Is the U.S. anti bike?

May 4, 2007

Is your bike a part of your life?  Are you sure?  Where do you ride and when?

I just returned from a chilly morning ride.  Basically, I rode in a big circle. Clad in ‘riding’ clothes and ‘riding’ shoes, I rode.  I then showered so I can dress in ‘regular’ clothes and drive to work.  When I come home, if we need milk, I’ll probably drive to the convenience store to make that purchase.

Today’s Wall Street Journal (subscription required) outlines the growing bike culture in Europe.  All over Europe, investments are being made to improve an already established bike infrastructure.  Why?  Well currently, places like Amsterdam whose train station holds 2000 bikes regularly see up to twice that each morning.  That’s because 40% of its residents commute by bike.  In Copenhagen, one third use two wheels to get to work.

In contrast, efforts to make the US more bike friendly tend to meet stiff opposition.  Merchants feel that any restrictions on cars will hurt business.  They desire more parking and lower meter rates.  They are currently working hard to stop Manhattan’s proposed congestion pricing system designed to reduce traffic on the island by charging people who drive down old Broadway, 5th Ave, Park Ave, etc.  at the wrong times.

So I ask again, Is cycling something you do or something you are.

I can’t answer that question.  I am so into the sport, I may be forgetting the time when I would go anywhere on a bike.  I coach lacrosse and soccer on fields about a mile from my house.  What am I teaching the kids when I tell them to pile into the car.  In fact, my daughter wants to take the bikes and I tell her that we are already late so “Not this time.” How much later will we be if we took them? Two minutes?  Is it worth it? 

Are we pro cycling and anti bike?