Old Man on a Green Bike: Mark Cramer

Old Man On A Green Bike: Mark Cramer



  • What If You Could Spend Hours And Hours Doing What You Love? 
  • and Then Get All Those Used-Up Hours Returned To You At The End Of Your Life?
  • In Other Words, Spend An Hour And Get Another Hour For Free!

Mark speaks with BikeTalk on self-serving environmentalism, saving time by biking, biking in La Paz, Paris, and Los Angeles, and, as a bonus, “Urban Everesting.”

BikeTalk is a KPFK and Killradio.org podcast about biking advocacy and culture in Los Angeles and the world.

 Internationally-acclaimed environmental writer and activist. Author of the essay: Climate Change and Cognitive Dissonance: Why are we so complacent in the face of the danger of climate disaster? and books on climate, water rights, feminism and politics.

"In facing the huge global crisis, which is not only environmental but economic and cultural, it seems we need at least two things: a deep philosophy and a buoyant sense of humor.


Mark Cramer enjoys a gift for both, so well-communicated in Old Man on a Green Bike, his latest book, in which he shows us with warmth and great skill how the joy of life, together with the profound understanding of personal commitment to sustainability, can offer us key resources in disruptive times. "

Elizabeth Peredo Beltrán​

Internationally-acclaimed environmental writer and activist. Author of the essay: Climate Change and Cognitive Dissonance: Why are we so complacent in the face of the danger of climate disaster? and books on climate, water rights, feminism and politics. 

"Riding a bike isn't rocket science. Cycling should be fun and inclusive for people of all ages and abilities, and from all backgrounds.  Old Man on a Green Bike provides a fresh and engaging way of thinking about cycling."

From commuter cycling in Paris to debunking the myth that it's not OK to get off and push, Mark Cramer uses his love of the bike to help us engage with cycling in all its wonderful forms.

Lynette Eyb

Editor of freewheelingfrance.com, a leading authority on 'velotourisme' in France. 

"Mark Cramer is a master storyteller. His vast experience and research enables him to create descriptions of places and events that come to life in the mind of the reader, often creating laugh-out-loud humor. Even if you’ve never thought about cycling along Paris streets, or through the countryside outside Bruges, or up Tour de France level gradients in La Paz, this book will show you how and inspire you to do so – or at least to explore your own neighborhood on a bicycle.

The book exhibits a deep understanding of the causes of (and solutions to) the world’s and our own personal challenges.  Old Man on a Green Bike will make a great gift for anyone searching for adventure, or an engaging, motivating and thought-provoking read."

Dr Paul Tranter

School of Physical, Environmental and Mathematical Sciences, UNSW Canberra,
Australian Defense Force Academy, author of
Active Travel: A Cure for the Hurry Virus,


A Lifestyle that Doesn't Kill You

Cycling prevents about 6500 deaths each year, and Dutch people have half-a-year-longer life expectancy because of cycling.”

(calculated to be about an hour of extended life per hour of cycling)


Turn our Planet Around

Friends, acquaintances and readers often thank me for making the sacrifice of cycling instead of driving, in order to defend the environment and encourage others to replace fossil fuels with human energy.


Forget sacrifice!

Sure, let’s keep fossil fuels in the ground and get around on human energy, but let’s do so in a sustainable way, which means in our own self-interest, for the pleasure and for the addictive feeling of well-being!

Author Mark Cramer

Mark Cramer is still living an adventurous and joyously low-carbon life with his daring wife, Martha. He’s had over 50 jobs (so far), on three different continents, including university professor, bilingual translator/interpreter in courts of justice, urban farmer and even studious horseplayer, where his meager but gratifying profits reflect an avocation for calculated risk.

His FunkyTowns USA (1995), “a lesson in preserving human habitat” according to esteemed sociologist Ray Oldenberg, has the distinction of likely being the only book to have been reviewed in both scholarly journals and a supermarket tabloid.  He’s written books and articles on adventure travel, horse racing and cycling as transportation.

Mark began writing Old Man on a Green Bike 19 years ago, when he first set out to do all his commuting and much of his vacationing on a bicycle.

Old Man on a Green Bike, is a pleasure to read...

"His dogged pursuit of a car-free life is inspiring and serves as an example for almost anyone almost anywhere who wants to tread lightly on the planet while simultaneously improving personal quality of life."

JH Crawford, former public transportation ombudsman for the New Jersey Department of Transportation, author of Carfree Cities (2000) and Carfree Design Manual (2009), publisher of the Carfree Times newsletter, and urban planning consultant

 helps get us there on two wheels, with a smile on our faces...

“If the revolution must be irresistible, biking will certainly be a part of the sea change toward localization, richer community, and healthier bodies. Mark Cramer’s punchy, clearly-penned, globe-spanning, and inspirational new book, Old Man on a Green Bike, helps get us there on two wheels, with a smile on our faces.”

William Powers, author of Twelve by Twelve and Dispatches from the Sweet Life, and winner of a 2003 prize for environmental innovation from Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government

 we can not only have fun but also help reconnect...

"In his Old Man on a Green Bike, Mark Cramer takes us out onto the vibrant streets of the Paris region and as far as Bolivia on his bicycle and shows how we can not only have fun but also help reconnect with each other and develop new forms of work, leisure, and politics.|

W. Scott Haine

Historian, author of The World of the Paris Café: Sociability among the French Working Class, 1789-1914, co-author /editor of The Thinking Space: European Intellectual Cafes 1700 to 1950,as well as other books and articles.

 Truly captivating.

"One of the most thought-provoking writers I’ve encountered, Mark Cramer brings the reader into the narrative with both wit and accuracy, making his work truly captivating."

Mark Sutton

Editor at CyclingIndustry.News


Sponsored by an accomplished French environmental organization, Attac, Mark Cramer is currently on a 1,000-kilometer bicycle trek through country and cities in France to spread the word that human energy, such as walking and bike riding, should be considered the most renewable of all the alternative energies. With 20% of all car trips in the USA at a mile or less, and a whopping 60% of all car trips at less than 6 miles, millions of metric tons of CO2 emissions would be avoided if people walked or biked for just half of these trips, this according to epa.gov

Mark's mission is outside the money economy. He gets no stipend, and people are encouraged to make non-money donations. A donation is considered a walk to an errand of under a mile instead of taking the car, or a bike ride to an errand instead of driving. By "donating" below, you are contributing to your own health, and also the planet. To donate, just click below to confirm you have chosen to perform an errand or commute with human energy instead of driving!

Mark does not consider donations as a sacrifice. According to the Centers for Disease Control, "regular physical activity, like walking or biking, may help you lose weight, live longer, boost your mood, and reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers. This is why Mark calls himself a "self-serving environmentalist."

I Have been going to the local swimming pool for the past two months by bike. Cycling the roughly 4Km distance there and back. I swim 20 lengths non stop , before relaxing a bit, then take a shower and return home.

I feel a great deal healthier and full of energy. The two activities complement each other-as both cycling and swimming are relaxing sports,

John Gilmore

I chose to ride my bike to work from home, a total distance of about 4.5 miles. And I have a carrier on the back of the bike for groceries.

It feels great to step outside of a comfort zone. Its good for the planet because the more I walk or bike the more I am positively impacting the climate.

Tell us about the errand or commute you chose to make by bicycle:
How did it feel?