Monday, October 09, 2006

Around the World by Bike

Four years. 46,000 miles. A man and his bicycle.

Over a series of years, I followed Alastair Humphreys via his newsletters as he slowly pedaled his bicycle across five continents. I first stumbled over his site when he was in Ethiopia. His comments on being constantly asked for handouts inspired me to drop him an email, to which his response was "You don't know me, but I know you!" He'd stumbled over while researching his own trip.

I thought I was going at ground level by taking the bus. But Alastair was really going local.

He's written a book about the Africa part of his ride. And Alastair, never one to wait around for others to get it together, decided to publish it himself as the grim realities of the publishing world hit home. I'm impressed! It took me five years to get into the bookstores. He's just skipping that bit and viewing self-publishing as a new challenge.

To top it all off, Alastair is paying a carbon tax to offset the printing and delivery carbon contributions to our world (which makes more sense than hand-delivering each copy by bicycle). And of course he produced no carbon emissions by riding his bicycle, putting my ship and bus transport idea to shame. Think you're doing well by recycling and turning off the water while you brush your teeth? This guy is serious.

Alastair's book is called Moods of Future Joys. He has sample chapters on his site, and the actual book will be available in time for the holidays.

I wonder if someone really told him this:

"oh, not another travel book:
I already read that one about the guy with his fridge..."

Another six months and they would have said they already knew about Africa; it has dik-diks.


Anonymous said...

"And of course he produced no carbon emissions by riding his bicycle..."

Not completely true. To be a true environmentalist you have to stop breathing as well.

Carbon Dioxide Production of Cars and Bicycles on a 1,000 Mile Trip

Vehicle Mileage Fuel CO2
Gas guzzler 10 mpg 100 gal/gas 2,500 lbs.
Gas saver 50 mpg 20 gal/gas 500 lbs.
Average car 19.1 mpg 52 gal/gas 1,300 lbs.
Cyclist 35 kCal/mile 22 lb/rice 32 lbs.

Marie Javins said...

All right, all right, my science is faulty. I suppose next you're going to tell me how to bake an environmentally sensitive pie.

Anonymous said...

Naw...I'm no enviro-nazi. Bake as many pies as you like. A well baked apple is my preference.

Interestingly, while digging up info on CO output, I ran into some stuff on the fuel consumption by aircraft. A ten hour flight in a 747 guzzles 35,000 gallons! thats like a LOT of gas! Make it a round trip 70,000! and so on. It sort of makes me laugh when you hear about people flying in from all over the world to attend an environmental summit.

I can't wait till we're done with this oil stuff and we can go back to crossing oceans aboard six masted schooners.

Anonymous said...

An activist friend once sourly informed me of the pollution from bike manufacturing: the steel, the paint, the plastics, the HORROR!

"You think you're green, but you're guilty too. That 12-inch thick asphalt is made from Texas petroleum!"

This guy couldn't even see the glass half empty for all the toxins in the water...

But this is taking a grim turn. Why don't we tease Hatboy about his vintage sports car instead?

Marie Javins said...

You can't win! And what if you get a camel or horse? Are there methane problems then?

Henry the Ford Taurus doesn't emit his carbon. He politely holds it and then puts it in a special pit in the back of my garage. He's a clever boy.