I’ve loved riding bikes for most of my life.
I rode my bike to elementary school, and through college. I rode my kids for errands and for fun on kid seats, and pulled them to preschool in a trailer. I ran beside them as they each learned to ride on their own.
Eventually they all became proficient, and some have competed on road and mountain bikes, one becoming a professional cyclist.
I ride my bike almost every day for errands, and for recreation and exercise too, and experience hair raising close calls on every ride.
We have all ridden bikes in cities all over the world, and in all of those cities it’s safer and more enjoyable than it is in the US.
I have a fear every time I’m on my bike that it might be my turn, or that one of my kids’ will be in a crash.
It’s taking a very long time for America to grasp the importance of prioritizing bicycle riding over driving. Bikes are 10x more effective than electric cars for the environment, and the benefits for human physical and mental health are well documented. But American progress is stymied by laws that have been created (invented), and infrastructure built to expedite the movement of vehicles over the safety of people on bikes, and other countries are far, far ahead of us in changing that culture.
Maybe we can change the culture in our tiny city of Asbury Park.
Here’s a a bit of the thoroughly enjoyable and informative article about the history of the bicycle, and bicycling law, and personal bike riding experiences of the author. I hope you’ll read it in its entirety, and love to know your thoughts.
Polli Schildge Editor – Asbury Park Complete Streets Coalition
The New Yorker
From the velocipede to the ten-speed, biking innovations brought riders freedom. But in a world built for cars, life behind handlebars is both charmed and dangerous.
Bicycles are the workhorses of the world’s transportation system. More people get places by bicycle than by any other means, unless you count walking, which is also good for you, and for the planet, but you can travel four times faster on a bicycle than on foot, using only a fifth the exertion.
To ride a bike, in her book Two Wheels Good THE HISTORY AND MYSTERY OF THE BICYCLE Jody Rosen points out is to come as close to flying by your own power as humans ever will. No part of you touches the ground. You ride on air. Not for nothing were Orville and Wilbur Wright bicycle manufacturers when they first achieved flight, in Kitty Hawk, in 1903. Historically, that kind of freedom has been especially meaningful to girls and women. Bicycling, Susan B. Anthony said in 1896, “has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world.”