Bicycle Nation

I saw a political cartoon a while back, about China.  The first frame showed China now, with everybody riding a bicycle.  The second frame, “When China Rules The World,” showed everybody driving a car.  That’s the great ambition of every developing nation (why China is still in that group is beyond me), roads full of gas-guzzling vehicles.  Giant cars have always been the status symbol in America, and we’ve exported that ecological madness worldwide.

I grew up riding a bicycle to school.  I drove a bicycle to classes in college when I could.  I’ve enjoyed cycling all my born days.  Nothing fancy, just a regular old street bike.  I live in a very mountainous area now, so I have to suffice with a stationary ride a few times each week.  Right now, as I write this column, I’m peddling away on a little under-desk elliptical fitness machine.  Keeps the blood circulating, great for some low-intensity, easy-on-the-joints fitness ~ just what they say you need for optimal brain function.  Oxygen to the brain cells equals clarity.

The U.S. is not a bicycle-friendly nation.  Every city needs more bicycle lanes and dedicated cycling paths.  Every bicycle on the road means one less ugly, noisy vehicle polluting the air.  Virtually every urban community is anxious to clean up the air ~ nothing is more cost-effective than promoting bicycle riding.

Too many hills in your community?  Weak legs after years – decades! – of a sedentary lifestyle.  Get an electric-assist bicycle.  You can pump the pedals as much as you’re able, and the electric motor will do the rest to maintain a safe speed.  They even make electric-assist mountain bikes.  Not even snow will slow you down, not with fat tires.

Strap on your bicycle helmet and hit the road!  Lucky you, if you’re close to one of the thousands of miles of old railroad tracks converted to cycling paths“Building a nation connected by trails.”