Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Cycling Revolution Has Begun

A new Dutch study that concluded that cycling extends your lifespan.  This week a second study shows that training on a bicycle can help lower your risk for cancer.  I believe this, but I would add a few other things that lower your risk: abstaining from smoking . . . anything, not drinking nail polish remover, and having a good attitude and assuming the best of others, unless they are behind the wheel of an S.U.V. in urban environs where the need for an S.U.V. is, well, dubious at best.  Dutch cyclists live longer.  That's something to consider.

It's fall and the time when we ride in jeans more than shorts, if you are an urban cyclist who rides everywhere except to Ikea once a year.  So what are the best cycling jeans?  Jolt Jeans and Levis commuters make the top of my list, with Jolt having a lower price point and perhaps the feel of low price point jeans.  Momentum Magazine has a few other suggestions if you want to get around and look better.  For cycling to work, I am in favor of wearing whatever you wear to work, even if that means sliding on a pair of biking shorts underneath that dress until you get there.

We appear to be in the midst of a cycling revolution not foisted upon us by a despotic leader who will send us on a death march . . . or ride, whatever.  This is outstanding.  The Cycling Minister of Great Britain insists, however, that the British Empire must redouble its efforts to deliver a cycling revolution.  Redouble.  Make more intense.  Not double twice.  Which would mean, I guess, that they need to try four times harder.  London Mayor Boris Johnson waded into the cycling fray yet again by complaining about Eurostar's policy of letting very few bikes on its trains.  In any event, I wish we had a Minister of Cycling in the United States, though given our history of "Red Scares" I would caution that Minister against referring to any effort to increase cycling as a "revolution."  The next thing you know, he or she could find themselves sitting before the Senate Permanent Committee on Investigations trying to explain the language selected for the pro-cycling campaign. Unless you could somehow liken it to the industrial revolution and thereby explain cycling's link to progress.

The most popular bike share route in Washington is from Union Station down the H Street corridor to D.C.'s Atlas District, where the food and bars are more interesting and diverse, the streetcars will soon go, and the robbery rate is high.  This makes you wonder what any city would look like if were designed with an emphasis on cycling.  Fast Company has some ideas in an interesting piece this week.  As it turns out, one thing you can expect in a cycling city is corporate sponsorship of bike share.  In Santa Monica, Hulu, a video streaming and entertainment company, is behind the share program.  Not antithetical to cycling, you say, but it raises questions about what limits should be placed on corporate sponsorship of shares as more cities add them.  Are liquor or tobacco companies okay sponsors?  Arms manufacturers?   What about automotive companies associated with the manufacture of especially large S.U.V.s?  Marijuana pharmacies?  Colombian drug cartels?  It bears thinking about.  These may be the policy concerns of tomorrow's municipal cycling czar.  I could write that policy.

So, if I see you in the bike lane, whether you appear aware you are part of revolution, or you are simply aware of what jeans work best for cycling, let's be smug.
Elisa P.

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