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The premise was grossly flawed to begin with.
Before he commenced urinating all over motorcycle owners' freedom parade, 'MythBusters' host Adam Savage opened a recent broadcast with this pithy delight: 'People are trading in their cars and driving motorcycles instead because they believe that's the more environmentally friendly choice. The logic is because motorcycles are generally more fuel-efficient than cars, they burn less gas and thus they must be better for the environment.'
Really now, sir?
First, I have never in all my sunny days heard one single owner-to-be of any motorcycle utter anything of the sort. What I have heard are statements like, 'I need to feel the wind in my bald spot, baby!' And, 'I gotta be able to outrun the cops.' Or the sad old, 'Life is way too short to sit in cars, man.' And of course the more utilitarian, 'I want to be able to get away from my annoying wife/husband/kids as quickly and often as possible.'
But golly, I can't think of a single instance of, 'I really want to reduce my greenhouse gas emissions… that's it: I'll get a motorcycle!'
Sweet clarity, via the U.S. Dept of Transport... treating to us this digestible slice of feelgood pie, the friendly bureaucrats sum it thusly:
U.S. Transportation Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Source, 2006 (all gases, in Tg CO2 equivalent)
As you may venture to surmise, just a single one of my nostril hairs is fatter than the net contribution of greenhouse gasses (GHGs) from motorcycles. So taking every one us off the road wouldn't likely make a gnat fart's worth of difference to humanity's plummet into carbonic demise.
And there are other calculations the FunBusters neglected to factor in:
- Adrenaline - its accumulation in the tissues of riders during moments of high fear, drama or other excitement, and subsequent utilization, together contribute to a massive reduction in GHGs. This is because on returning home riders will be so keyed up by the experience of motorcycling that they will not be able to sit still in front of a TV set, thus consuming less power-plant generated electricity.
- Narcotics - the net quantity of illicit drugs consumed - and thus grown, processed, shipped and distributed - has decreased markedly since the invention of motorcycles, as they offer a far superior high than any boring drug.
- Niceness - Motorcycle owners are the most decent people on earth, especially to each other. Each interaction - particularly those containing conversations about motorcycle engines and road trips - decreases the amount of depression-causing hormones in the riders' brains, thus simultaneously decreasing the number of road trips to the therapist, the need to drive more to fetch anti-depressants at pharmacies and other GHG-increasing factors.
So I declare you busted - and lame - Mr Savage. And let me chase that back with this valediction: Your opener was one of the most transparently made-up mounds of Californian horse-fecality it has ever been my rot-gutting displeasure to endure. You neglected to factor in so many obvious mitigators that your piece was neutered by its thorough shoddiness. A glaring fact noted and detailed by the (mostly) informed letters the article in the LA Times attracted.
Clearly Adam has never owned a bike. And after Savaging his own street cred, I doubt if anyone would deign to sell him one now.
(Chart from http://climate.dot.gov/about/transportations-role/overview.html;photo from latimes.com)