Monday, September 24, 2007

Bicyclists and renewable energy

Today, I had the privilege to meet with one of the candidates running for the 2008 U.S. Senate. In a small group, we discussed a number of topics including Iraq War, healthcare, education, renewable energy and economy.

In discussing the topic of the renewable energy, the candidate brought up the possible applications of the solar energy and windmill energy. One person brought up the idea of the wave energy. I suggested that we find a way to empower the bicyclists to generate and sell electricity. As you can imagine, my suggestion was not taken seriously. It generated plenty of giggles and laughs. Well, it should because I was not serious either. I was just trying to be funny. Ah, but there is a little truth to every joke, and this joke is no exception.

On my way home, I had reflected on the joke…

My idea is that bicyclists should do more than just saving the energy; they should make the energy. Laugh if you wish, but a man didn’t just one day land on the moon. Someone had an idea, and perhaps it was a ridiculous idea at the time. Columbus and Galileo had their shares of ridicules. So laugh if you wish, but keep in mind that anything is possible. For example, can you imagine a Khmer Rouge genocide survivor graduated from Reed College and now is a Rotarian and a Royal Rosarian?

From my past personal sui generis experience, I believe anything is possible. So imagine this with me…

Today there are millions of bicyclists in the U.S. and billions around the globe. Those bicyclists aren’t consuming energy. That’s a huge contribution to keeping the earth sustainable, and save the world from its oil addition. But, why stop at saving? Why not cross over from saving energy to making energy.

Three components are necessary to make this work:
1. Light and small electric generator mountable on a bicycle
2. Station where a bicyclist can pull up and sell the generated electricity
3. Marketing that promotes bicycling to produce energy, make money and be fit

Now imagine millions of Americans become more active in the routine bicycling, bicycle marathons, and speed races. Can you think of a greater motivation than making money? Instead of spending money at a gas station, wouldn’t one rather make money at an electric station?

Now laugh if you wish, but I hope that one day you would laugh on your way to your bank – on a bicycle, of course.

Finally, imagine that billions of bicyclists around the world generate electricity. Would we still be at the mercy of the oil-rich nations? Would we still be debating whether to drill for oil in the Alaskan wildlife refuge? Would China still want to dam the Mekong River? Would we still need to spend money on the fish hatcheries to save the salmon?

I invite you to be a part of a force that makes the world a better place, one person at a time. Unlike the times of Columbus’s and Galileo’s, our time has the internet for rallying thoughts, collaborating ideas and mobilizing actions. I urge you to share this posting with your friends around the world and see to where this ridiculous idea leads.