Wednesday, August 05, 2009


Europe is the example we need to follow, bike lanes encourage more cycling, and the more cyclists on the road the safer things become.

More and more, it seems to me that that 80's were an aberration in the natural evolution of society that we have been playing catch up from ever since. The deregulation of the financial system, the birth of the "war on drugs," the willful ignorance of the lurking energy crisis, and as detailed in this volume, the turning away from the bicycle, are the legacy of the decade that we are paying for today. But now that the hangover from the financial crisis is settling in, it seems to be the perfect time to reconsider those choices.

Jeff Mapes went far and wide to chronicle the ongoing resurgence of the bicycle and the result is a must-read for anyone interested in promoting cycling. The history of the bicycle lobby in the US, the burgeoning urban bike culture, European bike meccas and more are examined. Mapes tell tales of riding through NYC in a critical mass herd, navigating the choreographed chaos of Copenhagen by bike, and commuting in Portland, OR, and along the way introduces lawmakers, industry types, academics, activists, and just plain everyday folks who happen to ride bikes.

The reasons to ride a bike today are legion, but Mapes seems convinced that the only one that really sticks is that it's just plain fun. And so is reading his book. A mellow optimism infuses each page, and I suppose it would be hard not feel otherwise when you learn about all the blood, sweat, tears, gears, beers, and laughs that have been had pushing the bike movement on.


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