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Letter of the Day (June 12): Tipsy bicyclists

  • June 11, 2013 - 7:23 PM

Buzzed biking is one hipster trend you should kick to the curb (“Buzzed biking: Legal but potentially lethal,” June 10). I speak as someone who has navigated the streets of Minneapolis on a bike, so I can testify that it’s absolutely critical to have your wits about you when touring on two wheels. To think you won’t be tipsy on a bike — literally — after even one drink is to put yourself and others in danger.

The rate of alcohol metabolism by the liver varies from person to person based on factors such as presence of food in the body, age, sex, fitness level, tolerance and body composition. Assuming an average rate of alcohol metabolism of 12 ml an hour, it’s clear that a 40-minute bike ride between destinations is not adequate for the body to process a full pint, or 473 ml.

Then consider that alcohol metabolism operates at a fixed rate in the liver, so the more you drink the more alcohol “backs up” in the bloodstream as it waits to be metabolized. This means that after two or three drinks, the amount of alcohol left to in the bloodstream accumulates to dangerous levels. If your eyes glazed over during that last paragraph, let me put it short and sweet: You can’t “bike off” a few pints by putting 10 miles between you and your next watering hole. Do you really want to take that unnecessary risk ?

While it’s admirable to want to reduce the number of drunken automobile drivers on the road, I’d like to encourage intelligent, hip folks like yourselves to maybe skip that last beer of the night and use the cash to hail a cab.

Katrina Hase, White Bear Township

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