Wheels vs. Doors: The Debate No One Cares About

by jmccoy3 on March 31, 2022

The Scowl

Team Doors

by Serial Lawn Stepper

Bicycles, skateboards, roller blades, Hot Wheels: I’ve heard it all. But right here, right now, it’s time to prove once and for all that there are more doors in the world than wheels.

Let’s start with the basics: defining what we mean when we say “door.” Many wheel supporters think only of the doors that open to houses and rooms, but according to the Oxford Languages, the dictionary definition includes openings to vehicles and cupboards as well. Think about cabinet doors. And think about cars, one of the most often-cited items of the wheelers. The average car, in fact, has more doors than wheels—a driver’s side door, passenger side door, two backseat doors, a trunk door, and a gas cap. (This last item tends to elicit a particularly heated response from wheelers, but it is impossible to argue against the fact that it is, by definition, an entrance to a vehicle.) That’s six doors to four wheels.

Cars aside, we can think about the interiors of our homes and offices as well. In my apartment, I counted a total of forty-seven doors. (This is not even including the two elevator doors, the two front doors to the building, the fourteen doors in the stairwells, or the eight washer and dryer doors in the laundry room). This number is comprised not only of our bedroom and bathroom doors, but also cabinet doors and appliance doors (the refrigerator, the microwave, the oven, etc.). For comparison, the only wheels I could find were the wheels of a few suitcases. Even my five pro-wheel roommates (looking at you, Tree Hugger) admitted they could not think of any others. Only one of us has a car (we’re all too aware of the limited parking space here on campus), which, again, has more doors than wheels anyway.

This brings me to my main point, which is that we must consider a wider perspective than just what we witness in the suburban New England towns in which many of us reside. After all, the vast majority of individuals live in huge cities. Let’s observe some of the largest. For example, Tokyo, the largest metropolitan area in the world with over 14 million residents, needs to have enough apartments and housing for these people, but it is unnecessary and unrealistic for everyone to have their own form of transportation. Most people in large cities commute via public transportation. Forty million passengers use the Tokyo rail system daily.  While trains obviously have some wheels (don’t forget they have doors, too: both the doors used to get on and off and the internal restroom doors), if you consider the amount of people that can fit in one train car versus the amount of people who can reside in one house or apartment (which likely has far more doors than that train car has wheels, which might be four or eight), the numbers speak for themselves.

Many PC students have a skewed perspective of the amount of wheels in the world because of who we are and where we live. As Americans, we tend to think of eighteen-wheelers (which still have three doors, by the way), but there are only a measly two million in our country, and in more densely-populated places like Europe, these trucks are much less common due to weight and size restriction laws. Additionally, many of us have our own cars, but the U.S. ranks sixth in motor vehicles per capita; vehicle ownership isn’t as common in most other parts of the world.

A TikTok from UPS went viral recently, as they counted more wheels than doors in their company, and this has been cited as evidence by many pro-wheel enthusiasts. What people like Tree Hugger fail to acknowledge is that UPS is literally a company consisting of one-doored trucks. In order to stoop to their level, I might as well cite a shop that sells only doors as definitive proof. Also, people have seriously been trying to say that tires are wheels; sorry, they’re not. This is the type of argument we are dealing with. And I still haven’t heard a reason we can’t count gas caps.

At least we can all agree that there are more chairs than windows…right?


Team Wheels

by Tree Hugger

I am convinced that there are more wheels than doors in the world. No matter what Lawn Stepper tells me about gas caps being doors, I cannot be swayed. Is it even possible to trust anyone who thinks that a gas cap is a door?

When you drive on the highway, you pass countless 18-wheeler trucks which have significantly more wheels than doors. According to the American Trucking Association, in 2019, there were 37.9 million trucks. They add that this only accounts for 23.9 percent of registered trucks. Other common modes of transportation don’t have any doors. For example, motorcycles, scooters, and bicycles all have at least two wheels but no doors. With estimates that there are 200 million motorcycles/scooters and most likely more than a billion bicycles around the world, there have to be more wheels than doors.

Lawn Stepper argues that those in other countries do not rely on personal transportation as heavily as we do in the United States. I’ll admit that this is a solid argument; however, these individuals use public transportation, including buses, which usually have two doors and six wheels. In 2017, it was estimated that there were 3 million city buses globally, which doesn’t even take into account the around 500,000 school buses operating in the United States alone. And, as I’ve already mentioned, bicycles, motorcycles, and scooters, which are some of the most common forms of transportation in other countries, are entirely wheels and no doors. The same goes for rollerblades, roller skates, and skateboards.

Lawn Stepper also mentions apartments, office buildings, and skyscrapers as proof that there are more doors than wheels. It’s another good argument, but it doesn’t consider wheely chairs with five wheels. In office buildings and skyscrapers, there are countless conference rooms and offices that have these chairs. As I write this article, I’m sitting on a wheely chair in the science complex, surrounded by similar chairs. I know Lawn Stepper “[hasn’t] been in this building since touring here” as she always tells me, so it’s understandable that she isn’t familiar with how many of these chairs there are. When I asked where her classes were held, she told me that they were mostly in Feinstein, where there are practically no wheely chairs. For my classes in Harkins and the science complex, I’m always in a wheely chair, and even though I’ve been in Ryan only a few times, I know that it’s filled with chairs with wheels. Wheely chairs can also be found in home offices. Because of the pandemic, there has been a sharp increase in the number of individuals working from home, which has significantly increased the demand for home office supplies, including office chairs. It’s estimated that these chairs are 75 percent more popular today than they were pre-pandemic.

Cabinets are also a common argument among people who are Team Doors. Yes, there are no wheels on cabinets; however, kitchen drawers do have wheels. I checked the kitchen and bathroom area in our apartment, and there were two visible wheels for each of our 16 sliding drawers. People in apartments also have suitcases, and if there is more than one person living there, this means even more wheels. These people might even have skateboards, roller skates, bikes, or scooters. Also, people who live in houses instead of apartments have lawn mowers, snow blowers, and wagons, none of which have doors.

It is estimated that there are 200-250 shopping carts at each grocery store and that 1.25 million carts are produced every year. However, it’s possible that this number is closer to three million. The need for shopping carts to be replaced every five years means even more shopping carts, thus, even more wheels.

Arguably the best “Team Wheels” argument is toy cars. Around 519 million Hot Wheels are produced every year, or 16.5 Hot Wheels every second. Like most toy cars, Hot Wheels don’t have working doors, while they do have four wheels. Similarly, Lego produces 381 million wheels every year. Also, while it seems like doll houses come with multiple doors, they usually only have one at the front, because the entire back of the house is open. This means that wheels on cars, lawn mowers, and scooters for dolls could outnumber doors.

Now just do a quick Google image search for conveyor belts with wheels and tell me that you still think there are more doors than wheels. At least Lawn Stepper and I can agree that there are more chairs than windows.