ESPN, that unlikeliest of sustainabilty sources, posted a terrific article recently. Author Jim Caple points out that progressives should stop poking fun at President Bush’s rather obsessive bicycling—a habit that recently included a ride with Lance Armstrong. Instead, we should hope he goes "much, much further."

After all, the Texas duo—Bush and Armstrong—should be poster children for a national call to bicycling as alternative to driving and a sensible way to conserve oil.

Caple breaks it down this way:

Think about it this way. The average American drives 12,000 or so miles per year. If we rode our bikes just 10 miles per week… that would cut use by 500 miles, or around 4 percent. Because cars and SUVs account for 40 percent of U.S. oil use, that could reduce the country’s oil consumption by 1.6 percent. That doesn’t sound like much, but it’s roughly the equivalent to 100 million barrels. That’s not going to end our reliance on foreign oil but at least it would be a start in that direction.

Now, if only Bush would seize the opportunity to publicly ask, as Caple puts it,

What’s a better show of real patriotism—cutting foreign oil consumption by occasionally riding a bike or slapping a flag sticker on your SUV that gets 11 miles to the gallon?