*these writing assignments were outlined before the prolonged unseasonable and extreme winter weather set in, so content and conclusions may have been different if drafted even a week later.
by Otter, age 9
I have been on a bike tour for nine months. I went on a car trip for twelve days. The two ways of travel have similarities and differences.
The biggest similarity is that they are both a means of travel. Either way of travel requires packing beforehand. Both have a power source that needs fuel.
There are more differences than similarities between car and bike trips. When you are on a bike you are always moving. You go faster in a car and slower on a bike. In a car you can listen to the radio, CDs, and audiobooks. When you are on a bike you listen to wind, cars, animals, and each other. A car seat is more comfortable than a bike seat. Inside a car you are protected from the weather, but when riding a bike you are exposed to the weather. If you are on a bike your fuel is food, but if you are in a car its fuel is gas. When you are on a bike you meet a lot of people because you are stopping a lot and you stand out. When you are in a car you do not stand out because you are hidden inside the vehicle, do not stop a lot, and you blend in with all the other cars.
I have been on a car trip recently and I am on a bike trip now. I prefer biking over car trips. On a bike trip you see more, hear more, and smell more of the local area, so you remember more. You do not have to sit still on a bike trip either, which is a good match for me.
by Sissy, age 11
I have recently experienced a car trip and I am still experiencing a bike trip. During these two trips I have learned a lot about the pros and cons of both styles of travel. They both share similarities, but they also have differences that affect which mode of travel appeals or is suitable for you.
Cars and bikes can be very similar. For instance, they both get you where you want to go, and to get you where you want to go they both need fuel. They can both carry cargo (people, food, boxes, etc.). Both can achieve short and long distances, although it is more appealing in my opinion to do short distances on bikes. Different sizes of bikes and cars can hold different amounts of cargo (bigger cars and bikes can hold more people and cargo, whereas smaller cars and bike hold less).
They are quite different too. Differences include power sources, fuel required for those power sources, types of entertainment offered, how many people you meet, speed of travel, exposure to weather, cost of ownership and maintenance, ease of use, senses engaged, and issues with motion sickness.
Cars and bike both require different kinds of fuel and power sources. Cars have internal combustion engines that need gas, whereas bikes have human engines that need food and water. Gas costs quite a bit more than food and water per person per day on a bike. However, a car’s gas tank can get you farther without refilling than a biker’s stomach can, which makes the cost of fuel for the two about equal.
On the topic of cost, ownership and maintenance can be pretty expensive for both, but overall cars cost more. First of all, buying a car costs a lot more than most bikes. Then repairs and spare parts can cost a pretty penny as well, but generally a lot more for cars than for bikes. Bikes do not need oil changes and bike tires cost a lot less than car tires.
For some people the cost of a car is worth it. Some people are not physically fit or able, so biking is not feasible. Others may have to go really long distances very frequently, and it is easier to facilitate longer distances in a car than on a bike.
Another reason some people have a preference for bikes or cars is because of the comfort and entertainment they each offer. Motion sickness can happen in a car, so some people who get motion sick (including me) prefer biking over driving. You can listen to audiobooks, the radio, and CDs in a car, but on a bike nature chooses your entertainment (flora and fauna, the sky, architecture, cars and trucks, and talking to each other).
However, nature also chooses the weather. Hail, wind, snow, rain, and the heat can slow or derail bikes. While neither cars nor bikes should attempt travel on ice, cars do handle some snow and slush better than bikes. Freezing cold and scorching heat can be dangerous to bikers if we are exposed for long periods of time, and bad weather requires more breaks that slow us down. Cars shelter you from the elements. You have air conditioning and heating in a car which you you heat up or cool down as desired.
In addition to ease of travel, time and speed factor into people’s preferences. Bikes are generally quite a bit slower than cars. It’s not a bad thing though, because you get a better taste about the place in which you are traveling. You can see, smell, feel, and hear all that is going on around you. You meet more people on a bike because you are different from the usual cars drivers they see every day and they want to learn more about what you are doing. However, some people may not have time for that. In Seattle, biking was the easiest way for Old Man to get to work. He got to ride off the road on bike paths. He did not have to look for parking or deal with car traffic. Although, in some places commuting is easier by car. If you have to get to work quickly a car would get you there faster. Being sweaty and windblown can be looked down upon at some jobs. Commuting is different from place to place.
On the two trips I have discovered cars’ and bikes’ similarities and differences and their pros and cons. I, for one, enjoy bike trips more than car trips. I get to see so much more flora and fauna on a bike, and I get to meet so many more people. I also do not get motion sick. In my mind, biking pros outweigh their cons.