As a European, I believe in the power of movement and freedom to travel where ever you want without any borders. However, I am asking myself if the car, which in most cases is the preferred way to exercise our „right“ to travel to and from places, is the result of a lack of alternatives or due to our over-consumerism and the desire to own your own car. I envision an urban life like in Copenhagen or Utrecht, where people rather ride their bikes everywhere instead of having a car as their status symbol. After all, a human on a bicycle becomes the most efficient animal, topping the Andean Condor (Wilson, 1973).
So why is a low cost, emission free, physical & mental health improving vehicle not our standard? Is it our physical ability that is stopping us or the societal condemnation we fear if we show up to any event in sweaty bike clothes? You could argue that cycling is only possible in urban environments and not applicable for rural areas, but maybe it is not the distance or physical strain that is holding us back, but our thinking to prefer far away places over our local villages & forests. Even though my vision of a cycling heaven in every city or a societal change towards a more sustainable and healthier mode of transport is unlikely, there would be many alternatives to every household having its own car(s). But because life sometimes isn’t only about idealism and efficiency, I want to close this with a quote from J.F. Kennedy: “Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride”
Hi Christopher, I completely agree with your envision of cycling heaven! I also believe that we should push more electric options for individuals who do not want to bike. I tried e-biking over the summer, and let me just say that it is honestly a blast! E-biking might be an option for those who do not or cannot bike regularly.
Great points! In my hometown there was such a huge pushback against increasing the number of bike lanes in the city a couple years back. A lot of people argued that reducing auto-infrastructure would bring about inaccessibility, but what about the inaccessibility that a lack of bike lanes brings to people who cannot afford a car?
I like the Dutch transportation system where roads and cities are built around communities are walking/biking mobility. I own a car that I don't drive too often due to gas prices, but even then I don't prefer taking the bus in Vancouver. It's just too inefficient and slow in a car-centric environment. I try to bike and skateboard to places most of the time but the environment is just not built around or welcoming to these methods.
That is a good idea, Chris! Our goal of low-carbon mobility can be achieved by cycling. This can reduce carbon emissions faster. I am also a road bike riding enthusiast. Compared with China, Vancouver takes good care of cyclists. For example, bicycles can be placed in front of buses and on the subway. Such a series of measures can encourage more people to choose bicycle travel. To achieve the goal of protecting the environment and low-carbon travel more quickly.
There is a certain beauty to biking along W 8th at rush hour and seeing way more people on bikes than people in cars. Like... actual bike traffic. I feel like I'm part of something. The fact that in the last couple years Vancouver has dedicated side streets to bikes, closed lanes of major roads to cars and opened them to bikes, and generally been so bike-forward is really encouraging! I hope we become a model for other cities who have the population density to follow suit (*cough cough Toronto*)
This is a really interesting angle! I grew up in Beijing where cycling really is possible and encouraged, but, of course, cars are still the symbol of luxury and standard. You've really got me thinking about why biking isn't our standard. I used to think most of the resistance I had towards cycling was physical strains, but now that I'm thinking about it, it was just because I prioritized convenience/comfort. Great points!
This is a really neat topic Chris! I didn't realize how efficient biking really was. I'll definitely hop on my cycle more often now, especially given the milder climate where we live!
More cycling would be a welcome change, especially considering how harmful prolonged exposure to polluted air can be. I think your vision is still possible, if people can kick off the kind of system-changing action CoSphere describes, and improve upon typical North American car-centric city design. That’s probably a huge if, especially in the face of decades of automobile lobbying. And yet, against all odds, cycling has gotten more popular since the pandemic began, which is an encouraging start.
I totally agree with your post! Bike rides can be great and extremely pleasurable. I would also add that since North America is pretty perfect because of the beautiful views and roads.