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Jim Baerg

(1)

Regarding the ancient rowers "They didn't have the sliding seat of today's competitive rowers". I recall reading a few years ago (unfortunately I don't recall where) that they might have had something equivalent. Depictions of galley rowers show them with a cushion tied to their buttocks & it is thought the bottom of the cushion was greased to allow it to slide & let the rower use their legs to do most of the work. It might have been a contributing factor to the Greek victory at Salamis.

Jim Baerg

(2)

"It is important to realise that pedal powered machines (and bicycles) require fossil fuels."

I don't think that pessimistic statement is justified. (I say pessimistic because in the long run even the most frugal use of fossil fuels will use them up faster than they are created, so if the statement was true there would eventually be no steel for pedals.) However, charcoal from biomass was used to reduce iron ore to metalic iron for millenia, though on a smaller scale than we have been doing with coke made from coal. If necessary we can use the steel in the petroleum fueled vehicles to make a few billion pedal powered machines & since you say they last for a century, the steel production needed to replace 1% of those machines per year would likely be small enough to be done with charcoal from wood.

Also is there any reason iron ore or rust couldn't be reduced to metal using electricity or hydrogen split from water using non-fossil energy? (Aside from coal being cheaper for now.) Steel production would be done near large hydroelectric plants in sparsely populated areas the way aluminum is done now.

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