Whatever Bikes Your…Velocipede

In preparation for National Bike to Work Day Friday, a couple of articles on How We Bike. Reuter’s says “Less”, in the last couple of years– but now that gas is getting more expensive, maybe “More”.

According to the National Sporting Goods Association, the number of Americans who bike “frequently” — 110 days a year or more — fell almost 10 percent in 2007 to 3.7 million people.

Similarly, the number of people who ride bikes at least six times a year fell to 35.6 million in 2006, the lowest since the survey began in 1984, from 56.3 million in 1995.

They think this may have to do with parents not allowing kids to bike on “unsafe” streets, and people getting older and being less physically active. A friend pointed out it may have to do with increased availability of public transportation. I think it may also have something to do with growing suburbanization. People are living further and further from work in all the new developments springing up, so it’s impractical to bike to where ever they work.

But I understand the national hesitation. It’s scary riding a bike down a highway, or through a city- our streets are designed for cars, and maybe pedestrians, but not bikes. The article mentions that when bikers are given lanes, the incidence of biking increases.

Tomorrow is the day to test it out. (Or Monday. Or any day! Any day you like!) There are detailed maps of Alexandria’s bike paths at the LocalMotion website– and they also have links to maps of bike paths in DC, Arlington, Fairfax, and a few other places in Virginia linked at the bottom. The Meet-up for Alexandria bikers is at Market Square- on King Street in front of City Hall- tomorrow, and you might also find some experienced bikers to ride with toward your destination there.

Maybe you already bike to work, though. Maybe you are ready to really get into biking rights, to get in those automobile’s faces and claim the roads. Take a cue from these people in LA, who’ve organized large biking groups to take the freeways at rush hour- given the state of transportation in LA, they move faster than the cars do. Sure, it’s technically illegal, but it’s certainly a statement. The bi-renegades are trying to raise awareness of the need for better transportation infrastructure, especially bike-safe roads. They’re catching flak from bikers who’d like to work with the city to change transportation systems, and from angry car drivers who consider them a menace. But they contend that the only way to drive change is to show how broken our systems are, so the illegal rides might continue.

There you have it. Beginner or bone-fide biking beast, have a great time tomorrow!

2 Responses to “Whatever Bikes Your…Velocipede”

  1. 1 Gentleman Friend May 16, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    As far as I know, “biker” implies a motorcyclist stereotype; leather-clad, innapropriately hairy, tattooed, etc. “Cyclist” applies to “those who ride bicycles”.

  2. 2 virescent May 16, 2008 at 2:59 pm

    Sure, but I’m under the impression that “biker” is used to make bicycle riding sound cooler.

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