“There Is No Cycling Culture Here. We Just Cycle.”

The title of this post was lifted from the comments section of the video that follows.  It was posted by someone who lives in Netherlands.  It’s a great quote that takes us to a completely different level in terms of goals and discussion.  I’ve included some interesting tidbits from the video below.

The average Dutch cycles 878 kilometers per year.

That’s the equivalent of 545 miles a year or 1.5 miles per day.  In other words, it’s not much.   The Dutch live much closer to home than we Americans do.  This explains, in part, why the Dutch are comfortable on clunker bikes, riding without helmets and fancy lycra clothing.  Who needs a kit to ride a couple of blocks?

Most trips are faster by bicycle than by car.

When you consider how much time is spent getting ready to drive a car, fighting traffic and then hunting for a parking spot at your destination, this makes perfect sense.  The shorter the trip, the greater the relative savings.  It actually saves the Dutch time to pedal to the market or work or school or the movies or a restaurant or anyplace else vs. driving.  It will save you time, too.

Widespread cycling has made the Dutch healthier…

In fact, the adoption of cycling as a form of transportation in Holland has led to declines in national rates of heart disease, diabetes & depression.  All for 1.5 miles per day.  That’s a no-brainer.

…While saving a ton of money…

The video says that cycling is free.  Not exactly, but if all you need to do is cycle a few miles a day, you don’t need a fancy bike or fancy clothes.  You can easily find a decent quality bike for as little as $25 on Craigslist or at your local bicycle cooperative.  Bring a friend along who understands what to look for and how to fit a bicycle and you’ll be miles ahead.

…And building connected communities.

Our cars are like cages, separating us from our environment and each other.  Remove the cage and something magical happens.  We become free…to mingle…to interact…to connect.  Bicycling connects in ways that motoring never will and connectivity is the key to stronger, better communities.

I hope I live to see the day when there is no cycling culture in the USA.  I hope I’m still around when our streets are full of helmetless riders wearing everyday clothing on clunker bikes.  I can’t wait until there’s no bike to work day because every day is bike to work day.  On that day, we will be a more connected nation with cleaner air, healthier people and more vibrant communities.

Here’s the best part.  If you share this dream, you can help make it a reality.  Please share this post and then get on your bike and ride somewhere.  It doesn’t matter where.  That’s all you have to do.  It’s that easy.

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