An exploration of things to do in Arlington

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Why Don't We Bike More?

I just returned from vacation, where I spent part of my time (about a week) in Malmo on the Southern tip of Sweden, just across the Oresund Bridge from Copenhagen.

There was on thing that really stands out when you spend any time in either of these two cities. People ride their bikes EVERYWHERE! I don't know how to write that strongly enough, I mean everywhere - to the grocery store, out to dinner, out to party, to work. Little old ladies and men ride their bikes, young children, young adults, everybody. People ride their bikes in cashual clothes, in work clothes, and in going out clothes. And, while the weather was very nice when we were there, I'm told that even when it's cold, people ride just as much.

So, I started wondering - why can't we be more like that? OK, there are some factors that we have less control of. Malmo and Copenhagen are both very flat. Arlington's not a mountain town, but it's not totally flat either. I'll concede that one. Some would say that urban planning has a lot to do with it. And I agree, both cities had a town of "bike roads". But Arlington has really good bike trails and routes too - maybe not quite as good, but still very good. There is also a cultural shift. Bicylists have the right away everywhere there and car drivers are very accomodating. Good luck getting that here!

All the same, I think there is definitely something for us to learn and emulate. There are so many benefits to bike riding. Bike riding is great for the environment, your health, and your general well-being. If you're not already familar with the many trails that Arlington offers, check out the BikeArlington website. They have maps and lots of great ride ideas.

See you on the trail!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is just way too hot here! No fun getting sweat(ier than usual) on the way to work.

4:52 PM

Blogger Eric said...

Fair enough. Perhaps we just need to get more businesses to have showers!

2:45 PM

Blogger Miles said...

It's all about priorities. If America wanted to make biking an appealing option, we could create tax incentives to bike, build more bike lanes, and impose tolls on cars entering cities (like the do in London). But Americans love their cars beyond all rational arguments about health, pollution, cost, and quality of life.

11:41 PM


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