Monday, March 12, 2012

Cars are Killers

A so-called "Infographic" passed before my eyes a few weeks back on a social network where I am as bad tempered as ever but not surrounded by bicyclists.  This item was titled "Carbs Are Killers" and I think my comment was "what a crock" and it turns out, perhaps unsurprisingly that the poster is an adamant Aktins diet devotee.  He proceeded to try and convince me that "carbs were killers" and I doubt he could hear a lot of what I was saying back because overall I was laughing too hard to type.

Bear with me.  This has to do with bicycling.

I'm a hungry and athletic vegetarian who is somewhat lactose intolerant and is married to someone who is supremely lactose intolerant.  That means I eat a lot of vegan food.  Typical breakfast for me is a gigantic bowl of steel-cut oats and walnuts and ground flax because hey, California, trying to fit in here a little.  I just now wolfed down my afternoon snack, a whole wheat tortilla stuffed with kale and quinoa and pumpkin seeds.  Lunch was, ummm, tofu and brown rice and collard greens and fennel soup.  Dinner is lentils and tomatoes in coconut milk.  I'm pretty middle-aged (birthday is approaching) and can safely say that carbs have not killed me, in fact they have not even threatened to kill me.  Unlike cars.

I bet you think I'll now launch into a lengthy boring talk about how what I eat is awesome and how you're fucking up with what you eat.  Wrong.  You're bicyclists.  You're not fucking up.  My totally unsupported theory is that the problem is not so much what we stick in our pie-holes as what we do, or do not do, with the food once we consume it.

Eat a stack of pancakes and drive into the office and sit around and then eat a giant plate of brown rice and tofu and salad (yes) and then later have a coupla Twinkies and then finally drive home and sit down in front of the tv and eat steak and potatoes and you've got a ton of calories that are just milling around like actors waiting for a cue card that never comes.  You're a bottle of soda that someone shook up but never opened.  Personally I think all that food sits and ferments in one place after another, ultimately ending up stored in awkward locations around your body.

Now take the same food and do something with it.  Bicycle to work.  Hell depending on the number of pancakes you mowed down on, run to work.  Skip to work.  Pogo stick to work?  Walk to work.  Saunter to work.  Get up during the day and don't just think about beating up your boss, give him a pair of gloves and lace up yourself and actually do the deed.  You'll probably both enjoy it way more than you expected.

So Mr. Carbs-Are-Killers told me that my tune would change once I had kids, kids would make me fat and my carbs would quickly kill me.  I told him I had kids.  He told me that I was diabetic.  Except I'm not diabetic.  He told me I probably had a thyroid problem and that's why I was slim.  I told him my thyroid had tested aok and that if I was thin it was because I loved to bicycle and that my food fueled my pedaling.  I suggested that he try bicycling to work.  He told me it was too dangerous and besides he loves to drive.

To any bicyclist who sees this, whatever your fuel of choice, keep pedaling and stay awesome.  Maybe we'll race each other out on the road one day.


  1. If I could take back the time over my life spent in cars and replace it with time on a bicycle or walking, I'd easily be 10 pounds lighter than I am, even with all the biking I do now - carbs or no carbs. It's a simple equation, if you eat more calories than you output, you'll put on weight.

    Why people seem to think that a 'diet' will save them have never looked at other cultures, say Chinese or Japanese for example, who eat plenty of carbs (rice anyone?) and still don't put on weight and they live long lives. But, they spend much less time in cars and engage in a lot more active transportation.

    Anytime someone talks with me about the state of health in the US or that they need to be on some kind of crazy diet I have them check this out:

    Our built environment and lifestyle is what's making us fat - not just what we eat.

  2. Lol! I did have a stack of pancakes this morning. And yes I rode my bicycle to work too. The weather here in Ohio has been unbelievable. I've gotten in more more bike commutes this year than I ever have in past years. 70's and mostly sunny for the rest of the week. Life is good.

    Keep up the good work chafed!

  3. I will say that as I get older, I find even riding 7-10 miles every day does not completely keep me at the weight that I should be at. And adding extra "workout" type exercise just makes me hungrier. I do find about once a year that I need to diet to make certain that I don't creep up and up. But I have a weakness for stuff that isn't particularly good for me. I also find that the quickest way to trim 5lbs is to drastically reduce the number of low quality carbs that it's all too easy to take in (pasta, white rice, bread).

    On a completely unrelated note, I saw this article and thought of you: