Over the years SIERRA magazine has had a love affair with bicycles and these recent articles attest to that fact. For the full stories please click on the links below the excerpts.
What I like best about bikes is that they make people happy…
-Bob Sipchen, Director of Communications of the Sierra Club
What I like best about bikes is that they make people happy, in the same way that slobbering, tail-wagging dogs do. They, too, come in a hilarious array of breeds, each designed to fit our needs, from the utilitarian sheepdog (delivery bike) to the psychological shih tzu (brakeless, fixed-gear urban affectation). Suited businesspeople and fedora'd hipsters career down city streets grinning. More than a few Sierra Clubbers clomp into work each morning wearing bike cleats. Soon enough, their endorphin-fueled blush evolves into clear-eyed focus.
Look, It's a Cheatercycle!...How a pedaling PURIST learned to love (or at least not be so embarrassed by) electric bikes
By Lynn Rapoport
No amount of portable wattage will fix the problem of not enough bike lanes. But the extra hardware on e-bikes, aside from making them--I have to admit--kind of fun, might just seduce potential riders who are afraid of hills, or of arriving at the office drenched in sweat, or of going into cardiac arrest while hauling kids around on a cargo. In which case, electric bikes could help to dampen the nation's enthusiasm for the internal combustion engine. I'd have to tweak my fondest daydream, of course--the one in which most people power themselves through the world--but that's a compromise I could live with.
In Sausalito, an older gentleman from Santa Clara admiringly circled the Metro and queried me on its wattage. He allowed that this particular model was less than ideal for hoisting onto a bus or train during commutes, but predicted that soon enough, maybe around the time gas reached $5 a gallon, we'd all be riding one or another of its kind.
As I motored back up the hill, pretending not to enjoy the painless ascent I'd panted through on countless other rides, I imagined sharing the road with more of these things. Looking out at the traffic jam clogging the bridge ahead of me, I could appreciate the Santa Clara man's prediction. A proliferation of e-bikes would, I knew, be good for the planet--provided their batteries were recharged in hydropower-rich places like Seattle, rather than in coal-dependent places like Atlanta.
by Paul Rauber, acting executive editor
Nearing the finish, I spot another rider 100 yards ahead. I shift up and stand in the pedals for quick acceleration. Quads burning, I soon hit my lactate threshold. How long can I keep this up? Digging deep for a last burst of speed, I pass the lady towing her kid in a trailer. The kid waves, and I continue on to the train station.
Not that my fellow cyclists and I are in need of further reason to be pleased with ourselves, but our favorite form of locomotion just happens to be a powerful weapon against climate change.