Sunday 1 September 2013

What is Utility Cycling and how does it relate to me?

Summary: Utility Cyling means cycling done primarily as a means of transport rather than as a sport or leisure activity. All city residents need to get to places each day and cycling is a potentially superior alternative for many of them, yet it is neglected because few consider it as a realistic option. This post provides background on utility cycling (also known as urban cycling or transport cycling).

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by Tejvan Pettinger

1. Watch this video: On urban cycling (Mikael Colville-Andersen)
- Utility cycling is just called cycling in Western European countries where cycling is a common means of getting around cities. The Netherlands has the highest rates of mainstream utility cycling. Copenhagen is also a famous for its high utility cycling rate.

2. Read the Wikipedia article on Utility Cycling.
Utility or "transportational" cycling generally involves travelling short and medium distances, often in an urban environment. It includes commuting (i.e. going to work or school), going shopping and running errands, as well as heading out to see friends and family or for other social activities.
Utility cycling is known to have several social and economic benefits including: improved health, a reduction in traffic congestion, improvements in road traffic safety, improved quality of life, improved mobility and social inclusiveness and benefits to child development.

3. Check out the Utility Cycling Flickr Group
- You'll find various photos of people in normal clothes using their bikes to get around their towns, carry stuff or other practical purposes.

cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo shared by Greg Raisman

4. Have a look at and
- These sites have many examples of the practical purposes bicycles are put to all over the world.

5. Utility Cycling Terminology
- Utility cycling is the most accurate term for cycling for transport or practical purposes. It is usually defined in opposition to sport/recreational cycling. "Urban cycling" is a more commonly-used equivalent for utility cycling and is the term I typically use on this blog. "Transport cycling" is another equivalent term that may be used.