We may never know the name of the ancient Sumerian who invented the wheel in Mesopotamia some 7,000 years ago, but we’re pretty sure nothing’s been the same since. The most crucial component of how we transport ourselves and our stuff, the wheel is an undeniable cornerstone of human existence, an invention that encouraged trade, enhanced agriculture, expanded civilization’s range, and paved the way for the modern world. Whether you’re pushing watermelons in a wheelbarrow (one wheel) or hauling refrigerators in a big rig (18 wheels), there comes a time when you’ve got to bow down and worship these round, rolling objects.
So that’s what The Independent decided to do with this issue, our first-ever ode to the wheel. And since Santa Barbarans are very much divided between those who rely on the four-wheeled vehicle and those who swear by the two-wheeled variety, we equally split up our coverage of the wheel. We present to you four-wheeled articles about renting fast cars at CoolCarsSB.com; the switch to biodiesel for one unlikely driver; the promise of FlexCar, a car-sharing system; the joy of Lucky Cabs’ sustainable drive; and the sales of retro cars at Zoom on Milpas Street. For two-wheeled fanatics, Chris Meagher reports on romancing the scooter; Hannah Tennant-Moore tells why she turned into a bicycle commuter; and Nick Welsh visits the bikestation in the Granada and the BiCi Centro bike kitchen at La Casa de la Raza.
And off we go.