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Pretty silly for anyone to buy a carbon-fiber bike just for commuting.

As for talking about biking, I think an important angle is the fact that use of cars props up the price of petroleum, which directly aids and enriches people like Ahmadinejad of Iran and Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, two well-known enemies of the U.S. Even if we don't buy our gas directly from them, the fact that there is a common world market for petroleum means that every purchase of petroleum props up those hostile governments.

Frankly, I think it's almost insane from a national security perspective to keep our economy and country in such a vulnerable position, to be paying out so much money to help those dictators. That also causes us to spend more money on defense matters to protect our national interests in oil-rich regions.

Obviously we can't wean ourselves off of petroleum overnight but I would think that every little bit helps.

I also tend to think about the healthcare aspect of cycling. People who cycle regularly tend to be healthier and less sedentary than those who are not. It's no secret that the U.S. is in very poor shape in terms of weight. Diabetes, high blood pressure, and early onset of heart disease are closely related to bad diet and inactivity. When someone develops diabetes, high blood pressure, etc. at a relatively young age, their medical costs skyrocket, doubling according to some estimates. Those costs are paid for through private insurance, government programs or costly emergency room services for uninsured people. Who pays? Everyone who pays health premiums or FICA taxes. So those who choose to take care of their health end up subsidizing the "lifestyle choices" of those who choose to eat badly and stay inactive. Why is that fair?

Even worse, it's a completely unsustainable model. Healthcare costs continue to increase at a rate much greater than the overall inflation rate. That has been going on for a very long time. We're already spending about one-sixth of the total GDP on healthcare. What happens when healthcare expenditures become one-fourth or one-half of the GDP? Are we going to turn the entire country into a hospital ward?

Cycling won't solve those problems on its own, but it can help. People need transportation, so why not help to make that transportation a healthy activity, instead of another sedentary one?

To follow up on the healthcare angle, all public and private insurance systems rely on younger and healthy individuals to subsidize older and sick individuals. If people continue to eat badly and remain sedentary, then more and more people will develop obesity-related problems. Many of these people go on early retirement/disability because of avoidable health problems related to bad diet/inactivity.

This means that those people start drawing on those insurance pools much earlier, sometimes decades earlier, than an active healthy person will. So that person not only costs the system twice (or more) each year, but that person also stops paying into the system at an early age. This is not a workable economic model.

Given the enormous healthcare expenditures of the country, over a trillion dollars each year, this is not a minor issue. We're talking about possibly hundreds of billions of dollars spent each year to treat avoidable diseases and conditions related to bad diet, inactivity and yes, smoking.

So I always find it odd to hear about any group subsidizing another, and yet most people overlook the giant elephant in the room, that the biggest subsidy in this country is probably the subsidy for people to eat junk food and lead a sedentary lifestyle. While people can say it's a personal choice, it's certainly not a personal choice if millions of other people are being asked to subsidize that lifestyle and the known costs associated with that lifestyle.

I should also add that I post all this while not being a liberal. I think national security and economic issues are important. I just have a different perspective on things, that the exploding healthcare cost crisis can't keep on being explained away as "personal choice" if others have to pay for those bad decisions. Doesn't sound like personal responsibility to me.

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