Monday, August 15, 2011

Pedaling Revolution: How Cyclists Are Changing American Cities

I just finished reading Pedaling Revolution: How Cyclists Are Changing American Cities and I highly recommend it for people who want to understand the bicycle advocacy culture. It was written in 2007/8 published in 2009 and it's still 99% relevant given that these sort of things change very slowly.

The big thing I find on line is that there is a lot of fear by people who have invested a big part of their ego in their car. And why not? Car ad's make it seem like you will be sexier, more appealing if you buy "this car." When the truth of the matter is that if you exercise more you'll be healthier and that will give you the body that others admire. It make may also make you a "sanctimonious jerk", because you'll tell others that they too could be healthier if they rode as well, wishing for them the same health benefits. But they won't see it that way. They see that they just spent $30,000 on something that's no longer cool. So they'll defend that choice until gasoline rises to $7/gal and they can't afford to drive everywhere anymore. Oh well. Change is coming there is no stopping the rise in energy costs.

Bicycles are changing the cities. And also the big change I'm seeing is not only are young folks riding to work, but women are riding. This is a group that traditionally would not ride because of perceived safety issues. Therefore either their perception of the safety has changed or it really is safer. I tend to think that the latter is true. The long process of building out bicycling trails, and safe routes through the cities is finally paying off. At least in cities where they have made the effort. NYC, Portland, Seattle, Minneapolis. And it's spreading because dollar/person it's a very inexpensive way to fund mobility. With the economic crisis we are living through cities are looking to maximize the dollars they have and bicycling is looking better and better.

So see you out there! And don't forget to wave, we're having fun and still getting around the city.

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