Saturday, July 28, 2012

Statement of Purpose

This blog exists to discuss bicycles as a mode of transporting people and goods within the context of a post-peak resource world. It originally spun off a conversation thread in the comments section of the Archdruid Report post titled "The Upside of Default". There, a great many issues were raised, which will, gods willing, themselves form seeds for complete and well-researched posts.

Most discussion should be centred around the costs and benefits of cycling under different levels of deindustrialisation. JMG's seres of scarcity industrialism, scavenger society, and ecotechnic society make for good reference points. This is likely to determine how bicycles could, and whether they even should persist under those conditions. As it is the age in which we live low, the transition period from abundance to scarcity is likely to be the context for a great many posts. But moving forward, we may even begin to answer whether bicycles could be included in the suite of technologies embraced by an ecotechnic society.

Here are some more specific topics raised in the original discussion:

  • Bicycles in the current transition period from abundance to scarcity
  • Plans for building bicycles using likely future deindustrial technology suites. These could spin off into actual attempts to do so.
  • Bicycles for freight vs bicycles for transportation (also vs other technologies for freight)
  • Bicycles in war (since militaries are likely to hold on to higher tech and fossil fuel availability longer than civilian society)
  • Modern and future bicycle cooperatives (and community resilience)
  • Bicycles from biological materials (wooden wheels, bamboo frames, etc)
  • "the white picket fence of the the fantasy green village of tomorrow" vs bicycles for beggars 
  • Bicycles and roads -- wide vs narrow roads in an age of decline (see here)
  • Bicycles used in past low-energy contexts (estuary bargers on the Cornish Coast, the Viet Cong on the Ho Chi Min Trail)
More ideas for exploration in future blog posts can be posted in the comments below. Anyone willing to join in on the blog as a poster is also welcome to email oneillkza [rollmop] gmail [period] com.

... and some ideas for discussion from the comments:

  • Bicycle security (how tempting a target for thieves they are likely to be, anti-theft strategies)
  • Availability of raw materials (rubber, steel, iron, aluminium)
  • Availability of tools/technology to turn raw materials into working bike parts (forging, stamping, cable weaving, producing ball bearings, etc)
  • Bicycles vs horses (similar though not identical applications, different costs and requirements)