Mind if I share my glum mood? We drove to the in-laws’ for Easter lunch. An unnatural distance. It should be a day’s walk, but thousands commute that way every morning. I give them 5 years before oil prices triple—you go for it China!—and they’re all defaulting on loans. The pattern for the next hundred years will be fuel prices rising, commuters defaulting on home loans, economies crashing, fuel prices rising, commuters… around and around. Everything you thought you knew about property prices and stocks doubling each decade, forget it: the world will be in decline. Bicycles aren’t part of some utopia dream. They’ll be about as chic soon as eating cockroaches, or whatever else we’re reduced to, as fossil fuels and uranium all come to an end, and whatever solar plants we’re building now have gone rusty.
Left: Dr Behooving looks into his crystal ball, and sees the next generation. Right: bicycles trailers at the end of the world.
Alright, I’m crystal ball gazing, which is as idiotic as these photos Za Bear and me took at his Nanny’s place after lunch. And it isn’t quite time to start stockpiling water and tinned food, or reading Cormac McCarthy for instructions on what to do next. But there is a grim backdrop to my interest in cycling. We can paint it as eco, or healthy, fun or whatever, but the reality is that it will soon not be a matter of choice but necessity, for growing sectors of our society. It is the people living farthest from where they work, who will be forced onto their bikes sooner than those of us living in town. And they will be cycling 40, 50, 60km per day. As I look into my crystal ball, I see hard times ahead for Za Bear, but moreover, for me, as all those cycling commuters join bike racing clubs, and make me look slow.