Cycling has a lot going for it: its great exercise, a quick way to get around a city, less expensive than a car, pollutes less than other forms of transportation and an awesome way to experience the full gamut of sense provoking sights, sounds and smells that the world holds around us. So here’s a question, why don’t more people do it?
I had tweeted this question a little while ago and was surprised by how many other people were wondering the same thing. Let’s face there are a lot of reasons to leave the car at home and hop on a bicycle at least once a week, even twice or maybe more, but it would seem that there are also a lot of reasons not to.
I can almost hear a number of excuses being lobbed my way as I write this. It’s easy to make excuses, what’s difficult is overcoming these hollow challenges. Luckily, and thank you to those helping make these changes, many of the age old excuses for not riding a bicycle are slowly being eroded by passionate and creative advocacy and bolstered city infrastructure and support. However, as we continue to push forward one pedal stroke at a time we still face an uphill battle when it comes to getting more people to swing their legs over the trusty top bar of a bicycle.
Despite all of the new infrastructure, cycling can still be a dangerous transportation proposal. For much of last summer it seemed like there was a new case of vehicular bullying every week; often ending poorly for the guy or gal on the bicycle with little to no effect for the person behind the wheel. Road rage and careless driving can make it a daunting undertaking when getting out on the road.
Luckily new bike lanes, paths and trails are making it easier for cyclists to get away from being brushed by mirrors and tagged by doors, making riding safer and less intimidating. Technology is making it easier to find these new routes.
Google recently, and by recently I mean a few months ago, introduced bike paths and routes to its uber popular Google maps. It was just more recently introduced to Canada as well. Now you can plan your journey to avoid as much traffic as possible from the comfort of your home computer. Then hop on your bike and enjoy a ride without those clenching moments of terror.
It may not be tomorrow that everyone takes to the two wheeled ways, but things are getting better and more people are seeing the proverbial cycling light. There are still a lot of days where it will just be easier and more convenient, and drier, to hop into the front seat and push go, but as more people pick up the pedal it is becoming easier for others to join the ride. Infrastructure continues to improve but most of all its easier to get into it when your friends are doing it. And one cyclist at a time, someone’s friend is joining the ride. It might only be once in a while but it’s better than never and its getting better every day.