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Zero Emissions Vehicle

May 19th, 2007

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I’ve been a car enthusiast for as long as I can remember, but lately my enthusiasm for the automobile has been waning quite a bit. Fuel at over $4 a gallon combined with sitting in city traffic doesn’t make driving quite as much fun anymore. Sure, the MINI with the top down on an open road or track is quite cool, but moments like that don’t happen all that often in the city.

I’ve been biking myself and the girls around Chicago quite a bit lately in the bike trailer, and they love it. Chicago has quite a few bike lanes which make getting around pretty easy. Chicago is also pretty flat, which makes pulling a bike trailer around with two kids much more conducive. The trailer/stroller is a Chariot Cougar 2, which has an independent adjustable suspension so the girls don’t get thrown about if we happen to hit a pothole.

Premium fuel here in the city is over $4 a gallon, so I’ve saved quite a bit of cash by biking about. I don’t think I’ve driven in nearly two weeks, as we either take the bike trailer, walk, or take the El. Thursday the girls and I rode to the Lincoln Park Zoo, which is about a 15 minute ride. I can lock the bike when I get there, and in about a half a minute the trailer converts back to a stroller. The bike is much quicker than driving, as I regularly fly by all the gridlocked cars burning fuel just sitting there. This rig is much greener than a prius, much cheaper to buy and run, and is much more fun to operate as well. Acceleration is on par with an economy hybrid (at least up to 15mph or so), and there aren’t any nasty batteries to replace and dispose of when they wear out. Co2 is a non-issue, and overall emissions are extremely low as the only output is methane – the level of course depending on how much mexican I had before the ride. Downtown and the loop is a little over 10 minutes away on the bike, the Zoo, lakeshore or Wrigley is about 15.

My mom and dad used to ride me around Chicago in a seat on the back of a Schwinn Suburban, and I remember how cool it felt to ride to the zoo or down the lakeshore bike trail on the back of the seat – so perhaps that’s why this form of transport seems completely normal to me.

A few more pics of the rig –

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