I came across an inspiring article last week by Mikael Colville-Andersen, the author of Copenhagenize — the definitive guide to global urban cycling. I know we don’t live in a mini Copenhagen here, but we can dream. Here are a few teasers:
“We don’t have many cyclists in Copenhagen. What we do have is roughly 400,000 citizens in Greater Copenhagen who happen to get around by bike because the city has been designed for it. Sure, there are groups that hang out together like everywhere else. The sub-cultural bike messenger crowd and the fixies do their funky thang together. The wool-socks in sandals/trimmed greying beard crowd join the boomer-friendly Cyclists’ Federation.
The rest of us just ride around because it’s easy and fast. Indeed, since the 1990s, the majority of Copenhageners state that their main reason for riding a bike is that it is quick and convenient. 57%, in fact. Some 17% mention exercise as their primary motivation and only 1% say they do it for the environment. This is integral information for cities. If you want people to ride, you build infrastructure and make it the fastest way from A to B. I call it A2Bism.”
Colville-Andersen us takes on a ride through his city by way of the five senses, and their sub-categories. It starts with Being One with the Weather, of course. Then it’s Touch, Subtle Touch, and Delicate Touch. Next comes Light and Sight and the various kinds of Seeing. Follow that with Signals, Taste, the Taste of Winter, and the Taste of Light. Also, there’s Tasty on a Bike. Finally, there are the large categories of Smell and Sound.
This can’t help but make us think of how the five senses would translate to riding in Lincoln. It’s easy to find them while out riding on dirt or gravel, or even pavement, but urban cycling has it’s own sensory culture. Think of the smell of coffee and flowers on a spring day! There may be fewer of us here than in Copenhagen or other larger, more bike-centered cities, but bike culture is there if you look for it.
Living what you believe is another reason some ride. Some see not using gasoline as a patriotic act. Some see being free of fossil fuel dependency as a small but powerful statement that if echoed creates change. It’s another reason to be more visible on your bike.