Opposing Points of View

A sports car and a utility bike.

17 Responses to “Opposing Points of View”

  • DerrickP says:

    I just played the “Deliverance” dueling banjo theme in my head.

  • Duncan Watson says:

    Most sports cars get driven infrequently enough that their impact is relatively light. Especially since so many are lighter than the average car.

    For me the big issue is how much energy is wasted by moving 1.5-3 tons of extra weight around as compared to a bike. I just don’t get how anyone thinks a few tons doesn’t matter. My new commuter will be a mango sport velomobile which is a wee bit lighter (65 lbs) and still sexy as heck. mango sport picture

  • Dolan Halbrook says:

    @Duncan: even for a car, that Lexus is hardly light (~3500 lbs). Agreed that even a quarter of that weight is overkill for moving a sub 200 lb adult around.

  • Duncan Watson says:

    @Dolan Anything over 200 lbs is overkill for moving a person around. The Lexus is more a luxury car, I was thinking Porsche when talking lighter than average. You have me there.

    I also love how bikes win the how fast you can do a series of errands in a city contest over and over again in various cities.

  • Sharper says:

    Weight’s an easy thing to rag on cars about, but I think surface area used is the more important statistic. With the exception of the aforementioned Porsches, bigger vehicles generally require more weight to help provide the power to move ‘em, so the statistic correlates well enough.

    Take my pickup (’99 Toyota Tacoma base model) and general-purpose bike (’99 Specialized Hard Rock with wide cruiser handlebars) as examples. At over 15 feet long and 5 1/2 feet wide, the pickup commands about 85 square feet of roadway. At 6ish feet long and with my shoulders a hair over 2 feet wide, the bike demands only a fraction of the truck’s surface area.

    Automobiles don’t start comparing to bicycles in transportation density until you get into fully-loaded 7 passenger vans. Add in the recommended safety buffer for each vehicle and the bicycle’s much greater maneuverability around obstacles, and it’s easily clear why two-lane bike trails can still seem empty when they’re transporting as many people as eight-lane freeways.

  • Adrienne says:

    I don’t see opposition. I see an opportunity for dialogue.

  • Duncan Watson says:

    @Sharper you are looking at density issues, I am looking at energy usage. The wattage required to move a bike vs a car differs by a huge factor. It is insane. But you are correct that cars are both wasteful in consumption of our precious space as well as wasteful in consumption of energy.

  • Ken Sturrock says:

    I own and love both sports cars and bicycles. They’re both fantastic. Use the one that works best for the job at hand…

  • Ed L. says:

    Of course, these days the fully kitted out utility bike can be as much of a status-driven consumer purchase as the sports car – at least within its own aficionado community. Not that I think that’s a bad thing. The world would probably be a better place if a swanked out utility bike turned as many heads as a your average sports/muscle car.

  • MU says:

    @Sharper – You are right about surface area used. Note that in the photograph the lexus is in “free” space dedicated for automobile parking, paid for by all visitors to that shopping complex, regardless of how they arrived. Meanwhile, the bike is forced to interfere with space that is supposed to be for resting visitors. Most likely because there was no accommodation for bicycle parking at all at that location. Many of the social costs of cars come about from the amount of space they demand and not just the resources they use.

  • Alan says:


    You’re right about “no accommodation for bicycle parking”. I arrived first. By the time I came back, there were three bikes locked to the bench.


  • MU says:

    @Alan – Which probably means that some tired person walked by, wanted to sit, but didn’t because the bench was taken over, and shook a mental fist at “those damn cyclists”. Once again “scofflaw” cyclists show no consideration for others.

  • Alan says:


    Naw, I doubt it. It was early in the morning, and no one walks in the suburbs anyway… ;-)

  • RDW says:

    When I look at that picture I see the bike represented as utilitarian, everyday transport and the car as a toy. Is it opposition or changing social paradigm?

  • sbcommute says:

    I like to think of my bike as my little sports car. The steering is so responsive and when it gets moving I can feel the speed much better than on any fancy sports car I’ve ever ridden on.

    Sports car sales people love to talk about being one with the car. In my opinion, being one with the bike, is way more fun.

  • Hercule says:

    For a year or so I had a Miata in the garage as well as my bikes. To prove that I’m a true bikie, at the end of the year I’d ridden more miles on the bikes than in the Miata; and when asked what I thought of it, the comparison that automatically rose to my lips was that it was almost as much fun as my recumbent trike.

    But then I’ve still got the ‘bent and the Miata is history…

  • Richard Masoner says:

    I regularly pass a hot Lotus while riding my bike past congested traffic during my evening commute. Biking in LA pointed to this whiny rant by a guy driving a Porsche down the PCH, complaining about the traffic getting in his way.

    My bike & new car photo :-)

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