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Denver’s Bike to Work Prizes Send a Mixed Eco-Message

by Joshua Liberles on December 20, 2007

DenBike2Work Denvers Bike to Work Prizes Send a Mixed Eco-Message

This past summer, to encourage participation in the annual Bike-to-Work Week, riders received prizes through a raffle. One prize was two round-trip tickets on Frontier Airlines for travel within the continental United States.

Part of the reason to encourage bike commuting is the environmental benefits of getting cars off of the road. To reward these commuters with airline travel, our dirtiest travel method, seemed out of place to bike commuter Rick Fuller. In fact, he put up his own money to offset the carbon emissions of the winner’s plane travel to make his point.

In a Denver Post interview Fuller said, “I’m not against plane travel. I understand how our economy works. I just believe it is sending a mixed message to give away airline tickets for biking to work."
Airplane travel is a notorious greenhouse gas polluter. Although the actual emissions per person / per mile are on par with driving the same distance alone in an SUV, scientists estimate that releasing those gases at altitude means that their impact is between 2 and 5 times more severe. Flights cause between three and seven times the greenhouse effect as train travel.
Fuller, who bikes to work almost every day, realizes that carbon offsets are a bit of a band-aid approach. Conservation always has a more significant impact than trying to make up for pollution after the fact.
From the Denver Post:

Bike to Work Week is all about helping people to understand how much energy they consume and to make choices to reduce their carbon footprint.

Photos via flickr by richardmasoner & Miss Shari.

Related posts:

  1. Denver’s Bike to Work Prizes a Mixed Eco-Message
  2. Plane Emissions Worse than Expected
  3. Amtrak Hopes to See More Green with Federal Funding, Increased Ridership
  4. California Trains to Go High-Speed?
  5. Hungarian Ad: Biking to Work Improves Your “Endurance”
  6. Recent Posts

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Miranda October 30, 2007 at 1:10 pm

As someone who bought a hybrid but ultimately ended up switching to transit I completely concur with your final comment regarding existing systems. Go Oberstar and DeFazio! I’ll be writing them today to express my support and give comments.


2 Christopher Mims November 1, 2007 at 1:44 am

As someone who loves the NYC subway system with a fury like that of a thousand suns, I couldn’t agree more.

There are other benefits that go well beyond the carbon impact, tho: an increased sense of community (when was the last time you ran into a friend on the highway?), the ability to use my commute how *I* want (e.g. reading), reduced stress (no traffic jams! no car accidents), and the sheer convenience (no parking issues!) make me wonder how I ever did it any other way.

Mass transit has the ability to improve quality of life in a way few other things can.


3 satb November 2, 2007 at 12:48 am

Not affordable. Unless it is made affordable, we cannot use public transportation. To go by public transportation even by bus, it costs $10 to and fro. Driving costs about $2. I really want to contribute and use public transport, but I don’t earn so much that I can afford to use it.


4 Nik November 2, 2007 at 1:13 am

Yeah, the auto companies crushed our public transportation system when other countries were developing their’s further. I live in Cleveland and there are three lines in our whole transit system, the majority of it is on buses.

Plus, when America moved to suburbs in the 1950’s, it killed the public transit. The nearest bus stop to my house is around 6 or 7 minutes by car.


5 malay November 2, 2007 at 1:18 am

Look at our government here in Malaysia, building so many roads but most of it is not accessible by buses/trains. Certain bus routes has to make a few rounds only reached the desire destination. Taking from point A to point B sometimes need 2-3 hours to travel which is not efficient at all. New buses which is few years old is tearing off. Providing first class service with 3rd class maintenance. And they are willing to send a man to the moon and buy jet fighters instead of spending it more to the community.


6 new-age-reject November 2, 2007 at 1:18 am

In England to get into town and back, which is about a 30 min walk each way, costs about £1 ($2 aprox) and to drive into town, considering the traffic, it probably costs about £2-£5 so over here public transport is a better option.


7 Fred Camino November 2, 2007 at 1:21 am

To and Fro? Please cite specifics when you are trying to describe how much something costs versus something else. To get from To to Fro via transit costs $10 and in a car it costs $2. Please share your source for such a statement… then we can have a reasonable discussion about costs.


8 LSK November 2, 2007 at 1:35 am

The local government isn’t subsidizing the CTA enough and they’re raising fares to nearly $3. As a student, I still get by on only $.85 a ride, but totally free public transportation would truly improve quality-of-life here.

At the very least, they could clean up a train every now and then…


9 Shaze November 2, 2007 at 1:46 am

It needs to appear free; we should Socialize the fares into taxes and then the whole thing would a good idea.

Don’t feed Capitolism. We can think of much better uses for people’s time than making money.


10 James wells November 2, 2007 at 2:03 am

Great post!


11 John November 2, 2007 at 2:16 am

Make public transit worthwhile. If they got rid of the single fare and made the smallest fare a 1-day unlimited pass, people would ride like crazy, especially if they offered weekly and monthly passes at a discount. In Pittsburgh, with unlimited fares, I rode all the time. But in Atlanta, I bike most of the time, so I have to really consider whether it’s worth it to spend $1.75 each way. Atlanta has monthly passes, but they’re not useful for a daily commuter. They need something where you buy a few 1-day unlimited passes at a time. On those days where you want to use quite a bit of public transit, it reduces the sticker shock.

A nearly empty bus costs almost as much to run as a full bus. Ridership is key.


12 LifeWrecked November 2, 2007 at 2:47 am

How on Earth do buy, insure, maintain, and even *start* a car for $2 a trip to *anywhere*??? If you are doing that, *pleeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaazzzze” tell me how, because I just found my ticket to becomeing a millionaire! LOL!


13 Bryon November 2, 2007 at 3:37 am

I currenlty live in the suburbs outside Boston and take the train to Boston daily. While the train ride is 7.25 each way totaling 14.50 just for the train. But I have to drive 15 minutes to the train station, which charges me $2 a day so in order for the privilege to work I have to shell out $16.50 a day.

So the point, the MTA needs to clean up their act and stop raping their customers because of their inability to efficiently run the organization. Their waste is costing the good people of mass untold sums. Any mass transit system should be so cheep that no one has to thing twice about where they have to go.

For example do I want to eat today, or go on this job interview??? There would be countless benefits to a society as a whole with a expanded very cheep Mass Transit system. Yes it would have to be paid for with taxes, taxes mainly of the rich.


14 Shep November 2, 2007 at 3:58 am

the minute i read the title, i knew it was more of the same old global warming bullshit


15 rob November 2, 2007 at 4:09 am

PRT could make transit more efficient in terms of both energy usage and passenger time. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_rapid_transit


16 ProGosu November 2, 2007 at 4:12 am

So everyone,
In Tokyo 6$ us dollars.
Everywhere u want all day on most mass transit
Anywhere in a city of 10 million people in less 40 min.
Most closer


17 jb November 2, 2007 at 4:44 am

I think SATB is right about the $10 assessment, if not he is close (I have studied this topic as I’m a city planner). However, if everyone road buses they would be more full, thus reducing the cost, also extremely expensive streets could be more narrow. Many studies have been done on the true price of gas (includes: roads, parking, pollution, health costs, middle east presence over the last 40 years, etc.) and the price of gas would have to be between $8-$14 to pay for these externalities. And thats not even considering how thickening gases are screwing up the planet. For those doubters, consider this, ice that is 20,000 years old is melting. Thats 20,000 year old ice (carbon dated). Is it just a coincidence that scientists happened to predict global warming (as far back as the 60’s) precisely when we are seeing such abnormal heat???? Not a chance. Even if it is just a normal warming trend, the odds of it are so small that believing otherwise is foolish.


18 Shep November 2, 2007 at 4:48 am

still the same old bullshit. yes, the world is heating up. it’s nothing to do with man’s presence on this planet. ooooh noes, save the trees, cut down on your carbon. propaganda bullshit.


19 jb November 2, 2007 at 5:09 am

shep, do you do anything about astronomy? for example, why venus has ground temps of 800 degrees when nasa scientists once thought the poles may be cool enough for habitation? it’s because it’s atmosphere is so full of carbon emissions. the more gases there are in the atmosphere the hotter the temperatures consistently will be. do some research. did you ever consider that the few powerful people who believe we are in a cycle have financial interests in doing so. exxon literally paying people off and the rush’s of the right wing using their tough persona’s for ratings.


20 Chris Taylor November 2, 2007 at 6:13 am

80,000 hours lifespan. I am betting 100 years will be quite normal for a home environment. FOREVER (effectively) for little used lights in closets etc..

Less Pollution - Lower Cost - Less Material waste and Pollution. Its a Win Win Win except to bulb manufacturers who love selling you a dozen bulbs a year off course.

This also EMPOWERS citizens since we will be collectively wealthier IE more money in our pockets to spend on OTHER things.

Solution #2

Electric Cars. We had a viable workable affordable electric car over a decade ago. They killed it on purpose.

All we need is a sub $20,000 4 door family sedan with a minimum 150 mile worst case range.

There is NO WAY in which an Electric car can not be better than a gas car.

Longer lasting. Lower maintenance, lower cost, Faster top speeds faster acceleration better safety.

Cheaper Cheaper Cheaper and oh cleaner too.

ALL the same reasons an LED bulb will save us is why an ECar will save us.

EVEN if all our power plants were coal powered (only HALF are) we would immediately lower pollution to 1/6th what it is now. It takes 6 times less E than the equivalent amount of gasoline to move a car and this does not account for Regen and NO USAGE of power while stopped or coasting.

If the EV1 had not been killed 10 years ago we would HAVE 1000 mile range cheap EV’s today. (its all about R&D dollars and with EV’s SELLING the R&D dollars would have FLOWED)

BUT what makes an EV so good is WHY they want it dead so badly.

Hydrogen is for morons. Literally. Your taking ELECTRICITY to make hydrogen to transport it around and then use that hydrogen JUST to make E again?

YOU DO realize that a Hydrogen car is an ELECTRIC CAR with a hydrogen driven battery right?

3rd grade science folks. SKIP the hydrogen and JUST USE THE ELECTRICITY. (but then they can not SELL you expensive fuel from a pump ehh :-)


21 Chris Taylor November 2, 2007 at 6:13 am

Hybrids make me sick. 48mpg prius.

Why is it that a modern expensive hydbrid electric prius can not even EQUAL the mpg rating of a 28 year old volkswagon diesel? or a CURRENT VW Jetta (52mpg at 75mph with the air going)

Is that telling you anything yet? From there perspective if it sells LESS FUEL its a bad idea.

THE ONLY reason we have hybrids at all is because Toyota got worried about GM’s EV1 and starting pouring R&D dollars in a hybrid and just decided not to stop (they did not realize GM was going to KILL the EV1) Thats the only reason they even made a hybrid at all. Go figure.

Better economy is GOOD for US bad for big business hence we do not have better economy.

I do not want public transportation I want my freaking EV. Problem Solved. Best of both worlds. Freedom of my own car WITHOUT the pollution or the cost.

What costs me $40 a week now in my Van $20 a week in my 76 Mercedes 300D would cost me under $2 in an electric car. Well probably $3-$4 because I would not not have any reason not to drive a whole lot more for pleasure that I resist now because it costs too much.

There is only ONE limitation to an EV that has been solved. (the other limitation of low speed puny cars was a myth from DAY 1 created and propagated by ANTI EV interests)

Range/Refueling. THIS IS SOLVED folks. We have battery tech to give our cars greater range than 20 gallons of gasoline at 20mpg AND all you need to recharge is JUICE. (so the gas stations install a new pump an JUICE pump :-)
This new battery tech can recharge to 90% full in under 10 minutes possibly even 5 minutes!!! (Check out A123 batteries and there not even bleeding edge!)

SO what is the limitations? None well except they do NOT WANT TO MAKE THEM.

You see in some cases more than HALF the profit of selling a car comes AFTER they have sold you the car (and this does not include OIL interests) Warranty Repairs Parts Labor etc.. I believe it was 54% of GM’s profit 10 years ago. Probably higher today.

ALL THAT goes POOF with EV’s because they just do not tend to break down. Fewer parts to break. No moving parts except the Electric Motor (not counting same parts on both ie wheels breaks etc..)

ALSO Hub Electric motors? BAD IDEA thats there attempt to INCREASE maintenance and costs. You see with HUB electric motors you have 4 smaller (easier to break) motors with Wheel constructions YOU CAN NOT REPAIR DIY. I want a REGULAR CAR with normal axles drive shaft Just run it to an electric motor. SO if I get in a fender bender or whack a pot hole I break a $50 wheel and not a $3000 Electric Hub Motor Wheel combo. For specialized cars or off road or performance cars FINE but for the family sedan. I want Ultra simple ultra cheap.

I could even see the day of buying news cars going away. Imagine a “sled frame” chassis. its your car as a rolling chassis. you pick your “body” to go onto this rolling Chassis. When you get board instead of buying a new car you “upgrade” to a new “chassis” you drive in they unbolt and life off your old car body and drop on a brand new upgraded body. NO different to you over a new car but yo new reliability issues lower cost (meaning nicer bodies can be afforded if you want) and less waste and pollution.

Imagine if the 39.5 BILLION in profit exxon made last year (and thats JUST the profit they could not hide) so I figure there NET was probably at least 10 times greater than that. so 400 billion dollars. Imagine all or almost all of that money BACK IN THE POCKETS of Citizens. and thats just ONE oil company. Can you IMAGINE what that would do to our economy? you say well lots of people will lose there jobs. YOUR RIGHT but the economy will rebound so resoundingly that jobs galore (far more than lost) will be created as a result because we will have MORE MONEY TO SPEND and LESS to pay out!

The only ones that really lose are those .5 percent who hold 90% of the wealth of this planet. Ohh cry me a river.

Imagine if a fill up cost $2 at home $5 at a gas pump. If I had the money I could easily put enough batteries in my Club Wagon to go nearly cross country non stop NO recharging.

THE ONLY limitations left for Batteries is LIFESPAN but as economy of scale kicks in Replacement packs will be CHEAP (they were only $4500 10 years ago ALREADY cheap enough for average joe) (note that price is MASS produced IE made by GM) Having to cobble together you own pack will always cost more.

The only problem left then is environmental and thats already on its way to being solved. Some of the new battery techs promise virtually everlasting lifespans if the promises pan out and they WILL in time.

ITs a win win win win for all sides EXCEPT that .5% of the population. There is no downside otherwise.

ITs all a win for us for our bank accounts for our economy for the planet. There is no downside. Again except to the profit margins of that .5%

Sadly they dictate policy in our country and we sit by and do NOTHING (as a whole)

What do you think?


22 Chris Taylor November 2, 2007 at 6:19 am

So everyone,
In Tokyo 6$ us dollars.
Everywhere u want all day on most mass transit
Anywhere in a city of 10 million people in less 40 min.
Most closer

EV car ? about 40 cents a day and no limitations of mass transit.


23 Philasurfer November 2, 2007 at 4:21 pm

Two suggestions:

1) Increased gas taxes
2) Zoning for high density living around transit centers

Both policies can begin to reverse the course of suburban sprawl.

We know what we need to do, its about education and political will.


24 Terence November 4, 2007 at 11:58 pm

Readers might want to know that the Belgium city of Hasselt (pop 77k) has had free public transport since 1997 and it is highly successful and much loved by the local population. Before introducing it they were planning yet another outer ring road, but somehow went for free public transport instead. And in a further step of enlightment, prepared in advance by increasing the bus fleet and the frequency of service a few months before making it totaly free. If they can do it, then every other city in the world can and can start doing it right now.


25 Vince Daliessio November 7, 2007 at 1:38 am

Three words: Stop Government Subsidies. Here are a few;

1) Interstate Highways - should be private tollways
2) Military Support of oil company mercantilism
3) Pollution “Regulations” that legalize pollution and destroy property rights
4) Price-Anderson - subsidizes giant, unsafe nuclear reactors
5) DOE / NRC - fossilize these same giant nuclear reactors and insulate them from competition
6) Public utility commissions - eliminate competition in the electric power market
7) Bridge, tunnel, and airport authorities, along with the monopolistic airlines and air-traffic control system

There are lots of others. The only reason cars OR buses appear to be economically or socially inevitable is that these government rules preserve outdated, inefficient solutions in amber.

Popular Mechanics, among others, have been prediction personal air transport for what, 70 years now? and we’re no closer to it now than we were then, even though technology has been accelerating exponentially since then.

And the one biggest obstacle to this leap of human progress? BIG GOVERNMENT.


26 AlienFarmer November 7, 2007 at 7:57 am

I not only think public transportation is good for the environment its also good for drunks. So many people die every year from drunk drivers because most public transportation quites running before the bars close. Keep the beers flowing and the buses running!



27 Shoughun November 16, 2007 at 2:00 am

Definitely true… We should help each other to save mother earth.. So stop using Lexus spark plug wires lets get out and bike…


28 Kevin January 5, 2008 at 3:17 pm

World oil production peaked in 2000 and it’s downhill from here. Are you all ready? Buy a good bicycle now before they skyrocket in price when the crash hits.


29 socialscientist January 9, 2008 at 5:05 pm

Since it costs 20 to 100 cents to collect $1 worth of transit fare, it should be obvious that the fares exist for no other purpose than to discourage use.




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