowed to by heavy things anymore in case we put our backs out.
The biggest issue is that even if we have genetically weaker bodies than our ancestors most people vastly underestimate what they can do. We also have a social stigma surrounding physical “toil”.
If you are riding a bike up a hill, then some will question your sanity or assume that you don’t have the money for a car. Equally, if you carry something heavy for a long distance the assumption is that you can’t afford the transport: You must be deeply pore. This is quite wrong.
Scheduled “exercise” will never give you the kind off fitness benefits our forefathers enjoyed. You have to build activity into your day. I.e. cycle or walk to work. Get rid of your car and use a cargo bike, walk where you are going if possible.
The car is a vampire. It is the single biggest thing sapping people’s strength. They are expensive, and once you have paid for one it is very hard to leave it on the drive. As a result most people have no idea what size object they can pick up and carry, and how far.
If I told you I could sell you a drug. It’s very expensive, it will make you feel warm when it’s cold, it will give you more energy in the short term, but if you don’t use it you will be 30% weaker and tire more easily, and after a while you won’t know how to operate without it and will become totally dependent upon it, for every aspect of your personal and family life. Would you start using that drug? Probably not, but the above describes what cars do to people.
If you want to be fit, healthy and appear to be freakishly strong: sell your car, buy a push bike, and walk or cycle at every opportunity, it’s that simple.
I’ve felt a duty to challenge the stigma against toil. By chance I have recently had an opportunity to use a cargo bike a lot. It’s made me realise that if the fittest and strongest people take to the roads in this way, they create a wake for mums, children, and older people behind them to cycle. When you cycle cargo slowly, you normalise the exercise based economy and calm the cars.
If enough people start doing this, there will come a point where mums feel it is safe once again to head out on bikes with their children. You might question whether this matters? Is it a bit like the calculator question? Do we need to do mental arithmetic now we can reach for the calculators?
Well ask yourself this: Who do you think feels happier and more confident: The people rushing around looking in draws for calculators, (or waiting for the app to load), or the guys who know the answer off the top of their heads?
This issue really does matter. In fact the mental arithmetic example is trite by comparison. We are not disconnected from our physical beings. How strong you are, how fit you feel, effects every moment of every day of your life. Even as you sit idle in front of the TV, if you are fit your heart is doing a fraction of the work. Your levels of stress hormones are lower, and your body’s response to food is better. Fundamentally how strong you are affects every aspect of how you interact with your environment. That intern has a massive effect on your confidence.
I am not saying everyone should sell their cars and jump on bikes. The truth is that, many people don’t feel they can yet. However I do think it is good to acknowledge that every time we get on our bikes either for work or pleasure, our actions are having a wider positive impact.
If you know someone who would like to return to using their bike, then something like one of our Wine Rides could be the perfect way to dip their toe back in the water. But if you’re already cycling, have you considered what can be achieved with a bike with a cheap trailer? Or buy using a cargo bike? Frankly I have been amazed by the impact it’s had on our lives.
Some people might think I am being eccentric, but by embracing the next stage and my own physical power I have unwittingly cultivated the soil around me and made it easier for those close by to start their journey on bikes as well. Since I Started cycling many of my friends and family have joined me. I may not be solely responsible, but we are a social species that take after our ancestors and you know: Monkey-see-monkey-do. No doubt, subconsciously I must have copied someone who went before me.