Wednesday 26 February 2014

Must-read articles that will change your mind and improve your life

Summary: There are thousands of articles published each month that are relevant to urban cycling but only a few have the potential to radically change your ideas, choices, lifestyle or happiness. This post will collate the exceptional articles I've read that have had a big impact on my thinking or best encapsulate life-changing ideas you may not be familiar with.

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by Jarrett M
1. Going Dutch - How women in the Netherlands work less, have lesser titles and a big gender pay gap, and love it (Slate, Jessica Olien)
- A great article explaining how Dutch women have actively made choices that conventional, modern societies may not consider progressive but which result in more time, freedom and happiness. The key implication for urban cycling is that you can re-engineer your lifestyle to create time and opportunities for cycling or walking and have a more enjoyable life.

2. Who are all these self-harming Dutch helmet wearers? (At War With The Motorist)
- Beautifully illustrates with photos why wearing a helmet should be a choice. In the Netherlands, when cycling for transport, people are on "sturdy bicycles, rarely doing more than 15mph. Their environment is not completely without hazards, but even if things do go wrong, they’re extremely unlikely to find themselves hospitalised. The racers and mountainbikers, meanwhile, are far more likely to fall off or hit something, and at the sort of speeds where that breaks things." Hence, only sports cyclists wear helmets.

3. What Would Get Americans Biking to Work? - Decent Parking (Slate, Tom Vanderbilt)
- 99 percent of car trips in the United States terminate in a free parking space, which means the nation's drivers don't have much incentive to think about parking—or not driving. People would also be much less likely to drive if they knew their car was likely to be stolen, vandalized, or taken away by some city authority. But this is what is asked of bicycle commuters, save those lucky few who work in buildings that provide indoor bicycle parking.

4. Dude, Where's Your Car? (Slate, Tom Vanderbilt)
- How not having a car became Hollywood shorthand for loser.