Sunday, November 21, 2010

Bike Spotting and Observations on Attitudes Towards Transportation

Now that I've started incorporating cycling into my day-to-day life (as opposed to just quick rides around city trails here and there), I find that I'm much more aware of cyclists and cycles in my surroundings. I have previously been too afraid to venture away from the trails and paths and into the road. Now that I have a better understanding of how to ride with traffic, I also have a better understanding of how to be a more considerate driver when sharing the road with cyclists. I'm hoping that more people get into cycling, if not only to help foster the same appreciation in other motorists.

I think cycling is gaining momentum in our city, but I'm not sure if that's just because I have an active interest in it and tend to notice it more than I otherwise would.  In any case, there is still a long ways to go.... the prevailing attitude in Calgary seems to be that driving a car is ideal and something to aspire to. When talking to people about cycling, I often find people dismiss it as "too much effort" or "too sweaty" or "takes too long". But they don't realize that a comfortable bike and a more relaxed pace make a huge difference. Also, cycling doesn't necessarily take that much longer - you avoid traffic jams and can park your bike right outside the door (this is especially meaningful for me as my parking spot is a long walk from my building). Plus, cycling can be your workout for the day so you don't have to spend time at the gym. And when it comes to transit, many people feel they're "done with that phase of life", as though you "graduate" from taking the bus to driving a car. Granted, transit in this city is not always ideal - often crowded, not accessible enough, inefficient route options, etc. but I think the mentality will remain the same long after improvements to transit are made.

I also find that I'm more attentive to bikes that I see around the city, especially those that appeal to me, like this beautiful Opa from Jorg & Olif that I saw parked along 17th Ave:

Eventually my Pashley will be one of these bikes you might see around!  

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