Monday, July 27, 2009

It's hot, go ride a bike

It's been really hot here in Portland the last few days.

Kashima - cycling
(Summer riding in Kashima, Japan)

I've only lived here a little over two years, but the outside temperature during the day felt hotter than I have ever experienced here in Portland. Inside my apartment, it's still relatively cool thanks to the trees sheltering the building from the sun, but if days like this continue, the temperature inside will likely start to rise. I'm not worried though. In all the years I lived in New York City, I never owned an air conditioner. My apartment in NYC was on the first floor and in the shady side of the building, but still at times, it was like living in a sauna. I just didn't think running an AC, using up loads of electricity and putting out hot air outside was cool. I'm stubborn that way. If I survived Summers in NYC w/out an AC, a few hot days in Portland won't be much of a problem for me.

The unusual hot weather does worry me a little though. Climate change?

Today, I went out on my bike in the heat to the local super market. I couldn't tell for sure, but it seemed like there were more cars out than usual and much less bikes. Maybe it seems like the obvious choice to go by an cool air-conditioned car instead of a bike on a day like today, but if we are to believe there is direct relation between CO2 emissions by automobile and global warming (and there is strong evidence for it), doesn't it make more sense to not drive especially on such a hot day? I wouldn't suggest to ride a bike in this weather if you have a relatively long distance trip to make, but just going to the store is definitely doable by bike.

I think in general, in extreme weather, it's better to lay low and conserve energy. I think the Europeans have got it right with their siestas and long vacations. Summer isn't the season for "happy motoring", it's the season to take it easy and to go ride our bikes.

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