cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by Alexandre Normand
What: Evidence and advice that shows how utility cycling can be far better than the alternatives (primarily cars) for getting around cities by any measure - time, cost, convenience, health/safety, simplicity, comfort, reliability and enjoyment. I incorporate practical, high-value tips on optimising these potential advantages by making the wisest decisions: not just about cycling but lifestyle too (e.g. choosing where to live).
Why: There are plenty of sites that promote cycling or offer advice, but much of it is targeted at recreational/sport cyclists, is driven by commerce and instills the wrong messages (danger, exertion, special gear needed, etc.). This site is for those interested in the benefits of cycling for transport and how to take optimal advantage of them. It has a pragmatic focus on doing what works best for your individual circumstances.
If utility cycling really can be a quicker, cheaper, easier, healthier and more rewarding means of transport for a large proportion of city (especially inner city) residents then there is enormous untapped value just waiting to be unlocked.
For Who: Those who don't currently cycle much (or at all) for getting around cities but would greatly benefit from it if they knew of all the potential advantages and how to maximise them.
By Who: Adrian Lobo. I ride my bike in Melbourne (Australia) every day - to work, to the shops, to events/meetings, to pick up takeaway food or a carton of beer, to go out to eat/drink, to friend's places and just for fun. Since Jan 2013, over 99% of my annual trips between 2km and 20km have been made by bike. I also ride more challenging trips (e.g. 22km to the airport) and longer recreational trips (e.g. 65km visiting wineries). This commitment to cycling for all feasible trips is deliberate as the perspective I wish to provide on this blog is about what is possible if you try to get the most out of cycling for transport. See: My calculated benefits of cycling for transport
To Achieve What: More people immediately enjoying the benefits of using bicycles for transport and other practical purposes. Mainstreaming a preference for urban cycling will ultimately lead politicians and planners to improve the design of our cities to suit.
Don't Wait: You could wait for your city to fully Go Dutch or Copenhagenize before trying cycling but you may be dead before that happens. Why not figure out how you can cycle now (for at least some trips) as safely, conveniently and enjoyably as possible whatever the current circumstances of your city? Then use your cycling experiences to demand improvements that make cycling feasible for more types of trips and more people.
Remember, the best people to demand action from governments and bureaucrats are those most affected and who really care. If you and your family/friends could be benefiting much more from urban cycling but there are specific obstacles in the way, start solving the ones under your control and then start trying to cycle for at least a few types of trips. Once you start and get a taste of the benefits you'll actively want to extend them as much as you can and this will naturally affect the politicians you vote for, the policies you support and the community behaviours you can influence.
Cycling Heaven: The Netherlands is heaven for utility cyclists and the gold standard for cycling-friendly urban design, laws and culture. This is a pragmatic blog for those who don't live in cycling heaven! If you want some inspiration on what mainstream, utility cycling can look like or best practice see:
> Bicycle Dutch - About page; Youtube channel
Contact Me: You can email me at loboadrian AT gmail.com