Why We Fall In Love With Bicycles: 7 Reasons to Get On And Ride
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Tom Fuculoro, author of the Seattle Bike Blog, got it right when he wrote recently that buying a bike ought to be more like buying a car. “Most people aren’t fascinated by the technical aspects of car engines; they’re sold by the sunroof or cup-holders.” David Schmidt, owner of The Dutch Bike Shop in Seattle reports that the useful bike trend is gaining steam. “Ninety percent of our clients haven’t ridden a bike since they were kids. They’re rediscovering cycling because it’s fun and simpler than driving. These aren’t the crusader commuters. They’re just people who want to start biking to the grocery store.”
4. Does your city have a bike culture?
North Americans all understand what “car culture” means, but it’s a term that increasingly comes with a negative connotation. Cars are now being called an “ older generation technology.” Despite the billion-dollar marketing budgets of car companies, many millennials would rather not own a car. Unlike car cultures, bicycle cultures are in demand. Many of the world’s most vibrant and thriving cities are going to great lengths to support their citizen cyclists because having a “bicycle culture” has suddenly become an asset and an important part of “ attracting the types of workers that an innovation economy wants to attract.”
Brian Surratt, business development director at the City of Seattle’s Office of Economic Development, recently spoke about the importance of developing a bike culture because, “demographics is destiny. People no longer relocate for industry. Industry relocates for talent. Seattle wants to be recognized as a bike-friendly city because it simply helps attract good talent. The most successful cities—economically, culturally, and socially—must compete for intellectual capital and talent.”
5. More cyclists equals more compassionate roads.
Numerous studies document the relationship between an increase in the volume of cyclists and an increase in cyclist safety. The relationship between these two factors is sometimes remarkably linear. Odense, Denmark, embarked on an ambitious, multi-year cycling promotion campaign and saw cycling levels increase by 20 percent, while traffic accidents involving cyclists decreased by 20 percent. Why? People behind the wheel become more accustomed to seeing people on two wheels on the roads. Also, it’s often the same people: drivers and cyclists are the same folks at different times of the day, or at least drivers are more likely to have cyclists in the family.
Driving “ with your heart” becomes a much easier sell when citizens—like in Groningen, Holland—have friends and family members who commute by bike or on foot. Lucky for us, cycling rates have increased dramatically in many Cascadian cities: bike commuting doubled in Seattle and tripled in Portland as a share of all commutes from 2000 to 2010, according to the League of American Bicyclists. This growth helps make roads a lot safer for everyone—even roads that lack cycling infrastructure.
6. We don’t have time to compensate.
Most people reading this article are sitting in front of a computer. More and more of us are “knowledge workers” who sit in front of computers for much of our careers. If you also choose to use passive forms of transportation such as driving or taking the bus, doctors recommend that you compensate for your sedentary lifestyle by “working out.”