Amsterdamize


Good & Bad News from Arizona
June 2, 2008, 9:10 am
Filed under: news | Tags: , , ,

At least once a week I try to lift something from the bike news feeds that is either remarkable, uplifting, alarming or just informative. Today I bring your attention to an article from the Arizona Republic that brings both good and bad news. First the good part (excerpts):

Valley commuters rediscover bikes

As gas costs rise, firms move to accommodate workers who cycle 

Skyrocketing gas prices are prompting more commuters to try bicycling to work – or at least to the nearest bus stop.

Several Valley cycle shops report higher sales of commuter models and demand for tuneups on bikes that have been gathering dust in back rooms or garages.

“We don’t have good data because so few cities do bicycle counts,” said R.S. Matt, spokesman for the Coalition of Arizona Bicyclists and a Phoenix resident. “But you see more of them in the streets, and we’re getting lots of calls for bicycle education.”

The trip takes 90 minutes, but Zhang, 59, said it’s worth the time considering gas prices, environmental issues and health benefits.

Since he started cycling to and from bus stops three years ago, his cholesterol level dropped from over 200 to 120, and his body-mass index is a healthy 20.

Alan Blackmore, an employee with Global Bikes in Chandler said sales of commuter models have climbed 25 to 50 percent in recent months.

Some customers mention fuel costs, but most claim they’re trading gas pedals for bicycle pedals for the health and fitness benefits, he said.

With so many novices calling his organization for information, Matt said he spends a lot of time handing out safety advice: Obey traffic laws, wear bright clothing and a helmet. He expects a slowdown during the summer months because few employers offer shaded bicycle lockers or showers. 

…etc
Now the bad part: so much potential, but these good people let themselves be marginalized by bicycle myths! Also illustrated by the article’s tips on the side: 

Tips for bicycle commuting

  • Plan your route, selecting, where possible, wide roads with less traffic. Take a weekend test ride to spot hazards. Time the trip.
  • Be safe and predictable. Wear a helmet and signal turns.
  • Dress to commute; avoid wearing sandals or high heels. Ankle straps can keep pant legs out of gears.
  • Have the bike tuned and checked. Carry a tire pump, patch kit and small tool kit. Know how to repair a flat or fix a chain.
  • Pack briefcase, lunch or clothes in front or rear rack, backpack, basket, saddle bag, seat bag or a trailer. Secure cargo with bungee cord if necessary.

See the bad part? People from Arizona who read this article might get jazzed up about the option of biking (as it makes more sense financially, for their health and socially), but quickly find more and more excuses (obstacles) NOT to proceed and actually do it. 

We need to brake that spell. Push harder, show the alternatives (less is more), because people deserve better.

Update: this is extraordinary:

High Gas Prices Cause Bike Shortages in N.Y.

‘They’re All Gone. It’s Wicked.’