Why No Bike Lanes, America?
Yeah, this is another one of those bikey posts, the kind where I tell you that The Assistant rode 93.7 miles last month. Ninety three point seven. If you’d told me six months ago that I’d be riding 93.7 miles a month, I would have laughed. But the 6 year old? Ha! Right. What kid does that? Oh, right: mine.
Anyway… a friend sent me a link to a really good article about cycling in America. If you want the tl;dr summary, here you go:
The problem in the U.S. is all about perception, said Colville-Andersen. Many commuters see cycling as a form of exercise, not convenient transport, and cities are still being built around automobiles.
Americans often perceive cyclists as extreme athletes.
Colville-Andersen said that if he tells someone in an American bar he is a cyclist, “they’re gonna conjure up images of me in very tight-fitting man made fibers, going for a hundred-mile ride on a Saturday … For North Americans, that’s what a cyclist is.”
Compounding that image, Colville-Andersen argued, is the fact that many advocates for cycling in the U.S. are intense cyclists, and risk scaring off casual bike riders.
“It’s like having race walkers doing the talking for pedestrians,” he said.
In the Danish capital, which came in at number two on the Copenhagenize Index, cycling is not a way to burn calories. It is simply a “fast form of pedestrianism,” and the quickest way to get around.
It’s about convenience, more than personal health or fighting global warming.
And there’s the summary of my cycling experience. Non-cyclists don’t get it because they think I’m riding a $10,000 carbon fiber bike for 100 miles or more. And cyclists — the century riders, triathletes or weekend warriors — don’t get “why you’d bother” with a commuter bike when there are longer distances to tackle. So that leaves European-style, car-replacement riders (like me) in a weird sort of limbo.
In other bike news (because I know you’ve been dying to know), I took my bike in for its free new-bike tune up at REI. Have I mentioned my obsessive love for REI? I love them. Why? Because when I took my bike in, the tech noticed that my front fender was out of alignment. I explained that it sometimes got out of whack because my bike’s kickstand was too short and it toppled over like a drunk if I didn’t position it carefully. Without a moment’s hesitation, she got me a new, longer kickstand and installed it for free. Problem solved, fender aligned and my bike seems significantly less intoxicated. Perfect!
So my bike is good, The Assistant is riding like a champ, school is back in session and… well, there’s no excuse for anything now. I need to get some strength training started. I’m debating between finding a trainer (because that went so well before…) and trying to do it on my own (because I’m so self-motivated…). Is there a third option?
What’s new in your fitness world? What are you doing for strength training?