A Technological Comparison: Power, Mass, Speed.

200 miles on gravel roads

10.25 hrs

Avg Speed 32.3kmh

Weight 69 kg

Avg Power: 4w/kg 

Ian Boswell (with Laurens Ten Dam, left)

Hour 1

Average Power: 192w (2.8w/kg)

Normalized Power: 224w

Hour 2

Average Power: 219w (3.2w/kg)

Normalized Power: 279w

Hour 3

Average Power: 287w (4.2w/kg)

Normalized Power: 326w

Hour 4

Average Power: 265w (3.8w/kg)

Normalized Power: 292w

Hour 5

Average Power: 274w (4w/kg)

Normalized Power: 303w

Hour 6

Average Power: 253w (3.7w/kg)

Normalized Power: 273w

Hour 7

Average Power: 233w (3.4w/kg)

Normalized Power: 249w

Hour 8

Average Power: 228w (3.3w/kg)

Normalized Power: 259w

Hour 9

Average Power: 239w (3.5w/kg)

Normalized Power: 259w

Hour 10

Average Power: 271w (4w/kg)

Normalized Power: 294w

200 miles is a long day, especially on the Flint Hills gravel. Add in 20-30mph headwinds and scorching heat, and this could be the hardest ride of your life. […]

But what it really comes down to is his resistance to fatigue. Pro bike riders are among the fittest humans in the world, and they’re able to hold a pace that few of us could manage for an hour. Throughout the Unbound Gravel 200, Boswell’s average power (and normalized power) stays right around 4w/kg. The only easy outlier was the first hour, but to be fair, that was at six in the morning.

Hours 3, 4, and 5 were definitely the hardest, with the race splitting down from hundreds to less than 30, and then from 30 to 12. Hours 6-9 were mostly a battle of attrition, thanks to a cooperative front group that really didn’t want to get caught. In the final hours, the pace heated up again, and this is where the race was won.

After burning more than 7,000kJs, and riding near 4w/kg for more than 8 hours, Boswell is still able to accelerate at 400w up climbs, and close down attacks at over 500w. 

“Power Analysis: Ian Boswell’s Ride at Unbound Gravel | VeloNews.Com.” Accessed June 11, 2021. https://www.velonews.com/events/monuments-gravel/power-analysis-ian-boswells-ride-at-unbound-gravel/

200 miles on gravel roads

3.3 hrs

Avg Speed 60.35kmh

Weight: 1731.8 kg

Avg Power: 73.5w/kg

2020 Dodge Journey

MSRP: From $23,675

MPG: 19 city / 25 highway

Towing capacity: 1,000 lbs

Dimensions: 192″ L x 72″ W x 67″ H

At one time, the Journey was available with V6 power and optional all-wheel drive, but both of those are gone for 2020. Now, the only engine available is an anemic 2.4-liter I4, with 172 horsepower and 165 pound-feet of torque. It’s mated exclusively to a four-speed automatic transmission which, for a 2020 model year vehicle, is downright archaic.

Unfortunately, this low-powered engine doesn’t result in any fuel economy benefits. The EPA rates the 2020 Journey at 19 miles per gallon city, 25 mpg highway and 21 mpg combined. For reference, a larger, three-row 2020 Honda Pilot offers a substantially more powerful V6 engine and returns 19 mpg city, 27 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined. 

Most Reviewed Vehicles, according to KBB.com users “Most Popular SUVS of 2020 | Kelley Blue Book.” Accessed June 11, 2021. https://www.kbb.com/most-popular-cars/suv/2020/?slide=1.

“2020 Dodge Journey: Model Overview, Pricing, Tech and Specs - Roadshow.” Accessed June 11, 2021. https://www.cnet.com/roadshow/news/2020-dodge-journey-overview-price-tech-specs/

Shifting Baselines

The world at our current scale doesn’t allow things, specifically big complex socially ingrained things, to simply disappear (other than our waste). They fade away. For example, change in social tolerance for people and ways of living different from the dominant one(s) happens gradually. It can be sparked by pivotal phenomena but the changes to society happen bit by bit (one funeral at a time they say) with varying degrees of violent death throws and silent evaporation. I see our current miserable state, as exemplified by the material and behavioral world we have created, taking quite a while to change. How many generations will it take here in Lisjan / the SF East Bay for quotidian human travel to be something human in scale, say less than 3000 lbs and 175hp traveling more than 30 miles per day?


In terms of technology and the life it shapes, we seem to forget what changed. Our being in the world is utterly derived from what is possible through that technology. Most people in this land don’t know there were and are other worlds such as life without a car, a phone, supermarkets, the internet, movies, paved roads, airplanes, electricity, literacy, nations, war. 

The shifting baseline syndrome is the situation in which over time knowledge is lost about the state of the natural world, because people don’t perceive changes that are actually taking place. In this way, people’s perceptions of change are out of kilter with the actual changes taking place in the environment.


Why aren’t our baselines more aligned with how we have existed, our being in the world, for millennia instead of decades?


Baseline =

Some other baselines: