More people on bikes make the streets safer and help us assert our right to the road. Here’s how to entice others to join the pack.
Being an ambassador for cycling goes beyond obeying traffic laws and lobbying elected officials—it also means sharing the joy of two wheels with others. But one stumbling block for would-be riders is the perception that cycling is difficult to fit into daily life. Here are three innovative ideas that could expand our ranks.
The One-Mile Solution Find your home on a map and draw a circle with a radius that represents one mile. Each week, make one trip within the circle by bike instead of driving your car. You may even find that these trips are quicker on the bike, depending on traffic congestion and parking availability in your community. The next steps: Start replacing more car trips within the loop, then increase the radius of your circle.
The Bike Train While some communities are forbidding kids to ride to school (see “Why Johnny Can’t Ride“), cities such as Portland, Oregon, and San Francisco are organizing something called bike trains, where parents and kids pedal to school together along a preplanned route, and meet-up stops allow new riders to join in.
The E-Bike Cycling purists may frown upon electric bicycles, which provide pedaling assistance via a battery-powered motor, but they could help get more people riding. A recent Dutch study found that bike commuters on e-bikes pedal 75 percent more kilometers each week than cyclists on conventional bicycles.
Research and assistance by Rick Bernardi, J.D.