Archive for July 17th, 2007

Go Ride a Bike!

17 July 07

I have cycled through the busy streets of downtown Toronto, the sleepy airport of Shijiazhuang, China, and the mayhem of Linyi, China. I am all for bike culture. Want to reduce your carbon emissions and fuel bills? Get a bike!

Paris has introduced a pilot bike rental program to decrease traffic congestion in the city center. This is the perfect situation for bike use. Ever been to the Netherlands? There are bicycles and accessible, safe bike paths everywhere. (But if you have to cross one as a pedestrian, you’d better look both ways!) My sister-in-law lived outside of Amsterdam for years. Everyday, she rode her bicycle from her house to the light rail train station. There, she parked it in a bicycle storage room, hopped on the non-polluting train, and rode for 15 minutes into the city of Utrecht. At every train station in the Netherlands, you will see huge warehouses full of stored bicycles. Commuters take them from home to the station and back home again at the end of the day.

Most cities in the US were not designed for bicycle use, but that does not mean it is not possible for them to change! Urge your community to install bike paths and biking trails. And if you can’t use a bike for your commute, consider the fun and health benefits of recreational biking! After two years in China, I long for the day that I can leisurely ride a bicycle, enjoying the fresh, clean air. I do ride a bicycle here, but with all the potholes, traffic and pedestrians, it is far from leisurely! Sadly, the home of the largest bicycle population in the world is fast becoming a car culture. The flying pigeons are disappearing only to be replaced by Audis, Suzukis, Great Walls and Volkswagens.