The weather is starting to warm across the northern hemisphere and its time to pull that bicycle out of the closet, under the steps, or from garage and take to the streets again. Do you know that transportation contributes at least 14% of our greenhouse gasses and oftentimes?
If you live in the heart of an urban area, your transportation-related CO2 is much lower than a typical suburbanite!
In fact, urban dwellers are really carrying the ball in reducing carbon output from their transportation, mostly because they are more likely to bike, walk, and use public transportation versus sitting in outer loop highway traffic in gas-guzzling SUVs.
There are fewer and fewer excuses not to bicycle over to a friends apartment or to run and errand. To quote a wise old friend, “if you look for an excuse, you can always find one!”
Even BWI is now making bikes starting at $1200 for a casual hybrid and up for several different models. The ultimate driving machine is now trying to become the ultimate cycling machine.
Why Is Cycling Around Town Getting Easier?
Across many major worldwide cities, it’s getting more bike friendly. Europe and Asia clearly are the trendsetter in this effort, but a growing number of major U.S. cities have made impressive strides towards a more bike-friendly community.
Cycling around town is getting earlier because of more bike lanes shared with the road, dedicated bike paths, specific bike crossing signals, and most importantly driver awareness and courtesy towards cyclists and vice versa. It’s a two-way street, after all.
Bring Along Tunes, Text, and GPS Assistance
Green Blizzard‘s favorite biking companion, (as long as you don’t text and pedal) phone holders designed to make your local bike trip more enjoyable and efficient. Get directions, pedal to your favorite tunes, or listen to a curious podcast.
Infrastructure advancement for cyclists is making the front pages of newspapers and online news sites these days. City planners have elevated this consideration in their designs and you are seeing more bike lanes on prime real estate down major roadways. The thought of any urban location being “bike friendly” seems like a real possibility now.
With transportation energy kicking out 15% or more of your carbon footprint, increasing the percentage of biked miles out of your overall annual mileage is an easy, cost-free way to reduce your carbon footprint and save more CO2 emissions on your behalf.
Where Is Cycling Around Town Is Getting Easier?
But exactly what makes a city “bike-friendly?” Every year, Bicycling.com releases its list of the top 50 cities in the United States that were the most “bike friendly.” The study only focused on cities with 100,000 or more people. Factors that were taken into consideration were:
- The number of bike boulevards, municipal bike racks, and segregated bike lanes
- How much influence cyclists have or how much consideration cyclists are given in the local government
- How big of a support there is for a “vibrant and diverse bike culture,” such as having “savvy” bicycle shops
- Geographical diversity
Sadly, my entire state of Georgia didn’t even have a representative on the list of 50! And a good part of the South was absent from the listing.
Most Bike Friendly Cities in the U.S, according to a recent Bicycling magazine ranking. Check out the rest of the Top 50
- Portland, OR
- Minneapolis, MN
- Boulder, CO
- Washington, DC
- Chicago, IL
If your home town is somewhere on the list and you’re not already biking a healthy percentage of your transportation needs, reconsider you habits.
With your favorite search engine you should be able to find some online bike maps to get some ideas of where else you can safely bike. Google Bike Maps is a great online source.