Two-wheeled stewardship: cycling saves the world

two-wheeled stewardship

Ever had to eat ramen noodles for a week just so you could fill up your car? Concerned that your CO2 emissions will make all the penguins homeless? Well, do something about it — get out and ride that trusty two-wheeler.

Bicycles get a bad rap in the USA. Every kid starts out with one, but they are typically discarded like a burrito wrapper as soon as we hit driver’s license age. Sometimes we pick it up again in college, motivated more by a lack of parking places than by stewardly impulses, and many people go out and buy that new SUV as soon as they get a job. It doesn’t have to be this way! A bicycle is a legitimate, efficient, and even fun way to do a significant amount of our everyday travel, and we, as Christians, have every reason to be proactive about the environment.

Here are a few things you may not know — your bike gets about 900 miles per gallon. OK, I know, it’s a weird comparison since you can’t drink diesel, but you still have to marvel at the extreme efficiency of this simple machine. Even taking into account all the energy costs of the food you eat and the conversion to usable energy, a bike conservatively gets 100-200 miles per gallon. And while technically you still have CO2 emissions (you can’t hold your breath forever), they are microscopic compared to the most efficient car. The bicycle is the ultimate form of green transportation, and we’re not even getting into all of the health and wellness benefits that come with riding.

So, should you sell your Honda and ride your Huffy everywhere? I wouldn’t say that. Car use is almost unavoidable in our country, with our mediocre public transportation and sprawling cities. While it is a beautiful dream (for me, anyway), I think going completely car-free is almost impossible. But there are so many things we drive to on a daily basis that a bike would serve better for. All those short drives add up — they are hard on your car, you get bad mileage, and most of the time a bike will get you there just as fast. And, you won’t have to look for a parking spot.

So think about it: what parts of your daily driving could reasonably be done by bike? Then get out there and do it. Get your bike tuned up, get a decent helmet (God only gave you one head — take care of it), and start pedaling. You’ll be a good steward of God’s creation, and if you save a few bucks and a penguin or two, that’s a nice bonus.

— Ryan Day