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Cycling in Austin

Consider the Bicycle… (Found on a blog)

By • Aug 2nd, 2008 • Category: Stuff I found on the web

01 July 2008

Consider the bicycle

As many of you know, I don’t drive a car.

I don’t completely dismiss the advantages of cars. Most of my friends have cars, and I occasionally do ask them to drive me somewhere.

But the extent of our dependence on automobiles, and our emphasis on them as our primary means of transportation and delivery, are unconscionable, irresponsible, and untenable.

– Note from adriel: This is EXACTLY how I feel about it.  The big oil companies and car manufacturers have been investing heavily in this dependence, and it is all of these things.

But this has been said before, by people much better versed in the subject than me.

The point is, I ride a bike. I have been lucky to have many wonderful bikes, notably an old Gazelle I rode in the Netherlands, and more recently a gorgeous Raleigh that my brilliant and thoughtful sister prepared for me when I moved to Montpelier, Vermont.

As US cities go, Montpelier is a pretty bike-friendly place. There’s not a great deal of physical bike infrastructure, but the flat streets and generally accommodating attitude of most motorists makes it feel bikeable. This summer the city is hosting SculptCycle, an outdoor, city-wide exhibit of sculptures made from bikes and bike parts. You can see some photos here.

While I like SculptCycle, I have mixed feelings about it. Bikes need to be viably and meaningfully incorporated into our lifestyle and infrastructure. Exhibits like this one promote bicycling in the popular imagination, which is good. But they also make bikes ‘cute’ and ‘artsy’ and ‘other’.

SculptCycle will do nothing to challenge some people’s perceptions of bikes as nothing but recreational toys – and might even deepen them.

Note from adriel: – The Toy Bicycle syndrome, which has caused us so much grief.

Bikes don’t need to be made into art, they need to be given a real place in our transportation infrastructure. And they need to be replacing cars. Then we can make the cars into art, how about that?

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