Internet Version
A Certain Bicyclist:
Paul Niquette
Copyright © 1985 by Paul Niquette.  All rights reserved.
Library of Congress Card Number 85-062349
ISBN 0-912593-04-0

To a certain great grand-daughter:
Charlotte Rose Hudnall
born June 20, 2003


The present work dates back to the early '50s and the creative leadership of the late L.M.K. Boelter, founding dean of UCLA's College of Engineering. He and Dan Gerlough of the Institute of Transportation and Traffic Engineering encouraged an insufferable young research associate to study non-replenishable natural resources and to express opinions about the future. It became a habit.

Much of the material presented herein has been thoroughly controverted in front of university audiences, in corporate conference rooms, and before countless service clubs. Over a period of thirty years thoughtful challengers -- too many to name -- have contributed ideas.

  • In New Haven, a well-coifed University Club member raised her hand to suggest that battery-powered underwear might be the best way to make winter bicycling endurable, especially for women.
  • Unemployment has nothing to do with oil, said a Kiwani at the speaker's table in New Jersey. We gotta quit paying people not to work. There are plenty of jobs for people who are hungry enough. Pass the butter.
  • Commuting by bicycle is eccentric, clearly not appropriate for adults, according to a corporate vice president in New York. "Itís OK to be a wild duck as long as you fly in formation."
Grudging gratitude goes to then-Secretary of Commerce, Philip Klutznick, who listened politely one morning in 1979 to the worn-glib complaints of a certain bicyclist. Agreeing that policy makers lack vital understanding of the limits imposed by nature, he then extemporized at length on the second law of thermodynamics, replete with citations from Lord Kelvin, and concluded with a review of energy economics and its societal implications.

Special appreciation to son Paul Jr., who, after slogging through the whole original manuscript, jotted, "Shorten." "Thanks also to brothers Alan and David. Alanís suggested essay lauding the energy efficiency of railroad trains gets mentioned only here. Didn't fit. Among David's many recommendations: "Forget complete sentences."  Finally, without Jay and Gail Rochlin, Lee Barker and Leslie Johnston, no book.


Table of Contents

 1. Bicycling Out of the Past
 2. Cultural Evolution
 3. Bicycling Today-Some Problems
 4. Bicycling Today-Some Opportunities
 5. The Petroleum Age and the Automobile
 6. The Petroleum Age and Economics
 7. The Petroleum Age and Everything Else
 8. Understanding Magnitudes
 9. Alternatives... or Myths?
10. The Perpetual Sun
11. Bicycling Into the Future
   End Notes



Virtuous Invention

The bicycle holds primacy among mankind's most virtuous inventions, ranking alongside the loom and the movable-type press. While the former affords bodily raiment, the latter the same save for minds, the bicycle repays mild exertions with swift transport -- the unfettering of our very souls! Yet this most civilized of wheeled conveyances offends neither ear nor nostril and depends not at all on fossils from afar.


Table of Contents

First Chapter

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