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08/16/2008: "More Bikes, and More...."
Did a quick hop to the dry cleaner and the library this afternoon, and was surprised not to see any other bikes at the library's rack out front...must have been the heat, though: in the shaded terrace before the library's door, I found four bikes locked to the decorative grillwork, including a new-looking Electra city bike with full chaincase, fenders, and an extremely sturdy-seeming nickel-plated luggage rack. (Looked like a Sport 3 Custom.)

This is the sort of bike one buys as an errand bike, to replace a car for local trips, and, while not expensive, it isn't all that cheap. So it bespeaks a commitment to utilitarian cycling unusual in latter-day America--but maybe not that unusual for long!

After all, utility cycling is every bit as much fun as any other sort, so it doesn't require a hair-shirt zealotry to ride your bike on errands. Just a slight change in the way you perceive yourself.

Cars are still quite obviously status symbols, but I think people are beginning to realize that fouling your world while carting yourself about in a motorized baby carriage is a sign not of high status, but low maturity.

I suspect that as more people ride, they will begin to clamor for an urban infrastructure better suited to cycling (just as the cyclists of the Good Roads Movement were responsible for the establishment of well-designed streets and highways that were then co-opted and hyperthyroidized by obsessive motorists).

This could lead to all sorts of benefits for US cities in the long run, including real neighborhoods, an intense and more-localized smaller-scale of commerce, and a freedom from the manipulations of the money-changers. All good things, I'd say.

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