January 17th, 2012 by Cynthia Shahan
A recent story that celebrates spontaneity, cycling, urban wanderlust, and the wonderful wave of sustainable bike-sharing programs is a welcome happiness to all of us wanting more biking freedoms. From an article found on the League of American Bicyclists (LAB) website: “Bike sharing is like a big advertisement for bicycling,” says Darren Buck, a Virginia Tech (VT) student. “Folks walking by who don’t consider bikes in their daily routines are given an opportunity to ask, ‘why not go for a bike ride?’” We are beginning to enjoy more stories such as this in our country. It is a sign of willingness to understand and meet the need of our time.
Spontaneous Urban Wanderlust and Beyond
More opportunities with city bike-sharing programs as an alternative in travel are emerging. They allow people to immerse themselves in culture on a new level, be part of life outdoors, be free of the armor of vehicles. It had been 35 years since a man in his sixties had been on a bike, the LAB article above noted, before Capitol Bikeshare (CaBi) in Washington D.C. gave him the spontaneous occasion to liberate himself from vehicles and explore.
This choice must also be considered as an opportunity for his health — biking is a heart-, lung-, and back-strengthening exercise. Thanks to this bike-sharing program, which is supported by revenues from visitors to the city as well as revenues from the local bikers, D.C. increases sustainable opportunities in transportation and health.
Bike Sharing is Where Its At
As the League of American Bicyclist tells us, “Bikesharing is one of the most sustainable transportation investments out there. That makes it a very good use of tax-payer capital funds.” We are becoming more like our commonsense friends in Copenhagen and Amsterdam, improving global health and revitalization. We are serving our environment and neighbors by maintaining clean air, mitigating toxic production or depletion of resources, and employing programs that do not drain our economy but support it. Mass transit and bikes are where it’s at. Capital Bikeshare Study: A Closer Look at Casual Users and Operations breaks it down for us with graphs and detailed information from Virginia Tech researchers. For more info on the funding source of this project, the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) Improvement funds, and other such bicycle-project funding sources, check out AdvocacyAdvance.org.
Educate, Plan, Bicycle
Infrastructure and education are crucial elements to successfully develop programs such as these in any urban area. To successfully launch bike-sharing programs, co-operative movements in communities must merge the ideology of sustainable transportation alternatives with pragmatism while creating awareness. The ability to tune folks into the happiness of bicycling is part of the plan.
Community awareness and visitor’s awareness of this opportunity as a chance for traveling bliss is the way. Be part of a moving terrain, combine one’s movement in the world with other forms, natural and otherwise, as you participate in and enjoy the landscape of a city on bike. This combined information, awareness, and education will create more political supports for bicycling investments.
- Washington DC – CaBi by thisisbossi
- Bike Share and the Bird by Mr. T in DC
- LaHood and to-be-named DC Bikeshare bike by Transportation for America
- A Girl, A Bike, A Smile by by Sunflowers for Lolly
- Washington DC — Van Ness Metro Station by thisisbossi
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